Global Business School for Health


Navigating Student Life in London: 7 Money-Saving Tips

19 March 2024

Our Social Media Ambassador, Kareena Rajani, unveils savvy strategies for students to flourish in London without overspending. From budgeting basics to leveraging student discounts and exploring affordable activities, discover how to make the most of your student experience.


Living in London as a student can be an exciting experience, but it can also be financially challenging. From rent and transportation to groceries and social activities, expenses can quickly add up. However, with a bit of planning and smart budgeting, it's possible to enjoy everything London has to offer without breaking the bank.

In this blog post, we'll explore 7 practical ways for students to save money and make the most of their time in the city.

1. Create a budget:

The first step is to track your weekly expenses against your weekly budget, and yes, having one is very important.

Allocate a portion of your income or budget for essentials such as rent, groceries, and transportation, and set aside some money for savings and discretionary spending.

You might also consider using budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your spending and identify areas where you can cut back. You will be surprised how much coffees add up to in one month, trust me.

2. Take advantage of student discounts: 

Many stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues in London offer discounts for students. Always carry your student ID card and ask about discounts before making a purchase.

You must also sign up for student discount programs such as UNiDAYS or Student Beans to access exclusive deals and offers.

They have everything from 6 months free on Amazon Prime, to £10 off your first food order, and include hundreds of other deals on fashion, luxury, eating, electronics, and travel. All you have to do is sign up.

3. Use public transportation wisely

Opt for a Student Oyster card or a 16-25 Railcard to save on public transportation costs. These cards offer discounted fares on buses, trains, and the London Underground.

Consider walking or cycling for short distances instead of relying on public transport, which can help you save money and stay active (do remember to not have your phone out while you walk).

You can also apply for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, which can save you up to 30% off regular fares on London's transport network.

Buying weekly/annual travel cards for your trains/underground can also help you save if you plan to use public transport often.

4. Cook at home and meal prep

Eating out in London can be expensive, so try cooking meals at home whenever possible. Plan your meals for the week, make a shopping list, and buy groceries in bulk to save money.

It can be quite fun to get creative with your cooking and explore budget-friendly recipes.

Consider meal prepping on weekends to save time and money during the week.

Once you try meal prepping, there’s really no going back. And you’re going to be so proud of yourself for eating healthy and saving money. Two birds. One stone. You know what I’m saying.

5. Take advantage of free or low-cost activities

London is home to many free museums, galleries, parks, and events. Take advantage of these cultural offerings to explore the city without spending a fortune.

Look for student discounts on theatre tickets, movie screenings, and other entertainment options. Many venues offer discounted tickets for students with valid IDs.

There are also a lot of free events run by the students’ union, and a lot of free events and workshops can be found on an app called Eventbrite. Personally, I’ve never been disappointed by any of these free events.

6. Share accommodation and utilities

If there’s one thing about London, it’s that your utility bills can add up. Sharing accommodation with roommates can significantly reduce your housing costs. Consider renting a room in a shared flat or student housing to save money on rent and utilities.

In addition, be mindful of your energy usage to keep utility bills low. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and consider investing in energy-efficient appliances if possible.

7. Part-time jobs

Students' Union UCL hae a wide range of part-time jobs just for students. Part-time work could allow you to earn money as well as give you experience and the opportunity to meet new people.

Living on a student budget in London requires careful planning and discipline, but it's entirely possible to enjoy a fulfilling and enriching experience without overspending.

If you made it to the conclusion, here’s my bonus tip for you. It’s my favorite one, and one that I’ve been gatekeeping. 

The "Too Good To Go" app allows users to purchase surplus food from local restaurants and cafes at a fraction of the original price, reducing food waste while also providing budget-friendly meal options. If I’m feeling too lazy to cook one day, I’ll order a surprise meal from one of the nearby restaurants at a fraction of the original price, and it’s always fun to see what meal you get that day.

With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, London can be an affordable and rewarding place to study and live. Which was your favorite money-saving tip?