Can I afford to study in London?
Posted: February 06 2019
Sophie, Business and Management
One of the big worries about going to university is that it is too expensive, if you want to study at a London university that worry can become even bigger. But fear not! Read my guide on how to make studying in London more affordable.
Living away from home
One of the things that students look forward to when starting uni, is moving away from home. Becoming more independent, having no curfew and getting to do your own cooking and cleaning! (Fun). However, apart from your tuition fees, your rent/bills etc. will probably be the most expensive thing you have to pay for. But there are cost-effective ways to living in London, for example, Brunel offer ‘Standard’ accommodation – which is where you share a bathroom and kitchen with your other flatmates, rather than having your own bathroom. You may not want to share a bathroom, but the standard accommodation is cheaper than en-suite rooms.
See, if the university offers on-campus accommodation to 2nd and 3rd-year students as living on campus can be cheaper than living off in a shared house, as you don’t have to pay for WI-FI and all your bills separately. One of the golden stars about Brunel is that it is a campus uni, so instead of paying for a bus/train to get from your lecture back to your room – it’s all within walking distance which keeps more money in your pocket.
If you don’t want to live on campus – what are the commuting costs like?
Many students at Brunel choose to just continue living at home and commute to university for lectures and seminars. Brunel has great transport links, Uxbridge tube station is within walking distance, buses passing by the campus every few minutes and there are loads of parking spaces available. This saves a lot of money because you don’t have to spend any money on rent (unless your parents make you!).
As a university student, you’ll also get discounts on oyster and railcards, which will save you loads on travelling costs. Also, look to see if your uni is within walking distance from the train station - because if you can walk to the campus instead of getting a bus, that will save up a lot of money in the long run.
I’m soooo hungry…
When you're a uni student Lidl and Aldi will become your best friends (it’s even better when Lidl is a 10-minute walk away from campus – like at Brunel). The food they sell is practically the same as you get in other supermarkets, but it’s 10 times cheaper! Wilko is another great store to buy all of your cooking utensils, pillows, blankets and other household items at small prices.
If you live on-campus, my advice would be to get a food kitty going with your flatmates, if you buy your food and cook your evening meals together (or take turns) the food bill will be smaller. Another thing to bear in mind is that when you first move in, you and your flatmates will probably be splitting some costs anyway. When I first moved into campus accommodation at Brunel, one of the first things I did with my flatmates was take a trip to Sainsbury’s together and chip in for a microwave and toaster. Since everybody is going to be using it, we only had to pay about £2-3 each.
There's something that all university students look forward to before they start uni, and that's going out and having fun! During Fresher’s week, Brunel sells something called ‘Fresher’s Passes’ which gives you access to all the Fresher week events that are happening, which works out a bit cheaper than paying for them individually. Nightclubs in the local area of the uni may run student nights as well, where you get free entry before 11 pm and discounted prices inside too. Or if you just want to go out for the day and explore London, having a Student Oyster card will save money travelling on the underground and sightseeing is always free! You can also save yourself a lot of money on restaurants by heading over to Chinatown in Leicester Square – where there are lots of cheap restaurants, then you can go over to London’s West End and find some unsold theatre tickets at a discount.
When it’s finally time to head home after all your adventures share a taxi with your mates to get home, so it’s a bit cheaper and you’ll get home faster!
Find yourself a part-time job
Some students undertake a part-time job while they are at uni to give themselves a bit more spending money. This may be a good idea if you want to develop your work experience and earn while you study, but having a part-time job while at university is not necessary.
I’ve become a Student Ambassador at Brunel which has both benefited me financially and personally – you get a good hourly rate and you get to develop your skills like; teamwork, customer service, communication, problem–solving and presentation skills, which are all valued by employers.
If you live on-campus the maintenance loan you receive will cover your rent, food and go out costs – but only if you don’t go crazy with it! If you stay at home you don’t have to worry about rent and food costs, only your travelling costs which can be as affordable as outlined above. So as long as you are budgeting your money correctly, there should be no need for you to get a part-time job unless you want to!
So these are my top tips on making studying in London more affordable - I hope you've found it useful.