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Indira

May 28th, 2024

Navigating London on a student budget

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Indira

May 28th, 2024

Navigating London on a student budget

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I’m a mature student who dived headfirst into student life in London last autumn. If you think managing finances as a mature student comes with its own set of challenges, you’re absolutely right. But fear not as I’ve picked up a few tricks in the last six months to help manage my expenses in London.

Getting around

Whilst Transport for London (TfL) is extensive, it can be expensive. I invested in an 18+ Student Oyster photocard for discounted fares – or a pay-as-you-go option – on TfL’s public transport, including buses, the Underground (Tube), trams, the DLRthe London Overground, and National Rail services in London. Regularly, I also take the opportunity to explore the city on foot; it’s not only budget-friendly but it’s also a great way to sneak in some exercise. During my daily walk to campus through London’s streets, I encounter renowned landmarks such as the Tower of LondonLondon’s Tower Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The art of budgeting

Budgeting is a skill that I’ve honed over the 15 years of my professional career. It’s became even more crucial as I’ve transitioned into life as a student at LSE. Whilst I’d developed a strong budgeting habit over the years, the biggest challenge arose when adjusting to a smaller budget that I’m used to whist living in London. No longer working full-time meant bidding farewell to a regular salary, requiring a re-examination to my financial approach. With diligent planning, I’ve managed to navigate this transition smoothly. I map out my monthly expenses, from bills to groceries and transportation, so that I have insight into where adjustments can be made. Currently, I don’t use any budgeting apps, though I’m aware of excellent options like Blackbullion.

Student discounts

Navigating student discounts felt a bit out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to learn the art of scouting for deals, which sometimes made me feel a little awkward and self-conscious. However, given the budget I was working with, I realised the importance of utilising these discounts. Using my student ID became second nature, and I made it a habit to keep an eye out for discounts wherever I went. Apps like UNiDAYS proved to be invaluable resources, offering discounts on a wide range of brands and making it easier for me to stretch my budget further.

Cooking at home

I’ll admit that I’m not exactly a master chef in the kitchen but I’ve learned to use simpler cooking techniques that enable me to cook satisfying and tasty meals at home. I opt for easy-to-follow recipes and basic ingredients from budget-friendly supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl.

Free activities

Given my love for walking around the city, I often stumble upon popular and must-see places in London. Whether it’s wandering through the city’s parks and green spaces, discovering hidden gems in flower markets and vintage stores, or immersing myself in the vibrant atmosphere of LSE LIFE student-led events and workshops, there’s no shortage of budget-friendly ways to keep myself entertained.

Student support services

As a student at LSE, I make full use of the diverse range of support services available. From being part of a coaching programme to accessing LSE well-being support and seeking guidance from career advisors at LSE Careers, I ensure to take advantage of these invaluable resources.

With a bit of smart budgeting and determination, you can make the most of your time in this vibrant city without breaking the bank.

About the author

Indira

Hello! I'm Indira Akoijam from New Delhi, India. I've temporarily traded my professional hat for a Master's Degree in Social and Public Communication. Beyond the academic books and lectures, you'll often catch me engrossed in the fascinating realm of non-fiction books and tapping my foot to the rhythm of music.

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