Student Discounts Available
“I’m so poor I feel like a right student”
Being a student is not just about studying a course it can be a lifestyle in the UK. One of the key aspects of this “lifestyle” is learning how to live off a tight budget. Whilst this is one aspect that some students dread, most embrace it with the humour and learning curve that it deserves.
Living as a student doesn’t have to be a rigid lifestyle. It’s simply a matter of adjusting your mentality to choosing the cheaper option. Do remember that whatever bills you mount up now you will be spending a large section of you twenties paying them off, so try and keep an eye on your outgoings and be prepared to take advantage of the discounts available for students.
Course Equipment Discounts
It’s very tempting, when you start a new course, to go out and blow a lot of money on buying shiny new equipments and books. However, a great way of cutting the cost is to buy second hand books from students in the years above you. During Freshers week the university will usually put on a book fair strictly for this purpose – at the very least there will be a second hand bookstand at the Freshers Fair. With this system it’s always good to know that you will make some money back when you sell the book on again to the Freshers next year. So, even though they may not be in ‘mint condition’ try and look after your second hand copies so students will want to buy them.
Campus Facilities Discounts
As well as course equipment the university shop will also sell a number of items, including food and drink, at a discounted price. The price difference may seem very little on individual items. However, over a period of a year the discount should mount to a significant saving.
Also do use the college canteen to eat. They are there to provide a wide range of food to meet all students’ dietary needs at an affordable price. Some canteens are pay as you go, however other canteens work on a meal card basis, which allows you to pay a large bill at the beginning of term, which will cover your food for the whole term. Whilst this is a very convenient way of handling your food bill, as it means one less trip to the bank, be very careful that you allow the money on your meal card to cover your food for the whole term or else you may end up paying more.
NUS Card Discounts
The NUS Card will provide you with a plethora of discounts at a number of retail stores as well as social events. This will also provide you discounted access into the union building when special events are being held. Your NUS Card is your official identification as a student so don’t be afraid to flash it to see if you can get some money off where discounts for students are not advertised.
The Young Person Railcard can provide massive discounts for students who are considering travelling by train throughout the year. Just visit your local station with proof of your age (available for 16-25 year olds) and a passport sized photograph. The card will cost you £18.00 for the year. However, if you are a regular traveller, you will make that money back in discounts in no time.
The ISIC Card (International Student Identity Card) is the international identity card for students available at most STA travel stores. This will provide you with a large number of travel discounts on flights throughout the world. So, if you are thinking of travelling in your holidays or your course involves some international travel then this may be a wise investment.
If you are planning to work part-time whilst you are studying or throughout your holidays to earn some extra cash then do remember to fill out your P38 (s) form. This will ensure that tax will not be taken from your earnings whilst you are a student. Also, if you are living out of halls then also contact your local council to make you exempt as a student from paying Council Tax. Do be aware however, that this will only be the case if all members of the household are students.
Believe it or not, even though the rent may be a little higher, living in halls on campus can be one of the cheapest ways to live. Not only will you be cutting out a major bill on travel you will also only have to worry about one bill to pay. Living in a student house will meant that you will have to pay for water rates, electricity bills, gas bills, phone bills, cleaning equipment etc on top of your rent. It’s amazing how it all adds up. So, as soon as you get accepted into a university or college that you are happy with make sure you apply quickly for a place in halls as the rooms are often allocated on a first come first served basis and therefore go very quickly.