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A guide to student discounts in the UK

A guide to student discounts in the UK

Beginning your journey into higher education is an exciting time.

With so many new things to learn and places to discover, it's often the first step towards becoming an independent adult. However, the costly tuition fees and limited maintenance loans make it difficult to live the kind of life you want, leading to many students struggling to manage their money appropriately.

Fortunately, in the UK there are plenty of discounts available to students. From restaurants to train tickets, there are lots of ways to save money. In this article, we take a look at the available discounts and how to ensure you're getting the most out of them.

Student ID card

Your student ID card is usually your ticket towards being granted a discount, so make sure to carry it with you whenever you're heading out. Alternatively, some institutions will provide digital ID cards, making it even easier to access the student discounts available.

There are some shops or services that will require a different card, called a TOTUM card. Previously known as an NUS Extra Card, this card has to be purchased for a small fee but then provides access to a wide range of discounts across many different businesses. Make sure to check what the requirements are for each discount if you don't have an NUS card, as you may get caught out.

Online discounts

Many online shops offer discounts for students, typically through specific student discount providers. Websites such as UNiDAYS and Student Beans are some of the most popular platforms, ensuring that your student ID has been authenticated before allowing you to redeem discount codes.

It's worth signing up for these as soon as you get your student ID, allowing you to start saving right away rather than having to dig out your card when you need to buy something.


Cinemas, theatres, theme parks and more usually offer subsidised tickets for students. They may not always be obvious, but make sure to ask the staff before you buy tickets. On such a tight budget, it can be hard to find the spare funds to spend on having some fun, so make sure to take advantage of the discounts available.


The majority of students won't have the luxury of driving. The cost of buying a car, insurance, road tax and limited parking on university campuses makes it a non-viable option for most. This means relying on public transport, which although convenient, can be expensive.

Fortunately, many transport companies in the UK offer discounted fares for students. Not only that, but you can snag a discount on railcards amongst other seasonal travel tickets.

Eating out

Venturing outside of your accommodation to eat is often not viable on a student budget, but the wide range of discounts available can make it more affordable. Many popular restaurant chains provide special discounts or deals for students, especially during weekdays when they may not otherwise be very busy.

Even independent restaurants or takeaways that are nearby university campuses will often have deals for students, so it's worth exploring the options in your area.

It's always worth asking if there are any discounts available, even if you haven't seen anything advertised - just make sure to always carry your student ID. Embracing the perks of being a student can make your university experience even more rewarding.

By Trevor Walker - Consultant Researcher
Digital Content & Media

A guide to student discounts in the UK

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