03 September, 2014

Things I wish I had known as a student before moving to London Part 1

1    Everything is insanely expensive and your money will go on the little things, even things as
Photo: Doug88888
necessary as food shopping, so you need to be careful. One or two of you have mentioned that you have been thinking about getting club cards for Tesco or Nectar cards for Sainsbury’s which is a good idea, even though you are only here for a few  months as it doesn’t cost anything and can save you money. Similarly you might want a Boots card, all of these things are good for saving up to buy yourself treats for a rainy day.

The websites Gumtree and Freecycle are very useful for finding cheap second hand or free things that people are getting rid of – just make sure you enter London as your city/region as otherwise you will be paying a lot in postage fees!
Groupon and Wowcher: These are sites you sign up to with daily offers ranging from haircuts and restaurant meals to holidays and helicopter rides. The deals only last a limited amount of time and they send you an email every couple of days with the latest offers.
VoucherCodes.co.uk is a good place to get discount deals for shops and restaurants.
Unidays is a website exclusively for students that gives you discounts online, in restaurants, and in shops. Register and see what deals you can get.
Photo: EchoPlex7
With a Taste Card you can get 2 for 1 on meals at a lot of popular restaurant chains. They’ve got an offer at the moment giving a month’s free membership, so this is definitely something you should sign up for!

As regards food: buy things in reasonable bulk if you can manage to store it and cook! cook! cook! and make packed lunches. The temptation will be to buy food on the go and get takeaways etc but really it is best not to do this.

2   Coffee. As someone who love’s coffee don’t buy it from a big chain coffee shop or even from smaller shops every day. This eats into your money like you wouldn’t believe! It is probably worth making a flask of coffee in the mornings if you have time! And it’s definitely worth investing in some good coffee to keep at home. I like the Columbian (finest) coffee in Tesco’s and, although it is ‘finest’ it will obviously work out cheaper than buying coffee every day. Also a very useful tip from Jess is the free tea and coffee that you can get with a membership to Waitrose supermarket.

Photo: Aleks
3  It is very easy to be in London and not see much of it. Although, as this is part of your Uni work, there should be some opportunities to take advantage of. It is a good idea to make the most of any cheap or free events and/or any chance see the sights. As Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life”. I will be writing to you in a weekly email  to give you some good (hopefully) ideas about things to do in and around London, but it is also definitely worth keeping an eye on/subscribing to some of the following guides to London:  http://londonist.com/       http://www.timeout.com/london http://www.brokeinlondon.com/ http://londontheinside.com/   http://twentysomethinglondon.com/

One thing that sadly will be a factor in how much of London and its surroundings you get to experience will be transport and the associated cost, for more info on this see part 2 to be posted shortly.
Photo: Doug Wheller
Photo: Andy Bird

Photo: Mark Seton

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