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Studying in London: How to live for less in the nation’s capital

Posted in Blog by on February 17, 2020


With so much to do, so many places to eat and the benefit of studying in one of the world’s best cities, living in London as a student is a truly awesome thing. However, you’ll probably notice pretty quickly that it is so very, very expensive. And, if you don’t keep an eye on your spending habits, then the costs can mount up even more.

However, even in a pricey part of the country like London, there’s plenty of discounts, savings and deals to take advantage of when you’re a student. So, instead of desperately waiting for the next part of your loan to come in when funds are low, make sure you’re taking notes on the below. From discounted public transport and food, to making your money go further on a night out, we’ll show you how you can save your cash while studying in the nation’s capital.


Travel and public transport


When getting around London, you’ll mostly be using the tube. That means getting a student Oyster card is pretty much essential, saving you 30% on the tube, bus fares and most over-ground trains across the city.

image of underground

If you feel like increasing your fitness when getting around, then cycling is a great option too. Websites like Gumtree and Freecycle, as well as local Facebook groups always have bargain bicycles on offer, and anything you find will usually pay for itself after a few trips around London. Just make sure that any second-hand bikes you buy are roadworthy before you go for a ride.


Student cards


When you enrol as a student, you’ll receive a university card which can be used to get certain discounts in shops and restaurants. When paying for something, always inquire about any student discounts that are on offer so you can knock a little extra money off what you’re paying for.

For £15 a year, you can get an NUS card which gives you access to over 250 more discounts on everything from food and travel to clothes and technology – definitely a worthy investment while you’re studying. UNiDAYS is another student card that you can use to get exclusive discounts on all sorts of big clothing brands like ASOS, Topshop, and Missguided, as well as deals on food and drink, technology and health and fitness too!

girl paying contactless

Also, while it’s not technically exclusive to students, getting Monzo is a great idea, as it can come in handy when you’re budgeting month after month. Monzo lets you track your spending on your phone in real-time, showing what you’ve spent, how much you have left in the bank and how long you’ll last until the end of the month. You can divide your spending into different ‘pots’ like groceries, travel and bills, so you know where all your money is going towards through the month.




London has plenty of cultural and entertainment options such as cinemas, theatres and museums to offer, and a lot of these have free or discounted entry for those studying here. ‘Pay-what-you-can’ deals on certain events are excellent for the times you want a night out without spending too much, while the National Theatre frequently releases reduced-price tickets for £15 as well! Cinemas also have plenty in the way of discounts for students, too. When you want to take a break from the nightclubs and bars, soaking up some culture – with a much more affordable price point – is well worth exploring.


Study essentials


As a student, you’ll be reading books – lots and lots of them. Unfortunately, your reading list doesn’t come cheap. In fact, one of the first things you’ll probably talk about with your course mates is the price of textbooks you’re required to read.


And while you’re not required to purchase every book on your reading list, there are still some essentials on there that you’ll need. You can always head to the campus library, but if any copies have been checked out, you should go the second-hand route. Head online, check department noticeboards, your course’s Facebook group or book sales on campus to see if you can snap up your course reading for cheap. And remember, you can always sell the books back when you’re done with them at the end of the year.


Places to bring your own beer


While it’s nice to have a pint or your favourite cocktail with your meal when eating out, the prices of alcohol can be a little on the expensive side. Luckily, there are plenty of Bring Your Own Beer restaurants in London, and even more brilliantly, there’s a website that’s collected all the best ones across the city. So, not only will you be able to enjoy a tipple or two, you’ll be eating some of the finest food in London while doing it too.


Nido Partners


Food and drink


As well as your student discount card, Nido residents get to take advantage of some great deals at eateries and bars in your local area. Take a look at some of the places we’ve partnered up with and save a little extra next time you sit down:

students eating

  • HAM: A great neighbourhood spot with a casual, friendly vibe, Nido residents get a 15% discount from 10am-2.30pm on weekdays for a table up to 4 people.
  • Bobby Fitzpatrick: Bring your Nido lanyard to this bar and get 20% off everything for a table of 4 people. What’s not to love?
  • The Green Room: With awesome food and cocktails, social events and fantastic music, The Green Room makes for an excellent night out. You’ll get an exclusive 20% discount all week too!
  • The Railway: Just around the corner from Nido West Hampstead, The Railway is a local legend. Residents get 20% off for themselves and their guests – all with just one Nido card!
  • Rossopomodoro: As authentic as it gets, treat yourself to a slice of Naples with some of the best pizza in the area. Did we mention 20% off residents and their guests? Now we did.




Whether you’re keeping fit or just want to treat yourself to a new haircut, then we’ve teamed up with these local lifestyle spots to get you feeling great inside and out:

  • Smyths: After a long week, head to Smyths and get £6 off your next haircut. They’ll even throw in a hair wash and a drink to help you properly relax.

students on treadmill

  • HIIT Gym: Nido students can get a 10% discount off their membership, along with a free body composition test and a free 30-minute PT session.
  • Lime: Like the sound of biking around the city like we mentioned earlier? Nido West Hampstead residents can make use of five bikes, provided to them courtesy of the transport rental company!




And finally, what’s being a student without a little retail therapy? Check out these deals on offer from two of our London partners:

  • 4BYSIX: A streetwear brand based in the city, 4BYSIX strive to help the homeless. For each piece of clothing they sell, they donate blankets, sleeping bags and hat/glove sets to the homeless community across the city.
  • Wearth: An online marketplace featuring all manner of eco-friendly and ethical beauty products, use the Nido promo code to get 10% off these excellent sustainable products.

If you’re looking for a student living experience that offers more, head over to the NIDO STUDENT SITE to see what properties are nearby or drop us a line on 0207 1000 100 for more information on our student residences.