Postgraduate study: come for the learning, stay for the discounts!
OK, maybe there are more important reasons to study. But look: we all know life as a student isn’t cheap. By the time you tally up your fees, books & materials, the cost of living in Auckland (eeek!), the cost of accommodation in Auckland (EEEK!) and any foregone earnings (um, let’s stop counting shall we?) it can be very expensive to study.
Among the few financial upsides to student life are the sweet, sweet discounts. Cheap(er) food, movies, and bills, woohoo!
But for postgraduate students, it’s sometimes unclear which of those discounts you can access. Some discount schemes are marketed toward undergrads – so what’s the deal if you’re doing a research programme? Since this is a postgrad research blog, we’ve done the legwork for you by finding out exactly which discounts you can access as a research student.
The good news is that most student discounts simply require a student ID – which of course you have whether you’re doing research or coursework (or both). So flash that card and get cheap stuff!
Here are some of the best discounts available to NZ students (postgrad and undergrad) in 2022. As an AUT blog, we’ve included our special AUT deals too!
Student discount memberships
First and foremost, let’s talk about ways to unlock dozens (if not hundreds) of discounts at once.
StudentCard is NZ’s best-established student discount membership scheme and pretty much has the market cornered for local deals. They have negotiated discounts with dozens of NZ’s big-name retailers as well as smaller local businesses. A card costs $20, but then you can get deals on everything from fast food to adventure travel, as well as more left-field items like dentists’ appointments and storage lockers. Check out the full range of discounts here. They run the gamut, so this membership is great for those who want an all-purpose discount option.
Other student discount memberships
Although StudentCard dominates in NZ, there are a few other international schemes open to NZ members. UNiDAYS is free to join, and is strong on fashion and health & beauty – so if you like to shop online for new looks then this is a great option. StudentBeans is another scheme with some decent deals for online shopping. Don’t expect many local discounts, but they do include major retailers like ASOS and Vistaprint.
Essentials & bills
Most major banks offer some kind of tertiary account package, including ASB, ANZ, BNZ, the Co-operative Bank, and TSB. The specifics (and eligibility critieria) vary between banks, so do check the fine print. But in general, they often include fees-free accounts, discounted loan rates, interest-free overdrafts, and occasionally little freebies. In many cases, tertiary accounts can be transitioned to graduate accounts (with moderate discounts) when you complete your studies.
For international students, Westpac offers a student account package that can include a New Zealand account in your home currency. ASB also offers to package its tertiary account with foreign currency account/s for international students.
Phone & internet
Some telcos offer bonus deals with a student ID. At 2degrees, students can get 500MB extra data per weekend. At Spark, it’s a year of 1GB monthly bonus data and free calls to Spark mobiles and landlines. Make sure you enquire with them and check whether your plan is eligible to access these deals.
Several ISPs appear to have discontinued their student discounts over the past year. However if you go via StudentCard, you can still get $15/mo off your broadband with Slingshot.
And… technically this one isn’t a student-exclusive deal, but it is the ultimate student saviour: free wifi! You can find connections on campus, at all Auckland Libraries, many parts of the Auckland CBD, some other council-run venues such as public transport terminals and art galleries, and some cafes. Many Spark customers can also get 1GB per day of free wifi at the pink-and-white Spark phone boxes.
Public transport is significantly cheaper with an AT HOP tertiary concession. The process of registering your concession onto your HOP card involves a few steps and an application form, but the concession lasts up to 3 years (as long as you remain eligible). It gives you at least 20% off most bus, train, and ferry travel around Auckland, and travelling off-peak gives you even better discounts. If you use public transport daily, that can add up to major savings.
Standard student movie ticket prices are usually only $2-3 cheaper than full adult prices – at Auckland rates, that’s often still over $20 for a single movie ticket.
The deepest discounts come via loyalty schemes. At Event Cinemas Queen St (just down the road from the city campus), a Cinebuzz student card brings the price of a ticket way down to $10 for a standard 2D session. A Cinebuzz card also works at Rialto Newmarket, where you can catch arthouse and international movies for $13 on Tuesdays or $15.50-$16 at other times. The discounts aren’t quite as good, but the movies are often a little different to what you’ll find in the typical multiplex.
Or, for a cheap movie with no membership sign-up, visit Academy Cinemas (next to the Auckland City Library). They offer $14 tickets with student ID, or… wait for it… $5 tickets on Wednesdays! Take your friends and/or a date on Wednesdays – the cheap tickets are for everyone. It’s a popular promotion though, so get in early to ensure your place.
Spotify is the only streaming service we can find that offers a student discount in 2022. On the plus side, the deal is a good one. They offer a half-price rate of $7.49/mo for Spotify Premium, with a free month thrown in as well. This only applies with a student ID and if you’re new to Premium.
You can have a cheap day out at Western Springs. MOTAT (the Museum of Transport and Technology) and the Auckland Zoo are right next to each other, and both offer student discounts. Get $10 MOTAT tickets (usually $19), and $19 day passes to the Auckland Zoo (usually $24) for a big day out under $30 total. Bonus: your MOTAT ticket includes a tram ride between the venues.
There are also heaps of action & adventure deals with local tourism providers through StudentCard (see above). Highlights include discounted bungy jumping, skydiving, escape rooms, go-karting, laser tag, and lots more.
Food & drink
AUT students are well-served for affordable food. Refuel (on the city campus) and KaiFe (on the south campus) offer super-cheap $6.50 hot meals. Try the breakfast (7:30am – 10am) or lunch (10am – 3pm) buffets. You can also get this deal with the convenience of a pre-paid meal plan (purchase from the AUT Shop). Opening hours and buffet times vary outside of semesters, so check online in advance.
You can also access lots (lots) of dining deals with the StudentCard. It unlocks discounts at Dominos, Bird on Wire, Revive, Best Ugly Bagels, Mad Mex, The Coffee Club, Hollywood Bakery, Giapo, and many more.
It’s also a fast-track to cheap coffee on the AUT campus. Your StudentCard will get you $3 small hot drinks at AUT’s own #newsfeed, KaiFe, the Counter, and Refuel cafes. Cheap coffee FTW!
Apple and Microsoft both offer their education pricing to tertiary students, so you can save a chunk of change on that new laptop or tablet. Samsung also has a student discount scheme with deals of up to 50% off RRP. If that’s not enough, PB Tech is doing back-to-uni deals on a range of devices until the end of March – just enter STUDY22 as your coupon code online, and show your student ID card in-store.
And before you go spending lots on software, remember that AUT students get Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus for free. That means you don’t need to pay for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote or OneDrive for Business. Details here.
Do you know of more student discounts not listed here? Add them in the comments!