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11 student discount tricks

As we all know, being a student is expensive – and it's only getting pricier. Make sure every penny of your Maintenance Loan stretches by maxing out your student discounts.

Totum card with unidays and student beans logos

You only get to use it for a certain number of years, so taking full advantage of student discounts should be a top priority.

After all, many students are paying £9,250 a year for the privilege. You deserve to get at least something in return (other than the education, of course).

To make the most of your student discount card, you need to develop an eagle eye for great deals when you're out and about.

Watch your favourite shows and films for less with our tips for saving money on Netflix.

How to get more student discount

Here are our top tips on how to get student discount:

  1. Always keep your student card with you

    woman holding red card

    Credit: UfaBizPhoto – Shutterstock

    Every uni student should have a standard student card in their wallet. This 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 host of discounts. You'll often find it works its magic on local companies as well as bigger stores, as it's proof that you're a legit student. This card isn't widely accepted for online student discounts, but you should be able to use it freely on the high street.

    Keep your student card with you at all times. You'll never know when the opportunity to save some money will come up. And, to find out if your chosen retailer accepts a standard student card, check our student discount directory.

  2. Consider upgrading to a student discount card

    As TOTUM has now replaced NUS Extra cards, you no longer need to pay for a membership to access their online student discounts.

    TOTUM Student is free, so if you're only looking for discounts, this one should be ideal.

    However, if you're also keen to get a tastecard and/or a PASS ID card, it might be worth upgrading to one of the TOTUM Student+ plans.

    If you buy a one-year membership for TOTUM Student+ & PASS ID for £14.99, you get a free tastecard and a PASS ID for that year. A three-year membership costs £24.99, so if you think you'll benefit from the extras for all of the three years, this could potentially save you money.

    A regular annual subscription for TOTUM Student+ also costs £14.99 (or £24.99 for three years). It includes a 12-month ISIC digital card, but not the student ID card that can be used as proof of age.

    PASS ID is endorsed by 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 three-year TOTUM membership than a provisional driving licence (which costs £34). But, bear in mind that a provisional licence lasts 10 years. In the long term, this works out much cheaper.

    TOTUM Professionals vs TOTUM

    TOTUM is a student discount card available to higher education and further education students. TOTUM Professionals is for professional learners (i.e. people studying part-time for a professional qualification or current members of a recognised professional body).

  3. Actually use your student discount

    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 frequently use their standard student card for discounts.

    Think of it this way – student discounts have been implemented nationwide 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 bit helps.

    And remember, it's not just high-street shops that offer student discounts. You can also get money off days out, takeaways and restaurants.

    There are some generous student discount offers in our list of the best restaurants.
  4. Always ask if a shop offers a student discount

    Just because a brand doesn't advertise that they offer student discounts, it doesn't mean that they don't.

    For whatever reason, some places don't advertise that they offer student discounts but are still happy to hand them out.

    Of course, not everywhere will comply. But, if you don't ask, you don't get.

  5. Get student discounts on top of deals

    pink purse that is open

    Credit: Inna Dodor – Shutterstock

    Many stores that offer a student discount let you use it in conjunction with other deals and discounts.

    For example, at Co-op, you can get 10% off food with a TOTUM card (including on meal deals).

    This is a novelty that students should take full advantage of. Most of the time, 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 have to choose between the two, do the maths to work out which option saves the most money.

  6. Use your student discount online

    Annoyingly, your standard student card from uni won't always work for an online discount. Even the TOTUM card can be limited at times.

    But with TOTUM Digital and other sites like UNiDAYS and Student Beans, you'll be able to get your online student discount at AppleUrban Outfitters and ASOS, among others.

    Plus, bookmark our deals section to keep up with the latest offers.

  7. Use your student discount abroad

    If you're planning on studying abroad for a year, or are lucky enough to get away on holiday, make the most of student discounts there too.

    Nowadays, most major cities will accept your regular uni ID for student discounts. However, having an internationally accepted student card ensures you're covered.

    If you have the TOTUM Student+ membership, this includes a one-year ISIC digital card.

  8. 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. Shop around!

    Choosing a shop that has a 10% student discount over another one that has 15% off in their sale makes no sense.

    Similarly, if one shop offers a student discount, another shop may sell the same product for less, without a student discount. Websites selling glasses are a great example of this. A couple of them offer student discounts, but many others sell specs at a very low price.

    In short, try not to let the novelty of student discounts lead you astray. Don't buy products that you wouldn't otherwise be interested in for the sake of getting a discount.

  9. Use your student discount in independent stores

    friends shopping

    Remember that it's not just the big-name brands that are willing to cut students some financial slack when it comes to payment.

    Many smaller, local, independent businesses in university towns or cities are keen to get more student customers.

    Asking them about student discounts should prompt them to think about the money they could be making if they did offer them. You might be doing them a favour by enquiring.

  10. Look for student discount promotions

    Some bigger brands choose to double their student discount percentage at certain times of the year. This can involve some serious savings.

    ASOS is one of the big ones. They often double the 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 limited time so keep an eye out for them.

    If something pops up, we'll let you know on our Facebook page, Facebook group and Telegram channel.

  11. Get free Amazon Student Prime

    One great student perk is the six months of free Amazon Prime available to students.

    You get almost all of the same perks as a paid Prime account (except access to the Kindle library) free for six months. After that, you'll get 50% off (so £47.49 a year instead of £95).

    Once you're a paying customer, you'll get access to the Kindle library.

    We know about loads of hacks that will save you money on Amazon. But, the speed and convenience of Amazon Prime can get super addictive – you have been warned.

Check out the best student discounts available in the UK.

Katie Paterson

WRITTEN BY Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson is an accomplished writer from Glasgow. She studied English Literature at the University of Strathclyde, then went on to do a Research Masters in Literature at the University of Amsterdam. As Lead Editor for Save the Student, Katie has covered topics from career tips to ways to make money go further as a student.
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