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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that most students are fairly skint, which is why NUS discounts are so important.
Some students budget carefully, leaving enough cash each week for drinking and going out, while others dance frantically at the end of their overdrafts, desperately wondering just where that money goes.
Hidden course costs such as textbooks and printing can leech from your loan, takeaways and nights out quickly add up, and even on a budget it feels as if there is too much month at the end of the money.
But don’t panic!
You can maximise your meagre income by taking advantage of student discounts (and there’s a lot out there) by flashing your NUS card.
Most students become members of the NUS upon enrolling at their new university and immediately gain access to discounts online and all over the high street.
You can on average get about 10% off in clothes shops (20% when they do student fashion events when your loan comes in), and a free medium fries when you buy a Big Mac or Chicken Sandwich at McDonalds.
You can also sign up to UniDays, Student Money Saver and StudentBeans for free with your student email address, which offer you even more discounts and send regular emails with the latest deals.
If you’re willing to make a tiny investment, the NUS extra card unlocks many more discounts. The card costs £12, which is just a pound a month over the year – you’re likely to make that back in no time!
Here’s a pick of the best discounts currently on offer for NUS extra members:
Your NUS extra card will also often get you special discounts at your student union outlets and beyond, so keep an eye out for locally arranged offers.
For your next shopping fix, ASOS, New Look, Missguided, Topshop, ALDO, Timberland and dozens more clothes shops on the high street and online offer at least 10% discount on everything in-store. The discount isn’t always obviously advertised, so always ask at the till if they do student discount and you may be in luck.
There are offers available on all kinds of entertainment including films at Odeon cinemas (cheaper prices for students, a further 25% off for NUS extra cardholders), up to 42% off Alton Towers tickets, 40% off at Legoland and deals at Ticketmaster.
If your idea of a great night out is a meal with mates, flash your card for 40% off your food bill at Zizzi on Mondays and Tuesdays, 25% off Domino’s, and plenty of other offers elsewhere for persistent students who dare to ask. If tequila cocktails and enchiladas are your thing, send off to Chiquitos for a free funky student card shaped like a tiny sombrero, which will get you 25% off. If you tell them your nearest branch, it’ll also send you personalised emails with specific offers so you stay up to date.
Odeon, Vue and Cineworld all offer student-friendly prices for tickets – all you need is your student ID, so keep it on you. An NUS extra card will even get you an extra 25% off the student price at Odeon (including films in 3D) and if you sneak in your own drinks and snacks, a cinema trip needn’t hammer a dent in your current account!
Get your cultural fix by looking out for discounted entry at museums, galleries and exhibitions, where you can always ask about offers. Theatres often host ‘pay-what-you-can’ nights, where you can score cheap tickets for plays.
If you can get to Stratford-upon-Avon, sign up for a free Royal Shakespeare Company Key Card which is available to all those aged 16-25. With one of these you can see incredible theatre for £5 per ticket on some nights, including during the RSC London season for a cheap night out in the capital, and get discounts at shops and restaurants all around Stratford-upon-Avon.
Plus, the National Theatre releases reduced-price standby tickets, from any previously unsold, for £15 to students with a valid ID. Call or rock up 45 minutes before to see what’s available. It’s always also worth calling up your local theatre to see if they do similar deals.
There are so many other deals out there, both local and national, but you need to keep your student card with you all the time, be cheeky and always ask if you can get money off. It’s a hard rite of passage to live on a student budget, but your NUS card can majorly lighten the load. Flash the plastic as often as you can, while you can!
Which of these NUS discounts are you most excited about? Do you always ask if you can get money off everywhere you go? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Seems to me that these days anyone can get one of these cards – as long as they are on a course that supports them. I (sadly) work in retail part of the time and many people now have these cards one lady admitting that she signed up for a cheap course that she had no intention of completing just so she could get the 10% off in the two local shops that support these cards. She was still in profit by doing this!
What a terrific article! Sadly, I’m too old to be a student or get an NUS card but I have forwarded the post to my nephew who is doing a degree at Bath University and I am sure he can get great value from this.