7 money saver tips from a postgraduate taught student

1 December 2020

In this article, UCL alumna Ayesha shares her tips on how to save money whilst studying.

pgt money

As a student, the demands of both academic and social life will always leave a strain on your finances. However, there are ways in which you can still budget and save!

1. Student discount

Don’t forget that being a postgraduate student still carries all the perks of student life. So register for a TOTUM card (what was previously the NUS card), UNiDAYS, Student Beans, and all these other wonderful things. Use them when you shop online. There is a student discount for every occasion!

2. Don’t buy books

Every course will have a reading list, but before you head out to purchase them, you may want to check UCL’s extensive online library resources. It might even be best to go seek out the book in the library's electronic resources section a few days before term starts, saving you money, and ensuring you have the best material to succeed in your course.

3. Learn to cook and bring lunch

Wherever you're studying, it can be easy to reach for a takeaway app to deliver food right to your door. This is great from time to time but it is expensive and costs can add up! However, you can cut the costs on food as you push through the long hours by preparing meals and snacks at home. Get a few recipes of your favourite dishes under your belt and you’re ready to go!

4. Oyster/travel cards

If you're able to come onto campus, then as a student you’re entitled to 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.

Pro tip! You will save a lot more money if you wait to go home until off-peak hours. You can also coordinate it with getting half price dinner from Itsu, Tossed, or Crushed a half hour before they close - you deserve it after putting in the extra couple hours in the library!

5. Live further afield

It's always good to think ahead about accommodation and where you think you'd like to live whilst as a student. As much as we would all love to live right next door to university - our bank balance may not allow it. Central London will always have high rent prices, but when looking into accommodation options, try looking further a field to find a cheaper option. North, South, and East London have proven to be popular among students studying at UCL.

6. Part-time jobs

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

7. Budgeting

This is something a lot of us put off, but budgeting really can help you save. Setting aside money for your shopping, bills, social life, and academic needs can help pace you through. Reviewing your expenses every week/month can help you figure out just where those extra pounds are going.

Last revised: 8 September 2021

By Ayesha Khan, UCL alumna, MSc Cancer