Living in London is expensive. That’s one of the first things you might hear when you tell someone that you live and study in the capital. While this is true, it’s a highly subjective statement and varies from person to person. Being a student today can seem scary due to the various expenses that you might find yourself paying for, the general increase in the cost of living and the prospect of paying off various student loans. However, it doesn’t have to be scary, and with my tips on how to live in London on a budget, you might find yourself saving quite a few pennies.
Make a budget
The first tip might seem obvious, but surprisingly there are quite a few people who don’t budget either on a monthly or termly basis. I find that budgets work extremely well for me in terms of money management, and help me to plan ahead for most of the expenses that will come out of my account during the course of the month. I would advise that you use a spreadsheet to create a monthly and termly budget. At a basic level, it helps to calculate your total income over both periods of time, and match this against your expenditure.
There are many formulas within a spreadsheet that will help you do this, and either Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel will do the job well for you, calculating the costs as you spend. Once you’ve calculated your total income and estimated expenditure, you can see how much leeway you’ll have to save. This is very important as it might come in handy if your circumstances change, or if you need to make a particularly expensive purchase. Budgeting is helpful because it helps you to keep tabs on your finances on a regular basis, and plan ahead for the amounts you will be spending.
Cook meals for yourself
This tip is for everyone, whether you consider yourself a culinary expert or not. Nowadays, there are so many tutorials on Youtube and on the internet in general that provide step by step instructions on how to cook tasty meals. You don’t have to be naturally gifted to be able to cook yourself edible meals on a budget, you just need to have internet access and some kitchen utensils.
Eating out multiple times a month can really deplete your wallet. As a rule of thumb, it’s okay to treat yourself to a nice meal with friends, and spend some money on dinner, but this should mostly be accounted for in your budget. Additionally, takeaways such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, while convenient, can drain your finances and before you know it you’re left with less money for the more essential things in life. Cooking lunch and heating it up if necessary at a campus or halls-provided microwave will help you save a significant amount of money.
Do bulk, affordable shopping
Shopping for groceries and other items such as toiletries at more affordable places is a huge money-saving tool. Places like Aldi and Lidl offer highly competitive prices compared to other places, such as Waitrose and M&S. There are other mid-priced places as well, for example Saisnbury’s or Tesco, which also offer systems which allow you to receive offers and redeem vouchers to make savings on your shopping. Choosing to shop at a more affordable place for your groceries and toiletry needs will help you to save lots of money.
Additionally, in conjunction with this, it’s also advisable to buy your items in bulk. Many supermarkets offer deals whereby the price is lowered if you buy more items. This is a great option for non-perishable or long-life items where you might be able to store them for longer. Buying affordable items in bulk will go a long way in helping you to save money in the long run, and your wallet will thank you greatly for it.