National Student Money Week – The Cost-of-living Crisis

(Credit – Josh Appel at Unsplash)

Hi there KCL! With all that’s currently going on in the world and the economy nowadays, I know it can be challenging at the moment for us students to afford the cost-of-living. Lots of us feel like our loans, grants and savings aren’t going as far as they once might’ve in the past, and are looking for ways to ease these financial burdens.

Having faced these difficulties a number of times as a student before, and knowing how much it affects not just my university experience but also my overall well-being, I wanted to write this blog to show how we can survive in the cost-of-living crisis today.

Although financial life isn’t the easiest here in London, applying some basic tips has definitely helped me a lot, and here I am sharing with you some crucial information I wish I knew when I moved to London for you to enjoy the city and not have an empty wallet!

  • Be smart about food!

 Food will be one of my biggest expenses. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to spend less in the supermarket.

To reduce these costs, consider cooking with your housemates, being mindful of your food expenses and utilizing budget-friendly recipes found online.

One strategy is to do a weekly bulk shop and to be mindful of what you buy. This will encourage you to think more about what you’re eating and will help you buy less than you budgeted for. Shopping at the end of the day, when supermarkets often reduce items they can’t sell as fresh tomorrow, can also help save money.

Consider purchasing supermarket-own brands and trying the value option, and buying in bulk. This can help save money as everything is cheaper in larger quantities, as long as you’ll actually use it. Additionally, by teaching myself how to cook, I can save money and spend quality time with my housemates, while also improving my cooking skills.

  • Don’t jump straight to buying textbooks

We all know the feeling of considering whether those expensive textbooks are really necessary purchases for us. When it comes to buying textbooks, the cost can be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that not all books on your reading list are essential, and buying them brand new can sometimes be a waste of money. A smart move would be to wait and determine which core texts are truly necessary, and even then consider buying them second-hand from older students.

Additionally, borrowing from the library is always an option. While it might be difficult to find enough copies of key texts in the library, you can always try to request them!

Also, it’s worth noting that there is usually a second-hand market for textbooks, where students who no longer need them can sell them at a lower cost. I’ve often asked our university bookshop (which can guide you in the right direction) or checked online forums to see if any students are selling their textbooks! (Just make sure to check the edition before buying as textbooks do go out of date.)

  • Cut your utility costs

This is probably the most obvious sign of the cost-of-living crisis – the bills! Reducing your electricity, heating, and other utility bills could definitely make a HUGE difference at the end of your month.

One tip I have, especially now in the middle of winter, is to limit hot water usage by taking shorter showers. This conserves hot water and definitely lowers your heating bill. Additionally, something I recently started to incorporate would be to start washing your clothes at a lower temperature preventing shrinking AND to reduce the cost of your bills.

In the UK proper insulation is crucial in reducing heating costs. Don’t forget that you can ask your landlord to start investing in draft stoppers or weather stripping to cut down heat loss through drafty windows and doors. This will help lower your heating bill and keep you comfortable without overspending. Lastly (and something I have to remind myself of all the time) remember to also try not to keep the heating on all the time, especially when everyone is out of the house, or sleeping.

Another great way to save on utility bills is to make sure you’re using appliances efficiently. We all love washing machines and dishwashers, but it’s best to only run them when they’re full (and choose the energy-saving option if available!). My last tip about utilities is that you should absolutely unplug electronics when they are not needed, as they can still use electricity even when turned off or in so-called ‘standby mode’.

  • Last but not least – where you live!

Many university students face the decision of whether to move out of their family home and into student housing, whether it be on or off campus or to live at home while commuting to university. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks, living on campus can provide a sense of independence and the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the college experience, but can also be expensive. On the other hand, living at home while commuting to the university can save money on rent, but it may limit opportunities for social interaction and involvement on campus. Ultimately, we can give you advice on the costs as Money Mentors, but it’s important for each student to weigh the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you.

I hope this has helped ease your difficulties in the cost-of-living crisis, and the Money Mentors are always here if you need further advice! See you soon!

Anmoyul Mohon
King’s Student Money Mentor
Part of Money & Housing Advice

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts.

National Student Money Week – Reducing Costs & Saving:

(Credit – Towfiqu Barbhuiya at Unsplash)

Hi there KCL! With the cost-of-living crisis hitting all of us quite hard, we know lots of you will be looking extra hard for ways to save money at the moment.

With that in mind, we thought we’d want to share with you some ‘money diaries’ a couple of our mentors have been keeping, to show you the real-life ways they’ve been spending and reducing their own costs lately!

Mentor 1

Hi guys, I kept this diary from Friday 17thJanuary to Tuesday 21st:


  • On Thursday night I had a sleepover at my friend’s flat because we wanted to catch up. She lives in Euston so that meant I had to get the tube back to my flat on Friday morning. This only cost £2.50 because I travelled during off-peak times.
  • Over the half-term, my younger sister came to visit me in London Bridge. We decided to play minigolf at ‘Plonk’ in Borough Market. An adult ticket here cost £12.50 which is slightly cheaper than other minigolf places.
  • After golf, we walked around London Bridge and got pastries at ‘Ole and steen’ bakery. I bought 3 different treats for us to share which came to a total of £11.85.
  • This was around lunchtime and we were still a bit hungry so went to KFC for a quick snack to last us until dinner. We each chose the wrap of the day which cost £3.96 for both.
  • Later on, we decided to walk to ‘Wagamama’ for dinner. I ordered an £11.25 chicken katsu curry. The good thing about Wagamama is that the food comes in big portions, so you can definitely have a lot to take home.

Daily total – £42.06


  • On Saturday I had plans to go into central London to celebrate my cousin’s 25th birthday. I had to take the tube from Borough to Tottenham Court Road which cost £2.50, again at an off-peak time.
  • For his birthday we went to ‘Boom battle bar’ which has lots of different food and drink options as well as many activities to do. We did augmented darts and axe throwing, which cost £7 and £12 each respectively, both cheaper than booking these activities elsewhere.
  • The return tube journey was again £2.50 (instead of an Uber which would’ve cost us £15)

Daily total – £24.00


  • On Sunday I went to a coffee shop to get some revision done. I don’t like the taste of coffee so instead I ordered a hot chocolate, which cost £3 – as an NHS Student, I’m always checking Blue Light Card because they sometimes have discounts on hot drinks in coffee shops.
  • As I woke up a bit late, I chose to combine breakfast and lunch to make brunch using ingredients I already had in my fridge. However, for dinner I stopped off at Aldi on the way home from the coffee shop and picked up some ingredients to make dinner. This came to around £4.50 (Aldi is one of the cheapest supermarkets in London).

Daily total – £7.50


  • On Mondays I have my hospital placement in Denmark Hill. To get there, I have to take the bus from my flat which cost £1.65 each way, so £3.30 for the whole trip. Remember if you need to change buses in London, the Hopper fare means that you wont be charged for taking multiple buses in the same hour.
  • Whilst at placement I vary what I have for lunch, and so on this day I chose to go to the Student Centre canteen which charges £6.00 for a main meal –  if you’re on a placement, make sure to ask about employee discounts.
  • On the way home, I stopped off at Sainsburys to pick up some food for dinner, which cost around £3.50

Daily total – £12.80


  • On Tuesday I went to Waterloo Campus. I decided to walk there instead of taking the bus as it took around the same amount of time and would be free.
  • For lunch I got a meal deal as it was quick and easy so this cost £3.40, as I’m using a Tesco Clubcard.
  • After my teaching session I got the bus to see my friend at UCL as I was already halfway there, being in Waterloo. This cost £1.65.
  • Normally I’d get the tube back home from her flat however I wanted to get the bus this day as I had a bit of spare time and it would be cheaper – this cost another £1.65 on the way home.
  • For dinner I did not have to buy anything new as I still had leftovers from the day before – ‘meal prep’ is key!

Daily total – £6.70

Weekly total – £93.06

Reflecting on my week: Overall, I spent quite a lot of money this week compared to what I would normally spend however this was mainly since my sister and cousin came to visit during their half term therefore we did a lot of activities together. I think next time we could try and all cook dinner together instead of going out for a meal as this would save money and be a fun activity for us to do. I tried to reduce my costs in other ways during the week such as walking to campus however I think I could still adjust in order to improve this even more, such as bringing a packed lunch to placement, so I don’t have to spend money in the canteen.

Mentor 2

Hi guys, I also want to share my money diary from Friday 17th-Tuesday 21st:


  • I wake up at 6:45am and make home-made pasta with vegetables and tofu to take to uni as I know it’ll be a long day (I remember to pack a fork this time)
  • Class doesn’t start until 11, so I head in to uni from the flat I rent with three friends just after peak train times end to get a cheaper ticket.
  • On the train I listen to Spotify – £5.99 a month for Student Spotify Premium and it’s worth every penny as I listen to music every moment I can (and is £4 a month cheaper than the normal subscription).
  • I tap out at the barrier with my Oyster card to which I paired my 16-25 Railcard for 1/3 off on off-peak travel. Using the handy TfL Oyster Card App I can see the breakdown of all my routes and costs. Traveling in was £2.05.
  • After class I head to The Vault Kitchen in Bush House with some course mates. I choose my go-to £1.50 baked potato with beans and salad…you just can’t beat that price for a substantial meal in London!
  • It’s now 3:30pm and I meet a friend outside the library who is visiting from Austria for the week – we plan to go climbing with KCL Climbing Society in Vauxhall
  • On the way, we pass the Royal Courts of Justice. It’s free entry and open to the public. I want to show my friend the inside of the old building so we go inside –and spend 30 minutes walking around the building where live court cases were being held.
  • We decide to walk to Vauxhall – a 40-minute walk but it’s nice weather so may as well save on transport costs.
  • Passing by Strand campus I fill mine and my friend’s water bottle up for free at the water fountain, and then we head off.
  • En-route I realise how hungry I am and decide to give in and buy a sandwich – £3.40 because I’m using a Clubcard.
  • Climbing – £8.50 with my university membership and my using my own climbing shoes which I otherwise would have to rent.
  • After climbing with my friends from the society, I eat my pasta I cooked this morning, and then we all walk to the nearest Spoons (a 25-minute walk from the climbing centre) for a pub quiz one of the group organised. I have one free drink – the result of winning a climbing challenge – and then chose the cheapest ale later on for a second (£3.99).

Daily total – £25.43


  • Wake up at 07:45. I cycle to my local Parkrun – a free, 5km run that is open to everyone regardless of fitness level with great community vibes.
  • After cycling back, I head in on the overground train to meet friends who are visiting for the day (£2.05 for the train in).
  • We walk around for a few hours exploring Soho, and then grab Venezuelan food at Embankment food market – £8.50 but it tasted great!
  • Train back was £2.05.

Daily total – £12.60


  • Sundays are my day to chill and prep for the week ahead, but I need a weekly food shop! I take my rucksack and cycle to the nearest Lidl.
  • I check the Lidl app for discounts and activate a free bakery item coupon – a loaf of freshly baked bread, result!
  • At the checkout I scan the app again to collect points and save a digital receipt (£23.45).
  • Lidl’s vegetarian range isn’t that extensive, so I cycle back via Sainsburys to grab some vegetarian meatballs (£3.50) – I use Sainsbury’s Nectar App too as every purchase adds points.
  • The rest of the day I relax and do assignments for my course.
  • I do my monthly analysis of payments and budgeting – using Blackbullion’s online budget calculator.

Daily total – £25.43


  • Wake up 6:45am. Uni starts at 9am, so I leave the flat at 8am and cycle the 13.5 km journey – it’s great cycling past so many famous landmarks on the way in!
  • £1.50 potato at the Vault Kitchen at lunch.
  • Study with friends in our departmental common room.
  • Hungry before the 6pm guest lecture – I resort to buying a muffin and sandwich from student shop in King’s building (£7.05) – you can get this cheaper from elsewhere, but I’m short on time and need the energy.
  • Cook dinner at home (squash risotto) with food from Lidl, then catch up with flatmates.

Daily total – £8.55


  • Tuesday’s are my quietest timetable day at uni.
  • Today I have a dental check-up – £23.80 as an NHS patient, but if you’re from a lower-income family you can fill out the HC1 form to get this reimbursed.
  • I like studying at the library, so I cycle instead of taking a tube to the Strand Campus. I request a book for my dissertation – £25 saved as the library will buy it themselves!
  • At uni I head to the King’s Language Centre. I complete my language homework and then use the ‘PressReader’ account that the uni has a membership to so I can read the latest newspapers from around the world for free.
  • I also log into The Economist to read an article related to my course – this university-covered subscription alone saves £10 a month compared to the digital student deal which is fantastic.
  • After cycling back home, I cook and then write up this diary – as a Money Mentor, I’m paid London Living Wage by King’s for the work I do – such a great job! You can apply to be a Money Mentor too – keep an eye open for applications.

Daily total – £23.80

Total for the week: £95.81

Reflecting on my week: Overall, I feel like I had a okay week in terms of reducing costs as this was still below my own personal weekly budget. I made a few simple substitutions, such as cycling instead of driving or taking public transport, to cut down on my costs, and having relatively inexpensive meals, such as the jacket potato from The Vault. I hope my money diary also shows that you can enjoy the things you like to do without having to completely blow your budget.

Just by making a few substitutions and smart choices, you can see that our mentors saved so much money. We hope that showing these diaries to you can show you how you can have relatively low-cost days out in London and still have fun! Happy saving!

Shivam Chotai
King’s Student Money Mentor
Part of Money & Housing Advice

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts.

National Student Money Week – Extra support from King’s

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

In recent times, there has been increasing global economic hardship. Students, especially those at university, are greatly feeling the impact of this situation. There can be a lot of anxiety and worry regarding how one might survive at university and withstand the current financial situation. As a result of this, King’s has created various avenues for people to receive extra financial support. Never fear, KCL is here to help! 

Funding Provided by KCL 

King’s College London provides different types of loans. Scholarships and bursaries for people in need of extra financial support. These include: 

  • King’s Living bursary (available to home fee students with household earnings of £42,875 and less);
  • King’s Hardship Fund (available to home fee students who are undergraduates, postgraduates or on an NHS funded year);
  • International Hardship Fund (available to international, EU students or those who have made financial provision for their studies but have experienced an unforeseen change of circumstances). 

Where to find information on all the funding 

In addition to what is stated above, there are many more funding opportunities available. Below are the respective links with articles detailing what these opportunities are, and how to get them: 

What loans, grants or scholarships can I get from King’s? 

I’m having money difficulties, where can I find support? 

Hardship Funds 

I’m an International student, what financial support can I access? 

What are the fees and funding options available for undergraduate study? 

If there is any confusion on the information within this blog, do not hesitate to contact the Money Mentors or the Specialist Advisors in the Money & Housing Advice team

Aminuoritse Jemide
King’s Student Money Mentor
Part of Money & Housing Advice

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts.