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Here’s one thing most of us can agree on: cafeteria food is awful.
A recent study done by an Ontario-based, non-profit organization called Meal Exchange found that 55% of post-secondary students were dissatisfied with their school cafeteria meal options.
Post-secondary students rarely have much spending money on hand. Combine this with the depressing cafeteria food available to them, and you’ve got to wonder…
How are students supposed to enjoy a good meal? Especially if they’re not all lucky enough to live close to go to Chez Mom and Dad several nights a week ‒ this is where an SPC card comes in.
But first things first…
What is an SPC Card?
Haven’t heard of the Student Price Card (SPC)? No problem. The SPC is a loyalty card created specifically to help students save money. It offers discounts for:
- travel, and
- even services like car repairs, banking plans, cell phone plans, and orthodontic visits.
Now, not all of the offers are available in all locations, some are specific to independent businesses in certain cities across Canada. Keep in mind, as well, that even the ones that are nationwide chains sometimes have restrictions ‒ so keep an eye out for that.
Where to buy SPC Card
The cost is $10 to get the card for the year, starting from August 1st to July 31st. Most discounts are a minimum of 10% off, so with just one $100 purchase or two $50 purchases, the card has paid for itself. Easy peasy.
You can buy the card online or in-store (American Eagle, Bench, Shoppers, etc).
SPC Card stores
SPC is partnered with over 120 retailers, where you can show your card and receive a typical discount of 10% to 15%. Here’s a preview of stores you can shop, show your SPC and get a discount (check out this page for the full list):
|SPC Card Stores||Discount %|
|Aldo||10% off regular & sale priced items|
|AdditionElle||Get 15% off online only|
|Aerie||10% off regular and sale prices|
|American Eagle||10% off regular and sale prices|
|Ardene||10% off regular and sale prices|
|Bench||10% off regular price|
|Banana Republic||Save 15% on full-priced items and 5% on already reduced items|
|Bikini Village||10% off regular price|
|Bizou||10% off regular price|
|Bluenotes||10% off regular and sale prices, exclusions apply|
|Buffalo||Get 15% off online only|
|Calvin Klein||10% off purchase, some exclusions may apply|
|Club Monaco||Get 15% off online only|
|Columbia||Get 15% off online only|
|Ecko Unltd||15% off your purchase|
|Foot Locker||Get 15% off online only|
|Forever 21||10% off regular priced items|
|French Connection||Get 10% off online only|
|Gap||10% off your purchase|
|Guess||15% off full price merchandise|
|Joe Fresh||10% off regular and sale price (only valid at Joe Fresh freestanding stores)|
|La Senza||Get 15% off online only|
|La Vie En Rose||10% off regular and sale prices|
|Levi’s||10% off regular and sale price|
|Little Burgundy||$10 off any purchase of $75 or more (regular and sale priced merchandise)|
|Lole||Get 20% off online only|
|Naturalizer||Get 15% off online only|
|Old Navy||10% off your purchase|
|Payless||10% off all regular & sale price, including BOGO|
|RW&Co||Get 15% off online only|
|Roots||15% off regular-priced items at Roots stores|
|Sorel||Get 15% off online only|
|Suzy Shier||10% off regular and sale prices|
|Tom’s||Get 15% off online only|
|Vero Moda||15% off regular priced items|
|Pink||10% off one regular or clearance priced merchandise|
|West49||10% off regular price items|
Bring on the eats!
Shopping is fun, but food is non-negotiable. So, back to caf food…
With an SPC card, it’s much easier for students to enjoy non-cafeteria food by providing discounts at restaurants and cafes across the country. A budget-friendly, guilt-free way to eat out. Just look at these food deals offered for SPC-holding students:
|SPC Card Dining||Deal & Discount|
|Alcove Coffee||10% off pastries and drip coffee|
|Booster Juice||Free Super Booster with the purchase of a 710 ml smoothie|
|Boston Pizza||10-15% off regular price food items (location dependent)|
|Burger King||10% off any combo meal|
|David’s Tea||10% off regular and sale price|
|Extreme Pita||Free 355ml can drink with purchase of any Pita or Flatbaked Pita|
|Harvey’s||$3.99 Poutine & Drink|
|Jack Astor’s||15% off SPC Card Member’s food only. Excluding Beverages|
|Jugo Juice||Free Regular Xtra Benefit with the purchase of any smoothie|
|KFC||10% off any KFC Big Box Meal|
|Kernels||Free Upsize: large Kernels popcorn for the price of a medium|
|Keurig||Get 15% off online only|
|Manchu Wok||10% off regular priced menu items|
|Marble Slab||10% off purchase|
|Montana’s||15% off regular price food items (valid for SPC Card holder only)|
|Mr. Sub||Get $2 off a Large sub combo or $1 off a Small sub combo|
|New York Fries||Buy any size fries & a drink and receive same size fries Free and/or Buy one, get one Free premium hot dog|
|Orange Julius||10% off regular price Orange Julius Beverage|
|Pita Pit||Free can of pop OR chips with the purchase of a reg 9″ pita|
|Pizza Hut||10% off regular price|
|Pizza Pizza||$3.99 Cheese/Pepperoni Slice Pop Dip|
|St. Louis bar and Grill||Free Poutine Upgrade: upgrade your regular fries to “Poutine” with the purchase of any meal including fries|
|Subway||10% off regular priced menu and combo items at Airdrie Subway, 108 Edmonton Trail|
|Taco Bell||Free Upgrade To Fries Supreme with purchase of any combo over $6.69|
|Thai Express||10% off any combo meal|
|Timothy’s Coffee||10% off all food and beverage purchases|
|Yeh!||10% off regular priced menu items|
|Yogen Fruz||10% off regular price yogurt products only|
Even at home
And if you’re the type of student who enjoys eating at home? Sweet.
Because if you have access to your own kitchen, you can save money on groceries simply by checking the weekly flyers and creating meal plans. (Here’s an open secret: eating at home will is always cheaper than eating out.)
Then there’s also the Hello Fresh $25 off discount to SPC cardholders on their first and second boxes. They deliver pre-cut and ready-to-cook ingredients along with recipes at your doorstep. So you can skip meal-planning and grocery-shopping, and still enjoy a home-cooked meal.
SPC savings for the travellers
When I had my frequently-used SPC, I used it mostly to save when shopping for clothes or shoes ‒ but it came in handy a few times when I was traveling too. Very handy, actually.
Currently, with SPC you can save at these hotel chains:
|SPC Card for Travel||Deal & Discount|
|Best Western||Get a $10 gift card when you register for Best Western Rewards|
|Boooking.com||Up to 50% off online only|
|CheapOair.ca||Get up to $36 off online only|
|Choice Hotels Canada||15% to 20% off|
|Contiki||Get 10% off online only|
|Flight Centre||$15 off on USA & Canada flights with Air Canada
$50 off international air & hotel packages
$150 off Contiki or G Adventures trips
|Hotel.com||Get up to 30% off online only|
|Interchange Currency Exchange||Free nationwide shipping through Canada Post with all online orders|
|K Jamson Luggage||Save an extra 10% off the lowest ticketed price (not in conjunction with any other offers and not applicable during Boxing week sale)|
|Motel 6||Get 5% off online only|
|Priceline.com||Get up to 40% off online only|
|Zipcar||Get $25 free driving credit|
Combine these offers with the restaurant deals listed above, and your vacation (or trip home to get your mom to do your laundry) suddenly becomes nice and cheap!
SPC Card apps for your iPhone or Android
For those of you who are like me and misplace your loyalty cards alllllll the time, SPC has an app for both iPhone and Android users that makes things a lot simpler.
After downloading the app you simply register your card number and voila! Savings at your fingertips.
You can search the app for discounts by genre ‒ and all the details you need will pop up. Just show your SPC app to the cashier.
Related: Credit Cards & Sliders 101
Credit cards to save even more
To save yourself some cash, the right credit card can help. You can earn rewards on your purchases, then use those rewards to save money.
For even more savings, some prepaid cards offer rewards just for using them. There’s a great option available right now.
Here’s a credit and prepaid option to consider.
BMO CashBack Mastercard for students
Our top credit card for students is the
You can earn 5% cash back in the first 3 months, on up to $100 cash back earned.
After that, earn an easy 1% cash back on every purchase made to the card.
And unlike most cash back cards which give you statement credits once per year, you can cash out your rewards once you have $50 accumulated. And, there’s a variety of ways you can get them:
- statement credit,
- deposit into a BMO bank account, or
- deposit into a BMO Investorline account.
It’s a great, no fee cash back card for students.
A prepaid Visa, the KOHO card offers rewards and no annual fee.
You’ll earn 0.5% cash back on every purchase.
It also has a lower foreign transaction fee of 1.5%, which is better than most credit cards.
And to top it off, you get a choice of 4 designs to choose from.
If you want more rewards, you can upgrade to KOHO premium.
For an annual fee of $84 (or $9 per month), you’ll also get 2% back on a variety of categories, including:
- restaurants, and
Get 0.5% back on everything else. KOHO premium also comes with price protection. Find a cheaper price for an item you bought in the last 30 days, and KOHO will refund the difference to your account.
It also has no foreign exchange fees, saving money while you travel.
And if you decide it’s not worth it, you can switch back to a regular card anytime you like.
The bottom line
For $10 for the year, it’s hard to ignore the potential volume of deals, discounts and savings students can take advantage of.
Your professors might think it’s a non-essential, but they’re not the ones paying for your pizza, now are they?