Young, dumb and broke – the best student discounts to help you stay out of your overdraft
£6.50 really ISN’T a good lunch deal
After all the blood, sweat and tears of A-Levels, you've made it into London, aaaaaand… Your money's already slipping through your hands like sand in an hourglass.
There's the first instalment of uni fees to pay, your rent, Freshers' and the of course, everything you thought you brought from home but you actually didn't. It's all just so expensive.
But luckily, being a student has its perks, so it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom in your bank account. If you're finding yourself running a bit short after Freshers', here are a few ways you can get yourself some sneaky discounts on all your essentials (and even some non-essentials).
Yes. It's possible. Even in London.
1) Too Good to Go
This is a free-to-download app which lets you pick up leftover food from select restaurants and stores for hugely discounted prices. The app picks out stores closest to you who take part in the offer, and you pay for your portion online to pick up instore.
Pick up times unfortunately aren’t always at the most convenient points, as they usually depend on the store’s closing time. For example, I waited until 9:30pm to pick up my order from YO!Sushi. Was it worth it though? You bet!
For only £3.50 I was allowed to pick and choose from any 6 plates still going around the conveyer belt! It didn’t matter what colour plate or what price they were originally, I could grab literally anything. It was a bargain and a half.
The downside to this app is that depending on your area you might not get much of a selection. (All I have near me are sushi and salad bars…) But still, you get quite a lot for your money, and you’re helping to fight food waste, so win-win all around!
This is one of the more well-known apps for students, all you have to do is sign up using an email linked to your institution and confirm it. The best thing about UNiDAYS is that it’s totally free. No fees!
UNiDAYS is especially good for fashion and beauty products, with discounts ranging from 10-25% off for a bunch of popular stores, such as Topshop, Hollister, and Forever 21. Unfortunately, it’s a little more limited for choice in terms of food and drink, but it’s still worth getting it since it’s free to sign up.
3) Student Beans
Student Beans is just like UNiDAYS – sign up for free with your institutional email and gain immediate access to all their discounts. It has a lot to offer, but in my opinion Student Beans is the best option if you want to grab something cheap to eat.
With partnerships in KFC, Macdonalds, Pizza Express, etc., the combination of Student Beans and UNiDAYS can save you a lot of money on almost all of your essentials.
4) NUS Card/TOTUM
TOTUM is the new NUS Extra card, which lets you access over 200 discounts for UK brands, including 10% off at the Co-Op and ASOS, and up to 25% off Odeon’s student price tickets. There's good and bad news though.
The good news? TOTUM’s is also for travel discounts. It comes with one year free ISIC (International Student Identity Card), which grants you access to 42,000 discounts in over 130 countries. It also allows you to get 12% off when purchasing a one-year 16-25 Railcard; every little counts, right?
The bad news? Unlike UNiDAYS or Student Beans, TOTUM is not free. A 1-year TOTUM card costs £12, a two-year one costs £22, and a 3-year one costs £32. However, the money is given to the National Union of Students, which feeds back to your own Student Union, so you could say it’s a worthy cause. And in the long run, it might save you a lot of money.
5) Student bank account promotions
Every year, various banks offer promotional goodies if you open up a student bank account with them, which includes many of the more expensive memberships.
This year, for example, Lloyds TSB is offering a free TOTUM card lasting up to 3 years. HSBC has a deal where students can receive an £80 Amazon gift card complete with 12 months Amazon Prime Student. Santander is also offering students a free 4-year 16-25 Railcard, which allows students to access a 30% discount on train fares.
So make sure to study up on what your banks are offering, and choose your deals carefully to avoid investing in a membership you might never use.
At the end of the day, if you're a broke student, don't despair – you don't need to be a millionaire to survive uni. Sure, you'll need to do a little scrounging around, but it's all part of the experience. Spread the message, save a few pennies, and don't worry, you can thank me later!