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Uni student discounts & savings for 2024

Students can save up to $2,505 over the year thanks to university perks.

How much can students save?

When heading off to university, most people will tell you that the coming years are the best of your life. While this may be true, our data shows that for most Australians, these years will also leave you with the least amount of money.

Don't get me wrong, being broke isn't all bad. Some of my fondest memories from university came from figuring out how to have a good time with no money. While I'm not recommending that you sneak into gigs and risk a stoush with security - there are other easier ways to save yourself some serious dollars if you know what to look out for.

Finder analysis shows the average student could save up to $2,505 over the year thanks to university perks – equivalent to roughly 12 shifts at the local pub.

These savings could not come at a better time. As the soaring cost of living is being felt all around the country, our data shows young Australians are struggling the most.

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows the average student has $4,332 in savings. Meanwhile, the average Australian working full-time has 9 times that amount with $39,095 in the bank. Full-time students have the least ($2,012) saved while working students have considerably more ($6,653) saved.

GaryHunter_Finder

When I was at uni, someone told me I should put money aside into a savings account. I wish I'd taken their advice. Using our savings data above, a working student would earn an extra $302 in interest over the year by moving their money from a transaction account to a high-interest savings. I'm not sure I'd have been wise enough to keep hold of 300 bucks when I was at uni but it would have been nice to have the option.
— Gary Ross Hunter insurance senior writer

The difference of a few thousand dollars might not sound like a lot. You might justify it to yourself by saying that once you land a high-paying grad role you'll save up the difference in a few months. While this may be true, compounding interest doesn't make it so simple. Assuming the two groups of students add to their balances at a proportional rate to their current savings ($100 per month for full-time students and $330 per month for working students) an original gap of $4,641 in savings balloons into $20,915 after 5 years in a savings account paying 4% interest per year.

Regardless, these lower savings balances of students when compared to the average full-time worker are translating into higher stress levels. The vast majority of students (93%) are somewhat, if not very, stressed about their finances. This is compared to 78% of the total Australian population. So how can students spend less and save more? Below are the most significant student discounts from transport to new tech.

Transport

For students in New South Wales, an Opal concession card offers the best discount by far. Weekly fares are capped at $25 for students with a concession card, which is half the $50 cap for adults. For students who hit the max each week, having a concession card saves them $1,300 over the year.

Here's a rundown of discounts and savings in other states:

  • VIC: Most undergraduate students at a tertiary institution are eligible for a Concession myki. This grants you a 50% discount on travel.
  • QLD: Most undergraduate students at a tertiary institution are eligible for a concession fare. This grants you a 50% discount on travel.
  • SA: A rechargeable concession metroCARD gets you roughly 50% off compared to a regular metroCARD.
  • WA: Anyone enrolled in full-time studies at a WA uni or TAFE can apply for a Tertiary SmartRider for concession fares on WA transport. If you use Autoload you can save a further 20%. WA also offers students travel subsidies for travelling to and from school from geographically isolated locations by air, bus or train.
  • ACT: Full-time students are eligible to apply for a Tertiary MyWay card for discounted travel Transport Canberra bus and light rail services.
  • NT: Uni students in the NT and from other states and territories are eligible for concession fares on public transport. Just show your ID card to the driver to get your discounted fare.
  • TAS: A further 20% discount is applied to travel for full-time students travelling on public bus and ferry services.

Tech

If you're starting uni or are mid-way through a degree, you might be looking to upgrade your tech. The good news is there are a number of tech companies that offer discounts. Students can also sign up to UNiDAYS to receive exclusive discounts across tech products as well as fashion, beauty, fitness and more.

Some of these are permanent offers, such as Apple's education discounts, while others are time-limited:

  • Apple: Education pricing is available for current and newly accepted uni students and their parents, teachers and staff at any level. Savings include discounts across a range of Apple products, including $150 off a MacBook Air.
  • JB Hifi. Student discounts are available for the Apple and Microsoft Surface ranges.
  • Dell. Dell offers a student purchase program to students, parents and education staff.
  • Microsoft. The Microsoft Education Store has a range of discounts available for students, parents and educators.
  • Lonovo. Student pricing is available on various laptops at certain times of the year, so remember to check for deals.

Fitness

Most students can afford to work out at low-fee chain gyms. However, if you're looking for more features to keep you fit, Virgin Active gives students about $15 off their weekly membership fees. This adds up to a saving of $780 over the year. Of course, the student price of $35 is still higher than some budget options.

Here are some gym chains that offer student discounts:

  • Virgin Active
  • Fitness First
  • Anytime Fitness
  • Snap Fitness
  • Jetts Fitness
  • Check out your uni gym

Food

There are plenty of food stores that offer discounts including large chains such as Domino's, Grill'd, Maccas and KFC. Sites such as Student Beans pull together discounts from several places that can be accessed by students.

An extra tip: if you finish up a lecture in the afternoon, look out for takeaway shops doing end-of-day deals. Plenty of eateries and bars close to uni campuses also tend to do student specials, so just ask the staff.

Entertainment

Both Hoyts and Event Cinemas offer student tickets; this seems to be the standard across most cinemas. If you're a big movie buff, the $4 saving on tickets can add up to almost $50 annually if you see a movie each month.

Here are a few of the places you can flash your student card and have fun after your lectures:

  • Hoyts
  • Event Cinemas
  • Village Cinemas
  • Bowling at Strike
  • Holey Moley Mini Golf
  • Streaming music with Spotify or Apple Music
  • Streaming shows with Binge

Phone

Optus only charges students $39 each month compared to $59 for its 100GB SIM-only plan. This saves students a whopping $240 over the first 12 months, after which it converts back to the standard price. Other providers such as Vodafone also offer student-exclusive plans and offers.

You can find our top picks of mobile plans for students here.

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