Hacks so you can enjoy London on a budget
Blog post by Zoe Price
London is a great city, but it is not necessarily the most affordable city to live in. While there are budget restaurants and free things to do in London, living in the city can be challenging when you are on a tight budget. You have to be extra creative with how you spend your money.
Life as a student in London is equally challenging. You have a strict budget to follow but you still want to have a lot of fun in between classes and assignments. Worry not, because surviving life as a student in London can still be a lot of fun, even when you are on a tight budget.
Travel expenses are among the costs you can save immediately without sacrificing comfort or efficiency. Linking the 18+ Oyster Card and the 16-25 Railcard lets you save more with every trip you take. You immediately have access to the entire city with these two cards in hand.
You should also consider walking more or investing in a good bicycle. London is friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. There are bike lanes everywhere and many areas are safe to explore on foot.
If you want to make a bigger investment but save more in the long run, getting a scooter is also highly recommended. You can get to your destinations faster and more affordably in most cases; scooters are even more economical than public transport at times.
To really travel without spending too much, however, you want to be smarter with the trips you make. Instead of going to the supermarket several times a week, for example, try planning ahead and reducing that number to just once every other week.
Living closer to the university is another great way to live in London on a budget. Top universities like the University of Westminster are strategically located near residential areas, so finding a good accommodation on a budget is not difficult at all.
According to Uni Compare, the average accommodation cost near the University of Westminster is well below £200 per week. A great way to save more is by sharing the cost of accommodation with one or two roommates. You can use the site to check on other features on-campus, such as the University of Westminster library.
Of course, the accommodation cost isn’t the only expense you can reduce by sharing. Cost-sharing also helps reduce the cost of meals, utilities, and more. Cooking a meal for three or more people is significantly cheaper than dining out or ordering in.
Sharing the cost of textbooks is the next thing you want to try. This takes a bit of planning, but you can schedule classes differently and share the cost of books and other course materials with friends who are taking the same classes at different times.
Go for Discounts
Discounts are incredibly easy to find these days. Not using the best discounts when making purchases is a waste of money-saving opportunities. You have sites like Groupon offering access to online deals. There are also digital coupons that you can use offline.
Apps and websites filled with searchable, sortable discounts are also easy to find. Some apps even go as far as displaying discounts and special offers near you using location information. you can save on anything from clothes to entertainment.
Speaking of entertainment, seek student discounts if you want to enjoy London’s bustling nightlife with friends. There are plenty of Students’ Nights to enjoy; being a student comes with perks like discounts on food and beverages as well as no entry fee.
Don’t forget that you can also get freebies (and samples) to save even more. That actually brings us to our last tip.
Instead of going to a tourist attraction, visit museums or explore different parts of the city. Instead of buying full-size bottles of skincare or beauty products, ask for samples first and only buy products that you know you can use.
Freebies are equally easy to find in London. There are free music performances and concerts to attend. Free tours and courses are just as easy to find. Don’t forget to check out our Freebies section here on Broke In London if you want more free stuff.
Even better, you now have sites like Gumtree offering access to more free stuff. Browse through the platform and you will find things like an old sofa or storage boxes being offered for free. The possibilities are endless!
Gumtree, in particular, is backed by a great community. If you take advantage of the free items available on the platform, consider returning the favour and offering the belongings you no longer use for free on the site.
These are four simple tips you can apply right away, but they are tips that will make life as a student in London that much friendlier to your wallet. Even when you are on a tight budget, there are ways to have fun and get what you need in the city.