Best tips on budgeting in London
By Henna Patel from inspiringinterns.com
Being a student on a budget and living in London can be tricky, seeing as the capital is one pricey place to live and socialise. Regardless, there are a number of things you can do in order to save those pennies and be more responsible with your money while you’re studying in London.
#1 | Make the most out of your student card
You’ll probably have a student ID card that you use to get into uni buildings, the library, and when you’re taking exams. Don’t take this card for granted! The next time you eat out or go shopping, ask a member of staff if they give student discounts.
#2 | Open a student bank account
Most high street banks have offers designed just for students. Do your research on different banks to see what student perks they have. Look at their overdraft limits – it’s always handy to have a generous interest-free limit while you’re studying just in case you’re a little low on money. Some banks also offer new students free gifts to encourage them to sign up, like a 16-25 railcard.
#3 | Be a smart supermarket shopper
When you head to the shops, do some price comparison with the different brands, and try to stick to unbranded items which tend to be cheaper and just as good quality. Try to shop in the evenings too, as you’ll be treated to some yellow sticker items with reduced prices. You’ll probably see a lot of bread items that are due to go out of date. Take them home and freeze them to use another day.
#4 | Cook together
Cooking together can be really fun and a great way to bond as a group. It’s also a smart money saving technique. Go shopping for the ingredients together and split the cost. There are loads of free recipes online to choose from, which means you won’t need to spend any cash on recipe books.
#5 | Scout the discounts
When heading out for a meal, look online for discount codes and vouchers. A lot of high street chains will have some knocking about on the net. Check out Voucher Codes. They also advertise discounts for high street shops too. Another great site for university students is UNiDAYS. Sign up online using your university learning portal login, get the app, and you’re good to go.
#6 | Be smart about London public transport
Apps and information online can help you save some money while travelling the city. Use Citymapper to check different routes and how much they cost. Pick the cheapest one, and you’re ready to use your Oyster Card or contactless card to travel around. Both these cards charge the same amount, so use whichever is most convenient for you.
#7 | Head to free events
London is bursting with free events and sights. Head to museums and galleries like V&A and Natural History Museum. Walk around London’s top markets including Borough and Portobello Road, or take a stroll around Hampstead Heath and Boxhill. You can find some free and fun events advertised on TimeOut.
#8 | Buy second hand books
It can be tempting to buy all recommended module books, but it really isn’t affordable. Pick the ones you’ll definitely need and explore local charity shops and markets. Also, Amazon sell second hand books at much cheaper prices than brand new reads. They may not be as shiny but they will be much more economical.
#9 | Get a job
A holiday job or part-time work could really help your finances. They’ll boost your funds while at university, add to your CV, and help you meet new people. If you’re interested in freelance work, you may be able to do this alongside your studies without too much stress.
#10 | Budget!
Last but not least, make a budgeting plan and stick to it! Create a spreadsheet with all your outgoings and any income, and then create a spending limit. It will help you keep an eye on your finances, so they don’t get too messy or get in the way of you focusing on your studies.