This post isn’t about how you save money in college. Rather it’s about how you can use colleges and schools to get big discounts on some pricey services. You might now be thinking that I am going to talk about how my alma mater has a deal with AAA or something to save me some cash. Wrong again. I am simply talking about volunteering yourself or your possessions for the benefit of tomorrow’s leaders (and a fatter wallet for you)!

Beauty Schools

Being a guy, getting a haircut once a month with tip only runs me $20. This is $20 more than I used to pay when my sister still lived in town and would cut it for free. But to the ladies out there, I hear your pain. My girlfriend drops $100 just for a cut! Add in coloring and all of the other crazy stuff the ladies do to their hair and we are approaching $200. Ouch! If you’re brave, you should look into local beauty schools. The students that are training to become hairstylists need some frugal minded people to train on. In my area, the cut is free, but many people leave $10-$20 as a tip. I haven’t heard of any horror stories, but that isn’t to say they don’t happen. But it’s hair so it’ll grow back right?

Seriously, if you have an easy hairstyle to cut, you may want to look into this option. If I had a very involved style job, I might balk myself. But saving $80 per haircut sounds intriguing to me.

Dental School

Your teeth are very important. If you are like me, you see the dentist twice per year. Just the cleaning runs close to $100. Then add in the x-rays and heaven-forbid any actual work that needs to be done and you could be looking at over $2,000. If you don’t have dental insurance or poor coverage, you are looking at a big out of pocket expense. Have you ever considered going to dental school? The idea is the same the beauty school idea mentioned above, but in this case the work is just heavily discounted. I personally have not gone this route. But I know co-workers who have and still do and swear by it.

Since your teeth don’t grow back, I would do a little background checking on the school you are looking at. For the most part, the cleanings are done by students studying to become dentists. And specialty work – think crowns, fillings, etc. are actually done by graduates that are dentists but are completing a degree in a special field of dental school.

You’re only other option for low cost dental work is Mexico and I don’t think I need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of that any further.

Auto Mechanic School

In my area, we have a trade school where high school graduates go to work on cars to become mechanics. Every year all of the large automakers come to the school to tout their brands specialty training. For example, BMW will come and recruit the best students to come to BMW mechanic school to learn how to fix BMWs specifically to become a BMW master mechanic.
Before they move on to the brand specific school, they are in general studies working on cars and learning the basics. As you might have guessed, they need cars to work on!

My best friend growing up went to one of these schools and when his Mom’s car was acting up, he took it in for his classmates to work on. They diagnosed the issue and fixed it. The total cost was just the parts. That’s right, my best friend’s Mom only had to pay for parts, not labor. This is standard too, not just because he went to school there. With dealers charging upwards of $100 per hour for repairs, this option is a great way to save lots of money.

If you fear your car will be ruined, know that the professor, usually a mechanic that traded in his coveralls for a teaching gig, oversees all projects. This isn’t to say things don’t happen, but I would bet it is less likely than you might think.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few ways you can use schools to help lower the cost of some pricey services that you pay for. While not all of the might fit into your lifestyle, I hope I at least started to turn the gears so that you can think of other ways to find lower cost services.

Readers, have you used any of the schools I mentioned for services? Have you used any I haven’t mentioned?