Cost of Living: Shopping

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SU services, resources and tips

Swap Shop

Get a whole new wardrobe for free through our Swap Shop! Simply bring in items of clothing you no longer want and either swap for another item or get a stamp on your loyalty card to use another time. Check back here for updates on the launch!

Student discounts

Student discounts have to be the biggest perk of uni, so ask for them everywhere! Don't be shy to ask everywhere you go, the worst anyone can say is no. You'd be surprised at the amount of places that do offer a discount and, even if it's as small as 5%, it all adds up.

If you're shopping online and the retailer doesn't offer a student discount, try something as simple as Googling 'discount codes' for wherever you're shopping. There isn't always a discount available but, on the occasions there are, it's worth it to save a few quid. This tends to work with things like coach tickets and hotels too.

External services and products

Shop pre-loved

Never buy new. If you're buying anything, consider looking on community selling sites such as Marketplace and eBay first - you can often find things for a fraction of the price.

Similarly with clothes, you can often find bargains or even get an entire new outfit for free. Before hitting the high street or online brands, have a look on pre-loved clothes platforms like Vinted, Depop and The Swap Shop. You could save a fortune and even stop unwanted items going to landfill.

Student discounts

Whilst your SHU Card will get you student discounts in many places, there are other ways to get even more. Totum is a student discount card provided by NUS, which you can purchase for a small price. Discounts often go further than your SHU Card and can be valid in more places. If you're a third year, you can even buy a 3 year card for just £24.99, which will give you student discount for 3 years after you finish uni!

If you want more discounts but don't want to pay for a Totum card, you can use apps like Unidays & Student Beans which act as student ID to gain access to discounts both online and on the high street.

Save the Student provides free, impartial advice to students on how to make money go further. They give up-to-date information on the latest shopping deals and discounts, as well as resources, blog posts, and articles on how to save money in all areas of student life.

Phone network incentives

If you're with one of the major phone network providers, it's likely that there will be a rewards app for you. Three (Three+), O2 (Priority), Vodafone (VeryMe) and Voxi (Drops), all offer rewards that give you access to weekly freebies, discounts and priority booking for events. Regular freebies often include coffees, pastries, and even beer!

If you're with EE, giffgaff, O2, Three, or Vodafone, you can access Airtime Rewards and earn cashback to use against your phone bill. Simply download the app and link the card you use to pay with and you'll earn money as you pay for everyday items.

Community apps

Olio is an app where users can list unwanted items and connect with people who can make use of them. It's mostly food products but there are other items on there too. Some businesses also use Olio so, whilst it's sometimes sparse, you could end up picking up some good food for free. Similarly, you can list any items you won't use to help minimise waste.

Cashback sites

An easy way to make money as you spend it is by using one of many cashback sites or apps. Sites like TopCashBack and Quidco are easy to use; just search for the retailer you want to buy from, follow the link from your cash back provider to the retailer's website, and then continue to shop as normal. The provider tracks the purchase and adds the cashback amount into your account, ready to be sent to your bank account when you request it. Processing cashback sometimes takes a few weeks but it's worth the wait. Some of the best cashback rates tend to be for bigger purchases such as hotels, insurance, and travel tickets, but there are plenty available for smaller purchases too. It's worth noting that different providers have different cashback amounts for different retailers, so it's always worth comparing to see where has the best deal.

Loyalty schemes

Supermarket loyalty schemes can also be an easy way to make money as you spend, and sometimes even get freebies. Asda Rewards, Tesco Clubcard, Lidl Plus, My Morrisons, M&S Sparks, and Nectar all offer different rewards for shopping at their stores, ranging from cashback to freebies and even wine tasting!

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