It is a universally acknowledged truth that living in London is pricey, in fact many avoid University in London because of this. However, through these mini hacks and useful financial tips, we’ve found that we can help reduce the costs of living in one of the greatest cities in the world. Every penny you save can help add up to having a unique, enjoyable and wonderful experience here in the city. Here’s some advice from the Carrot Editorial Team. Enjoy!
“Explore London for free” – Mansi Vithlani, Editor-in-chief
Everyone knows that the London lifestyle is just too expensive for a student on a budget and often it can be disheartening to plan social events or explore the city when costs are exceptionally high. However, having London as your campus can be the biggest blessing as many sights and museums are free and you can visit many on foot. Having days out at the museums and walking through the parks or along the river will also allow you to see the iconic sights in London and you’ll get a sense of the city. This will help you figure out which areas you’d like to spend more time exploring throughout the year.
“Walk, save and shop cheap” – Anna Fox, Managing Editor
My first piece of advice would be to set up a savings account. This helped me to budget and set an allowance each month, enabling me to go out, but know my limit! In regards to food shopping, meal prep. Lidls new store on Tottenham Court Road is a lifesaver, and will save you money on your weekly food shop. Finally, see the sights of London on foot!! Ditch the Uber’s and walk around the capital with friends, you will not regret it.
“Shop for your books second hand” – Aylin Aliev, City News Editor
I vividly remember being sent my reading list for Year 1 and being excited, I felt like such a grown-up Uni student until I realised how much the books were going to dent my bank account. If I were to buy my books off Amazon my books for the first term would have cost over £200 – however, I realised that websites that I would usually get my reading books from also had textbooks. Although the books I bought weren’t the newest edition, they were still very helpful and contained the relevant material (but it helps to ask your module leader!). Websites I recommend for books: World of Books and AbeBooks.
“Plan, plan, plan” – Becky Gelder, Head of Social Media
I think the money management habit that helped me the most during my undergraduate degree was planning out my meals before going food shopping. It’s such a small change to make, but it meant that my shopping trips were focussed and I didn’t pick up loads of pointless things as I walked down the supermarket aisles. It also stopped me having to go back to the supermarket multiple times per week, meaning I’d be less tempted to buy snacks and extra food then too!
I’ve also found that tracking my spending in a spreadsheet has helped me to recognise exactly what I’m spending my money on, and what I need to cut back on or prioritise.
“Use apps to track your expenses” – Alessandra Lellamo, Social Media Manager
Although living in London as a student can be pricey, don’t stress too much! One of the good things about being a student in London is that there are so many discounts for us! There are a few apps and online subscriptions that give you access to hundreds of student discounts and update you on major deals. Must-have student discount apps are Unidays, TOTUM and Student beans. I would also suggest apps such as Revolut and Monzo to track your expenses and set your budget weekly or monthly, which is something I would definitely recommend to any new student living in London. By managing your expenses you’ll know exactly how much you’ve spent and you’ll be less likely to go over your budget!
“Cook at home” – Claudia Scuturici, PR and Communications Director
Although eating out is a nice treat every now and then, cooking at home has helped me save so much money. You can also freeze the leftovers and save them for another day. Also, if you drink coffee daily, make your coffee at home as well. It might not seem like you spend a lot on your hot drinks, but it adds up.
“Share your expenses” – Yoga Barrathwaj, Head of Design
Apart from the basic ones like getting student discounts for literally everything, I would recommend sharing most expenses. From finding a flat to doing a load of laundry at student halls, share it with people. You will save so much without noticing on a regular basis. Apps like Splitwise help you keep track of shared expenses.