by Iris Riddell
It's hard to get to grips with student life, what with moving out of home and trying to pay for rent, food, insurance and everything else that's needed for survival - such as chocolate. Budgets can be tricky things, and when they're tight you need to take every discount or freebie you can lay your hands on.
That's one of the perks of being a student. In any city that has a tertiary institution, it's almost a guarantee that there will be special offers just for you.
It all starts with a Student ID. This handy little card can be presented at heaps of businesses around town for cheap movies, pizza, books, tyres, dance classes and even cat-woman costumes. Generally, a quick flash of the ID will be enough to land you with the discount. In other cases, it could be a one-off and a voucher will also need to be handed over.
So how do you find out what deals are available in your local stomping ground? Some universities and polytechnics print little booklets that are free for any student to come and get. At Wintec, there are deals for the hungry student, the messy student and the musical student, with discounts on Subway meals, carpet cleaning services and reductions on products from the Rock Shop (which sells musical stuff, if you couldn't tell).
Victoria University has a similar booklet, with offers for clothes, stationery, movies and art supplies. Discounts generally range from about 10% to 20% off which is definitely not to be ignored.
In Otago, the local radio station, Radio One, has its own specials for students with its Onecard listing miles of discounts.
If you're not used to having a Student ID, you can find yourself walking out of shops, having forgotten you've got it, thinking “Oh, I probably could have got a discount in there,” which is no fun. Here are some choice tips for getting the most out of your ID card:
- Keep it close to your cash card, or in an obvious place in your wallet. That way it'll be staring you in the face when you go to pay.
- Always ask if there's a discount available. The little booklets often don't list every single offer you can get, so it's always worth asking at the counter. Ask nicely.
- Remember - you can get all around town with a bus card in one hand and a Student ID in the other. Most bus services have deals, and it's a cheap way of roaming the town.
- Read the fine print. There's tricky stuff in there that you need to know, tho' sponsors may wish that you didn't - like the one for pizza where it says you can't get the discount for chicken.
It's also worth checking out the StudentCard website. StudentCard has 60,000 members nationwide and has been operating for over six years very successfully. Once again, there are plenty of offers to choose from and it's accepted everywhere.
Even if the electricity is getting cut off at your flat, assignments are looming over the crest of the next hill and your parents insist on dropping by unexpectedly, with your trusty ID card you can at least guarantee that you won't go hungry. Go on, grab yourself a healthy burger. You're earning it.