Top Challenges of Studying in London
By Sophie-Anne Bradley, from StudentJob.co.uk
Being a student can be one of the best times of your life, a countless stream of parties and events, a new found independence and the desire to explore your new city. However it all comes at a cost, that’s why we have created this guide so that you can save money whilst experiencing everything that London has to offer!
#1 | Travel Expenses
For transport beyond London, railcards are a great way for students to save money. The 16-25 Railcard will allow you to get 1/3 off rail travel and costs just £30 for the whole year. If you have a Santander student account you can get the card for free for 4 years or with the NUS extra card you can get an 11% discount off the original price of a Railcard.
Check out these discount travel sites for more options to travel around the capital for cheaper!
#2 | Shopping Costs
Once you start university and get your first student loan it is very tempting to go out and spend, spend, spend! However you will soon realise that if you do so you’ll be living off a diet of rice and beans while you wait for your next loan instalment. Luckily there are lots of websites, such as Unidays, which is free to register for and you can get discounts off top brands such as Topshop and Just Eat.
When going food shopping try and resist buying the big brand names as you can often get virtually the same products from supermarket own brands. Also, if you can, try shopping in the evenings as you might find that many supermarkets mark-down the prices of some items at this time to try and get rid of them before the end of the day.
#3 | Entertainment
There are many free events around London that you can take full advantage of, for example Europe’s biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival is held every August and is free to attend, it’s definitely worth a visit if you are a fan of music and great food! If you are more of a museum buff the National History Museum is free to enter, and is a perfect place to take family when they come to visit.
Nights out in London can always end up being costly, but there are plenty of nightclubs that have student nights with offers and discounted drinks. Check out Design My Night for the top student clubs and nights out in London.
#4 | Expensive Rent
The cost of rent is going to vary depending on whether you decide to live in halls of residence or private accommodation. Typically the cost of rent for halls of residence in London is between £100 and £250 per week depending on the area and the standard of accommodation. If you decide to rent private accommodation prices are, on average, more expensive, ranging from around £150 to £300. This again depends on the location of the property and the standard of the accommodation.
Check out these top sites to search for student accommodation and places to stay in London.
#5 | Fitness
After countless nights of drinking and takeaways you might decide that you want to hit the gym, but memberships can be very pricey. The good news is that there are plenty of free options to get your exercise fix in London. Nike Training Classes and the Reebok FitHub are a great way to stay fit and are completely free to attend. There are also exercise parks dotted around London which have gym equipment free to use, find your local ‘Great Outdoor Gym’ here.
If you’re more into Yoga then Yogarise is a great option for you! The classes are every Tuesday at 5pm and Fridays at 11am and because they were established in order to bring a sense of community to London their classes are completely free!
- Budget – It is incredibly important that you draw up a budget when you start university as this will help you determine how much money you will have left after all your outgoings have been paid for.
- Get a job – If you are struggling to make ends meet you might decide to get a part-time job. Not only will you earn a bit of extra cash but you’ll also gain some great experience. Check out Student Job which brings you into direct contact with interesting companies that are looking for temporary, part-time or full-time employees.
- Always check if a shop does student discounts –Most high-street chains offer a discount for students so it’s always worth checking! Make the most of it while you can!
- Second-hand Textbooks – Some textbooks can cost upwards of £50, so before you buy a brand new copy from the uni bookshop have a look on Amazon or eBay for second-hand versions. Often the books are still in great condition and you could end up saving a lot of money!
- Watch TV for free – A TV licence now costs £145.50. Instead of paying this you can watch TV programmes on catch up services on your laptop for free.
- Consider a loan: If you are in desperate need of cash for your studies like a field trip or group holiday that everyone else is going on, you could try a long term loan, where you would have a longer time to pay it back which is more flexible for a student.
All in all, London is a vibrant city with different events happening every day of the week. So with these tips we hope that you are able to experience as much of the city life during your time at university as you possibly can!