Vouch for your financial future by clipping some coupons

Take advantage of the many codes available for online discounts to keep your finances in check

Collecting vouchers and cutting out coupons may once have been associated with prudent housewives and penniless pensioners, but it's becoming increasingly popular with a generation of savvy students. Struggling to make their money last the duration of their courses, many are turning to internet vouchers to help stretch out their student loan. The proliferation of online vouchers for everything from theme park tickets to free cookies means there's no excuse for three years of baked beans and pints down the pub.

"I use voucher websites a lot," says Lawrence Eagling, 20, a second-year student at the University of Southampton. "It means I can go out more often, because things that are usually expensive, like going to the cinema or eating out, become more affordable."

Like many of his friends, Eagling rarely goes out for a meal without downloading a voucher first. "It's well worth taking the time to look for one if it cuts your bill in half," he says.

One of the most popular places for student vouchers is studentbeans.com. More than 500,000 students have registered since it was founded by graduates Michael and James Eder in 2005. "Students can save a huge amount of money looking online or offline," says James. "We are committed to finding the best deals for students, so whether that is going out and negotiating deals on behalf of students, or bringing together some of the best deals on the web, we try to make sure we do the searching so students don't have to.

"Make a rule to only buy with a discount voucher, code or similar. You'll be hard-pressed to find an online shop that doesn't offer some student or new customer discount."

Popular voucher downloads include two-for-one cinema tickets and meal deals at restaurant chains, but it also promotes cheap gym memberships, insurance deals and discounted newspaper subscriptions.

James advises students to buy items online rather than in shops. "As a rule, nearly everything is cheaper online, and students get extra benefits on top of standard online prices. Laptops, textbooks, meals, gigs – you can save on essentials and treats."

The National Union of Students gives its cardholders cheap deals online, as well as offering discounts on the high street. Their website, nus.org.uk, has links to offers ranging from books at Amazon to burgers at McDonald's.

Students can also take advantage of a variety of voucher websites which, although not specifically targeted at the student market, offer worthwhile discounts and savings. As a rule, it is better to use reputable, well-known sites as some smaller sites host broken links or out-of-date vouchers that are not accepted in stores.

A good source for vouchers is moneysavingexpert.com/vouchers. Dan Plant, from moneysavingexpert.com, says: "Retailers regularly release vouchers online now, which can either be printed off and taken into stores, or used as a discount code on shopping websites. Gap, H&M, American Apparel and loads more often have these – we collect all the legitimate ones."

The vouchercloud.com website is also useful. You can search for items and services within a specified radius of your location and, if you own a smart phone, you can download a mobile discount app from vouchercloud.com/download to check for discounts on the go. It's the first app of its kind in the UK.

Following these websites on Facebook or Twitter is an easy way of staying up to date with the latest offers. Social networking websites themselves often advertise offers and deals aimed at students, but Plant advises: "Do your research to make sure you're getting a genuinely good deal. This can be looking at other sites, or going out into the real world to compare prices."

Shopping for discounts on the internet isn't all about vouchers, however. Comparison websites are a helpful tool for students to find the best deals, which is especially important when it comes to buying more expensive items, such as laptops.

"If you're shopping for a particular item, 'shopping robot' websites such as foundem.co.uk and pricerunner.co.uk search multiple online shops for you in one click to find the cheapest price for CDs, gadgets, clothes and more," says Plant. "We've built a special free tool, at megashopbot.com, that combines all the best robots to get the biggest range of shops in one click."

Music fans who want to buy songs and albums cheaply online should go to tunechecker.com, which allows you to search for an artist or song title and then compares the results from different online retailers. Better still, music can be listened to for free on spotify.com, which is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its huge range of genres and artists – providing you don't mind listening to adverts.

Another website great for getting you free stuff is freecycle.org. It enables members to give away unwanted items, allowing you to pick up a washing machine, barbecue, or anything else that you might want but cannot afford absolutely free. You also gain environmental brownie points, as it helps the environment by reducing the amount thrown into landfill.

Students can also save themselves some money by getting cash back from their online purchases through websites such as topcashback.co.uk and quidco.com. These give you a small percentage of your money back whenever you make purchases with an online retailer that you have reached through their website.

If you're still struggling to balance your finances, there are some free websites that can help you to manage your money. A quick and easy way to balance your income with your spending, ensuring that you don't lose track, is offered by www.studentcalculator.org.uk.

Shopping around and planning ahead are two of the main ways that students can save money by going online, and the widespread use of vouchers among students means that there is no stigma attached to them, assures Eagling. "No one thinks you're cheap, it's just the normal thing to do," he says. "I'm a student – I'm not going to pay full price when I don't have to."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + + uncapped commission + benefits: SThree: Did you ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + benefits + uncapped commission: SThree: Did you kn...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence