London is a great city with lots to offer, but it’s also an expensive city to live in as a student. Staying on top of your finances can be tricky, especially when you’re busy with school! There are lots of ways to cut back on spending and many places to get help if you’re struggling.
MAKE A BUDGET
Creating a monthly budget can be a great way to categorize your spending and track where your money is going. A basic budget keeps track of the money you have coming in (income) versus the money you have going out (expenses). Most people's basic expenses include tuition, rent, utilities, food, transportation, shopping, going out, etc. Some of these categories are essential, like tuition and rent, while others are discretionary, or “fun spending” categories. Adjusting how much is spent on “fun" categories can help manage spending when needed.
There are a lot of great resources out there to help get you started on a budget. Sites like the UCAS Budget Calculator, or Student Space can help you figure out your different expenses. There are also a lot of free budget templates that can be found online with a simple Google search. Google Sheets or Excel can also be easy-to-use tools to create a budget. With some UK banks like Monzo, you can set budgets and track your spending directly. It’s a good idea to regularly review your budget so you know where your money is going.
Cooking your own meals and packing lunches is another way to save money. Looking for sales, reduced-price items, and shopping in-season can save a few pounds at the grocery store. Cooking in large batches and packing leftovers for lunch is another easy way to save a buck. For days when there’s no time, meal deals from Sainsbury's or Tesco are popular among students. LSE also has cafes and restaurants on campus that offer affordable options.
If you take public transit to school often, the 18+ Student Oyster Photocard gives you 30% off the standard adult rate for weekly, monthly and annual Travelcards. Cycling is another great way to get around the city. If you don’t own a bicycle, Santander Cycles cost £1.65 for 30 mins (or £120 for an annual membership). If you plan on travelling around the UK, consider a 16-25 Rail Card. The card costs £30 a year and saves you 1/3 on rail fares throughout Great Britain.
There are a ton of student discounts available to you as an LSE student. Check out Unidays, Totum and Student Beans for a range of offers. Don’t be afraid to ask retail stores or restaurants if they have student discounts (not everyone advertises them)! Keep your LSE ID on hand to prove your student status.
One of the best things about London is that there are always free events and attractions to visit. Many of London’s museums, art galleries and parks are free to visit any time. A quick Google search will provide lists of free things to do when during your free time.
If you are having trouble with your finances, there are resources on campus that may be able to help. If you have problems paying your tuition fees, it would be a good idea to contact the Fees Office to discuss your situation. The Student Union’s Hardship Fund offers limited funding to help students who are suddenly facing financial hardship. If you have specific questions about this fund, feel free to get in touch with the LSESU Advice Team and we can provide further information. You can also visit online resources like Save the Student to find other tools and resources that might be helpful.
Blog written by Hannah Thomsen.
Hannah works as an Advice Assistant at the LSESU Advice Service
The LSESU Advice Team
The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Our service is currently operating using a hybrid working pattern. We are still open and can be accessed by emailing email@example.com. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.