Student subscriptions: What services and apps SFU students are using their little money on

The Peak hit that MF’ing subscribe button

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

By: Kayli Jamieson, Gurpreet Kambo, Nicole Magas, and Winona Young


Amazon Prime Student | $3.99 per month | Online delivery store

Prime is a service that supposedly allows subscribers to receive extra fast shipping on items to their home. However, it’s not as good in Canada as in the United States where you can get same-day shipping on nearly anything you can think of. There’s far fewer same-day shipping items in Canada, as the norm seems to be two days to a week. However, you can still get decent deals.  Amazon Prime includes: Prime Music (sucks in Canada), Prime Video (not bad, some decent content), and Prime Reading which has a small library of free books that rotates every month (actually pretty good). Despite the Canadian benefits being subpar compared to United States, the student rate for Amazon Prime is only $39 per year (or $3.99 per month). With prices like these, it makes the subscription worthwhile. -— GK


The Economist Magazine  | $64 per 12 weeks | Economic magazine

My friends often ask me why I pay for my news. But in this world of post-truth, fake news, and the ever-growing reliance on social media networks for news, it is more essential than ever to support trusted journalism. I’ve been subscribed for well over a year and my knowledge in world news and global issues has reflected this. What’s truly great about The Economist is their analysis of global issues and their prediction of possible outcomes or consequences. It really allows the reader to open up their perspective to issues around the world and break out of your bubble. The subscription also includes access to digital editions of the magazine that I read on my iPad, as well as a daily early morning email called The Economist Espresso that delivers the day’s top stories in a summarized paragraph to your inbox. — KJ


FocusMate | $5 per month | Social study tool

Think wholesome ChatRoulette. FocusMate is a tool I’ve used to help me stay focused on my school work. It is essentially co-working with someone over video for 50 minute sessions, where you each discuss your goal for that specific session, and then you proceed to work on that goal, without talking, until the end of the session when you check in on your progress. It revolves around a calendar where people can book sessions requesting a partner, and someone else can come and book that session with you. You can book them in advance so as to plan your day, as the external pressure of an ‘appointment’ you have to keep is what gets you at your desk, rather than procrastinating. The service has a free tier (three sessions per week) and a paid tier at $4 USD/month (unlimited sessions). For me, this service has a magic to it that few other focus/productivity tools I’ve tried lack, so it was obvious that it was worth it. — GK


Headspace | $17.99 per month | Meditation app

I’ve downloaded my fair share of apps to add to my therapy; journaling apps, mood tracking apps, encouraging apps that have a game feature included (these ones were weird but oddly common), etc. Headspace is a guided meditation app I’ve been using for several months so far, and I’m fairly happy with it. It has guided meditations for about everything you can think of — flight anxiety, burnout, how to forgive yourself . . . just about anything really. Headspace has the guided meditations in different lengths (3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes). Each meditation topic, take for instance, “Managing Anxiety,” has sessions designed to be done in a certain time span, that can range from 10–30 days. In the throes of my undergraduate telenovela of a life, the guided meditations have been a really helpful way to center myself. — WY 


Maclean’s Magazine | $26.20 per year | Canadian news magazine

I truly enjoy being subscribed to The Economist, but something was missing — a Canadian element. With the upcoming federal election on October 21 looming nearer, I wanted to access articles by Canadian journalists providing their insights on this country’s present issues as well as their coverage on the party candidates. This subscription covers 12 physical print issues that are sent to you monthly. But as a perk, you’re also able to access their weekly digital issues on your tablet. I’d recommend this subscription for anyone wanting to read about issues across the country as Maclean’s is able to provide that focused insight! — KJ


Marvel Unlimited | $12.99 per month | Comic book collection 

I’m hooked on superheroes; particularly the Marvel Comics Universe franchise. I stumbled across this subscription feature of Marvel when searching for comic series publication dates so I could hunt them down at my local library. However, some series are so limited and rare that either libraries don’t have them, or you’d have to spend a fortune at the comic store. Marvel Unlimited is a yearly subscription that allows me to access tens of thousands of digital comics to read via my iPad, iPhone, or laptop. Whether I’m interested in delving into the origins of Wolverine, catching up on Miles Morales and his Spidey adventures, or brushing up on the latest and greatest of Ms. Marvel, this annual subscription is worth your money if you don’t want to break the bank on physical comics. — KJ


Nintendo Switch Online | $4.99 per month | Online gaming platform

My go-to self-care routine often involves some kind of Nintendo video game. Nintendo Switch Online is a service that allows you to play games online. It allows me to play Splatoon 2 against others, a game in which you play as cool-ass squid-human children who are shooting coloured ink at each other — sort of like a Nintendo-y take on Halo or Call of Duty. There’s other great perks too, including cloud save backups, and access to a library of classic Super Nintendo and NES games. If you’re a 90s kid, these are all the awesome games that you grew up like Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  At just five bucks per month, Nintendo Switch Online is a bargain. — GK


Shudder | $5.99 per month | Horror movie subscription 

I’m a horror movie buff — supernatural horror to be exact. Netflix used to be my go-to for horror, but most of their new releases have been international and subtitled, which hasn’t been great for me, a person who needs to multitask while watching movies in order to get anything at all done. I grabbed a free trial of Crave and found their horror content surprisingly contemporary and top-tier, if somewhat limited. The problem with Crave is that their catalog doesn’t update very regularly, their platform is full of bugs, and they only keep partial seasons of TV shows. At the moment, my go-to for horror is my Shudder subscription through Amazon Prime, which is an additional purchase on top of Prime. Their catalogue tends toward older or B-movie horror films, but they are just weird enough to keep me coming back for more. Horror fans, if you need to put your $5 anywhere, I recommend Shudder. — NM


YouTube Red | $17.99 per month | Online video streaming platform

Not to flex, but I haven’t watched an ad on YouTube since 2017. It’s refreshing to briefly live in an online platform free of ads. My favourite feature is that users can download any YouTube video onto their phone. This feature clearly understands my poor impulse control, and prevents me from running up my data bill every month watching random videos on my daily commute. And the videos you’ve saved last — I still have videos from December 2018 on my phone. There admittedly are other benefits, like having access to all of YouTube Originals, which, okay? But to me, no ads and all of my favourite videos on hand are more than worth the $18 I could easily blow on a Cornerstone meal, any day. — WY