With its vibrant, cosmopolitan way of life, coupled with its rich history and cultural diversity, London is, dare I say, one of the most lusted-after countries that students dream of studying abroad in. Furthermore, with more internationally-acclaimed universities than you can count on one hand, its no wonder that there are more international students flocking to London than any other city in the world.
However, whilst London is full of glitz and glamour, it may come to a nasty shock to some when they realise how quickly the cost of living can add up to if they are not careful. Hence, apart from checking out the Big Ben and other famous landmarks littered across the city, it is likely that students will also spend the first few weeks in London searching out ways to scrimp on cash.
Well, we’re here to make your life a little easier. Presenting, Liveable’s guide to surviving London on a student budget
Find the right accomodation IN LONDON
Looking for accomodation should be the first thing on your to-do list upon being accepted to a university in London. Seeing how leases generally require you to rent for six months to a year, it is vital that you have enough knowledge to make an informed decision.
This is where sites like Liveable come in handy. Liveable allows you to discover potential suburbs to live in based on what is important to you— whether it is by affordability, convenience or safety of the area.
A good tip for students on a budget would be to live outside central London. Not only will you be able to get accomodation at a cheaper price, but generally, your living space tends to be bigger too. With that said, for convenience sake, ensure that your accomodation is within walking distance to a tube station.
Get a Bicycle TO EXPLORE LONDON
If you’re keen on owning a set of wheels, consider getting a bicycle instead of a car. Not only will you avoid the pesky crowds during rush hour, but you will also avoid falling victim of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen by getting great exercise.
Cycling would also be a cheaper alternative to taking the tube, especially when travelling shorter distances. London’s bike sharing scheme— Santander Cycles is available 24/7 and can be hired from as little as £2.
Plan for a night out
One of the most exciting aspects about living in London is undeniably its nightlife. As a student, the temptation to spend your week’s allowance on a night out, downing shots and sweating it out on the dance floor can be overwhelming.
However, you can save a substantial amount of money by starting your night having pre-drinks with some friends, before hitting the town. After all, what’s the difference with a pint of beer from a supermarket and a pub, aside from saving a good few pounds?
Although you may be used to having Vegemite with your toast every morning, don’t get caught up with brands that you are familiar with. When it comes to grocery shopping, imported goods tends to be pricier than local products; and choosing Tesco’s digestive biscuits as a cheaper alternative can be just as satisfying as a packet of Poptarts.
When it comes to eating out, keep your eyes peeled for restaurants that have decent lunch specials and of course, happy hour. Also, investing in something like a Gourmet Society Membership will allow you to save heaps of money on participating restaurants that range from local family favourites to Michelin-starred restaurants.
Want to travel Out of London?
We all deserve to treat ourselves a little every now and then, and what better way than to explore the rest of Europe? Now, you may think that travelling seems counterintuitive, especially in a guide teaching you how to live affordably. However, there are multiple ways to get across the country for close to nothing.
Coaches are your best bet, with services such as Megabus offering bus tickets from one city to another for as little as £1. However, for those with a little less time and patience to spare, look out for sales and special offers for flights on sites like Ryanair and Easyjet. A nifty trick is to always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode in order to see the lowest prices.