16 Ways to Save Money as a Student in London

Dynamic, historic, and a hub of wining and dining opportunities – there are many reasons why the Big Smoke is attractive to students. But surviving your stay in one of the most expensive cities in the world doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to huddle over a can of baked beans in an unheated flat. Simply by getting smart and wising up, you can enjoy your London life to the fullest and still make sure you stick to your budget.

How to Save Money as a Student in London

  • Entertain yourself for free. London boasts a huge list of attractions that don’t cost a penny, including museums, galleries, churches and parklands.

  • Sign up for an Archway Card. These handy cards encourage holders to use local businesses in the city by offering discounts and deals on everything from shops and cafes to exercise classes. Check their website regularly for updated offers!

  • Ditch the gym. If you kept up a regular gym attendance back home, this might simply not be feasible in London without breaking the bank. Instead get involved in the much cheaper sports clubs at your university, or take advantage of London’s beautiful parks and bridges by taking up jogging.

  • Be travel savvy. Getting about in the city is usually done via the bus and tube systems, in which case bagging yourself an Oyster Card is essential, especially if you’re going to be out and about quite often. You can also find student discounts for railcards and National Express coaches. This article from The Student Blogger gives even more tips for saving money on travel.

  • Scout out the discounts. All students will receive a university card, which can usually secure you some percentage discounts in shops and restaurants – and to unlock your online potential, remember to register with UNiDAYS for a code, in order to use your ID online. And if you want access to an even greater array of deals, get yourself an NUS card for £12 a year.

  • Find the freebies. If you keep your ear to the ground, you can always discover great student freebies, including free coffees, free meals, free cosmetics, and free event tickets. Remember, your birthday is an especially good date to claim a deal or discount. To find out more, the Save the Student site is a great resource that lists the most up-to-date student freebies.

  • Budget, budget, budget. Poor money management is one of the main reasons that students run out of cash. Before the year begins, try to predict how much money will be coming in over the year and set aside a realistic weekly budget for things such as food, travel, entertainment, study equipment, essentials, clothes. Then – stick to it!

  • Choose your bank account wisely. There are many student bank accounts to choose from, some of which offer a good 0% overdraft deal – you want to avoid charges for your overdraft if possible, so make sure to do thorough research on the best deals.

  • Shop smart. When the weekly shop comes round, there are a few easy tricks you can employ to get the most value from your money. Shop at supermarkets that offer student discount, buy in bulk when you can, always compare brands before purchasing, and try ditching pricier items such as meat. Also, if you time it right, you can get your hands on high quality items for a reduced price.

  • Cook your own food. Whilst it can be tempting to embark on a grand tour of London’s eateries, the fact is that dining out too often will empty your wallet faster than you might think. Instead, make use of communal kitchens in your student accommodation and cook your own food as often as possible. Sites like Student Eats have great, tasty recipes you can cook on the cheap as a student.

  • Kitchen know-how. Cooking can sometimes be a wasteful process. Preparing food in bulk is therefore an excellent way to make food last, reducing time, effort and money. Simply dish up the remaining food into tupperware containers and eat for lunch and/or dinner the next day. 

  • Switch energy providers. Even when renting a property, you have every right to switch energy providers if you are paying them directly. Do your research and see who has the best deals on at the moment.

  • Conserve energy. A thick jumper is much cheaper than a hiked-up heating bill. When it comes to student living, the way you use your home and its energy can have a big impact on how much you pay, preserving both your bank account and the planet.

  • Bag yourself some textbook deals. A big part of studying is trawling over tomes, many of which don’t come cheap. Instead make use of the campus library, or check department noticeboards, student social media pages, or eBay to see if anyone is selling them on the cheap.

  • Get a part time job. Working is not off the cards for students. A part-time job will not only line your pocket with more cash, but will also arm you with some valuable experience of the working world.

  • Invest in self-storage. It can be expensive and inconvenient to move your things across the country every term. Getting yourself some self-storage is a great way to keep all your belongings close to you whilst you’re at uni, without having to worry about or organise their transit back home every holiday.

For self-storage in the London area, the team at Vanguard have a wide selection of secure units for you to choose from. Using our 50 years’ experience, we’re able to offer clean and CCTV-protected storage options to students, to keep your belongings in great condition and ready to use at a moment’s notice. Find out more by getting in touch with our friendly team today – we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.