Outfitting that college student can be expensive

Illinois lawmakers say they will investigate the use of a guardianship loophole that wealthy families took advantage of to qualify their children for college financial aid. (MGN)

(Consumer) - No question -- buying everything a college student needs is expensive. But Consumer Reports says you can ease some of the sting by taking advantage of student discounts. From laptops to clothes, even cars and a late-night burger binge, the discounts are there, you just have to know where to find them.

Like many students on a fixed budget, Nadine Schiefer is always on the hunt for bargains.

"When it comes to student discounts I usually use them on clothing purchases," Shiefer said.

If you're shopping for clothes at mall stores, such as Banana Republic, Madewell and Club Monaco, there are special student discounts as much as 15-percent. Club Monaco will give you the same 15-percent with online purchases as will J. Crew, and Levi's.

"Of course, you have to prove you are a student, either by producing a student ID at the register or an EDU email address," Consumer Reports money editor Tobie Stanger said.

Apple computers rarely go on sale, but the company offers an education discount that's open to all students, faculty and staff! And for mobile phones, ring up savings at Sprint and AT&T which offer students from certain colleges special savings.

"Of course, students have to eat. Chain restaurants typically do not offer student discounts. But, a local franchise might. So, it doesn't hurt to ask," Stanger said.

Students can also save on transportation -- 15-percent or more off on Amtrak for students 13 to 25 traveling on certain lines.

And don't forget apps and memberships like Amazon Prime Student, Unidays, and ID.ME. Some are free to join and careful research on their sites can uncover some gems.

And here's a discount which can benefit parents of students buying a car -- that's if the parents are thinking of helping with the purchase or lease. General Motors offers thousands off on a new car purchase, reduced lease prices and deferred payments for 90 days on Chevrolets, Buicks and GMC vehicles if the student makes the purchase.