Mindful about money

Whether you’re a new student about to start studying with us, or returning and want to be savvy with your finances, student Nozomi shares some of her tips on saving. 

You wake up to the sound of your alarm on a Monday morning. After a weekend with friends and family, and perhaps even a holiday not long ago – you are struck by the realisation that it is August and you’ll be at university in a month or so and that means buying your own groceries, paying bills and that money matters.

But affording student life doesn’t need to mean two part-time jobs along with your studies and an anti-social life. There are loads of ways you can be saving money to make it easier for you to spend time with friends at university, go home for a weekend and most importantly, focus on your degree. Here are a few ways to save!

Student Bank Account

If you’re starting university this September, have a look at opening a student bank account. A student bank account gives you an overdraft (a money safety net, so to speak) with different branches offering students different benefits along with a student bank account. At the University of Reading, we have a Santander on campus which offers students a free 4-year 16-25 Railcard! Have a browse around to see what suits you best before settling on one bank.

16-25 Railcard

If you don’t choose to open an account with Santander or if you are not eligible for a student bank account as you may be an international student, you can still choose to purchase a 16-25 Railcard. This will save you 1/3 on train fares making journeys home and day outs much cheaper. Look out for student deals and Black Friday offers for an even cheaper price when buying a railcard!

NUS Extra Card

An NUS Extra Card give you a variety of student discounts such as 10% off at ASOS, up to 40% off a meal out at Pizza Express and with a new Co-op on campus at Reading, we’re going to make full advantage of the NUS 10% off discount at the Co-op.

An NUS Extra Card also gives you free ISIC. The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is internationally accepted as certified proof of student status. Thus, giving you discounts when you go back home or if you go on holiday!

Student Discount Websites

If paying for an NUS Extra Card doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry – you can still get student deals online. By registering student status using your university email address, websites such as UNiDAYS and StudentBeans offer you lots of student discounts from food to tech and everything in between!

Trials and Freebies

Trials are often marketed towards students – giving us some freebies for a period of time. For instance, Amazon Prime offers students a 6-months free trail and also 50% off if you were to purchase. Students also get 50% off Spotify premium.

Here’s some free software that are useful to students:

  • Microsoft Office – Using your student email account, your university will be able to provide you with all the Microsoft Office software you could ever dream of. The link shows you how we get it at the University of Reading.
  • Avast – Avast is a free and fairly comprehensive antivirus software. Definitely worth having to protect your computer. Compatible with PC, Mac and Linux.
  • Google Drive – It’s super simple to use and lets you to create basic documents, spreadsheets and presentations online making group work much easier at University.

From Your University

Yes, I know this one sounds crazy – we pay to go to University, not the other way round! Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean the University doesn’t offer us any financial help. It’s worth checking whether you might be able to get a bursary, grant or even a scholarship from your University and/or Department at University.


Hopefully this article has helped you chill out and bit knowing that there are so many ways to cut down your costs when you’re a University student. So lay back, relax and enjoy the rest of your summer!

See the Money Matters pages on Essentials for more information.

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