As a part-time student living in London who is always looking to save wherever I can, there’s a few tips and tricks I have learnt along the way that I’d love to share with you guys.
Hopper Fare: One of my favourite ways to save is taking the bus as my preferred mode of transport, rather than the train or tube as its only £1.50. It may take slightly longer to get to where I’m going, so I use the extra time to do some extra reading while enjoying the sights. The London Hopper Fare allows you to make unlimited journeys for free within one hour of first touching in using pay as you go (contactless or Oyster) on the bus, or tram – as long as you use the same card! You can find out more on their website.
Nights in: Rather than going all out on lots of nights out, why not spend a fun night in with your flatmates or friends? You could have a chill movie night or games night and save a lot of money in the process, while having just as much (if not more) fun as on a night out! Cheap supermarket wine tastes a lot better than cheap bar wine too…
I am currently studying the Early Interventions in Psychosis Msc, and living at home with my parents about an hour away from the Denmark Hill campus. The course has lectures for only 2 days a week, which is pretty handy as I don’t have to travel everyday. However, even living at home, saving money can be a daily struggle; here are a few tips that have gotten me by:
Budgeting: The number one thing I would recommend is having a set amount of money that you are going to spend each month, depending on your income and expenses. A really useful app that has helped achieve this is called Monzo! In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a free mobile banking app that can track all your spending and automatically divide them into categories, e.g. travel, shopping, food which makes it easier to see where you’re spending your money the most (ultimately, this makes me feel guilty for eating out too much). And it also has a budgeting tool, where you can set a limit on you what you spend each month! By creating a limit, it has allowed to spend just what I need and also saving any extra income on the side!
Student deals: I NEVER leave the house without bringing my student ID with me, just in case some shops or restaurant that will have some sort of student discount! There are also apps like Unidays or Student Beans that you can download, which will show you the places that offer discounts, both in store and online!
Lunch from home: It might require more effort in the morning, but I always try to bring packed-lunch from home in order to save a little bit more money on food. For the coffee lovers out there like me, I would recommend buying a flask and some coffee sachets that you can bring, get it filled up with hot water in the café or water machines in the canteen, and enjoy your delicious coffee during lectures or long revision sessions in the library!
18+ travel card: Even though I only have lectures twice a week, I still go to Central London for events and meetups during the week and I have calculated that it is cheaper to buy a 1 month travel card (Zones 1-2), rather than doing pay-as-you-go, as students get 30% off full adult price. However, this may be dependent on which part of London you may live as zones 3-6 will be more expensive, so make sure to do your calculations first.
Self-control: My final tip is before you buy something, ask yourself do I really need this? This is important because most of the time it’s just a want, and you may already have a similar jacket or shirt at home that you don’t even wear. So, if you really want to save money, self-control can be an essential skill to have!
Speaking as an international student, funding an MSc can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you are a non-EU student like me. Personally, I am funding my studies through a combination of FAFSA loans from the US government, part-time work, savings, and some help from my parents, but everyone on the course has a unique situation. If you’re curious about how to fund your MSc, you can try looking into scholarships and loans from your home country as well as jobs and scholarships from King’s. While it may seem daunting, there are several ways to manage your finances effectively while studying at King’s.
Part-time work: If you are looking to earn some extra money, you can look at King’s Talent Bank. This lists all on-campus jobs available which are ideal because they offer great work opportunities that you can fit around your schedule. You can also apply to become a Student Ambassador which is really fun, flexible, and rewarding work that allows you to earn as well. In fact, Student Ambassadors are the ones who help run this blog and we have so much fun doing it! The bonus benefit to working an on-campus job is you generally make the London living wage which is currently £10.20 compared to the National Minimum Wage of £7.05. Just remember to check how many hours your student visa allows you to work if applicable. Part-time work might not help you fund your tuition in its entirety, but it will definitely help with your living costs., and can result in some great references on your student record!
Student savings: Aside from ways to earn money, you can also save money using some London living money hacks. Purchasing a Student Oyster card and buying weekly or monthly fares can save you lots of money if you plan on commuting every day. As a bonus, you can attach a railcard from National Rail for ⅓ off fares. Cooking at home versus getting delivery/take-out will also help you stretch your pounds. Student discounts can also be a life-saver when you’re pinching pennies, so check out services like UniDays for things like ASOS discounts and Totem (NUS extra) for general discounts. You King’s student ID card itself can get you discounts as well in random shops around London so carry it around with you in a secure place and ask everywhere you go if they offer perks. Being an international student at King’s comes with many benefits that will help you save and earn money while you study, so I definitely encourage you to use them!
Rae is a part-time student currently living in Southend-on-sea.
Free talks: Look out for free talks and exhibitions, such as the KCL Science Gallery where there are amazing exhibitions exploring a combination of science and art. There’s also tonnes of free museums and galleries around London to explore.
I would also keep an eye out for early bird tickets for subject-relevant events provided by the different KCL societies, such as the Neuroscience society.