Getting Smart about Money: The Student Budget

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If you are considering London as a study-abroad destination, be prepared for a high cost of living that does not stop rising. Since London's soaring prices will affect every aspect of your lifestyle, it is a good idea to plan a budget and maximize savings so you are less financially constrained and can enjoy all the fun stuff that London offers as well. Here are some tips based on my own experience:


Accommodation in student halls tends to be the cheapest option. If you are considering renting a private property, notice that the value of real estate rises as you go towards the center of London, Zone 1. As you leave the center, Zone 3 properties are significantly more affordable.


If you do not live in a student residence hall, where you will usually have access to cheap meal services, then you will want to be selective when purchasing groceries. Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda chains are cheaper than their Waitrose and Marks & Spencer counterparts. Buying online also gives you access to a wider range of products and discounts.


As soon as you are registered in your school, apply for a student Oyster Card, which will save you money when using public transportation in London. Notice, however, that the discount only applies when you buy long-term services (weekly, monthly, etc.), and not when you pay-as-you-go. Traveling in buses will be cheaper than using the underground system.


To save money on books, borrow them from the library or team-up with a friend to photocopy the relevant pages. Always check whether your school has a free online version of the book.


If you are a movie-lover like me, save money by avoiding cinemas on the weekends and at night, when prices are usually higher.


Nothing is better than IKEA for nice, cheap furniture.

Free events

Fun and free events take place in London all the time. Check out student events in London.

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