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As a student you have a lot of purchasing power as the ‘student market’ is huge. according to national statistics in 2013/14 there were approximately 2.3 million students engaged in higher education, which is approximately 3.5% of the entire population. as a group of the overall population students are perceived to be a section of the youth market with free time and money to spare (no matter how generalised and inaccurate that statement may be) and as such marketing and advertising companies are keen to offer you deals, discounts and offers. they are trying to build brand loyalty and part you with some of that maintenance loan cash that they think is sloshing around in your pocket – and that chasing of the entire 2.3 million-person student market gives you some personal power to pry deals out of retailers.

General Discounts

Discounts are an accepted part of the student culture. upon proof of student status many entertainment venues offer student discounted tickets (i.e. cinemas, theatres) or run slightly discounted student nights. a lot of big chain stores who target the youth market may offer student discount on purchases and it’s always worth asking smaller independent retailers in big university towns if they offer student discount.

NUS Extra

It should be noted that some national chains have moved away from offering some or all of their discount on production of a generic student id (such as the Cumbria Card) and instead have packaged their offer with one of the big discount cards, the most 'official' of which is the NUS extra card. This card is offered jointly by the National Union of Students and each local students’ union, it has an annual cost – currently £12 - (although some banks do offer a free nus extra card as part of their student banking package) and a proportion of the proceeds are passed back to your students’ union to help fund activities and services they offer.

Search for discounts

A quick google search on 'student discount' will return a range of results from a variety of providers, as well as the nus extra card there are also offerings from save the student, unidays as well as specific offers from certain retailers.

You should look carefully at the retailers and offers associated with each card before purchasing any discount card, in essence you need to at least cover the cost of the card in money saved to make the purchase price worthwhile. depending on where you shop, how much you spend and the level of discount available this can amount to quite a saving – or not. for example you’d have to spend over £300 to save £15 with a 5% amazon discount however only £150 to save the same amount with a 10% discount at asos.

Travel Discounts

If you are likely to use the national rail network more than twice in a year, one discount card that can very quickly show a return on the purchase cost is the 16-25 railcard. Although this is normally not available to anyone over 25 years old this restriction is lifted for all full time students.

The card costs £30 but offers a third off all non-peak time rail fares. If you consider that an off-peak return from lancaster to carlisle (bought for same day travel) currently costs £34 you would only have to make that journey four times in a year to start saving money. An advance ticket for a lancaster to london journey is slightly cheaper, at £31, so again only four journeys would begin to see the card not only cover its cost but generate savings.

National Express also offer a young persons discount card, saving you a third off standard and flexible fares. See Young Persons Coach Card for more details.

Money Saving Expert

The student section of Money Saving Expert have a dedicated forum where you can find out what discounts others are finding out there in the high street and beyond, as ever with ‘advice’ found on a website make sure you check things out for yourself before committing to a purchase. There is also a generic Student Discounts and Deals page which highlights some of the big names out there that offer student discounts.