Saving money as a Student

Students spend £1,070 per academic year on books and equipment alone, and that's before the essentials (beer)! 

When you add in food, travel and social activities, the cost of student life can soon add up

BUT knowing when to buy second hand, knowing where to get discounts and freebies and knowing the best student bank account can help you save heaps of money when you head off to university this Autumn


Need to know

  • Sign up to a freebie website to get LOADS of discounts and deals from clothes shops to restaurants. We also really like Student beans and UNidays which have great tips on where to bag a bargain. Also don't forget to buy through cashback sites to earn while you spend
  • 16-25 railcard will save you a 1/3 off all train tickets, a must for last minute trips back home! Over 25s in full time education are still eligible for a railcard. Save even more by booking in advance on the trainline
  • SAVE on average £20 a week on your grocery shopping by using mySupermarket to find the best price for your basket online and first time discount codes from stores like Ocado. Find more tips on our guide
  • Buy an NUS Extra Card for £12 a year and loads of shops will give you a discount. Don’t hesitate to ask for offers as a lot of shops don’t advertise the discount. Remember to renew this yearly!
  • If you are the main driver of your car, it is ILLEGAL to 'front' (be a named driver on your parents car insurance). You will need your own policy with your university address.  Find out how to get the cheapest policy here. If you don't have a car check out zipcar for daily, even hourly rentals - perfect for a quick trip home
  • If you ONLY watch on-demand TV over the internet, then you DO NOT need a TV licence. But make sure you don't go over your internet usage (if you need to find your own broadband deal, find the best packages here)
  • You may find a pay-as-you-go mobile will help you spend less and budget easier. If you have a landline in halls get your family to call you
  • Find cheap stationery deals online on sites like Wilkinsons and the Works BUT hold off until you get to university to buy your books, as students who are leaving usually sell their 2nd hand books at a good price
  • If you're buying a laptop to take to uni check out the Rank Tank to find out where you can get the bestsellers at the best price. Shopping via UNiDAYS will give you a 15% discount on Apple if you're a student and you can pick up cut price refurbished (second hand) laptops from PC World, which come with a 12 month warranty
  • Find a student bank account with an interest free overdraft. Use our comparison engine to find one to suit you.
  • This new chapter in your life can be daunting, try not to stress about money and take advantage of all the freebies and exclusive discounts to help you pay for your partying!

Student Finance

Depending on your circumstances (how much your family earns, the price of your course etc) you may be eligible for some or all of the following:

  • Tuition Fee Loan (not means tested)
  • Maintenance Loan (means tested)
  • Maintenance Grant (means tested)

English Students should visit GOV.UK and use the Student Finance calculator to see what they are entitled to

Welsh Students should visit Student Finance Wales

Northern Irish Students should visit Student Finance ni

Scottish Students should visit SAAS

You may also be able to get seperate funding or grants depending on a variety of reasons including your grades, your chosen subject or other financial or personal reasons. A quick search on student cashpoint and scholarship-search will show funding you can apply for.

Not only is it hard to set up and complete your student finance, but are there any bursaries and scholarships that you should have access to? And if so, where do you begin to look? University Compare, a university comparison website can help you find the correct university bursaries and grants that are available to you per course. Each individual course offers a multitude of financial options that can help you as a student.

University compare helps over 2m students every year help choose the right course and the right university for them while offering a host of information on student discountsbank accounts and hundreds of personal statement samples.


Student living



Why we like it:

  • free 6 month trial of Amazon Prime
  • half price Amazon Prime after
  • unlimited One-Day Delivery on over 7 million items
  • discounted Express and Evening Delivery options
  • student offers
  • WITH PAID PACKAGE unlimited instant streaming with Prime Instant Video and a Kindle book to borrow each month from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library

Watch out:

  • Prime is £39 a year for students after trial (includes discounts)
  • email address needed OR proof of student status

A Girl Called Jack

Why we like it:

  • AMAZING site with 'Below The Line' Budget Recipes
  • includes Brie and bacon risotto for 26p a portion
  • started when Jack was a student (and foodie)
  • recipe book also available

Watch out:

  • it's a blog so also has personal opinions / posts

Student Beans

Why we like it:

  • simple and clear student advice
  • prize draws
  • up to 50% off at Ticketmaster
  • student jobs
  • free stuff and money making ideas

Watch out:

  • deals are likely to change abruptly
  • LOTS of emails


Why we like it:

  • student discount site
  • free to join
  • 15% OFF Apple
  • app available to use instore that also acts as student ID
  • refer friends and get a free gift

Watch out:

  • you will get some of these discounts in store with your NUS card
  • deals change frequently
  • lots of emails

Student studying

Your uni is likely to have a second hand book shop where students can sell on their old books; second hand books are also for sale on eBay and Amazon

You can also now buy academic books for your ereader and these will often be cheaper (and more easily available) than buying a paperback. Plus downloading a free Kindle, Kobo or Nook app to your phone, tablet or laptop means you don't even need to buy an ereader

DON'T FORGET your uni will have an amazing library and you will be able to get the books on your reading list there

Sell Student Stuff

Why we like it:

  • Uk's no.1 second hand books market place
  • save as much as 80% on course books
  • covers a very wide range of subjects
  • buy or sell on second hand books
  • pay by paypal

Watch out:

  • students set their own prices so discounts can vary
  • selling fee of 15% plus 76p per item
  • delivery extra (around £3)
  • seller responsible for postage

Read it Swap it

Why we like it:

  • free book swapping site
  • choose from text books and fiction
  • users rated
  • average (1 book a month reader) will save £100 a year

Watch out:

  • will have to pay postage
  • straight swap - if the owner of your book doesn't like what you have on offer they wont swap

The inside track

  • If you can, save at least 20% of your student loan a month. The money saved can be used for emergency funds or even an end of term holiday. For the best place to put your savings check out our savings guide
  • If you get a part time job you won't be taxed on anything you earn, as long as your combined earning for the year is under £11,000
  • If you live in halls or in a student house you are exempt from council tax. If you live with people who are employed the bill will be discounted by 25%, you don't have to pay, but may be asked to contribute. Your uni will provide a letter confirming you are a student and, if they aren't available in your union, the discount/exemption forms will be on your local council's site
  • If you leave your student house for 3 months over the summer, you CAN claim back part of your TV licence, sometimes as much as £37. For all the rules click here
  • If you are flying to uni it may be cheaper to courier your suitcases to uni rather than pay excess luggage on a budget airline. offer to courier 30kgs in 2 days for just £15.89
  • Young people are three times more likely to be victims of crime, so check your parent's home insurance policy to see if you are covered on that before you set off to uni. If not then you should definitely take out your own policy and make sure things like downloaded music are covered
  • BUDGET: Be aware of how much money you are spending, it’s a good idea to write down all your money coming in and how much you spend a week. You will be surprised how much you can SAVE once you know where your money is going. An easy way to budget is taking out your money for the week in cash and when it's gone, it's gone...
  • Try and get as much work experience as you can, ideally related to your course. It could earn you a bit of extra cash and look GREAT on your CV
  • TOP TIP for London students - if you're taking a taxi having the new Kabbee app, which is FREE to download, can find you the cheapest registered mini-cab available
  • Be thrifty when buying a dress for your end of year ball. If you like big brand designers but can't afford the price tag, rent a dress

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