Newcastle University London

Living in London on a Budget

Living in London on a Budget

A guide for students on spending smartly while living in London.

market stall London

Living in London can be challenging if you’re a university student with no steady income and a budget to stick to. However, there are lots of ways you can save cash along the way without compromising your lifestyle. Here are my top tips for making your money go further:


The transport system in London is great. You have buses, tubes, trains and taxis all of which are really accessible. But just because you can use them, doesn’t necessarily mean you need them. Every time you stand in the bus queue, ask yourself, do you really need to take the bus? If you’re honest, the chances are that you can usually get to your destination very easily by walking. You’ll be really surprised how much you can save and it’s healthy too! I walk from Mile End to Liverpool Street to get to university, and it’s roughly a 40-minute walk. Although at first, I thought it was too far I now really enjoy it and it’s easy.

If you do need to use public transport, then make sure you have a student Oyster card. Oyster cards can be used across the London network and they really reduce the cost of travel. Also, consider cycling more. You can find Santander cycle docks almost everywhere in London, you can hire the bikes for a small daily charge.

bikes for hire


Most of us are not cooking experts, nor do we necessarily want to be. But, I would recommend keeping some staples in the fridge for breakfasts and quick lunches. Cereals, milk, bread and cheese for example, will help if you need to grab something quickly.

When choosing where to eat out, always go to places which are wallet friendly. Right next to campus are Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane markets which are filled with diverse, delicious and cheap food stalls. Also, loads of venues give student discounts, so make sure you check before you go out.


London is a vibrant city and there are plenty of free things to do. Visiting places like Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and China Town is fun, especially at the weekend when they are filled with music and street performers. There are events happening all the time, just keep an eye out on websites like TimeOut London for the latest news and events.


Living slightly out of the centre is one of the best choices if you’re on a budget. If you are thinking about university accommodation then en-suite rooms are always cheaper than studios. The cost of student accommodation varies greatly, depending on their proximity to the university, transport links and facilities so it’s important to consider all the options.


It’s always good to do your grocery shopping with a list, that way you’ll stop yourself from buying unnecessary things. Also, stores like Asda and Aldi are cheaper than bigger brands so you keep that in mind when deciding where to shop. Keep your student ID card with you at all times and always ask if there are any discounts. Lots of brands like Stradivarius and Topshop give student discounts all year round.


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