I was pleasantly surprised to read in my school newspaper that Spotify Premium is only $4.99 for students with a special discount.  While I’ve had Premium for many months, I didn’t blink when I had the chance to save five bucks on a monthly subscription.

I look at these monthly subscriptions as bills (because they are), but since I live on campus, they are my only bills to pay each month.  What subscriptions do I have and recommend to you?  Well, keep reading because I’m about to tell you.

Spotify Premium – $4.99/Month 

I’ve already told you that I have Spotify and have had it for a while.  Since I upgraded to Premium, I’ve never once wanted to go back to the regular Spotify that is free.  I definitely don’t have that urge now that the price has been cut in half either.

Features:

  • Play music you’ve downloaded offline without an Internet connection.
  • No ads, ever.
  • Listen on any device with the Spotify app.

Pros:

  • There is no commitment so I can cancel at any point in my pay period if the money just isn’t there to keep paying for (but come on, it’s five bucks!)
  • You save so much money compared to paying .99 cents for a song on iTunes and so much time trying to find legit (illegal) downloads online.
  • Huge music library that just about every song you could want, they’ve grown a lot since I joined.

Cons:

  • Premium isn’t necessary to use Spotify, so it may not be justifiable all the time.
  • You have to save a playlist/song to offline in order to play it offline, it isn’t automatic.
  • If you forget to turn on private mode, your music activity and tastes are published on Facebook.

Amazon Prime (6 Months Free for Students, Then $49/year)

Everyone knows about Amazon Prime. Free shipping, movies, and the Kindle Lending Library—the benefits are incredible. But students not only get an extended free trial (six months, shipping only), but they get $50 off the original subscription price of $99.

At $49 a year, Amazon is a hell of a bargain. If you regularly order online to save money, but hate waiting over a week to receive packages, Amazon pays for itself over time.

Features:

  • Six months of free two-day shipping for college students.
  • 50% discount on full service, including streaming video.
  • Save money by buying discounted products online with fast shipping.
  • Video streaming service with over 40,000 titles.
  • Access to Kindle Lending Library’s 500,000 eBooks.

Pros:

  • If used consistently, it will save you money on overpriced products. (Campus bookstore!)
  • It’s Amazon, so you can buy anything!
  • Great extra benefits in Amazon Prime Video and Kindle Lending Library.

Cons:

  • Easy to forget about if you don’t consistently buy from Amazon.
  • Video service lacks quality content (i.e. it’s not as good as Netflix).
  • You may end up overspending just to use your Prime membership!

Adobe Creative Cloud – $19.99/Month (or $9.99/Month for Photoshop Only)

We’re jumping up in price, but for a good reason.  With the Creative Cloud software, you get nearly every main Adobe product for design, video and more (Photoshop, InDesign, AfterEffects, Illustrator, etc.).

You likely have more programs than you could ever use or have a use for, even as a web design or film major.  But if you want more than one ever, you might as well get the bundle because you won’t save anything by buying individual monthly subscriptions.

Features:

  • Save hundreds of dollars, even if you use only a few of the programs.
  • Run programs from your desktop, not from a cloud or web browser.
  • Included membership to BehancePro site to make your own portfolio.
  • 20GB of storage via the cloud to access on multiple computers.

Pros:

  • Again, think of the money you’re saving compared to buying whole programs at full price.
  • You don’t have to install every program in the cloud, just the ones you want.
  • Enhance your resume and other documents with Photoshop and InDesign to stand out.
  • Shock your professors with the quality of your work, regardless of your major.

Cons:

  • The price tag is a bit higher than most students like, so I recommend making the purchase when you do have money to spare (and can possibly make the full year’s payment at once).
  • If you don’t already know how to use the programs, there is a bit of a learning curve for many of them .
  • This price only lasts while you’re a student (or a teacher) so you better find some other way to get access when you graduate unless you’re going into education .

Netflix – $7.99/Month (For Streaming)

I bought Netflix for the second time a couple months ago and love it.  While I have cable and a great TV too, Netflix gives me something to watch when I’m not in my room and have time to kill.  If you’re living off campus and don’t want to pay a hefty price tag for cable (or a tv), $7.99 per month probably sounds pretty tempting to you, and it offers a better selection over Amazon Prime.  Netflix has come a long way since it first started as a mail-order movie site and now the basic subscription gets you unlimited streaming.

Features:

  • Watch TV and movies, anytime and anywhere
  • No ads or commercials in your shows
  • They just got the original Pokemon season. What more could you need?

Pros:

  • Save money on cable if you have to buy it yourself.
  • Great for tablets for easy watching, though it’s great on a laptop/desktop too.
  • You get access to Netflix-only series like House of Cards. Again, need I say more?
  • $7.99 has got to be less than a penny a show with all the shows they have available.
  • They offer you a 30 day free trial with no commitment, so you can watch for a month and quit if you don’t want to keep going with it.

Cons:

  • Netflix has been the cause one too many procrastinations among college students – please watch responsibly.
  • Make sure you like the shows available so you aren’t wasting your time (on things you don’t like).
  • There is no student discount (yet), though I’m not-so-secretly hoping they follow Spotify’s lead and create one.

 

Less than $40 a month for unlimited music, movies, TV shows, and an entire suite of design and video editing software.  While that may sound like a lot of money, think about what you’re spending money on now.  I bet there is something you can cut out to make room for this expense.  You could always go for splitting the cost with a roommate or friend and then sharing the subscriptions.  Just make sure they’re trustworthy and it will all work out!