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, a lot 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 on how to get 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 Digital 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 for £14.99, you also get a PASS ID for that year. A regular annual subscription for TOTUM Pro also costs £14.99, but this doesn't include a PASS ID. However, you can upgrade to the TOTUM Pro + PASS ID card instead, which costs £29.99 for a one-year membership.
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 one-year TOTUM membership than a provisional driving licence (which costs £34). But, bear in mind that a provisional licence lasts 10 years, so it works out as a much cheaper option in the long term.
TOTUM Pro vs TOTUM
TOTUM is a student discount card 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).
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 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.There are some pretty generous student discount offers in our list of the best restaurants.
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 a 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 get cashback through the Co-op 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 to get the ISIC add-on for your TOTUM card. But, the good news is, TOTUM student members are now able to get a one-year ISIC membership for no extra cost.
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.
And, similarly, even if one shop is offering a student discount, another shop may be selling the same product for less, without a student discount. Websites selling glasses are a great example of this, with a couple offering student discounts, but many others simply selling specs at a low, low price.
In short, don't let the novelty of student discounts lead you astray and make you buy from stores you wouldn't usually, or get products that you wouldn't otherwise be interested in.
Use your student discount in independent stores
Remember that 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, often 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 Amazon Prime available to students.
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 £47.49 a year instead of £95).
Oh, and once you're a paying customer, you'll get the Kindle library access.
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.