Welcome back to “Mike Meets”! In this series, the SALT editorial team makes our intern, Mike Restiano, try financial products he’s never used before (jealous?). Mike will highlight what he likes and dislikes about each—and whether you should check it out for yourself. This week, Mike investigates the “Groupon for college students,” CollegeBudget.
“OH YAY, MORE BUDGETING”
That was my first response when I heard I was going to be doing a “Mike Meets” for something called CollegeBudget. As an English nerd, I don’t judge books by their covers. However, as a proud millennial, I completely judge websites by their names.
I thought I was going to be dealing with another useful (albeit, slightly boring) financial tool. I was completely wrong.
LIKE GROUPON FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS
Having learned from some of my past mistakes, I actually read the website’s “about” section this time. It turns out that CollegeBudget provides deals and discounts to students with .edu email addresses, making it kind of like the exclusively collegiate version of Groupon.
There were a few nice deals floating around the website. Most of them were discounts for online classes on things like photography, HTML, graphic design, and bartending. As a graduate of a bartending school, I’d advise anyone who’s interested to learn the trade by hand. I keep trying to picture how an online course can teach you how to work a speed rack, and I draw a blank every time.
There were also deals on some not so intellectual stuff, like teeth whitening strips for those of you obsessed with getting Chip Skylark-esque shiny teeth. I quickly jumped on a deal that offered $40 worth of clothing from Out of Print.com for only $20! I am now the proud owner of a The Great Gatsby sweater that only cost me $28. My purchase also sent a book to a community in need in Africa. When you combine literature-themed clothing with slacktivism, you instantly skyrocket to the top of my “favorite website” list.
I also decided to buy a deal that granted me a year-long membership to LearniT Anytime, a website that teaches online courses on graphic design, coding, and Microsoft Office. The subscription usually goes for $125, but I was able to get it on for only $39! Check out was quick, painless, and efficient. I was learning the basics of Adobe Illustrator a few minutes after I punched in my debit card number to buy it.
After playing around with my purchases, I give CollegeBudget my student stamp of approval.
Membership is free so you can create an account and never feel obligated to buy a thing. And from my experience, the websites CollegeBudget hosts discounts for are very much legitimate.
There’s also the opportunity to save even more if you’re a great marketer. Every friend you refer to the site will net you a nice $5 credit to use on any future purchase. With options to promote via social media or email (if you’re feeling really spammy) that money can seriously add up.
But be warned: With great bargains come great responsibility. Sure the deals are great, but if you don’t absolutely need a sweater about The Great Gatsby (I mean, I do), you probably shouldn’t buy one just because it’s cheap.
Purchase these deals responsibly and at your own risk. Remember that you’re still spending money when you get something on this site—no matter how little the amount may be.