Those London Students’ guide to saving money…

Being a student is as much about having fun, procrastinating (maybe that’s just me), watching more day time TV than is healthy as it is about learning to be smart about money. Of course your bank gives you a guide about how to write a budget and  your parents probably type one up for you too but sticking to a budget is hard, right? Right. Instead as a student your best bet is trying to making savings everywhere you can and here are some tips we here at Those London Students have to share…

Food and Drink:

  1. One of the best ways to  save money while staying in halls is to go shopping with at least one of your flatmates. Going shopping with someone else means that you can split the price of things that are on a 2for1 specials and even 3 for 2 offers. Also, you can buy dry goods like pasta, rice and sugar in bulk saving you a couple of pounds and repeated trips to the supermarket for essentials.
  2. On the subject of grocery shopping, it’s a good idea to go shopping towards closing time when most goods have been marked down because they’re too close to their display by date. There is nothing to fear, the food is still useable (since it’s not past it’s use by date) and so it’s a good way to making a saving on vegetables and so on.
  3. If you’re like us at TLS and you enjoy eating out, you can keep the cost of your  meal down by looking out for lunch time menu specials, 2For1 deals or promotions on specific days such as Giraffe’s £5.50 Burger Tuesday deal on websites such as the Studentbeans and Money Saving Expert. If all fails, try to stick to places near and around your university campus, most non-chain restaurants and cafes will offer a student discount of some sort so be prepared to flash that all powerful student ID of yours.
  4. It goes without saying that while eating takeaway and ready made meals sound cheap and easier than cooking for yourself,  it is actually more expensive than making your own dinner with fresh ingredients.  So instead of buying Chinese takeout every other night or popping a ready made pizza into the oven every day, try to make use of your cooking skills even if it’s just making a pasta bake. If you’re stuck for recipes, Student Recipes and Goodtoknow are good places to start for culinary inspiration.
  5. A great way to save on drinks at pubs is to try and go to Yellow/Scream pubs (for those at UCL, Rocket and The Court are your nearest Yellow/Scream pubs)  that let you use a Yellow Card. Offering discounts on wines, ciders, beers, spirts and mixer as well as the occasional special offer for meals, a Yellow Card is a must have for all students. Learn more about the Yellow Card here and sign up one while you’re on the website!
  6. If you’re on keen on treating yourself on cakes  remember that Selfridges and Harrods sale their cakes for half price half an hour before closing time.
Clothes:
  1. If you’re not prepared to wait for mid-season, summer or January sales, the best way to save money while shopping for clothes or shoes is to flash your student ID card. Stores such as Office, New Look and Topshop  offer discounts if you just show your student ID,  while hordes more offer discounts to NUS card holders. Remember: when it comes to being student, never be afraid to ask if you can get a discount.
  2. Charity shops can be a goldmine for vintage clothes so why not pop down to your local Cancer Research store or Oxfam store and see what you can dig up. And the best part about is that you get to do things at once: buy something nice for yourself and help charity at the same time.
Books, CDs and DVDs:
  1. If you can’t just borrow books for your course from the library then Abebooks  and  Amazon are your best friends. Not only can you get a discount on Amazon if you have a NUS card, but both Abebooks and Amazon offer good quality second hand books. If you’re not sure about the book you’re buying just check the seller’s description of the book to see what state it is in. And the best part about books is that you can always sell them on once you’re done either by putting up fliers around your university or just putting it on the Amazon market place.
  2. Instead of buying CDs, Spotify is a great way to listen to music without buying it. Recent changes to Spotify, however, make it a bit more difficult since each song now has a limit of 5 plays but if you’re an avid music fan the unlimited subscription for just £9.99 per month would be a good investment. Alternatively, you can try streaming music for free from Last.Fm or Grooveshark  (it’s just Spotify but without the annoying ads).
  3.  Sadly there is no movie equivalent for Spotify but Lovefilm does a good job. Allowing you to not only request DVDs to your front door, but also stream movies on your laptop it’s a great way to save from parting ways with money for DVDs. And just like Spotify, if you’re an avid move watcher, the  £9.99 monthly subscription fee for unlimited streaming hours and unlimited DVDs will save you a lot of money in the long run.
  4. Alternatively if you’re keen on buying some CDs and DVDs, you can get  10% discount at HMV with an NUS card.
Going out:
  1. If the cinema is your thing, make sure to make use of student discounts on offer at Odeon cinemas (just show your student ID) or Cineworld cinemas (show your NUS card). Don’t forget to make the most of Orange’s 2for1 Wednesdays if you or a mate are Orange customers. Alternatively, if you have Sky TV, you can make the most of £3 tickets at the O2 every Monday and the free popcorn every day. Just go on the Sky rewards website and print out your vouchers. Be sure to look out for offers for free tickets for movie preview screenings while you’re there!
  2. For those of you who enjoy going to a student rave make sure to buy your tickets as soon as you hear about the rave to try and catch early bird tickets, which are usually half the price of a standard ticket. You can also keep a look out for clubs that offer free entry until a certain time (usually 11pm) and Mayfair clubs that offer girls free entry during the first hour the club is open.
  3. On your way back from a night out make sure to share a cab and split the cab fare.
  4. For theatre lovers, be sure to check out The Globes’ £5 tickets, sign up for the National Theatre’s free Entry Pass scheme that let’s you buy tickets for selected plays for a £5 and £7.50 for a mate,  or you can check out the Royal Opera House’s Student Standby scheme for a chance to snag  tickets (including front row tickets!) for shows at the ROH from £6. Additionally, the Southbank Centre not only offers free events but also offers student tickets for a limited period for some of its events including live performances.
Travelling:
  1. It goes without saying that a 16-25 Railcard is a great investment. Not only does it give you up to 30% discount discounts on trains tickets but you get the same discount for daily travel cards in London.
  2. An 18+ Student Oyster Card is also a great investment if you’re having to commute to university. For just £10 you get an Oyster card that lets you save a third on weekly, monthly and yearly bus and tram passes or travel cards.
  3. Another way of saving money if you’re going home or just going to visit friends outside of London is to invest in a Young Persons Coachcard. For just £10, the YPC allows you to save up to 30% on all coach tickets
  4. The people who brought us Megabus, now have Megatrain now gives you the option to buy cheap train tickets so before directly to a train service’s website be sure to check if you can cheaper train ticket for your journey.
  5. Another tip to remember when travelling by train is the earlier you book your tickets the cheaper your journey will be.  So booking your tickets even a week in advance is a great way to save on a journey.
  6. Most train services will offer discounts for groups of 3 or more so gather your friends and  plan a trip together to keep the cost of the train fare down. And don’t worry, you can still use your 16-25 railcard as well!
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8 thoughts on “Those London Students’ guide to saving money…

  1. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented on your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for novices. May you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  2. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I have really loved browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing in your feed and I am hoping you write again soon!

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