Nouse's money-saving advice for Freshers and beyond.


Nadia Sayed (she/her) gives a run down on how to save money whilst at university.

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By Nadia Sayed

Loyalty cards and student discounts are drops of gold - especially while you’re at university.

Whilst most people sigh when they see the mass of loyalty cards protruding from the pockets of my purse, an expression of jealousy seems to arise when the cashier swipes my card, and a discount of 20 percent is applied to whatever miscellaneous item I’ve decided to buy that day. Or when I get my coffee for free because I’ve tallied up enough stamps on my card. So, why not make the most of using any discount you can get your hands on? Here are some ways I’ve done that and saved those extra pennies during my time as a student in York.

Coffee Shops:
For avid caffeine consumers (like myself), coffee shop loyalty or stamp card cards are a great step in becoming savvier with your spending, and yes, this also applies to the chai latte and tea drinkers. It’s always a bonus when Costa asks if you’d like to use your ‘free drink reward’. You can then upgrade your latte to a large one and ask for as much cream on top as the barista can fit in your cup. The best part is that you pay nothing for a drink that would have easily cost £4, at least.

Cafe Nero is another great coffee shop which you can visit to save those extra pennies - they offer student discounts on certain drinks. Discounts are applied automatically once you validate yourself as a student through their app.
Depending on how much you think you’d visit, visiting Pret, could reduce the consequences of your coffee addiction. Pret subscriptions cost £30 a month, and whilst this may seem a lot, it gets you five beverages per day. The first month is usually discounted, so you can save some money even if you only subscribe for the tri-al month. Deadline season might be a good time to test this out if you rely on caffeine to stay focused.

Lastly, many independent cafes in York also offer discounts for students, including Plush, Drift-in and Cocoa Joe’s, to name a few. This means you enjoy York’s independent shops without paying their ‘independent coffee’ prices. A huge perk to student life is the term ‘student discount’ so be sure to ask, especially as a lot of cafes in York don’t advertise their student discounts,you don’t want to miss out!

Student Discount:
It's always worth asking if a shop accepts student discount. Usually, the answer will be, “Do you have Unidays or Student Beans?” Getting validated as a student on both sites allows you to answer yes to that question. Both sites offer discount codes for various stores, including Nike, Boots, Superdrug, ASOS, and can even be used to save you money on your next Dominos takeaway. Always remember to use the search function on the Unidays and Student Beans before you buy anything; you never know what discounts might be hiding!

Your Weekly Shop:
This is either your favourite or least favourite part of the week, depending on what type of student you are. For some, those first few shops you get to do feel amazing - you can buy what you want without any repercussions. That is until you look at your bank account the next day. To avoid overspending, I'd advise making a list, even if meal planning isn't your thing, it's useful to think about the fresh food you use weekly. Peppers are a great staple as you can use them in so many dishes

Things like toilet rolls, cleaning products, milk, eggs and condiments can all be communal so make sure to talk to your flatmates and make a list of things you are happy to share. Splitting the cost is a great way for you and your flatmates to bond as well as save money!

Student Passes:
If you enjoy visiting galleries, museums or exhibitions, I’d recommend getting a Student ArtPass. My pass cost me a small fee of £8, and I have used it to get into several art exhibitions. After showing my pass, I recently got free access to the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth- something my friends were quite jealous of when they only got the basic student discount deducted from their ticket fee.

Here are a few other stores which offer loyalty cards I’d recommend registering for:
Boots: You can add your student ID to your card, so a discount is automatically applied at the checkout.
 Pizza Express: I’ve got some free pizzas by checking in using the app each time I dine.
Tesco Clubcard: This will save you money each time you pop into Tesco Express, and you can eventually turn your points into vouchers.

Budgeting whilst at university is tricky, and it’s not something you are going to get right straightaway (I’m going into my third year and still find it difficult). However, the key is forming good habits early. That way you can get more out of your student loan and make the most of what is to offer in York.