Published: 25 May 2020
London is an incredible city to live and study in, with all the opportunities for work and social life that you get with one of the world’s busiest cities. But it’s no secret that living and studying in London can be expensive. With accommodation costs, transport, food and other living expenses, budgeting is a skill university students have to learn early. Take a look at some of our top tips for living in London on a student budget.
1) Know what you’re spending
The only way to control how much you’re spending is to know how much you’ve spent. Whether you keep a handwritten notebook or a spreadsheet going, tracking your money is vital. Your bank should have a website where you can see how much you’re taking out or charging to your debit or credit cards. But if you’re paying with cash, it’s worth writing down what you spent and why in a note in your phone. Top tip: save your receipts as a helpful reminder of how much you spent.
2) Stick to your budget
This might be the hardest thing to do for some people, but the key to managing your money as a student is to not spend more than you plan for. So, for example, if you plan on eating out or getting a takeaway once a week, give yourself £30 to spend in one week and don’t go over! It’s that simple. Try taking out the money on Monday so if it runs out before Sunday you’re not tempted to keep spending.
3) Have an emergency fund
If you find yourself reaching the end of the month with less than £0 in your account, you might want to set yourself a limit. Try seeing your last £100 as an emergency fund that you can only spend if you have absolutely no other choice. That way you always have a little safeguard.
4) Vouchers and discounts
One of the best things about being a student is the access you have to a huge range of deals and discounts. Try using the NUS Totum card, which gives you hundreds of discounts just for students on everything from food shops to spa days. Or take a look at sites including Student Beans and MyUniDays, both of which have a long list of deals that change all the time.
5) Cut spending on books
A lot of students worry about the cost of the books they’ll need to study and get the grades they deserve. But there are so many options for free and discounted academic books that this should never be an issue. First of all, make sure you check out the University of Sunderland Library. Because of the lockdown, it’s currently closed. But they can give you access to a huge number of all the most important journals you’ll need by visiting their website. You can also find lots of academic books for reduced prices if you look around the internet. AbeBooks is one of the better resources.