Graphic by Megan Heddinger

Kelly Trom
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You have grown up hearing about the “broke college student.” But now that you are on your own without mom or dad’s wallet conveniently close by, the stereotype has quickly become a reality. Luckily for students, businesses in San Luis Obispo want to help.

“The businesses here should listen to students,” SLO Coupons owner Don Guisto said. “They are the primary driver of the economy. Any business owner that wants to stay in business should cater to the students.”

And what do students want more out of their shopping experience than a great deal? A student ID is more than just a campus meal ticket, bus pass and sports event ticket. It can be a powerful tool to help students save money.

Currently, there is no comprehensive online list of all San Luis Obispo student discounts. However, SLO Coupons is working on compiling one, Guisto said.

“We just recently set up a student discount page, and we are encouraging businesses who already advertise with us to offer additional student discounts by giving them free extra exposure,” he said.

In the meantime, students can look up their favorite businesses’ websites before going shopping. It also never hurts to ask if the business has a discount at the checkout counter.

“You should always ask if they have a student discount because if they do, they are almost guaranteed to get a 10 to 20 percent discount,” he said.

Returning students will recall the bright yellow coupon books distributed by Campus Special in the University Union during the first week of every school year. Now there is an application that can be downloaded that has virtual coupons tailored to the San Luis Obispo area.

“Students with the app will be opened up to an array of discounts for free, ranging from the University Book Store to dining services on campus to Kona’s Deli and Enzo’s pizza,” national sales manager at Campus Special Alex Koszarek said.

If you love using technology to save while shopping online, then your Cal Poly email address can be a golden ticket to online deals.

One example of this is Amazon Prime. Students can save on shipping when ordering textbooks, clothes and entertainment online. Plus, they get the first six months free and then half off the regular price while still enrolled in college.

“I use my subscription to Amazon Prime all the time,” computer science junior Jessie Pease said. “I use it to get free two-day shipping on books, clothes, food, shoes, you name it.”

A great deal that Adobe offers is as much as 80 percent off their most popular programs.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that only students get deals. When it comes to local deals, be vigilant about checking all of the offers available.

“What I find is that a lot of times the student discount will be less than the regular discount that might be going on,” Guisto said.

Discounts available to the general public might be a better deal. Things like using a rewards card and keeping an eye out for coupons in the local paper can really pay off. Do research, and find out all of the deals available to both students and residents of San Luis Obispo.