All students want to belong. We want to belong to societies, friends, partners. We want to be part of a community. Perhaps just as important, we want to save money. Whether it’s an extra five quid to spend at the Union or saving up for a Reading Week trip to Amsterdam, everyone likes to think that they are being smart with their money.
The issue lies in the fact that saving money isn’t always easy. In St Andrews, it can cost £20 to go out to lunch, and we’ve all experienced the frustrating feeling of our bank accounts notifying us of the ten tequila shots we bought the night before. While we tend to spend a lot of money on non-essentials, finding straightforward and convenient systems to save money just seems like too much effort to a lot of students.
However, if we managed to save a few pounds every time we bought lunch, or taxied from DRA, or went for a haircut at Spoiled, we could better afford those cringe nights of buying shots for your friend’s flat mate’s lab partner.
Saintpass seems to be the most efficient and effective way to save that extra money in St Andrews. Businesses such as Rocca, Forgans, Dominos, M&Co, Spoiled and Jo Malone agreed to be part of this new community: a community which aims to save students money, while encouraging them to support local businesses.
In practice, Saintpass is an open membership group which allows student members to receive discounts at all partnering businesses. Saintpass receives no funding from the Student Association or the University, but its commitment to students as well as local shops and restaurants makes it a community in St Andrews worth being a part of.
Over 1,500 students are currently members of Saintpass, along with 50 plus businesses, but founding member Jonah Lowenstein says that this is only the beginning. As of now, Saintpass members use physical cards which can be presented at Saintpass businesses in order to receive prearranged discounts. However, looking to the future, Jonah sees Saintpass becoming a digital based system.
Much like the concept of Apple Pay and London based HR company Perkbox, the future of Saintpass looks to become a digital “pay back” system in which students can essentially be paid for shopping locally, just by taping their debit cards on a machine. Jonah envisions an app like system in which notifications would recommend discounts to students at varying businesses around town. The more transactions each student makes, the more they save and the more local business benefit.
While Saintpass operates as an open community, welcoming all to participate and engage, St Andrews is known for its exclusive committees and societies. Many of these offer hearty discounts at big name local businesses, and members of these societies feel a certain loyalty towards their sponsors. These society-business partnerships benefit both parties, yet Saintpass merely does the same but on a non-exclusive, nearly all-encompassing basis.
On the topic of membership and participation Jonah commented, “There is no perfect Saintpass user”. Some students will join to save money, others will to support their local business, and still others to be a part of a larger community. Popular groups such as BPM have partnered with Saintpass to allow members access to their event’s coveted tickets. In this way, Saintpass seems to be making St Andrews more accessible to everyone in more than one way.
Only time will tell if Saintpass becomes an integral part of student life here in St Andrews, but the only direction they look to be going is up.