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Being a student in one of the most expensive cities in the world can be challenging, and receiving your loan may feel like a seat on the northern line at 8am - a rare but delightful treat. Some will say enjoy it while you can - buy those shoes you’ve always wanted, splurge away because, what a time it is to be alive with a four digit number in your bank account.

But those who know what it’s like to live in a £5 a pint city will encourage budgeting and making sure you have enough saved for a rainy day because as we all know once it rains, it pours and next thing you know you’re scraping by with beans on toast for the foreseeable future.

So here are some tips on how to take advantage of the perks of living in London as a student and keeping your bank account looking healthy all year round, come rain or shine.


Once your rent and bills are done and dusted, food will likely be the second greatest expenditure - so stock up while you can! Cooking can be daunting for some people, but you’re not alone (according to Sainsbury’s Finance, 20% of new university students cannot even boil an egg) so think of it as a joint learning experience for everyone! Get familiar with online recipes, because cooking in bulk can drastically save your money and time. Resist the urge to grab a take-away and stock up on canned food or frozen food for the nights when you’re snowed in with work or need something quick because you’ve had a hell of a night out. Loyalty cards and yellow sticker supermarket bargains will soon become your new best friends so get acquainted with them if you’re not already!


Transport in London is no joke. After all it is London and many of us will bond over our love/hate relationship with TFL (Transport for London). Although travel prices are not cheap, being a student offers a ray of hope. You can save hundreds of pounds each month by applying for a 18+ student Oyster card; you’ll get 30% off the price of adult-rate travel costs. Students can also buy a 16-25 railcard (even if you’re not 16-25), which allows for further discounts for the Tube as well as National Rail.

Enjoy the university bubble

The Union does its best to ease the pain of living in Central London by creating places and spaces that will save you money. The gym, bars, and cafes all keep everything at student friendly prices. Think pints starting from £2.50, wine from £1.90, and coffees at a fraction of the cost of Costa.

Use what’s around

For nights in, you can always swap Netflix with DVD loans from the library or the Film Society (if you’re a member). In fact, joining one or several clubs & societies is an easy way to get access to a variety of resources and some great discounts like cheap tickets to events or restaurant outings. London is expensive, but your experience here is important, and there’s almost always something going on at an affordable price.

Part-time jobs

Lastly but importantly, instead of watching your balance decrease day by day, why not use your spare time to keep those figures up. The Union’s Jobshop provides new part-time job adverts all the time to help you earn some extra cash. They also put all of their jobs on there, all of which are flexible and pay London Living Wage.

By Kimberley Law - First year MA, History