National Gallery in London, by IFSA alum Erica Chin

The outside of the National Gallery, a free admission art museum in London.

Studying abroad can be quite expensive, especially if you’ll be living in an expensive city such as London. Here are some tips for saving money in London!

Create a Budget

Before you start your semester, plan a weekly budget with an estimate of how much you plan to spend each week and on what. It’s okay to go over some weeks, but try to keep the net amount within your means.

Utilize Student Discounts

Modern art display in the Tate Modern

Exhibit at Tate Modern, one of many museums in London free to the public.

Many stores and restaurants have discounts for students. Be sure to remember to ask if there is a student discount available (you can often save around 15%), and remember to bring your student ID. Additionally, you can download Unidays and StudentBeans to find student discounts for a large selection of stores and restaurants.

Get a Young Person’s RailCard

If you plan to travel (or take the tube a lot), get a Young Person’s Railcard as soon as possible and connect it with your oyster card (the tube transportation card). It costs £30, but will save you 1/3 off all of your transportation (Including each tube ride). You can quickly recover the cost in savings with just one rail trip or a few tubes rides back and forth.

Attend Free Events

Dance class

A picture I took while at a free dance class I found on Eventbrite.

When I was in London, I downloaded Eventbrite to find free events around the city that I could attend. Through this, I was able to meet a lot of Londoners and feel very integrated into the city, while saving money. It was a great way to immense myself in the culture and have fun in a cost-efficient way.

Cook Your Own Meals

I cooked a lot of my own meals while I was in London. Not only did this allow me to get better at cooking, but it also allowed me to save a lot of money. It was also a great way for me to feel more independent and grow as a person.

Ultimately, while studying abroad can be expensive, there are many ways to reduce the cost. Don’t feel pressured to travel all over Europe or go out every night. You can treat yourself but it’s important to stay within your means.

Erica Chin is a Business Analytics major at Babson College and studied abroad with IFSA at the University of Westminster in Spring 2020.