In the United States, schools have long been a way for students to access the internet. Before the pandemic, school resources meant students could get their online work done whether or not they had internet at home.
Now, school is online for many students, leaving low-income families and college students rushing to make sure they have reliable computers and internet access. Because public school funding is tied to local income levels in the USA, not all schools can afford to provide technology and internet access for their students.
Some stores offer student technology discounts you may not know about. They’re not a perfect solution to America’s virtual learning inequity problem. Still, there’s no doubt they make computers, tablets, and other education must-haves easier to get.
Take a look at 7 thrifty education technology tips to help you or your children stay on top of schoolwork in hectic times.
1. Buy Refurbished Technology for Less
Say your old MacBook is on its last legs and you’re tasked with finding a new laptop for your Zoom classes. You’re a diehard Apple fan, but looking at the prices on new MacBooks makes you queasy. Plus, you’d like to be able to replace your own laptop battery.
Here’s the thing: You don’t need brand-new technology for most learning applications. You might not want to deal with used computers, and that’s understandable. You never know what might be installed on a used machine and there could be hidden problems.
Yet, buying a used machine isn’t your only option. You can also check out refurbished technology. Professionals take used machines and fix them up, often installing the most recent operating system on a sturdy, older machine.
For example, older MacBooks from the late 2000s up through 2011 or so are easier to service on your own. They’re built like tanks, too, giving you more peace of mind than a wafer-thin modern MacBook can. Buying a refurbished laptop means you can enjoy the latest Mac OS without breaking the bank on a new model.
Of course, refurbished tech goes far past MacBooks and other Apple products. You can pick up refurbished Windows machines, fixed-up Android phones, refurbished video game consoles, and more.
Unlike most used machines, refurbished technology tends to come with quality guarantees from the seller.
You can find plenty of refurbished machines on platforms like eBay. Look around for sellers with lots of positive reviews and solid warranty programs. Don’t be afraid to ask for little perks like a brand new battery, either.
2. Student Technology Discounts Direct From Apple
If you’re wary of third-party sellers, you’ll be glad to learn that Apple has its own certified refurbished program. Do note, though, that their one-year warranty on refurbished goods pales in comparison to some third-party seller guarantees! Still, this is the way to go if you value official manufacturer support.
Another little-known opportunity is the Apple Education Store. United States students, parents, and educators can pick up new Apple gear for up to $200 off list price.
You can sometimes also grab free extras this way. For example, they’ve offered free Beats headphones with MacBook purchases before. If you’re an Apple fan, it’s worth checking out.
3. Prefer Windows? You’re in Luck
Everyone has their own opinion about whether Mac or Windows is the best operating system. You may be used to using Windows machines, might prefer the more varied laptop and tablet options, or need to use Windows-specific software for school.
If you’re in one of those situations, good news because Microsoft offers a 10% education discount at their online shop. You can pick up their products, like Surface tablets, as well as laptops from makers like HP and Acer for under list price.
4. Don’t Forget About Holiday Sales for Cheap Technology
Not much has been normal in 2020, and the winter holidays won’t be any different. While we won’t have the same kind of in-person shopping chaos we’re used to, experts forecast a spike in holiday sales online.
If your technology needs can wait until the height of the holiday shopping season, online sales may be the perfect opportunity to pick up a new tablet or PC without emptying your wallet.
5. Major Streaming Platforms at Low Student Rates
Music is a must for students spending long nights studying. Lucky for you, college students and even some high schoolers can access the biggest streaming platforms for $5 a month each.
Spotify Premium Student Comes With Great Add-Ons
Spotify’s Premium Student plan is one of the best student tech discounts available. You get unlimited music, podcasts, and even all the news your heart desires for $4.99 a month. Ads are a thing of the past with this deal.
Like other Premium plans, Premium Student lets you download up to 10,000 songs and podcasts across five different devices.
Yet, what makes this deal special is the added perks. Included in the low price is Hulu with ads and a Showtime subscription, which doesn’t come with ads.
If that sounds like a ton of content for $4.99, you’re right! At full price, you’d pay about $27 per month.
High Schoolers and College Students Try Tidal for Less
Tidal is a newer service, and many haven’t given it a go because they feel they have enough subscriptions. When it’s cheap, though, why not give it a shot?
High schoolers over 16 and college students can get standard-quality streaming for $4.99 a month. If the best sound quality is a must-have for you, $9.99 a month gets you a lossless sound from Tidal’s HiFi plan.
Get Apple Music and Apple TV for One Low Price
It’s not as good of a deal as Spotify’s massive bundle, but Apple made their bid by putting Apple Music and Apple TV in one $4.99/month student bundle.
This is a sweet deal as it’s the same amount you’d usually spend on Apple TV alone for both services.
6. Are You an Old-School Streamer? Try These Deals
While the more modern and most popular audio streaming providers have great deals, students with less average streaming habits aren’t left paying full-price. Check out these deals perfect for people like you.
Pandora Has a Student Discount, Too
Pandora was one of the first streaming services on the market, way back in the early 2000s. These days, it lags behind top-rated Apple Music and Spotify, but it’s still going strong.
If you’re a student, Pandora is $4.99 a month for unlimited music both online and off, with no ads.
Prefer YouTube? No Problem
Pandora launched first, but YouTube is the ultimate classic online media platform. Vlog-lovers and fans of music impossible to find on streaming services rely on it to this day.
With a Premium membership, you can watch unlimited videos and make use of YouTube Music both online and off. Premium members don’t have to deal with ads and can download content to their devices.
The regular price for YouTube premium is $11.99 per month, but students pay $6.99 per month. You have to verify your student status every year.
7. Students Stay Connected at a Discount
You might not think of cell phones as a kind of educational technology. Yet, a reliable cell phone is a must for successful students.
The obvious reason young learners need phones is that most students have to stay connected to their families. The average college student isn’t a child anymore, but many still lean on family for support. Without a reliable cell phone, it’s difficult for families to keep in touch when they’re apart.
Phones also let students keep up with their friends, and give them access to apps and other tools for relaxation. An outlet for stress is vital to creating a positive school experience.
Something you may not have considered is that students need their phones for school, too.
A good cell phone plan helps students doing group projects stay connected and finish work without a hitch. Some classes require students to download apps, and having a cell phone in class comes in handy when you need to look things up.
With many classes online, a cell phone could even be a kind of portable classroom. Students can access video chats like Zoom, discussion boards, and other learning software on their smartphones. Having a phone also helps students get in touch with their instructors to ask questions or navigate emergencies.
Students need phones for all these reasons, but good phone service isn’t always easy to get. Lower-income students and their families could be tempted to buy a second-rate phone plan in order to save.
Before you make that cost-cutting move, take a look at some student cell phone plan discounts. Reduced prices on cell phone plans for students make the best phones easier to access. Having a quality phone and the connections and tools that come with it will make a student’s educational experience smoother and more successful.
Business Tips and How To Find the Best Value
Now you know how to save on student technology and can make the most of a difficult learning situation. If you want to learn more money-saving tips and unique ways to make money, look around the site.
We could all use an extra buck these days, and our articles are the best thing to help you get cash in your pocket and keep it there. Read another article and learn how to make and save more money today.