It is no surprise that London is expensive, but it can be made easier if you budget and plan your money. There are a few things that can help stretch your money further so you don't have to live off rice and pasta everyday!



The first thing you should consider is: are you commuting or staying in accommodation? Naturally, accommodation is more expensive, but there are a few things that can make it easier on your finances:

  • Consider the zone. The closer you live to the centre (zone 1), the more you generally pay.
  • Do you want to live by yourself or with others? It is more expensive to have your own studio or flat so consider sharing a flat/house with others. It is cheaper the more people you share with and if you share amenitites like bathroons and living areas.
  • Tenancy length can alter the price A LOT! If you don't need your accommodation over the summer, consider a tenancy of around 44 weeks. You may pay more per week, but overall, the cost will probably be lower.


If you are commuting, consider a rail card, student oyster card or a weekly/monthly travel card as, although you may have to pay more all in one go, it can be cheaper overall. Work out the cost per journey for a whole term or even a whole year.

Simple public subway in London
Photo by Joseph Balzano / Unsplash

Part-time Job

Also, a part time job is a great way to earn money, especially on the weekends! Perhaps try and get a role related to your degree but remember YOUR DEGREE COMES FIRST!


Day-to-day Changes

Alternatively, there are simple changes you can make to your day-to-day life which can lower costs:

  • Meal plan and prep (and ditch the branded food). Decide what you are going to have for your meals and prep them in advance. This can help reduce cost per meal.
  • Swap your morning Starbucks for a homemade coffee in a reusable flask. You will save money and be helping the environment!
  • Make your own lunch instead of buying lunch out. It may be a little less tasty, but your bank account will thank you in the long run!
  • Avoid the tube at rush hour as peak fare apply. Alternativley, walk or get the bus. They run frequently and to many locations.
  • Apply for Unidays and get discounts on your favourite brands!

Student Maintenance Loan

Finally, DON'T SPEND YOUR STUDENT MAINTENANCE LOAN ALL AT ONCE! Your maintenance loan comes in three lump-sums throughout the year but, if you can, work out how much per week your loan entitles you to (after paying your rent/bills) and see if you can stick to it. Try not to spend it all during Fresher's Week!

It can be scary at first but, break it down into smaller cost chunks and see where you can minimize your spending. It is a lot easier than it seems!

Cute piggy bank
Photo by Fabian Blank / Unsplash