Being a student in London is incredibly exciting. Bursting at the brim with opportunities, culture, and bustling social activities, it’s one of the greatest cities to study in. However, you’ll find these incredible prospects don’t come at a cheap price. It’s realistic to say that you should expect a slightly different student experience to the classic campus lifestyle that other universities have to offer. However, there are ways to ensure you have an equally as fulfilling and fun experience in London as a student, and we’ve gathered together the 10 best ways to help you save your pennies.
Budget, budget budget. It may sound completely obvious, and what every student-to-be should be thinking of, but having a clear plan of your monthly income and outgoings will be a blessing in this expensive city. We recommend setting up a spreadsheet and allocating specific pots for monthly expenses such as your rent, social activities, bills, and direct debits.
2 – Pick your accommodation wisely
Rent is inevitably very expensive in London and it makes no exceptions for student accommodation. When first moving to London, you’ll have the option of moving into halls or privately rented shared housing. Both come with their pros and cons, so do your research before making a decision. For choosing the perfect accommodation in London, we recommend considering prioritising these factors:
- Location: Is it close to your university/work? This will help you save significantly on travel costs
- Safety: Make sure you chose an area that is safe to get around, especially at nighttime
- Housemates: Consider living with more people to split costs and save money
3 – Get travel savvy
As mentioned above, travel costs can get quite expensive in London. However, as a student you are entitled to 30% off your TFL travel card, so be sure to set this up before you move! London bus services are significantly cheaper than the tube, so download the Citymapper app to see if there’s an alternative route you can take via bus. London is also very flat, which makes it a great city to explore on foot or by bike. If you don’t have your own, renting a Boris bike is a great option for shorter journeys to help save money.
4 – Plan your nights out in advance
Now, we all love a spontaneous night out, however, planning in advance where you can help you save money. Take a look online, check out the best student nights, and save money by paying your entrance fee in advance. Websites like Design My Night are great for finding happy hours and discounted drink prices.
5 – See the city for free
The great thing about London is, you don’t have to spend a penny to have a super fun day out. The city has a lot to offer for free. Why not check out an exhibition, go to a museum, visit a market, or even take a stroll along South Bank or one of the beautiful parks?
6 – Get cooking or enjoy London’s cheaper eats
London really is the foodies paradise. If you’ve already started your student budgeting plan, you may see there’s not a lot left over for fancy meals out, as it can become quite expensive in London. Cooking with friends is a great workaround for this. We also recommend checking out some of the amazing food markets such as Camden, Greenwich, and Broadway market, where you can eat incredible street food with less of a bill.
7 – Find yourself a part-time job
Studying in London can be incredibly demanding, but if you’ve got the time around University life, working in hospitality and retail can be a great way to make extra money, and even meet new people.
8 – Make the most of your student discounts
Make the most of your discounts whilst you’ve got them! As a student in London, you’ll find that you’re entitled to a lot of freebies, check out websites such as Student Beans and Save the Student to make some great savings.
9 – Get thrifty and find bargains
London is an incredible city for charity and thrift shopping. You’ll find incredible bargains for your flat and wardrobe in all areas of London. Perfect for those who love vintage and retro treasures!
10 – Full-time students don’t pay council tax
Lifehack alert! If you’re renting as a student, and everyone in your household is studying full-time, you’re not entitled to pay council tax. This can be very expensive in London, so check to see if this applies to you on the GOV website.