Living in one of the most expensive cities in the world can certainly take its toll on your finances, particularly if you’re a student. Despite the reality that inflation is steadily rising resulting in higher living expenses, the current state of affairs makes it simple to become overwhelmed by money woes. However, with some planning and the tips below, you’ll be able to ease your qualms and enjoy student life to the fullest in London!
Budgeting and saving your student maintenance loan
We frequently witness numerous students mismanaging their entire student maintenance loan on ostentatious purchases that aren’t actually necessary. Due to their luxury purchases, these people frequently struggle to survive in the months that follow. Instead, set aside some cash for your summer or a rainy day as soon as your student maintenance loan appears in your bank account. This may cost up to £200 or even £500. The remaining amount can then be divided by the number of months until your next maintenance loan is received. You will then have a rough estimate of your budget for each month.
Taking advantage of student loans and bursaries
Next, determine whether you will be able to live off this after calculating your monthly budget. The Student Loans Company or the LSE Bursaries may need to be contacted if this is insufficient to meet your needs. If you are not eligible for additional funding, you might have to think about asking your family members for some additional support or resort to searching for a part-time job. Although I chose to do the latter, I would advise only working two to three days per week because it can be challenging to juggle a part-time job with your academic obligations, which can add undue stress.
Learning to live frugally
The most crucial thing to learn now that your finances and budget are in order is how to live frugally. You must eliminate any wasteful spending and focus on and prioritise your most crucial expenses. This does not require you to give up all of your interests; instead, find new ways to pursue them. For instance, if you enjoy going to the gym, look into the readily available student discounts. You can also take advantage of student organisations. For example, if you enjoy travelling, check out the LSE SU Itchy Feet (Travel & Backpacking) Society. This is a great way to travel on a budget and meet new people because these societies frequently offer incredibly cheap excursions.
Spending less money on transportation
Try to walk everywhere; I know the UK doesn’t always have the best weather, but one of the many advantages of living in central London is that everything is easily accessible. It’s not only economical, but it’s also a greener choice since most things are close to one another and can be reached on foot.
Meal prepping and eating out
Rather than cooking our own food, we students often order food online, which adds to our overall tendency to overspend. At first, meal planning may seem like a very lengthy process, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes very simple. However, I completely understand as a student that while preparing your own food for dinner may be simple, doing so for lunch can take a lot of time if you are rushing out the door. The majority of the time, restaurants near campus offer fantastic lunch specials that can be inexpensive. As a result, consider dining out for lunch rather than dinner. On the subject of food, make a point of visiting local markets for fresh produce and food at a fraction of the price of grocery stores; some of my favourites are Borough Market and Brick Lane Market.
To sum up, living in London on a budget can be tricky, but you just need to make sure you plan well and set aside enough money. Always remember to live within your means rather than attempting to blend in or impress other people. If you have any additional advice that I may not have covered, please share it in the comments section below so that others can learn how to get the most out of their time in London on a student budget.