London is a vibrant, eventful and (multi)cultural city. But it is also a very expensive one and it can get pretty frustrating to realise that there are so many great, but unaffordable things to do in London. But be reassured, making the most of London on a student budget is possible! Here are some tips that can help you save money or go out cheaply.
Take advantage of what’s free
First, there are (luckily) plenty of free things to do in London. Many museums such as the National Gallery, Natural History Museum and Tate, are free except for some particular exhibitions. Additionally, you can always go out for a relaxing stroll in a park (and London is full of them!) or marvel at London’s architecture during a walk in the city. Covent Garden, the Southbank and the City are only a few minutes away from campus and are packed with wonders. What’s more, you can enjoy free performances in the street! (Although, of course, tipping is always welcome). Finally, keep an eye on the free activities organized at LSE!
Who said culture had to be pricey?
London is a great place to enrich your culture. Whether you are a music fan, an artist at heart, a bookworm or an opera addict, you’ll find what you’re looking for here, and it doesn’t have to be expensive! First, many museums and performances are free. Second, your LSE ID card can get you student discounts! The student art pass gives you access to various art opportunities for only £5 pounds per year! Moreover, if you’re an opera lover but don’t want to spend a fortune on tickets or if you just want to try going to the opera for the first time—and London is the best city for that—the Royal Opera House has your back! With the Young ROH scheme, you just need to create an account and if you are between 16 and 25 years old you will have access to £25 tickets for a variety of seats for all main stage performances on weekdays (except on Fridays) and Saturday Matinees. I’d also advise you to sign up for the Southbank Centre’s newsletter to be sure not to miss affordable cultural events near LSE!
Fancy a restaurant?
Now that you have booked your place at the opera, concert venue or museum, you may want to go to a restaurant or a bar to complete your day/night out. Once again, there are a few tips you need to know in order not to overspend. If you decide to go for drinks, try to go during Happy Hour for major discounts. Then, if you go to the restaurant, you should keep in mind that many restaurants in West End have pre- and post-theatres menus that are cheaper than having dinner à la carte or other menus. Yes, that’s the equivalent of Happy Hour for restaurants! Another tip: take advantage of student discounts! You could for instance download the UNiDAYS app and get such advantages as a 2 for 1 offer or a 20% discount on weekdays in some restaurants. Also, remember to keep your LSE ID with you because some places have special discounts for LSE students. If you’re ever craving bubble tea for example, go to Mooboo in Covent Garden and show your card!
Save in your everyday life and spare your money for the cool stuff!
As a student, you probably don’t want to squander money on staples and here are some ways to avoid doing so. To begin with, choose your grocery store carefully. Yes, Tesco isn’t as fancy as Marks & Spencer (M&S), but it is much cheaper! If you go there, don’t forget to subscribe to the Tesco Clubcard for discounts. But I shouldn’t discard M&S too quickly because with UNiDAYS, you can get a 25% discount on M&S food on the go. For lunch, you can also rely on the “meal deals” available in most grocery stores. Last but not least regarding food, download the Too Good To Go app! This app is really amazing: you save money and you fight food wastage. For less than £5 you’ll get around £15 worth of delicious food from restaurants, bakeries, cafes and grocery stores. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Some of my favourite To Good To Go baskets are those from Ole&Steen (simply delicious!) and LSE’s Garrick (great amount of food!). Both are very good value for money. Finally, for non-food related stuff such as cosmetics and medicine, I recommend that you subscribe to an advantage card at Boots or Superdrug.
I hope that these few recommendations from student to students were helpful. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments section!