There is no denying that choosing to live in London isn't the cheap option, however there are ways to cut costs so that you can really make the most of your time living in of the most exciting cities in the world!
Learning to budget your finances is an essential life skill, and Bradley, our second year Accounting student has mastered the art of a saver's London life. To help you out he has created a list of things you can do to control your monthly spending.
If you find these tips useful and want to contact Bradley directly to know more, find him on The Access Platform and send him a message!
- Get hold of a 16-25 Railcard. They normally cost £30 for a year but discounts can be found at certain times online. For the last 2 years Santander have offered a free 3 year railcard if you get a student account with them.
- Whether you are commuting from outside London or are based in London make sure you get a Student Oyster Card and save 30% on underground and overground journeys
- When you can, use the bus instead of the tube. It's much cheaper as a single bus journey costs just £1.50. If you make 2 bus journeys in 90 minutes the second one is free.
- If you do use the tube then make sure to check the London Tube Zone Map. If a nearby station is in a lower number zone than your normal one use it and save money.
- Look out for other places you can use the loyalty card. Example for Nectar if you download the Nectar App you can use your Nectar card online on many websites including; Argos, BP, SouthWest Railway and many more! If you're using trains to commute, buy your tickets on the South Western Railway site and linking your Nectar Card will build up points even faster.
- Buy an NUS card to save money in a huge list of retailers.
- Doing food shopping in the Co-op? Use your NUS card in there for 10% off.
- Sign up to places like Unidays or Student Beans as they offer great discounts on shopping.
- Make meal plans for the week. Planning ahead and writing lists can save you a lot of the money you’d waste on things you don’t need.
- Shop in places such as Lidl and Aldi as they are much cheaper than other supermarkets.
- Look out for vouchers in the newspapers such as The Evening Standard or The Metro money off food or shopping.
- There are some great charity shops in London, which can be great for finding a bargain, especially for fancy dress parties.
- Control the money you spend on bills by getting a smart meter. These little gadgets help you keep on top of how much electric or gas you are using and will indicate where you could cut down.
- If you cook a big dinner separate some up into Tupperware and freeze. This can be a lunch or dinner later on in the week.
- Save water by sharing a bowl of water to do washing up Instead of dishwashers or keeping the water running, save money on your water bill by sharing a bowl.
- Turn off the lights and don't always have the heating on. If it's dark then light candles or use lamps. If it's cold then wear more layers!
- Look on TimeOut London to find the best free places to go in London.
- If you're the designated driver ask at the bar as some places do free soft drinks for the designated driver.
- If you are not prone to losing things then take cash with you on a night out instead of the debit or credit card. You’ll pay attention to the money you’re spending and spend less!
- Pick quiet times to go to the cinema as the tickets will be cheaper. Going to cinemas outside of Zone One can be considerably cheaper, so take a look at the prices of cinema tickets a bit further out for a better deal.
- If you go to the theatre and are looking for cheap tickets then either look online or if you are not fussy turn up to the booth just before the show starts and ask if they have any standby tickets left. They'll sell these tickets for less as something's better than nothing.
Earning Extra Income
- Use JobToday for best part time jobs ideal for students in London.
- Do Mystery Shopping. It's easy and flexible to whenever you want to do it. I personally use BeMyEye to gain extra cash here and there.
- Become a Student Ambassador. A flexible and fun way for me to earn some extra money has been by being a student ambassador at Pearson Business School. It has been a great way to get to know staff, students and the campus whilst getting paid!
We hope this has helped you see that living in London can be done on a budget! If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org