Money-saving Tips for Thrifty Freshers

Following a fantastic Freshers’ Week, you’re now starting to get into the rhythm of uni life proper, balancing academic work, social commitments and day-to-day living.  This week, Money Mentor Claire is on hand to give her top tips for making the most of uni life, whilst looking after your money.

Top Tips for Fresher’s

So you have started Uni  – congrats! Welcome to the best years of your life.

As a third year student, I feel ancient by now, but there are a few things I wish I knew when I first started. Here are 4 tips to help you have fun, discover new things and get fit without breaking the bank.

1. Free Events

buzzBecause uni hasn’t properly started yet, and introduction lectures usually don’t fill their one hour timetabled slot, you may leave campus early with a loss of things to do. You end up going straight home as you think doing anything in London will be expensive. Think again. Websites like Londonist ( and London On The Inside ( have sections where they post, cheap and even free activities and events. They continuously update it so it is worth checking it out regularly to find ways to spice up your schedule.

 2. Apps

Lots of apps will reward you for doing very little: Harris & Hoole will give you a free coffee when you first download the app, Drinki will give you a free drink at certain bars with a check-in on Facebook, Happihour posts deals and sometimes a Flash Sale giveaway if you are lucky.

King’s Move is also perfect for King’s students. From free hot drinks to King’s clothing, you can easily stack up points by linking any sort of exercise to the app. Plus, rewards change throughout the year, so keep an eye open for new ones to re-motivate you.

 3Cheap Nights Out

After you buy a new outfit, new make up and a drink or two ready for your night out, the last thing you want to do is hand over another tenner to the guy at the door to buy a ticket – all of these things add up pretty quickly. My advice is to check for deals and discounts before you go. Often putting your name on the ‘cheap list’ on the Club Facebook Page, or going on their special ‘Student Nights’ can get you entry for half the price. Sometimes, you may even be allowed in for free if you dress up in line with the theme – do it! You may feel stupid at first, but convince a couple of friends to join you and it will be a laugh. Plus, it makes the night a lot more memorable and gives you a great story to tell in the future.

4Free Fitness

So after a few late night pizzas, and 3am kebabs and cheesy chips, you are starting to feel a bit groggy. Do not despair! While joining a gym may seems like a large commitment, and you don’t want to fork out hundreds of pounds on a year’s membership you aren’t sure you will even use, there are alternatives.

The North Face holds free training sessions every Tuesday evening at 6.15pm at their store in Regent Street, where they provide all the equipment needed for strength training, and then take you for a jog to Hyde Park.

Sweaty Betty offers free classes at their stores, and classes encompass everything from Yoga to HIIT.

Also, watch out for new gym openings – often they will give you a free day, or weekend, or even whole week pass. Fitness First also lets you trial their gym for one day if you sign up online, and as far as I know, this offer runs all year around.

So go forth and have fun! Remember that you are only a Fresher once so embrace all opportunities.

(I would like to point out that I am in no way endorsed by any of the brands or apps mentioned above. I am only spreading the word based on my own experiences)

Healthy Eating on the Go

Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of a busy period at university or work, it can seem difficult to make room for the things we need to do to look after our well-being.  However, with a little forethought and planning, there are steps that we can take to practise self-care even when things get hectic.  In this post, student dietitians Harriet, Elisabeth and Caroline aka Fight The Fads share some of their top tips for eating healthily (and fitting in some all-important exercise) on the go.


 Top tips for healthy eating for busy people and busy lives:

We’ve just finished our first clinical placement shadowing dietitians in busy London hospitals.

This got us thinking about how hard it is to stick to a healthy schedule if you work nights, regularly do shift work or are just generally a very busy student. Often time restraints mean fitting in exercise is hard and less healthy convenience foods are the easiest choice.

So we’ve put together some tips on how to stay healthy when you work long shifts:

Healthy Snack Ideas

When you’re tired you’re more likely to reach for junk food because it’s easier. This is why it’s really important to have healthy snacks on hand.

-Celery, carrots, cucumber sticks with dip (hummus, salsa, raita)

-Walnuts and radishes – sounds weird but actually a good combination!

-Chunks of apple and cheese – we prefer plain cheddar, but feta or brie is also great

-Yogurt with fresh fruit

-Oatcakes and peanut butter

– Cereal bars: choose carefully!

Stick to bars that have a sugar and fat content of less than 5g / 100g

Stay hydrated

-Thirst is often confused for hunger so can be a cause of over eating

-Take a refillable bottle of water to work with you

– If you find water boring try adding red berries or mint and cucumber to jazz it up a bit

Exercise when you can

– It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, just making a small effort will make all the difference

-If you have a job that means you sit for long periods of time- try standing up at your desk while you’re on the phone or writing emails – it all makes a difference!

-Find stairs at work and walk up and down them a few times during your shift.

-You could even bust out a few lunges while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil!

Night Shifts

-If you can roughly stick to the ‘regular’ meal times then even better!

-If you are working the night shift try eating breakfast as soon as you get home, lunch when you wake up and dinner before you start work.

-You can then pack healthy snacks to take to work and incorporate protein into these so you stay feeling full.

-Eating large meals during the night can cause heartburn, gas, or constipation. It can also make you feel sleepy and sluggish. Be careful not to overeat on the job.

-Implementing a schedule and sticking to it day by day will help your body get into a routine and your metabolism will be running smoothly if it has regular feeding times.

-It can be hard at first but try not to skip meals, this will only slow down your metabolism and leave you feeling tired and grumpy.

Plan your meals

-Planning and pre-preparing all your meals is key to eating healthy on a busy schedule- this can also help you save money as you only buy the foods you know you will use from the supermarket.

-The last thing you want to be doing is cooking when you are tired and hungry, so it’s easy to go for less healthy ready meals or snacks when you get home.

-Cook as much as you can beforehand so that all you have to do is heat up your food when you get home (or wake up if you’re working night shifts)

-This can be doing things such as grilling chicken breast, steaming vegetables, boiling rice/ pasta. It helps to do this for a few days in advance so you aren’t spending time each day doing it. We normally do one cooking day on Sunday and another on Wednesday when we are at university.



Student Support Spotlight: Private Accommodation, House Hunting and Flatmate Finding

Finding private accommodation in London can feel daunting as you move from either living at home, university halls or even from renting outside of London or the UK. The Student Advice Team Housing Advisors are here to help you to understand how to find somewhere to rent, what your options are and to provide you with information about what you should look out for. We are also here to support you if things go wrong.

housing advice
This is a busy time for students looking for somewhere to live, so we have a lot going on over the next few weeks to help you with any questions or concerns you may have. Further information about what is on offer is detailed below:

Private Housing Helpdesk now open! – 24 August-6 September

Trained Student Services Ambassadors and Housing Advisors are available to speak to you about private accommodation. We can offer general information and guidance about searching plus more specialist support and advice can be requested, so please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have.

Contract checking is available as part of the Helpdesk Service – please contact us to check availability.

You can drop-in and see us between 12.30-16.30 on Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays* at G05 Henriette Raphael House, Guy’s Campus.

You can also call us on: 020 7848 6860 or email us at

Private Accommodation Live Chats:

Offered as part of the Helpdesk service we will be available to speak to you online from 2pm-4pm on Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays*

*there is some variation of opening times throughout Welcome Week (19-24 Sep) so please check for full details.

Flatmate Finder events:

Join us for a chance to meet fellow King’s students looking for somewhere to live or who have spare rooms available. Chat house-hunting and get to know each other over refreshments.

Thursday 1 September – 15.00-17.00 (Strand Campus – Registration at KCLSU lobby, Level -2 Macadam Building)
This event includes a private housing talk by a University of London Housing Advisor.

Click here to book a place at this event

Thursday 8 September – 15.00-17.00 (Strand Campus – Registration at KCLSU lobby, Level -2 Macadam Building)
This event includes a private housing talk by a University of London Housing Advisor.

Click here to book a place at this event

Monday 19 September – 17.00-18.00 (Strand Campus – Registration at S-2.23)
This event will be running as part of the weeks Welcome activities. It will follow the private accommodation talk.

Click here to book a place at this event

Tuesday 20 September – 18.00-19.30 (Guy’s Campus – Registration at Henriette Raphael House, Function Room)
This event will be running as part of the weeks Welcome activities. It will follow the private accommodation talk.

Click here to book a place at this event

Unable to attend a Flatmate Finder event?

You can join our KCL Flatmate Finder Facebook group which is open to current and prospective King’s students. The Flatmate Finder group is in place to provide a forum for students to find other students looking for accommodation and flatmates.

(Note that we do not endorse any property or room so you need to exercise the same caution as you would if you found an ad on another website/group).

To join the group please complete this form and then send a request through Facebook by clicking the link at the bottom of the form.

ULHS House Hunting Days

The University of London Housing Services are also hosting two house-hunting days in September which are open to University of London Students. Full details here:

Term time support:

We are still available to support you during term time when the helpdesk closes.

Private accommodation information is available on our website:

We also have weekly drop-ins across campus where you can come and speak to an advisor without an appointment. Times and locations are listed here – the updated timetable will be available shortly:

Alternatively, you can complete an Online Enquiry Form:

A member of the Advice team will then assist you with your enquiry based on your preferences. We offer appointments face to face, over the phone and even via Skype!

If you have a housing-related enquiry you can email and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.