When I'm in my hometown, an unheard of place in the Southwest, whenever I tell someone that I study in London they seem to go into an accute state of shock. The questions that follow rarely focus on my university or course, but leap straight into an impassioned interrogation as to how I can afford to be there, and how far am I into my overdraft. When I answer that it's actually not too bad and that, in fact, I'm completely in the black money wise, they seem to think I'm lying or at least receiving huge parental bail outs. The fact is though, I'm not, and with a few habits adopted to my daily life, it can almost be, dare I say, cheap...(This obviously excludes the backbreaking rent situation, nothing you can do about I'm afraid, unless you want to share your room with four other people)
Here are a few things that can save you the odd penny:
We all know this one, and we're probably all financing the discount chain already. Although there doesn't seem to be an abundance of Aldis in London, there are loads of Lidls about, especially south of the river. This week I needed a few bits so popped to my local Sainburys. On going to Lidl a few days later, I realised I could've bought the same things for almost half the price. That hurt, but lesson learnt.
2. Independent shops and markets
If you're not blessed with a Lidl around the corner, try independant places for fruit and veg. It's often cheaper and a lot better quality than in supermarkets.
3. Private Views
Look out on facebook or at your college for posters detailing student exhibitions. Everyone doing a fine art course has to do them, and a lot of other courses will do them too. They're a great one for a cheap/free evening out, as most will provide free wine/beer, and you can even pass off your attendance as benefitting your education. Ideal.
The tube is amazing for getting places fast, but what it can do is distort how far away places are from each other, since it often feels that you're travelling a lot further than you actually are. In central London everything is actually pretty close together, and even some areas in zone 2 aren't as far as you might think. I started walking everywhere because I found buses and tubes were stressing me out, especially when it's hot, rush hour, and everyone seems to have lost all humanity. I love it now because it's calming, free, and means I don't have to pay to keep fit in a gym.
5. Capitalise on free materials at college
There are probably a lot more than you think, just check out the workshops for wood, metal, ceramics materials, the list goes on.
There you go: a few small things could save you a lot. You can even even go further and bring your own teabags into college to take advantage of the free hot water taps in the canteens, there's no end to the potential scrimping.