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Earlier this summer, I discovered an amazing moneysaving tip, thanks to Charlotte Burns, founder of the blog www.lottyearns.co.uk.
We all know that the best money-off offers come from a student discount card like NUS. It makes sense, while students are on a limited budget during their studies, the discounted offers create and grow brand loyalty meaning once they graduate and enter the workforce and see an increase in their disposable income, they will continue to eat, drink and shop at their usual places.
With 40% off on meals out at restaurants such Prezzo, Ask and Pizza Express, your savings can soon add up. If shopping is more your thing, an NUS Extra card will get you discounts at retailers such as ASOS, Apple and Joules. You can even save 10% on your food shopping at the Coop – and that includes alcohol too.
But it turns out, you can get a piece of the action too – even if you don’t go to uni. All you need to do is get your hands on a NUS Extra Card.
Now, I am not suggesting that you break any rules – to qualify for the NUS card, you have to be a legitimate student. But you don’t need to shell out the big money on tuition – you simply need to find a cheap distance learning course.
Here is how I did it:
A few months ago, I signed up for an Introduction to Accounting and Bookkeeping course from Ecareers/Blue Mountain. Normally it would set you back £300, but I got it via Wowcher for a song – just £9. Currently, you can buy an NUS card eligible course from New Skills Academy. The cheapest one on offer is the Accredited Driving Theory & Practical Prep Certificate course for just £9.
Then I went to the NUS website, and registered for my NUS Extra Card (I opted for the three-year version for £32, but one year will only set you back £12), uploaded a photo and a few days later my student card popped through the door.
Eager to recoup my costs (a total of £41 all in), I headed to Amazon.co.uk. I have been a Prime Member since the service launched and make the most of the free delivery as well as TV and music streaming services. Normally, this costs £79 a year, but knowing that students get a discount, I tried my luck.
Not only was Amazon happy to switch me to the Student Membership, with a six-month free trial and then half price membership fee for the next three years, the online giant offered to refund me the £79 annual premium I paid in May – a savings of £199 all in (and that doesn’t even count the value of free trial).
What’s more, there is a sign up incentive on offer: buy an NUS Extra card and receive £25 a free vouchers. It’s a no brainer if you ask me.
BUT ISN’T THIS FRAUD, I HEAR YOU ASK?
I know what you’re thinking – this is too good to be true. Or at least illegal?
I had this very thought myself, so I spoke to a number of legal professionals about when this type of bargain hunting actually becomes breaking the law.
A solicitor at a top London law firm assured me that it was all above board.
He said: “There’s quite a high bar for fraud which requires, among other things, dishonesty. Assuming the condition for obtaining an NUS card is simply to sign up for a course, signing up without the intention of actually doing the course is unlikely to qualify.
He said that it would be difficult for the NUS to show that the potential student had actually acted dishonestly when they might have just changed their mind or stopped attending lectures after getting the card.
“However, a consumer who deliberately switched price labels in a shop and then managed to get a staff member to ring them through the till might potentially be liable for fraud,” he explained.
“Likewise, someone who obtained or sought to use an NUS card without being a registered student at all could potentially be liable for fraud if they presented the card to obtain a discount on goods or services, because they would be dishonestly representing that they were a student.”