Top tips to save money as a student in London

Drawing from personal experience navigating the city as an international student, our student ambassador equips you with savvy tips on saving money on everything from transportation and groceries to entertainment and academic resources - Unlock the secrets to maximise your London experience without breaking the bank!
James Street road sign on a wall

I think a lot of people would agree when I say that London is one of the best cities in the world to be a student in. However, it is also undeniable that it is one of the most expensive student destinations in the world. Having said that, London is quite thoughtful about us students, providing plenty of options to make living and studying in this beautiful city slightly more affordable and easier. As someone who moved outside their home country for the first time, the tips I am sharing below have helped me make living in London a little more economical. I hope they help you too!

Use a Railcard if you can

If you are under 31 and going to make a regular commute using the Underground (the 'Tube'), it is best to make a one-off purchase of the National Railcard along with your pay-as-you-go Oyster card. After linking your Oyster card with the Railcard, you get a 34% discount on off-peak fares on the Tube. For short, day outings in London, you could visit Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath etc.

Having a Railcard also gives you a 34% discount on train tickets. There are lots of cities that are short train rides away and can be visited as day trips from London. Some of the most popular destinations are Oxford, Cambridge, Sheffield, Manchester, Bath, Brighton, York etc. Different apps and websites have additional discounts on tickets year-round and offer very decently priced tickets. 

Student discounts on food & dining out

London is a great place to try dishes from cuisines you have never tried before. A lot of restaurants and cafes have student discounts ranging from 10% to 25% - so never hesitate to ask the restaurant staff if provide student discounts. A lot of the restaurant chains have student deals (usually a meal and a drink) as well. Some affordable options nearby the LSHTM Keppel Street building include the Senate House café, King of Falafel, PaStation, LEON, EggSlut, Ta’mini Bakery, B-Bagel, Franco Manca and Bloomsbury Farmer’s Market (every Thursday from 12-2 pm). For regular groceries, there are lots of options for supermarkets across different price ranges e.g. Lidl, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s. Usually, these supermarkets have their own versions of loyalty cards (that can be signed up for free) that provide exciting deals and offers often.

Libraries & second-hand books

Being an LSHTM student gives you free access to some libraries apart from the LSHTM one, including the Senate House Library, UCL and SOAS. These should give you plenty of options to choose your reference books from to aid your studies. London also has some well-known second-hand book shops where you can find great books with some digging. Some near LSHTM are the Oxfam bookshop (Tottenham Court Road), Judd Books (Marchmont Street), Skoob Books (Marchmont Street) and Any Amount of Books (Leicester Square).

I would just like to say that the places mentioned here are in no way exhaustive and most definitely, there are more to add to the lists. I included things that have helped me and I enjoyed visiting personally - I would encourage you to find out more places once you reach London – it is a great way to explore the city too! Also, I would like to re-iterate – make the most of your student status in this city!

All the best!