Review of Student Beans

By admin
Category: Financial | Date: Sat 01 Nov, 2008

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I’d be looking at some student discount sites and giving you the rundown on each. Here’s the first of those articles, a review of Student Beans.

Basics about the Student Beans site

The Student Beans site holds a collection of student discount offers, some exclusive to the site and others which are available to any students regardless of whether they’re members of Student Beans. It also features a magazine (the Beanzine), quizzes, competitions and more.

It’s free to register on the Student Beans site(you’ll need to register in order to access the vouchers for offers, and to use the forums). You can, however, access much of the content without registering.

When you register, you’ll be asked to pick your university from the list, and to select your home town. You need to use a non academic email address.

Download the “Money Manual” ebook

The free “Money Manual” ebook is worth a read.You don’t need to register on the site to download it, and it covers basic information about your student loan, other sources of funding, bank accounts, credit cards and overdrafts, and how to save money. If you’re reasonably financially-savvy, there won’t be much new to you but seeing as it’s free, you might still want to skim it.

Try the supermarket Value brands. Some might be inedible, but with some things you might be pleasantly surprised. (Apparently Sainsbury’s Basics is the best).

I agree with them on the Sainsbury’s Basics range – I particularly recommend the 11p tins of red kidney beans!

I should warn you that, at times, some of the advice can be a little bit “Duh, really?”

Also, retailers like Wilkinsons, Poundland and Woolworths will sell stationary far cheaper than shops like Paperchase and Partners.

Browse the Offers

The offers are split into categories like:

  • Entertainment
  • Books and software
  • Travel
  • (rather bizarrely) Hair and health

The “Eating out” section had some good offers, like 2-for-1 on burgers at the Fine Burger Company and the Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and “buy 6 classic cookies, get 6 free” at Mille’s cookies. The site gives you a voucher to print with your name on it (the name you entered when you registered – so make sure you use your real name!) The vouchers I looked at appeared to only be valid for a week from the time of printing.

You can also get a 20% Domino’s discount, and buy-one-get-one-free on subs at Subway.

It’s a nice, easy to navigate selection of offers. My one caveat is to be wary that you don’t end up spending extra just to take advantage of an offer; I could buy six cookies at the college café for less than it would cost to buy six at Millies, for instance…

Note that some of the offers, like the one for Microsoft Office 2007 from The Ultimate Steal, aren’t specific to Student Beans, and you don’t need to be registered on Student Beans to get them – however, the site does act as a good directory for finding these general student offers.

Read the Beanzine

Student Beans also has the Beanzine, which covers money-related articles like:

But it’s not just finances – the writers for Beanzine cover health, entertainment, technology and student life in general.I particularly liked the advice in the article For the quiet people … Having fun at Uni:

The pub is great for chatting, a few soft drinks and a quick go on the Itbox or a game of pool.

It’s far more sociable than a bar or club and you get to chat to everyone while they’ll still remember it!

The Beanzine has new articles daily, so it could be worth bookmarking and checking back occasionally to see if there’s anything of interest. (The three newest items are displayed at the top.) Alternatively, you can browse through the categories – see the links on the purple navigation bar.

The quality of writing does vary a bit, as most of the articles are by students, but it’s still worth a read if you want a bit of down-time.

Ali’s Verdict

I like the Student Beans site. It’s easy to navigate, fun to use, and best of all, entirely free to join. There’s a decent range of offers – without being overwhelming – and the Beanzine is a nice magazine with some good articles. Probably a good site to bookmark and keep in mind when you’re considering where to go out for a meal, or what takeaway to order.

The range of offers is a bit limited, but I’d rather have a few offers that I’ll actually use than a load of vouchers for stuff I don’t want.

Over to you

Check out the Student Beans site and let us know what you think. Have you taken – or would you take – advantage of any of the offers on there? What are your favourite articles on the Beanzine?

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