4 tips to make student life at UCL more affordable

4 December 2020

In this article, UCL alumnus Jorge shares his advice on how to save your pennies as a student.


To the surprise of many freshers, student life can actually be very economical!

In a nutshell, you can enjoy to the fullest all the amenities of student life without having to worry excessively about money. However deep your pockets or whatever your personal hang-ups in running your finances, in this article I hope to give you a few tips to help you spend smartly:

1. Student discounts

Take as much advantage of student discounts as you can! If you're able to come onto campus in September and want to avoid a spending spike over the first few weeks, think about placing orders for things like your 18+ Student Oyster photocard (if you plan to use public transport often) or a SIM card from a low-cost carrier like giffgaff.

2. Part-time work

UCL Careers and Students' Union UCL have a range of job opportunities for students. If you’re feeling the pinch and are looking to cash in some extra pocket money, you can always look for student jobs on offer, sometimes on a flexible short-term basis and involving hassle-free applications. 

3. Buy your textbooks second-hand and then sell them later on

Another classic student life hack is to buy your textbooks second-hand and then to sell them when it comes to it. Considering all your textbooks for every class, saving on bookstores’ mark-ups can make a massive difference, and selling them turns you a handy penny.

4. Financial assistance from UCL

Finally, there’s one last hack that you hopefully won't need to resort to. If you’re struggling to keep the wolf from the door because your scholarship money or loan is late, UCL’s Student Funding team offers emergency loans. The Financial Assistance Funds can also provide support, and can currently help students affected by financial difficulties due to COVID-19.

Last revised: 8 September 2021

Jorge Gonzalez, UCL alumnus, BSc Economics