11 student discount tricks
As we all know, being a student is expensive – and it's only getting pricier. Make sure every penny of that Maintenance Loan stretches by maxing out your student discounts.
You only get to use this baby for a certain number of years, so making the most of student discounts should be a top priority.
After all, most of you are paying £9,250 a year for the privilege, so you deserve to get at least something in return (other than the education, of course).
In order to really milk your student discount card for all it's worth, you need to develop an eagle-eye for great deals and a strong thirst for a bargain when you're out and about.
How to get more student discount
Here are our top tips for making the most of your student discount:
Always keep your student card with you
Every uni student should have a bog-standard student card in their wallet, which is the university ID card you're given when you first enrol on your course.
Your student card is free and entitles you to a whole host of discounts. You'll often find it works its magic on local companies as well as bigger stores, as it's still proof that you're a legit student. This card isn't so widely accepted for online student discounts, but you should be able to use it pretty freely on the high street.
Keep your student card with you at all times, as you never know when the opportunity to save some pennies will crop up. And, to find out if your chosen retailer accepts a standard student card, check our student discount directory.
Consider upgrading to a student discount card
As TOTUM Lite has now replaced NUS Extra cards, you no longer need to pay for a membership to access their online student discounts. But, it might be worth upgrading to one of the TOTUM + ID cards.
If you buy a one-year membership for TOTUM /TOTUM Pro for £14.99, you also get a PASS ID for that year.
TOTUM is available to higher education and further education students, whereas TOTUM Pro is for professional learners (i.e. people studying part-time for a professional qualification or current members of a recognised professional body).
PASS ID is endorsed by the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) – you can use it instead of a passport or driving licence to prove your age (i.e. in shops and bars).
The main benefit of this ID is that it's digitally-issued, so it's quick and easy to register on the TOTUM app.
As an initial payment, it's cheaper to get a PASS ID with a one-year TOTUM membership than a provisional driving licence (which costs £34). But, bear in mind that a provisional licence lasts ten years, so it works out as a much cheaper option in the long-term.
Actually use your discount
Ok, so you might think this tip is a bit of a cop-out, but you wouldn’t believe the number of students we speak to who don’t even use their standard student card for discounts on a frequent basis.
Think of it this way – student discounts have been implemented nationwide solely to get students to continue spending when money is tight (let's think about the economy, right?).
Also, while a quid here and there means very little to businesses in the grand scheme of things, to a student on a budget it can mean the world! Every little helps, and all that.
Always ask if a shop does student discount
Just because a brand doesn’t shout from the rooftops that they offer student discounts, it doesn't mean that they don't.
For whatever reason, some places prefer not to advertise student discounts, but are still happy to dish them out.
Of course, not everywhere will comply – but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Get student discount on top of deals
A lot of stores that offer student discount also allow you to use it in conjunction with other deals and discounts.
For example, at Co-op you can get 10% off food with a TOTUM card, and the discount can be used on meal deals. And, better yet, you can also earn cash back through their loyalty scheme at the same time.
This is a novelty that students should take full advantage of, as it's often the case that you're expected to choose between a good deal and a student discount.
You may be able to stack your student discount with seasonal sales and Black Friday deals as well.
If you do ever have to choose between the two, remember to do the maths to work out which option saves the most money.
Use your student discount online
Annoyingly, your standard student card from uni won’t always work for a discount online – and even the TOTUM card can be limited at times.
Plus, be sure to bookmark the deals section of our site to keep up with the latest offers.
Use your student discount abroad
If you're planning on studying abroad for a year, or are lucky enough to get away on holiday during your studies, make sure you take full advantage of student discounts there too.
Nowadays, most major cities will accept your regular uni ID for student discounts, but having an internationally-accepted student card will have you totally covered.
Previously, you had to pay extra to get the ISIC add-one for your TOTUM card. Nowadays, though, it's a free addition, meaning it's automatically certified and you get access to all discounts for both cards.
Don't let student discounts dictate where you shop
As we always advise regarding any discounts or loyalty schemes, don’t just assume that your student discount will get you the cheapest price available on something. Shop around!
Opting for a shop that has a 10% student discount over another one that has 15% off in their sale obviously makes no sense.
Don't let the novelty of student discounts lead you astray, or make you shop where you wouldn't shop normally, or buy products that you wouldn't be interested in otherwise.
Use your student discount in independent stores
Remember it's not just the big name brands that are willing to cut students some financial slack when it comes to payment.
In fact, a lot of smaller, local, independent businesses in university towns or cities are really keen to get more student custom.
Asking them about student discounts should prompt them to think about the money they could be making if they did offer them – so you might be doing them a favour by enquiring!
Look for student discount promotions
Some bigger brands often choose to double their student discount percentage at certain times of the year, which can involve some serious savings.
ASOS is one of the biggies, doubling its student discount to 20% multiple times throughout the year. But few come close to Pizza Hut, which has previously doubled its student discount from 20% to 40%!
These boosted discounts are only available for a very limited time, and it's a matter of keeping your eyes peeled to catch them.
Get free Amazon Student Prime
If there's one student perk we recommend that every student takes advantage of, it's the six months free Prime offered to students by Amazon.
You get almost all of the same perks as a paid Prime account (except, ironically, access to the Kindle library – arguably the most useful thing for students) free for six months, then 50% off afterwards (so £39 a year instead of £79).
Oh, and once you're a paying customer, you'll get the Kindle library access.
We know of loads of hacks that will save you money on Amazon. But, the speed and convenience of Amazon Prime gets super addictive – you have been warned.
If you haven't already, check out our student discount directory – a frequently updated list of the best student discounts available in the UK.