Whether you’ve just enrolled in a postgraduate course – or you’re gearing up for another year of study towards your degree – spare a moment amongst all the January calendar planning and stationery shopping to check out how you can save some cash during your year of study!
With inflation going nuts and the cost of living escalating at a depressing rate, student discounts are more relevant and useful than ever. A few bucks off a movie ticket, a little extra data on your phone plan, and a cheap lunch here and there can really help out.
But if you’re a postgraduate research student (and perhaps not fitting the under-25 stereotype of the student) which discounts can you access?
The good news is that many 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 2023. As an AUT blog, we’ve included our special AUT deals too!
Student discount memberships
Want quick access to lots of discounts without having to navigate lots of different deals? Get a membership to a student discount scheme!
StudentCard is incredibly popular with NZ students. It’s the most active student discount scheme here, and offers hundreds of 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 pizza to fashion & cosmetics, as well as more left-field items like shakti mats and skydiving. Check out the full range of discounts – including some at AUT! The selection is enormous, so this membership is great for those who want an all-purpose discount option.
Other student discount memberships
StudentCard pretty much has the market cornered for student deals in NZ. However, there are a few other international schemes open to NZ members. UNiDAYS is a fashion & beauty-focused network with heaps of deals available for online shopping, including local retailers. StudentBeans is another online shopping scheme from England with NZ sign-ups available. Big bonus: both are free to join!
There’s a fair bit of overlap between some of these schemes (i.e. the same retailers offer the same discounts through multiple schemes) so you may find that joining just one or two will cover your needs.
Also: although it’s not specifically a student discount card, bear in mind that many students qualify for a Community Services Card – which can significantly reduce your healthcare costs.
Essentials & bills
Most major banks offer some kind of tertiary account package, including ASB, ANZ, BNZ, Westpac, 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.
Confused by the huge selection? MoneyHub recently published a handy analysis of all the different student account perks and features (they rate ASB’s the best).
Phone & internet
Some telcos offer bonus deals with a student ID. At 2degrees, students can get 1GB extra data per weekend on eligible mobile plans. 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.
Speaking of internet: as a student around town, you will need plenty of 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.
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 traveling off-peak gives you even better discounts. If you use public transport daily, that can add up to major savings.
If you’re driving, you will need to face the challenge of parking on- or near-campus. In Auckland that’s never cheap, but there are ways to make it cheaper than it otherwise would be. City campus: Wilson Parking offers discounted monthly prices for students at many of their city centre carparks. (Of those eligible for discounts, the Symonds St and Kitchener St locations are closest to AUT.) For casual parking, Auckland Transport’s Civic Carpark is often cheaper; and drops down to $2/hr (or $12 max) on weekends. North and South campuses: the usual M-F rates of $1.50/hr or $7.50 max drop down to $1.25/hr or $6.50 max if you pay via the UbiPark app.
Biking to the city campus? Secure and charge your bike for free at one of the 8 Locky Dock parks by the Hikuwai Plaza entrance to Te Mātāpuna (the AUT Library). To lock and unlock your bike, use your AT Hop card or download the Bikeep app.
If you’re off to see a movie, you should know that not all student prices are created equal. ‘Standard’ student movie ticket prices (the kind you get with just your student ID card) 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 $14.50 on Tuesdays or $17-$17.50 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 offers a half-price student 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.
Students can have a cheap day of fun 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. Highlights include discounted high rope activities, bungy jumping, skydiving, escape rooms, go-karting, arcades, 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 $7 hot meals from 7:30am – 3pm. You can also get this deal even cheaper with the convenience of a pre-paid meal plan, which brings the cost down to just $6.50 per meal (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, Best Ugly Bagels, Murder Burger, 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 $4.50 medium hot drinks at AUT’s own #newsfeed, KaiFe, the Counter, and Refuel cafes. A must for those long days in the lab or library!
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. Lenovo and Samsung also have student discount schemes with hefty chunks off their RRP on many devices. If you don’t mind a refurbished or ex-lease device, your StudentCard gets you 15% off at Tech Traders. And for repairs, that same StudentCard can score you 15% off at Advanced Computers.
Need software? Check before you buy! AUT students get Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus for free. That means you don’t need to pay for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneNote or OneDrive for Business. You can also get other software relevant to your study (e.g. EndNote) – log in here to check what is available to you.
If you need to access software from home that you use on AUT computers, check the instructions to access AUT computers remotely. The process takes a little time, but could help avoid an unnecessary software purchase!
Do you know of more student deals not listed here? Add them in the comments!