Student Life on a Budget

We’re all too familiar with the feeling of never having enough money. It so happens that students are affected by the lack of finances more than anyone. Constantly juggling full-time education, maintenance loans, rent, family, social life, and jobs is not a one-off task. And when you’re faced with crippling student debt, the need to save up as much money as you can arises ever so often.

But how do you stay cost-efficient and still have a fun time at university? This is when student deals come in handy. There are countless discounts for transport, shopping, leisure and media streaming services. You can save on anything from plane tickets to visits to opticians and your Spotify subscription. In this article, we’ll tell you all about the tools and tricks you can use to spend less and get more out of your degree.

Apps

UNiDAYS

UNiDAYS is a website that contains all the discounts that you will ever need for both online and on-the-go shopping. You can access it through a mobile app that works on both iOS and Android. The UNiDAYS blog contains useful advice on student life and budgeting.

Some of the best deals that they currently offer are 30% off Adidas, up to 50% off on Levi’s and ASOS, and 30% off Pure Gym memberships. Moreover, as opposed to other student discount apps such as TOTUM, it’s completely free! You can learn more about the fantastic bargains that they have on their website.

How do you get it? Download the app and register with your student email. It’s available for sixth-form, college and university students. You’ll need to enter your institution, year of study and course length.


Student Beans

Student beans is another free website/app for Android and iOS that has a great selection of deals and discounts. As with UNiDAYS, you are provided with an ID card that you can use for outside and online shopping. You can read their blog for useful life hacks, fun recipes and heartwarming stories.

The website is currently offering up to 60% off Topshop, 51% off Nasty Gal and a special cost of only £2.28/month for NordVPN. More deals are available on their website.

How do you get it? Student beans is available for university and Open University students. You need to verify your student status, and you’re good to go!


Too Good To Go

Not many people have heard of this app. Too Good To Go is a great way to save on eating out – it’s a utility that allows you to purchase unsold food that would otherwise be thrown away from restaurants and cafes. You can get sushi, doughnuts and goodie bags for a fraction of the original price! Not only is it a delicious treat that is nice on your budget – it is also great for the planet.

You can get meals for as little as £2.50 from YO! Sushi, Planet Organic, Patisserie Valerie and others. Find out about their mission on the Too Good To Go website.

How do you get it? Download from App Store or Play Store for free

Shopping

Amazon Prime

Students can enjoy one-day delivery for free for 6 months as part of a free trial period with Student Amazon Prime. 10% off textbooks, Prime Video and Music are included in 50% of the usual price of Amazon subscription. Other benefits are 20% off selected Galaxy Buds, deals on university essentials, 15% off Office software and many more.

How much? £3.99/month

How do you get it? You need to have a university .ac.uk email to get a verification link. Go through the normal sign-up process to obtain it. If you don’t have an ac.uk. email, you will be redirected to a manual registration page.


Depop

Do you ever feel frustrated because all the nice branded clothes cost hundreds of pounds and are not fit for your wallet? If so, you will be happy to learn about Depop. It’s an app where people from the UK and other countries around the world sell their clothes, accessories and tech with reduced price tags. Always dreamt of a pair of Dr Martens? You can get them for £30 now instead of £100.

You can even start your own shop and make a little money by selling your old and unwanted stuff. What’s not to love?

How do you get it? Download from App Store or Play Store for free


Facebook Marketplace

Most Facebook users have no idea that the social media platform has its own online marketplace. You can find anything from garden equipment to cars on it – sometimes given away for free. This is a great place to shop for whatever comes to mind. Most importantly, you don’t need to do anything special because you’re probably already on Facebook.

How do you get it? Register on Facebook

Transport

Oyster Card

London is the heart of England and a fantastic city to live in. However, everyone knows how unbelievably expensive it is, especially when you have to take the tube regularly. Luckily, the 18+ Student Oyster card provides 30% off tram, bus and tube passes. Alternatively, you can opt for the cheaper pay as you go option if you live close to your destination.

How much? £25 non-refundable registration fee

How do you get it? To get the Student Oyster card, you must be over 18, living in London during term time and enrolled at an institution registered on a Transport for London scheme.


Buses

Students in all cities across the UK can get reduced bus fares. Normally, all you need to do to get a discount is to show your university Student ID to the bus driver when purchasing a ticket. In other cases, you might require a special Bus ID card that you pay for monthly and simply tap on the reader every time you travel. You can also choose to buy a student ticket in the bus company’s app.

How much? Usually free depending on the location

How do you get it? Show your Student ID to the bus driver to get a reduced fee


Trains

Young people and mature students across the country enjoy the 16-25 railcard that gives you ⅓ off all of your train tickets for a whole year. It’s a renewable membership that on average allows you to save at least £200 yearly.

The railcard also gets you offers for the National Rail’s partners – for example, 20% off Virgin Experience Days, 75% off yearly YHA membership, 50% off theatre tickets and many others.

How much? £30 a year or £70 per three years

How do you get it? Buy the railcard through the Railcard app or on the website. You’ll need proof of your age and identity, a passport-style photo and a means to pay for it.

Health & Beauty

NYX

In addition to the usual 10% UNiDAYS discount, NYX cosmetics offers a PRO discount for makeup professionals and students that read makeup-related degrees at university. Those eligible will have 20% off all their orders from the website.

How do you get it? Register on the NYX website, complete the entry form and provide them with one of the following: student ID card, acceptance letter or certificate from a professional makeup course completion.


Gyms

If you have ever attempted to buy a gym membership, you will know that the standard monthly fee comes at a painful £40. How are you meant to afford that? Fortunately, most gyms offer discounts that bring this number down to as little as £10.

You can get a Pure Gym membership with 30% off plus the joining fee, or sometimes even less with a UNiDAYS discount. If you live on campus, go for a campus gym – they’re usually nearby and are often extremely cheap.

The rule of thumb for gyms is to check out their website or ask at the counter about any student deals.

How much? Varies by location

How do you get it? Register with your student ID at the reception


Huel

The Huel student discount is available on Student Beans, but it can become even more valuable if you combine it with bulk and subscription discounts that are automatically applied at checkout.

You have to renew the promocode every September with the start of the new academic year.

How do you get it? Through Student Beans


The Body Shop

Students shopping with The Body Shop can benefit from 20% off all of their skincare, body care and makeup products. However, unlike with Huel, this offer cannot be redeemed in combination with other deals and promotions. Furthermore, the discount is only applicable for a one-time online purchase.

How do you get it? Through UNiDAYS

Leisure

Cinemas

ODEON is the most popular cinema chain in the UK. They have branches in pretty much any city across the UK. Students and teenagers can benefit from their Student Value scheme with tickets for as little as £6.

You can get an additional 25% off with a promo code from TOTUM, Student Money Saver and other discount apps.

How do you get it? Show your student ID when buying a ticket or use a promo code when purchasing online

Media

There are a variety of offers for subscriptions to media streaming platforms for students. For example, Spotify offers £4.99/month as opposed to £9.99/month and occasionally throws in incredible deals such as 3 months for £10. iTunes also allows up to 48 months of discounted £4.99 subscription for university students. This includes free access to Apple TV+.

How much? £4.99 for Spotify and iTunes

How do you get it? Choose “Student” during the sign-up process and verify your student status

Royal Societies

UK students can get a discounted affiliate membership for the majority of Royal Societies. For example, the Royal Society of Biology offers a yearly membership for just £15. This gives you a connection to a network of experienced biologists, a monthly issue of The Biologist, an opportunity to win one of the give £500 travel grants and free access to the Royal Society events. Moreover, this is a great opportunity to boost your CV.

How much? Varies by each society

How do you get it? Sign up on the society website

Bowling

Tenpin bowling centres are scattered around the whole of the UK. They provide an astonishing discount of 50% for bowling experiences at any one of their locations. However, the deal is only available from 6pm on Sunday to 5pm on Friday on any week. On Friday evenings and weekends they charge the normal adult price.

How do you get it? You must be 16 years or older and present a valid Student ID card.

Conclusion

Life in the UK can get pretty expensive and that’s something we all learn once we start living separately from our parents. To keep your social life and bank account on top of the game, you must come up with ways to save up everything you can.

Luckily, there are student deals and small hacks for everyone. Rather than going out for an expensive meal, why not get something from Too Good To Go? And if you’re not a fan of charity shops, you can always rely on your UNiDAYS account to cut you a couple of pounds. Whatever you do and wherever you go, there are always ways to be on the budget.


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