London is a great city with a lot to offer, but it can also be an expensive city to live in as a student. It’s easy to become stressed out about money! The new year is a good time to take a step back and look at your finances and set some goals. Here are some tips that may help:
Make a budget
A budget is a great way to keep track of your finances. You can make a budget by comparing the money you spend (expenditures) and any money you have coming in (income). Take a little bit of time to look at all the items you spend your money on in a month. This can include costs like tuition fees, accommodation, bills, food, transport, going out, shopping. Once you have all this information, establish which items you think are essential (like your housing), and which ones may be more flexible (like hobbies or nights out). After you have this information, you can make an assessment and decide if you are spending the amount of money that feels good for you, or if you need to cut back in certain areas.
Regularly review and update your budget
It’s a good idea to review your costs on a periodic basis so that you have a sense of where your money is going. There are websites that can also help you make this assessment like UCAS Budget Calculator, or Student Space.
Minimise travel costs
Depending on where you live in the city, travel can be a big part of your monthly cost. As a student, you’re eligible for the 18+ Student Oyster Photocard which will give you 30% off the standard adult rate for weekly and monthly Travelcards. If you’re using transit on a daily basis, it can definitely be worth it to get a student card. Even without a student card, taking the bus is often cheaper than the tube, so consider looking at different routes to get around the city.
Make your own food
One of the best ways to save money is to start cooking your own meals, instead of relying on take out or restaurants. Buying items on sale, or using pantry staples like beans and pasta, can make your budget go much further. If you decide to cook your lunch in advance, there are microwaves on campus that you can use to heat it up as well.
Look for discounts
As a student, you also have access to many different discount schemes that can give you money off in stores and restaurants. Check out Unidays and Totum for a range of offers. Many cultural attractions offer cheaper tickets as well for people under 25.
Consider part-time job
If you’d like to supplement your income, you may consider getting a part time job. There are often part time openings posted on the LSE Careers website, or opportunities on campus (such as with the Student Union). If you do want to work, keep in mind how much time it may take from your studies. If you are an international student and have questions about whether you can work, please contact a member of the visa team.
Where to get help?
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.
Blog written by Roxana Parsa.
Roxana works as an Advice Assistant in the LSESU Advice Team.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.