Students: stretch your cash

Man using an iPad on the beach © Apple
Students can get up to £50 off Apple’s iPad

Most students are on a tight budget, so if you – or your child – are heading to university this year, it’s important to make your money stretch as far as possible. Fortunately, many companies offer hefty discounts to make it easier.

For example, if you want to buy a new laptop or smartphone, Apple offers “education pricing”, which enables you to save up to £339 on a new Mac and up to £50 on a new iPad (although given that Apple products tend to be more expensive, it’s worth considering if there are cheaper alternatives). Microsoft also offers big discounts, including the university version of the Office365 suite for £59.99 for four years. Meanwhile, artists can get Adobe Creative Cloud (which includes programmes such as Photoshop and InDesign) at £185.90 per year, a whopping 65% discount.

The price of books can come as a nasty surprise, but Waterstones offers a 10% discount on purchases of £25 or more with a UNiDAYS card (see below). If you order a lot from Amazon, students can get its Amazon Prime service – which gives you unlimited one-day delivery, plus unlimited streaming of films, TV shows and music – for £39 for 18 months, rather than the standard £95 for a year.

There are also a wealth of great travel discounts. Sign up for a 16-25 Railcard to get a third off all train travel at a cost of £30 for a year or £70 for three years. This also comes with additional perks, including 90% off Youth Hostels Association membership. If you normally travel by coach, invest in a Young Persons Coachcard, which offers a similar deal on National Express coach fares.

Those aged under 25 who have an eye on travelling further afield can pick up an Interrail Youth Pass offering a 25% discount on the adult price, while STA Travel offers exclusive deals on tickets to destinations around the world for students and young people.

Finally, being away from home needn’t mean missing out on your daily dose of news. The Financial Times offers a student digital subscription for £137.80 per year, a 50% discount, while you can sign up to The Times for £20 a year – this also gives you two-for-one cinema tickets at Odeon cinemas every weekend.

Three tempting student discount schemes

As well as the firms mentioned in the main story, many others offer money-off deals for students – typically around 10% or so – if you have a discount card. Students are eligible for a number of cards, each of which works slightly differently, and have their own perks. Here are three of the most popular options.

UNiDAYS is an online discount website. In order to access the special offers, you need to be a student in higher education. Once registered, you’ll be eligible for a bunch of discounts for free. The service is available online and through an app, so there’s no need to carry a membership card. UNiDAYS pays out £5 as a reward if you invite a friend who signs up. Current exclusive offers include 15% off Canon products and 20% off membership at PureGym.

Student Beans has a similar model, providing exclusive discounts for free through its website and app. Students in higher education are able to register for a digital membership card, which can be used online and on your phone. Exclusive offers include 35% off at the Body Shop and a 20% discount at Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai.

US extra is the National Union of Students’ official discount card. It requires you to carry a physical card, which comes at a price of £12 for one year, £22 for two, and £32 for three years. There’s also an app to help you locate the discounts closest to you. Of the three options, NUS extra offers the biggest range of discounts – more than 200 at present. Current offers include an additional 25% off student ticket prices at Odeon cinemas Monday to Thursday, and a 10% discount at the Co-op.