London student life hacks

22 October 2019

Living in the city can be an expensive venture. Sophie shares her insider tips on how you can live your best life, being social, eating, drinking and travelling to your heart’s content, without breaking the bank.

girl looking out to tower bridge

London has a reputation for being a pricey city, but while I can’t cast a magic spell and knock 75% off your rent, I’m hoping these tips and tricks will prove that you can still enjoy city life even when your loan (or overdraft!) is on its last legs. Here are some London-specific life hacks for making the most of your time and money in and around UCL.

16-25/26-30 Railcard

Whether you take the train home at the end of every term, visit friends on weekends or go sightseeing around the UK , you should definitely consider investing in a 16-25/26-30 railcard. At £30 for a year it gives you a third off of national rail travel and off-peak tube fares. That often means you save the initial cost within a couple of months, and then the bonus savings begin! Take it along to any tube station with your Oyster card and ask a member of staff to link them to ensure you’re getting the TFL discount too.

Too Good to Go

Well known to residents of UCL's Schafer House is the fact that Itsu discounts their food an hour before closing to try and reduce waste. And, they’re not the only ones! Too Good to Go is a free app that allows food outlets to sell products which would otherwise be thrown away for significantly marked down prices. There are loads of places near campus and beyond that work with the app, so next time you’re about to order a takeaway, consider saving yourself some money — and helping the environment — by checking the app out first.

Free theatre tickets / film screenings / events

UCL has a lot of different creative projects running at any given time, from musicals to film festivals to art exhibitions. While student tickets are fairly priced, you can usually get access for free if you write a review for one of UCL’s many media outlets. Quite often they get press tickets for professional events beyond the realms of UCL as well. This is definitely a must if you’re looking to get into something media based when you graduate, as having a few good reviews in your portfolio will count in your favour!

Student Art Pass (until 15 December)

If you're into art and culture, this is something you cannot afford to miss - Student Art Pass! Get your hands on free or reduced-price access to art experiences across the UK for just £5 for the year! Being in London, there's just so much to explore and this pass allows you into museums, galleries, historic houses, major exhibitions and more! There are also regular creative competitions and paid opportunities within the arts sector.  


Who doesn’t love free cocktails? Dusk is an app that gives you one free drink every single night! And with the wealth of London bars to choose from, what’s there to stop you? They also have a lot of discounts, meaning the only thing you’ll have to worry about will be your hangover — not your bank balance — when you wake up after a night out.

London can definitely be expensive if you want it to be, but the above are just a small selection of the ways you can have fun and enjoy the city without breaking the bank while you’re at it!

Sophie Parker, BA English