When you step into life as a student, you not only begin to understand the importance of making the most of every experience, but also of every penny you have. Paying for your own petrol, food shop and clothing for the first time soon has every student on the hunt for free stuff or for the best possible deals.
Making this switch to being a savvy shopper can be overwhelming – how do you know where to start? That’s where we come in. This handy guide will hopefully help you get the ball rolling and before you know it, you’ll be on the lookout for deals and free stuff wherever you go.
Websites Offering Free Stuff
Unfortunately, free things don’t just land in your lap, so you have to do a bit of the legwork to get started. Have a dig around on Google and you’ll soon be acquainted with some incredible voucher deals for free stuff – a student’s dream! Get help with all sorts of things including:
- Food and drink
- Make up
- Shopping vouchers
- Household essentials
Free money has to be right up there with the best thing a student can get their hands on, right? Well it’s possible with cashback websites. Luckily, we know a couple of sites that can help you earn free cash to pop straight in your bank account, PayPal, or even convert into vouchers.
Two of the best cashback sites are TopCashback and Quidco. Don’t understand how they work? It’s quite simple, really – instead of going straight to the retailer you want to buy from, you shop with them via a link from the cashback website. You get your item from the retailer directly, but as you used the cashback link, you’ll also earn yourself some free money. You can read more content about how cashback deals work here.
There are a range of product categories you can earn cashback on, including:
- Department stores
- Home and DIY
This is especially useful for things such as Christmas and birthday presents, or if you need to buy new kit for the team you joined at the freshers’ fair!
Top tip: Invest in a supermarket loyalty card – especially if it’s the only place you use for your groceries. Use it every time you shop and you’re likely to build points and receive vouchers for free food and even toiletries.
Free Streaming Trials
You don’t have to miss out on all the latest releases just because you’re a student – free stuff includes subscription trials, too. Services offering free trials include:
At the moment, though, you’re going to have to pack your Lion King, Marvel and Finding Nemo DVDs and take them with you as Disney+ doesn’t offer a free trial.
Top tip: Stagger your trials and you’ll be set for a long period of free entertainment. Now that’s what we call savvy.
Free Student Eye Test
Yes, getting free stuff such as food, lipstick and hair dye sounds way more fun than an eye test, but keeping on top of your health, especially when you live away from home, is really important.
At Specsavers in the UK, any student aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education qualifies for a free NHS eye test. Even though this stops after the age of 18, check out the criteria for free eye tests on the Specsavers website.
Part of student life means sometimes being attached to a laptop, so checking in on the health of your eyes is a great idea. Blue light from screens – including your phone – will add to strain on your eyes. Getting a test will help determine if you need glasses to help with this – and those eligible for the free test might also get a discount on frames and lenses with the help of an NHS optical voucher. Bonus.
Free and Cheap Student Travel
While we understand you get lifts to most places and free transport is probably the norm for you, stepping out on your own and into student life might mean parting with a bit of cash for travel.
However, although not everyone will be able to get their hands on a completely free student bus pass, the good news is there are lots of ways to have your travel subsidised.
This section includes just some of the ways you’ll be able to cut down on your travel costs. Our advice would be to contact your college or university to discover what’s available in your area.
Subsidised travel for 16-19 year olds
This offer is ideal for sixth form or college students in the UK who are looking to gain a bit of independence getting to and from college. Check out the GOV.UK page for subsidised transport and you’ll be able to search your postcode and figure out what’s available.
Uni bus services
Some universities offer their students bus services – get in touch with your uni and check out what’s available. Even if they don’t offer free travel, you might be able to get a great discount.
It’s not free, but a 16-25 railcard will cost you just £30 for a year or £70 for three (an amazing deal if you’re embarking on a course lasting three years) and you’ll get a whopping ⅓ off all rail travel. The 16-25 railcard website estimates average annual savings of £189. If you live at university and travel home to visit family and friends, or want to visit friends at other campuses across the country, getting a railcard can save you a lot of money.
You’ll discover that different areas have different deals. For instance, if you live and study in London, you can get your hands on an 18+ Student Oyster photocard that can save users 30% on adult-rates. Cards such as this can be used on buses and trams.
Other forms of transport
As a student, you don’t need a bus pass if you have a free form of transportation. If you have a bicycle at home, why not take it with you to university or college? You could also wake up half an hour earlier and walk to your lectures – listen to a podcast on the way and you’ll feel ready for the day.
We understand it feels like extra effort to research these things, but it will help to save money. With making the effort to use railcards and subsidised travel, it only takes a couple of journeys to effectively get your next one for free, so don’t slack!
Subscribe to emails and download apps
Our last tip to get you on the road to free student stuff is if you enjoy the service of a brand or use them regularly, why not download their app or subscribe to their newsletters and emails? Very often, companies offer free stuff via their apps and send deals via email, so you’ll be the first to know and won’t miss out. For example, McDonalds often offers free food for its app users. Free nuggets? Yes please.
Hopefully this handy student guide to free stuff will get you on the right track to being a savvy shopper. Get free food, cashback, discounted travel and more.
You can discover more about ways to save and earn extra money right here on this site, too. Learn more about the following: