The True Cost of Living in London

London ranks as the 10th most expensive city in the world.  For an outsider like myself, the cost of everyday items, as well as entertainment was a shock when I first moved to the city.  For the most part, the largest cost to me is entertainment; activities such as nights out and going to the cinema always result in a big hole in my bank account, due to the absurd prices of such things in London, specifically central London.  The average price of living in London, for a student, is £104 per week.  This average price, however, leaves a very small budget for leisurely activities.

I got in touch with other students from around London, as well as students from different parts of The UK in order to see how much more expensive London is, in comparison to the rest of the UK.  Students who go to London South Bank University spend an average of £90-£110 per week, whereas students from Royal Holloway spend an average of £70-£90 per week.  This is most likely due to LSBU being in central London, with Royal Holloway being much further out. 

I asked a number of students who attend Warwick University how much they spend, and the average is around £50-£70 per week.  This is clearly much cheaper than LSBU and Royal Holloway, and just reinforces the fact that London is one of the most expensive places to go to university.  Luca Uricioli, a student at Warwick University said “I spend about £50 a week. £70 if I spend extra on a night out, or order a takeaway.  I rarely have to ask my parents  for money, I’m pretty good at budgeting my student loan.”  Some students in London struggle to afford things and have to work and borrow in order to buy many things.  Saaj Sanghani, a student from London South Bank University says “London is too expensive. I have to rely on borrowing money from my family frequently, in order to pay for things”.

There are many ways to save money while at university, but from what I learned when speaking to other students; more awareness needs to be made about these money saving techniques.  Utilizing coupons and websites such as applause store are great ways to save money on food and entertainment.  As well as this, making the most of rewards cards is a great way to save money, with many companies such as Nando’s and Costa offering generous rewards, as well as offering discounts and deals for students with a valid student ID.  Taking advantage of these deals and discounts has helped me personally save surprisingly large sums of money each week, for example, I am saving £144 each year from Amazon and Spotify alone, by paying for a Student Prime account and a Student Spotify Premium.  

As well as taking advantage of student discounts and deals, it also helps to be aware of the large variety and number of free and low-cost activities in London.  London is a city with a vast multitude of sights to see, and with thousands of people each year traveling from all corners of the globe to see them, we should take advantage of the fact that we live so close to things that people travel to see.  The Shard and The London Eye are among some of the greatest and most recognizable landmarks in London, both of which can be seen free of charge. There is a fee to go inside them, but their beauty can be admired without paying.  On top of this, London has more public museums and galleries than most cities in the world.  World-famous museums and galleries, such as The British Museum and The National Gallery offer 100% free entry to everyone and feature some of the most famous exhibits and works of art in the world.  Due to the sheer amount of museums, there is something for everyone; from the classical art of The National Gallery to the modern pieces of The Tate.  

By utilizing these methods, students can save themselves a surprisingly large amount of money, which is essential for making living in London more comfortable.  The pressure that money can put on students is surprising and greatly misunderstood by many people.  In order to help with this, students should think about getting into money-saving habits early on in order to reduce this pressure as much as possible.