It Pays to Be True to Your School: 5 Ways Your Alma Mater Can Save You Money
Depending on how college went for you, you were most likely either incredibly excited or incredibly sad about leaving campus. Either way, unless you've returned as faculty or staff, your association with your college probably ended just after graduation. And if you're like me, you let most of your alumni information sit unopened or filed straight to the trashcan, when it comes in the mail.
With the economy still in a shambles and many people struggling to make ends meet, now may be the time to open some of those envelopes. Alumni associations are doing everything they can to make things better for graduates of their college during this difficult time. Amazingly enough, some of the savings are pretty substantial.
Many universities have worked out deals with auto, home, life, medical and even pet insurance companies to help their alumni get a discount on these important purchases. While you may not necessarily save money by going through your former school, it's definitely worth checking out if you're shopping around for insurance.
Make sure you follow all the instructions given by your school or the insurance company so you are eligible for this discount. Some companies will require you to send them an official transcript or show other proof that you are, in fact, an alum.
Universities tend to have decent- to high-quality workout, gym, and swimming facilities, and will let alumni use these at a discounted rate. While you'll still usually have to pay, it won't be nearly as much as what the local gym will charge. Some schools will have restrictions on the hours during which alumni can use the facilities, but most will let you bring a friend (or a spouse) for a minimal extra cost.
For alumni who no longer live in the area local to their schools, some universities have worked out deals with popular national fitness centers for discounted rates. Check with your alumni organization to see if they work with anyone near you.
Each school's offerings to alumni in the career department will be different, but most offer, at least, access to a job board and a career development library. Some go much farther than that, offering their alum career counseling, placement services, career conferences, job fairs, and more.
Even if you are happy in your current job and career, this might be something to check out. Many schools offer career aptitude testing, for a small fee, which can help you turn up ideas for making money on the side.
If you're looking for a discount on travel expenses, you may not need to look any farther than your alumni department. Depending on the school, they may have partnered with travel agencies, airlines, and/or cruise lines to get discounts for their alum.
In addition to helping you get discounts on travel that you schedule yourself, your alumni department may schedule travel events, like cruises and tours, that you can take part in for a discounted fee. If this is how you like to travel, it could be a good chance to reconnect with some old friends.
Local and National Coupons
Most universities have worked out deals with local businesses for their students, staff, faculty, and alumni to receive discounts. These businesses can be anything from locally run restaurants to dry cleaners to pet stores and more. You may need to show an alumni card or purchase a special coupon book to be eligible for these, so be sure to check it out.
In addition, many schools also have deals with national companies. Costco is popular, and many universities offer their alumni either discounted membership rates or special coupons once they've joined. If there is a local instance of a national chain near the school, chances are the school has hooked up with the company to provide discounts.
Have you saved money by working through your alma mater's alumni association? Tell us how.