Hello January! This month we’re getting serious and talking about money. That’s right, we’re going to give you our hottest tips on managing your finances so you can make the most of your London experience as a student.
Managing your own money for the first time can seem daunting, so let’s break it down.
If you’re living in halls you’re probably lucky enough to be able to walk to uni. This is a great way to save some dollar. However, with London being the grey rainy city we know and love, that’s not always possible. No need to fear! There are a few options to make transport as cost-efficient as possible, and it all depends on how often you use it. There’s the 16-25 railcard, which gives you 1/3 off pay-as-you-go off-peak tube fares within zones 1-6, and 1/3 off UK rail network. This is a great option for those who have to take trains regularly, travel home often, or tend to travel outside rush-hour. The second option is 18+ Student Oyster Photocard. This offers full-time students 30% off all monthly travel cards, which include travel by bus, overground and underground. (Sadly, there is no discount on pay-as-you-go.) Finally, for all you fit and eco-friendly students, cycling. If you have the luxury of not having to travel far in your daily routine this is the best option. It’s cheap and doubles up as a work-out!
We often underestimate the impact eating has on our wallet, so here are our top tips to get you saving. Uni routines are hectic. It’s easy to forget to buy groceries and so typical to get home knackered with cooking being the last thing you want to do. We’ve all been there. So, here is our suggestion: cook in large batches. It’s truly a life-saver. You’ll avoid the hassle of having to cook when you’re busy, stressed, or just can’t be bothered! All instances in which you would likely end up ordering takeout (expensive!) Trust us, your bank account will love you for it. Here are some suggestions of cheap & easy recipes.
Another snazzy tip are packed-lunches. Thought you were done with them after school? Think again.Taking food with you to uni makes all the difference, because trust us, all those meal deals add up. Try planning out your food in advance and taking it with you as often as possible. Having said that, we know how it goes, there’s always that day you’re not able to pack yourself a sandwich. Don’t fret, we have a suggestion: student union venues. They’recheaper than other lunch options and very conveniently located to grab a bite between classes. At Guys Campus you have The Shed (my personal favourite), at Strand you have The Shack, and at Denmark hill there’s the IoPPN cafeteria.
Whether it’s chilled nights in, club nights out, arts, or all the weird and wonderful in between, there is no cheaper time to explore London than when you’re a student. One of our favourite things about this city is that most museums and galleries are free! This makes for a great culture-filled day trip with never-ending options, from the Science Museum to the National Portrait Gallery (Tate-date anyone?). Another great way of finding free and fun events is Timeout magazine and website. They even have a blog with the top free things to do in London, check it out!
As you’ve probably noticed, student discounts are a real thing, and a wonderful one at that. Firstly, always carry your student ID with you, you never know when you might find a deal, always be prepared. Many shops have student discounts but might not promote it so also don’t be afraid to ask. Apps like Unidays and StudentBeans are incredibly helpful, offering discounts on anything from Mac books to pizza. Once you verify your student status you can access hundreds of deals both online and in-store!
Budgeting is a pain, but once you get the hang of it it’ll become an incredibly helpful skill in the long run. The sooner you start mastering it the more you’ll be able to make of your uni experience. If you need more help with money matters you’ve got the helpful Money Mentors on campus, always ready to lend a hand. They have loads of useful tips on how to budget and can teach you some useful saving-hacks. Another good resource is https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ which offers expert advice on ways to save on practical matters such as bills, travel, insurance, etc.
That’s all from us, happy budgeting!