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English School in London | Bloomsbury International

How to budget in London

More often than not, students are surprised at just how expensive living in London can be. From accommodation to food, it’s always crucial that you watch your spending – particularly if you plan to stay here for a while. Here’s a list of solutions to enable you to manage your money.


  1. Limit eating out

‘ Teacher, we’re going to Wasabi again, please come!’

I’m always astounded to discover that 1 in 2 students eat out for at least one meal per day. Not even the average Londoner does this! It can be quite tempting to pop into EAT or Wasabi, (particularly because they’re on every corner). However, making a habit of it can cost you dearly. If you decide to stay in London for a prolonged period of time, it’s best to budget and spend wisely. For instance, many of my students are here in the hope of pursuing a Masters and if you’re familiar with university fees you’d know that they’re upwards of £10,000. The costs don’t stop there- there are admin fees, materials/books and not to mention the most extortionate of the lot- travel. It can be considerably costly to study and maintain a good standard of living so it does help to lessen expenditure where possible  Now, you may be thinking well this doesn’t exactly apply to me, I’m not considering higher education however, if you were to settle here, excessive spending especially on food would still impact you a great deal. My advice is to prep meals at home and have ‘cheat days’ where you enjoy grabbing lunch with classmates. There are plenty of supermarkets, namely Lidl and Aldi, which sell decent produce at great prices. Try it!


  1. Set up budgets and direct debits

‘Sorry I’m late teacher, I was topping up my oyster card’

Come on guys, you should know when your travel card expires. Try keeping the receipts! In all seriousness, we all forget things but sometimes we just can’t stay on top of all our expenses. I’d suggest opening a Monzo account. It’s a free service which provides you with an app to track and manage your spending. It’s linked to your normal debit card and you can set reminders and savings goals. It works wonders for us so why not have a go?


  1. Coupons, deals and sales

Do you like theatre? Film, perhaps? Or is clubbing more you? Whatever tickles your fancy, you don’t have to splurge to enjoy it. There are plenty of deals and offers online and in The Metro which will help you do the things you love, for less. A few weeks ago, I noticed that everyone was snapping up a copy of The Metro and tearing its pages. From the tube to the staff room, there were people buried in their papers. I looked over another teacher’s shoulder and saw that there was a Lidl voucher. It read ‘ Spend £20 and get £5 off your shop!’. British people love a bargain so despite shopping at Tesco, I took a voucher and headed to Lidl that weekend. I’m also a shopaholic, seriously – I need help. I’m in the know when it comes to sale seasons so I tend to plan my spending between these times. For instance, retail outlets such as Zara and H&M have mid season offers in late June. Homeware stores such as Ikea and Dunelm, have offers in early June. The next rush of sales will be in late July so don’t worry – you haven’t missed out!

Overall, it helps to be conscious of your spending. Spend wisely and you can enjoy your time here with ease.

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