We have gathered together our top tips on how to make your money go further whilst studying at the IoPPN. Remember (hopefully!) we won’t be cash-strapped students forever but taking on board some of the advice below might really help you to save some pounds!
- London is big, getting around can be costly but not if you live near to the IoPPN!
An important thing to think about before you start your postgraduate degree is how much contact time your course requires. How many days a week will you be at university? How close do you plan to live to the IoPPN? These are questions I considered before I arrived at King’s. I initially contemplated commuting from home (I only live an hour away by train) as my course only required me to be at university three days of the week. However, I wanted to live near to campus to make travel to my clinical placement, and to campus for any extra work much easier.
Living near to your campus (or searching for accommodation nearby) is a good idea, because travelling to and within London can be costly. The nearest university owned accommodation is Champion Hill – it is only a 10 minute walk from the IoPPN and it was voted Best Students House at the 2015 CUBO Award. Make sure you consider that there will be both undergraduates and postgraduate students. Other nearby locations to look for flats or houseshares include Denmark Hill, Camberwell, Peckham, East Dulwich, Brixton and Herne Hill, do a little google search of these areas to get a feel for where you might like to live.
- Being a student means lots of deals & discounts
Reap the benefits of your return to education by signing up to all and any of the student deals and discount cards offered in the UK and London. Getting an NUS extra card can save you money on everything from clothes to gym membership – take a look at the website to see the full list of discounts offered. A one-year card costs £12, however I’d recommend getting a 3-yeard card (even if your course is only 1 year-long!) Another good discount site to sign up to, especially for the fashion conscious, is Unidays as they offer student discounts on lots of things including online clothing stores like ASOS, Missguided and Topman.
Also notably, many UK banks offer perks for opening a student account with them. For example Santander offer new members a 16-25 person railcard which saves you a third on rail travel. Other banks like Natwest offer students a tastecard which gives you 2 for 1 or 50% off discounts at over 6,350 UK restaurants, including chains like BananaTree, Papajohn’s, Zizzi’s and (my personal favourite) Pizza Express. More specific to London, the majority of theatres and cinemas offer concessions for students which is a good thing to look into.
Basically there’s lots of savings to be had, just make sure you wave your student card about to make the most of your student status!
- Maximise your tuition fees
There are lots of free lectures, seminars, training courses and events available to us both as students at the IoPPN and the wider KCL community. Make sure you take advantage of this. Postgraduate study is definitely no light task and you will feel swamped with work and like you can’t go to events at more centrally located campuses, but luckily there is so much on at the IoPPN. The best approach is to make extra events part of the time you spend at campus. There’s so much on, in fact too much to list but you get all of the events and talk information in a nice summary email every week – what more could you ask for? Also, another money saving tip is using the talks as coffee breaks as there is usually free coffee and cake at weekly seminars or guest lectures. Regarding training courses, the library service provides several academic training courses from things like scientific writing to poster presentation skills at all the different KCL campuses, so make sure you look out for those as spaces fill up quickly.
- Commuting to university on a budget
Getting an Oyster card straight away is highly recommended and make sure you add your student rail card to it. I commute from Surrey and I drive to the nearest station in Zone 6 so that I can pay with my Oyster and it is much more affordable. (I also park in residential parking near the station and walk 5/10 minutes to save money on station parking!) Oyster auto-top-up is great, you just set it up with your bank account and don’t need to worry about topping up. Make sure you understand the tapping in and out system properly because otherwise you are charged the maximum price for the day, even if you only made one trip. If you do commute, it is important to find out how many days a week you are going to be in university. I manage to fit my extra activities at King’s around lectures to avoid commuting to London on days that I don’t need to.
- Making the most of the careers service
Finally, this top tip may be the best way to not only make your money go further, but also help you to make money! Ultimately the careers service can help you to land that dream job after graduation. For an interesting read about what IOPPN graduates generally do after completing their degree, check out the IoPPN Grad Stats . This web page provides lots of information from median salaries to the most popular employment sectors. Gaining experience is really important alongside your degree, internships are advertised throughout the year on a really easy to use website called Careerconnect. Internships can be completed alongside your degree or arranged after you have completed your degree, and many of these opportunities are paid.
The IoPPN also sets up lots of careers events and networking opportunities that I have found really useful and motivating. When you start the job hunt the careers department are there to guide you through the process and offer one to one sessions to improve your CV, interview technique sessions and even practise assessment centres. I have only named a few services on offer so I highly recommend investigating this area further. Also keep in mind that King’s will support you with almost exactly the same service for 2 years after your graduation. I know it seems like a long time away now, but this may be really useful for your future and a great way to make the most of your money at King’s!
We really hope we’ve got you thinking about the best ways to save money, spend money and make money during your postgraduate degree.
Sarah and Tamsin