Let’s face it, students in the UK are generally broke (read: very broke) people. Many factors are behind this: rent is skyrocketing, the value of sterling is falling, you spent too much on too many pints at the pub, and the list goes on…
We get it. Not everyone is part of the 500 international student members at the exclusive club Luxury Student, where the annual fee is around £7,200 (US$9,750) per year and members sip champagne while wearing designer brands.
Instead, the reality is closer to having beans on toast for an entire week, dodging landlords because your rent is late or taking on two jobs just so you can afford school supplies.
A little financial planning goes a long way and thankfully, there are a few useful student cards you can capitalise on to save money. Here are our favourite four:
For £12 a year, the ISIC offers discounts to students at school, college or university from the age of 12 and over. Applicable to 130 different countries, students can use it as their official student status to get over 150,000 student discounts and offers around the world.
— ISIC USA (@isicusa) February 23, 2017
In the UK, this includes discounts for transport (National Express, Stansted Express), rent guarantor servimuseum admissions (American Museum in Britain), fitness studios, hair services, etc.
Free stuff includes free IELTS practice tests and exclusive advice, subscription to online study choice platform, StudyPortals, and admission to museums (National Railway Museum, Ulster Museum, National Football Museum).
Pro tip for international students: make sure you allow enough time to deliver your ISIC before departing to your university overseas. As an alternative, you can also request for your ISIC to be delivered to your country of study after you arrive.
2. NUS Extra
Students can apply for the NUS Extra Card, valid for a one-, two- or three-year period, and prices start from just £12 a year. One of the more popular student cards on offer, there are discounts worth up to £500 a year to students in the UK.
Here are some of the top discounts students can get: up to 40 percent off at Pizza Express, 25 percent off student ticket prices at ODEON, 20 percent off at National Express, 10 percent discount at The Co-Op, etc.
Pro tip: the NUS Extra card now comes with a free ISIC (one-year), which means you can get thousands of international discounts in addition to the hundreds available in the UK.
This online student scheme lets those studying in participating countries (Australia & New Zealand, United States, UK, Ireland, Germany and Denmark) to register for free.
— UNiDAYS (@MyUNiDAYS) May 29, 2018
This gets you student discounts with fashion brands (for example, ASOS and Urban Outfitters), electronics (Apple), fitness (Nike, Pure Gym, JD Sports), beauty (MAC, Benefit, Urban Decay) – the list is gloriously long!
Unlike NUS Extra and ISIC, UniDAYS allows you to sign up for free.
Pro tip: download the smartphone app because duh – it’s 2018.
Similar to UniDAYS, Student Beans offers discounts for clothes, tech, food – all the student discounts you could possibly want! Some of the offers you won’t find on UNiDAYS are, for example, 10 percent off at Papa John’s and online department store Oliver Bonas, as well as reduced student tickets at Alton Towers.
There are 500 brands it partners with and its software can verify 163 million students in 52 different countries. Apart from online discounts, the Student Beans card offers student-exclusive discounts at more than 10,000 stores online and on the high street.
Pro tip: the smartphone app tells you all the places you can get discount online AND in store.