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Learn to take advantage of your student status and get more for your pound in London

Published Wednesday, 6th October, 2021 in University news

“London is a notoriously expensive city’ – we’ve all heard that before, and frankly, it can be true, but it doesn’t have to be. As a student, there are plenty of discounts available to you which you can take advantage of to have an amazing time at university while sticking to your budget. Here are our top tips from a current student.

1. Travel cards

Travel costs can add up very quickly, but as a student, you are eligible for a discounted Oyster card. If you are 18 or over and are in full time education in London, you can use the 18+ Oyster. It costs £20 initially to get and it gives you 30% off adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets. With the fares in London and the amount you are likely to travel, these are your best tools to save money right from the get-go. To find out more, head over to the TfL website.

Whether you are travelling inside of London, commuting from outside of it or would like to visit the rest of the UK, you can get 34% off on rail travel with a 16-25 Railcard, and good news – you can get one even if you are over 25 as long as you are a full-time student. A railcard also gives you 34% off pay-as-you-go (PAYG) off-peak fares and daily caps if applied to the 18+ Student Oyster so well worth having within the city. It costs £30 per year to have, but it will have paid for itself just after a few journeys. A three-year option is also available which is cheaper than buying 3 individual years. For more information on this, you can visit the Railcard website and the dedicated page.

2. Your student ID card

Very often, retailers in London offer discounts for students, all you need to do is provide proof of your student status which you can do with your City ID card which you receive after registration. You sometimes might not know whether a retailer accepts student discount because they don’t always advertise it in store, but pop the question, it could save you a considerable amount. And hey, even if they don’t offer discounts, the worst they can say is an overly polite no.

3. Student discount apps

Sadly, some retailers don’t provide you with discounts based on just your City student ID, but fear not because there are several free discount apps which you can use to find out all about the best deals in town with some doubling as proof of your student status too.

  • UNiDAYS is the first one with offers you don’t want to miss such as £25 off Uber Eats, 25% off Ray-Ban, and 35% off Domino’s.
  • StudentBeans is another good one with offers like a free McDonald’s Cheeseburger, 15% off National Express, and 15% off Asos, among others.
  • VoucherCodes is yet another discount app you can use to complement the discounts from all the other apps.
  • The TOTUM card (formerly NUS extra) is a great scheme that can be used to access over 200 discounts. They have three plans, two of which need to be paid for, but you can get the basic plan for FREE and still access all their discounts.
  • The ESN card is offered by our in-house ESN City London society, and it offers great discounts such as 10% off Ryanair flights + free luggage, 50% off Grammarly, and 20% off The Economist. You can get one here; it costs £12.50 initially to get, but it will pay for itself with your first flight.

4. Corporate discounts

Sometimes, you don’t even have to go looking on discount apps to find good deals, various companies offer them directly.

Amazon Prime

As a student, you can get a 6-month free Amazon Prime trial and half price membership thereafter which includes Prime Video and Amazon Music.

Spotify

Another top pick is Spotify which offers a three-month free trial, and 50% off thereafter, when you verify your student status with Spotify Student.

Financial Times

If you haven’t heard yet, as a City student, you can get free access to The Financial Times. For more information on how to register for an account and access it, head over to the Library guide.

5. Reward/loyalty programmes

Saving the best for last, you can get a lot of freebies, discounts and in-store credit simply by signing up for mailing lists and creating an account with loyalty apps, and below is a breakdown of all the best offers.

Shopmium/TopCashBack/Quidco

These are cashback mobile apps which you can use to get money back on products and services you would buy anyway, and in some cases, you can get products completely for free to try out, so they are definitely worth checking out.

Embargo

This is essentially a mobile loyalty app which features lots of the restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars in London, replacing their individual loyalty schemes. With every visit, you get points and free rewards such as coffees, drinks, food and so on. It is definitely worth having on hand wherever you go in London.

Dusk

If you ever feel in a celebratory mood, Dusk is an amazing mobile app which enables you to get a FREE drink EVERY evening at some of the most amazing London bars.

Karma/Olio/TooGoodToGo

These are honestly some of the best food waste apps in London. Not only are you helping tackle a global issue, but you are also getting very discounted and even free food – it’s a win, win.

Other honourable mentions include Crepeaffaire, Benugo, Patiserie Valerie, Boots, Ed’s Easy Diner, Greggs, KFC, Krispy Kreme, John Lewis, Crussh, Paul, Chatime, Caffe Nero, McDonald’s and the Body Shop, all of which give you freebies/discounts for signing up on your birthday when you join the mailing list/create an account. For more on this, check out Birthday freebies.

6. Other useful resources

There are quite a few websites focused on helping students, not just through providing discounts and freebies, but also by providing anything from guidance on managing your budget to advice on opening a current/savings account. Some of the best websites out there are Save the Student, and MoneySavingExpert, so check out both of them and find what would be the most useful to you.

If you were to only take one thing away from this article, have it be that you can almost always get a discount for anything you want to buy, so do your research first and you might be pleasantly surprised. You can also think outside the box and try out new products and services through stuff like free trials which sometimes are a godsend. London is your oyster.