How To Survive on Campus for Just Pennies a Day!

Tori Tom with fellow intern Marissa Ryan
Tori Tom with fellow intern Marissa Ryan

Tuition. Books. Craft beer. Everything costs more now than it did 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, or—well, you get the idea. But there are ways for college students to get by on the cheap. Unpaid interns Ava Garcia and Tori Tom (pictured above with fellow intern Marissa Ryan) have some tips on surviving when you're pinching pennies.

Grocery Stores

Shop for groceries with CatCard in hand and save on your dorm room staples. Safeway offers students 10 percent off on Saturdays at its 1940 E. Broadway Blvd. location. Prefer to shop for groceries during the week? Head to Fry's for 10 percent off with a student card on Tuesdays at its 555 E. Grant Road location.


Microsoft Office 365: Get access to the software you'll use every day as a student for free. UA students can download Microsoft Office 365 free of charge. The suite includes OneDrive online storage; Office software including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote; and other software including Yammer, Delve, SharePoint and more. To download the software, go to the University Information Technology website.

Adobe Creative Cloud: UA recently became an Abode Creative Campus, so current students can redeem a free copy of Adobe Creative Cloud—which includes programs like InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat and Illustrator—by filling out a form with the university. After filling out the form, students can download the applications. Register to redeem a free copy of the software at

Subscription services

Amazon Prime. From scoring textbooks on the cheap to shopping for groceries car-free, an Amazon Prime subscription has its perks in college. The site offers a free six-month trial of its Prime Student services for anyone with an .edu email address. At the end of the trial, unless cancelled, the membership will continue at Prime Student rates, clocking in at $6.49 a month or $59 a year. Prime Student includes benefits like free two-day shipping, unlimited movies and music streaming and free same-day delivery in some areas. Go to Amazon's Prime Student sign-up to begin your trial.

Spotify and Hulu and Apple Music. Sometimes the only thing that makes a long study session bearable is an awesome playlist. Luckily, several streaming platforms offer discounted rates for students. Tune into Hulu and Spotify for $4.99 a month, which includes access to both platforms. If you're an Apple fan, put your .edu email to use and subscribe to Apple Music for $4.99 a month. Now go make those playlists!

News sites. Stay up-to-date on current events from around the world with a subscription to a national newspaper. Your student card can help you out on subscriptions for news sites like the New York Times, whose student rate starts at $1 a week, and the Washington Post, whose student rate is $5 for four weeks.


Students deserve a break every once in a while because chances are, you'll go crazy without one. When you and your friend have a spare moment (or three hours, realistically—superheroes can't save the world in an hour-and-a-half these days) in between classes or study sessions, visit these theatres for discounted tickets.

The Loft Cinema is your home for indie film: Foreign movies, art house flicks, documentaries and classics all screen here. But it's not snooty! Weekends at 10 p.m., you can catch cult classics such as Big Lebowski, Big Trouble in Little China and Donnie Darko. On Mondo Mondays, you can see twisted movies such as Welcome to Spring Break aka Nightmare Beach for a mere $3. And if you're really broke, the theater regularly shows Essential Cinema films and kids fare for free. Regular admission is $9.75 for adults, $8 for students. Keep an eye out for November's Loft Film Fest, featuring cutting-edge films from the festival circuit. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

At Roadhouse Cinemas, you can indulge in a full bar and dine-in restaurant while watching a movie virtually lying down in recliner seats. With your student ID, get $1 off the regular price. Oh, and do yourself a favor and buy your tickets online ahead of time because the best seats go fast. Student prices: $7.95 weekday matinee. $8.95 weekday evenings. $9.95 weekend matinee. $11.50 weekend evenings. 4811 E. Grant Road.

Enjoy reduced student price for El Con Mall's Century 20 and XD theater are $9.50 on weekdays after 6 p.m. and weekends after 4 p.m. Luxury loungers are reserved for guests who purchase tickets for XD showings. 3601 E. Broadway Blvd.

Anyone can nab an all-day sale ticket at Park Place Mall's Century Theatre for $5.50 every Tuesday. Regular student tickets are $9.50 on weekdays after 6 p.m. and weekends after 4 p.m. Normal seating is not assigned. 5870 E. Broadway Blvd, #3006.