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Top 10 Money Saving Tips for International Students in London

London has been one of the most famous spots and has been known for travelling as well as for its education system. World-renowned universities are found in the United Kingdom in and around London such as the London School of Economics, University College London, Oxford University, and Cambridge University. These are only a few out of many names which fall in top 100 universities of the world. These universities aren’t only famous because of their outstanding teaching faculty, employability rates and unlimited student support but are also renowned due to the place they are situated in.

London, a metropolitan city, in which everyone wants to either visit, stay or study in but this isn’t the only feature London poses. It’s also known to be heavy on the pockets. It has a very challenging nature of being burdensome on the bank accounts as compared to other metropolitan cities in both the UK and Europe such as Barcelona in Spain and Berlin in Germany. Hence, if you want to survive in London, you need to know about specific tips and tricks which can reduce a little burden from your bank.

For students, living in London can be super challenging in terms of high living costs. Hence all those who are planning to go abroad for your undergraduates or higher postgraduate study this article is for you. We’ve taken our expert ex-students, fresh graduated ones (don't worry our information is not outdated) to give us an insight on how to live and manage your expenses while you stay in London.

This guide won’t make you live like a frugal but like a normal, sane student. Follow the guide to know the best tips for a super healthy lifestyle, which will make you balance your bank account with your books.

1- Set your budget right

We understand you live in a high-end city where even a sandwich costs around £15. So, for starters, you need to set your budget right. You should understand that you won’t be able to survive in £100 per month, but you need to have a reasonable budget made considering the following things in mind. These things are absolute basics which you need to consider.

  • Money for your rental: You will either be renting an apartment or staying in the student accommodation. Whatever the case maybe, add this fixed amount in your monthly budget.
  • Groceries: you will need some groceries in your house — irrespective of the fact that you cook your meal or not. You would still definitely need bread, eggs and milk for your breakfast.
  • Bills: if you are living in the student halls you don't need to worry about this. But if you have your accommodations, try to add the true estimated bill costs to your monthly budget. Oh! Don't forget your travel charge also.
  • Outing: you will go out with your friends or even on your own on weekends or even sometimes on the weekdays. Try to calculate the number of times you're expected to go in a month so that you can add the average cost of at least £30 per meal to your budget.
  • Shopping: seasons will change, and your fashion requirements also. You would want to go out and buy new clothes, shoes, accessories etc. from London. Our advice is to wait for sales that are the best time in London.
  • Miscellaneous: add an estimated miscellaneous amount to the budget.

Add all your necessity amounts and calculate. Now you’ll know how much you will need to spend per month at the minimum.

2 - Student travel cards

You should be able to save a lot of money by using two options; Oyster card and contactless card. Before you begin, try to get your zones right. Suppose your most travel is between zone A and zone B then you can get your travel card made for these zones. You can get up to 50% off normal travel if you avail the student discount. However, if initially that's not possible, get a:

  • Oyster card: oyster cards will give discounts on each of your trip. It is very famous among tourists.
  • Tap your contactless cards: now with blooming technology, London given the same features as of oyster card to the contactless cards. Hence if you already have a contactless bank card, you won't need to purchase an oyster card for £2 or get a top up on it. With this facility, discounted money will be cut directly from your bank account based on your journey.

Also, try to get a railcard. You get 30% discount on your national rail services which will be helpful when you want to travel outside London vicinity.

3. Applications

you can download plenty of applications which will help you save money on different items. An application such as UNiDays give you discounts on food items, clothes, makeup, accessories, electronic brand etc. Also, look for your university applications, you might get lucky and find good university discounts for both in and outside the university facility.

4. Student Discounts. Get hold of the vouchers!

Students have the perk of student discounts. Almost every place offers student discounts in London. When you start in September, keep your eye open for student discounts (one heads-up- H&M has a student discount before the beginning of each semester). You can also find discount vouchers throughout your academic year. Such as Subway vouchers. They give a booklet of vouchers which offers different meal deal at affordable prices.

5. Personal accommodation

You can save a lot of money if you have your accommodation or even if you share your accommodation with a friend. Try to weigh both options economically before selecting your accommodation for the year.

6. Cook at home!

Yes! This is one major point by which you can save a lot of money. Cooking your meals will help you live economically in a city like London. Buy your groceries weekly and cook yourself. Otherwise, an average good meal would range from £25-£30.

7. Use your cards wisely

Try not to tap your card everywhere; Contactless makes you spend more: almost everywhere in London contactless facility is present. For this, you don't have to enter your pin or swipe your card on the machine. You must tap it once and your transaction goes through. This seems like a super convenient thing but trusts us; it makes your budget upset by a huge amount. This is because you don't realize how much you spend when you must tap and buy. Hence, we suggest that you carry cash when you use the non-contactless facility for your transactions.

8. Try to work part-time

Universities, as well as other places such as restaurants, have part-time jobs. Sometimes you might even get lucky and earn more than the budget you've set. You can use the extra money to save or even travel.

9. Try to keep a record of your money

Write down your miscellaneous expenses. It will help you alter your budget and plan better.

10. Avoid unnecessary transportation trips via Uber or taxis

Try to avoid using taxis or Uber during peak hours. If it’s necessary, try to pool your transportation service with a friend. This will help you a lot in saving money.

These are small tips and ideas you should use and think about before you proceed on your educational path. We definitely want to see you succeed both academically and economically!

Want to know more tips about studying in the UK? Ask your IDP counsellor now.

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