How to live on a student budget

PCL Students, Embankment

Hayley Hewett, a Co-Creator at Pearson College London has created a list of the best ways to save money...

Living in London and moving away from your parents can be a daunting and expensive experience. Living on a student loan can have its difficulties, but it is not impossible. We have created a list of the best ways that we save money:

1. The first mistake that most students make is to splash out in the first few weeks after the student loan comes through. We have found that the best thing to do is to keep to a strict budget during the first few weeks after a loan instalment, our favourite budget app to use is Spending – it allows you to set goals for each category of expense e.g. you could set a limit of £30 per month to spend on clothes. Spending is available free from the App Store.

2. Make your own lunch. When living in London, it can be tempting to spend your loan on all the delicious food around. However, spending £5 on lunch everyday can soon add up. We enjoy making lunch the night before; my favourite thing to make is a prawn and avocado sandwich. If you do not have time to prepare lunch then check out Sainsbury or Boot’s meal deals which offer value for money.

3. Make use of all the discounts that you can get as a University student. You can buy NUS extra for £12 or you can download the app UNIdays, both provide great discounts to your favourite shops such as TopShop, ASOS and Itsu. But be sure not to spend the savings you have made!

4. Get discounts on travel, this is probably the thing that most people miss when they leave University. In London you can pick up an 18+ oyster card, which knocks off a 1/3 off your fair!

5. Ditch the brands. You may be food shopping on your own for the first time and it can be easy to pay unnecessary prices for goods. We advise sticking to own brands items for the basic food items and only splashing out on your favourite treats. I love buying a galaxy chocolate bar to get me through a long day of seminars and lectures.