Seven unconventional ways of saving money as a London university student

Skip the weekly budget and just do these…

As one of the most expensive cities in the world, London can put a real strain on your finances.

Although hundreds of guides out there tell you about budgeting to save a few pennies, losing those overpriced drinks, staying at home, and skipping the embarrassingly frequent takeouts isn’t what going to uni in London is about. Here are just a few of the more interesting ways to save (and even make) money as a student in London.

1. Free-L-R

For those heading out east, remembering to tap your card at DLR stations can be a real challenge, especially with the absence of gates and a serious lack of staff to remind you.

You could end up travelling from Tower Gateway to Greenwich, or City Airport to Stratford and back, all without paying a penny. But be warned – ticket inspectors can scan your card and, if no entry is detected, you may wake up to a small fine from TfL.

2. The missed delivery

Some days just demand you to sit back, relax and get some food delivered. The problem is, even just one of these can be more than a weekly shop, so when it comes a little late or has a missing side, it can almost come as a bit of a blessing.

Sometimes a London KFC or McDonald’s can be so busy they give out the wrong order, and nobody will know about this mix-up until you get let down by opening that bag. This honestly doesn’t demand a full refund but does have the unintended potential of helping you stay on top of your finances.

3. International aid

There are so many websites that have helped people around the world get the donations they need, such as GoFundMe and JustGiving.

If your situation calls for it, setting one of these up to aid your education and sharing it with the international community is probably a smart idea.

4. Playing the roll

Leaving a busy pub or club?

Maybe before you take the long journey home you might want to take a few squares of toilet roll – it is pretty pricey and always seems to run out too quickly. Realistically, you could take a bit more than that, possibly an excessive amount that fits nicely up your jumper – after all, it was £7 a pint.

5. Bank switching

Most students will remember those deals that banks used to use to tempt freshers into opening a new account with them.

Well, switching accounts can earn you a bit of kickback as well, with some banks offering up to £200 to switch. This can take time and you will run out of banks offering those sweet deals, but when done right you could earn up to £1000 just from cycling around opening new accounts.

Expect lots of time on the phone and filling out online forms, as well as waves of these offers coming and going quickly.

6. Movie nights

One of the best ways to get to know some new flatmates or friends on a budget is to hang out in a kitchen, talk, drink and maybe watch a movie or two.

If you do end up hosting, you may have to use someone else’s account, to watch that one film you all agree on. After several movie nights like this with a few different groups, it is entirely possible that you end up with a Netflix, Prime and Disney+ account, all saved on your device, and all saving you possibly hundreds of pounds over a year.

7. Boofing

This last one could cut your pregaming costs by roughly 80 percent: all it demands is a funnel, around two beers and a group of close, consenting friends who you don’t mind seeing just a bit of your bum. I think you can guess where it goes.

Also known as butt-chugging, this is much more of an American phenomenon, but one that may be much more welcome in London over the coming years as those drink prices keep going up.

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