10 Smart Ways to Save Money as an International Student in UK

10 Smart Ways to Save Money as an International Student in UK's photoBy Esther Ebere
Fri Mar 03 2023
10 Smart Ways to Save Money as an International Student in UK

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Picture this: you're an international student in the UK, immersing yourself in a new culture, exploring new places, and meeting new people. It's an exciting time, but the reality is that the cost of living in the UK can quickly eat into your budget. Accommodation, transportation, and other expenses can add up quickly, leaving you struggling to make ends meet. But don't worry; we're here to share our secrets on how to save money effectively as an international student! This blog post covers ten smart ways to save money so you can enjoy your student life without breaking the bank.


10 Money-Saving Tips for International Students in the UK

This section discusses ten practical and effective money-saving tips to help you cut expenses without sacrificing your academic goals or quality of life.

Tip 1: Create a Budget

A budget is vital for managing finances as an international student in the UK. It helps you track expenses, avoid overspending and save money. But how do you create a budget? First, evaluate expenses, including tuition fees, rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and entertainment. Then set realistic goals for saving and spending by allocating a specific amount to each expense category.

Meanwhile, several free budgeting tools and apps, such as Mint, YNAB, and PocketGuard, can help monitor your spending, set financial goals, and alert you when you overspend. Therefore, create a budget to stay on top of finances, save money, and prioritize essential expenses like rent, food, and transportation.

Tip 2: Find Affordable Accommodation

You can significantly reduce your cost of living as a student in the UK by finding affordable accommodation. Look for housing options that fit your budget, such as shared apartments, dormitories, or homestays. Consider the location, amenities, and transportation costs when selecting your accommodation.

When you live in a shared apartment or house, you save on rent, utility bills, and other expenses. You also enjoy the opportunity to socialize and make new friends.

On the other, finding homestays, where you live with a local family, allows you to experience their culture and way of life. This can be an excellent opportunity to practice your language skills and immerse yourself in the UK culture.

Tip 3: Find Part-Time Work

Finding part-time work is essential for international students in the UK, as it can help you cover your living expenses and gain valuable work experience. Many universities and colleges offer on-campus job opportunities, such as working in the library, cafeteria, or administrative offices. You can also find part-time work in retail, hospitality, or customer service off-campus.

Start by checking your university or college's job board or career center. Also, search popular job websites, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster.

That said, when applying for part-time jobs, highlight your relevant skills and experience in your CV or resume. Ask your professors or supervisors for references or recommendations. Additionally, you can apply for internships or work placements, as they provide valuable work experience and potential job opportunities after graduation.

Tip 4: Cook Your Meals

Eating out is one of the biggest expenses for international students in the UK. But choosing to cook your meals can save you a significant amount of money while allowing you to eat healthier. Plus, you get to customize your meals to your preferences.

To start cooking, stock up on basic kitchen essentials, such as utensils, pots and pans, and seasonings. You can find affordable cooking supplies at local supermarkets or discount stores. Consider buying in bulk to save even more money.

Finally, plan your meals ahead of time and make a shopping list to avoid overspending on unnecessary items. Look for local markets and discount supermarkets to find fresh and affordable produce.

Tip 5: Use Public Transportation

Public transportation is a more affordable option than owning a car in the UK. Owning a car comes with many expenses, including fuel, insurance, parking fees, and maintenance costs. On the other hand, public transportation offers a range of affordable options, such as buses, trains, and trams.

To use public transportation in the UK, purchase a travel card or pass that offers unlimited rides or discounted fares. Also, download transportation apps like Citymapper and Google Maps to help you plan your routes and schedules.

Meanwhile, avoid peak hours when using public transport, as fares may be higher and the services may be more crowded. Instead, you can walk or pick cycling for short distances, as it's more affordable and healthier.

In addition, check if your university or college offers transportation discounts or student subsidies.

Tip 6: Buy Used Textbooks

One smart way to save money as a student in the UK is to buy used textbooks. Used textbooks are often significantly cheaper than new ones and can still provide the information you need for your studies.

Some practical tips for finding used textbooks in the UK:

  • Check with your university's bookshop or library.
  • Look for used textbooks online through Amazon, eBay, or AbeBooks.
  • Consider purchasing digital versions of textbooks, as they are often cheaper than print versions.

There are also some popular textbook resources you could use to find affordable textbooks, such as TextbookRush, Chegg, and ValoreBooks. By buying used textbooks, you can save a lot of money on your academic expenses.

Tip 7: Apply for Scholarships and Bursaries

As an international student, applying for scholarships and bursaries can help you offset the cost of tuition and living expenses. Scholarships and bursaries are typically awarded based on academic merit, financial need, or a combination of both.

To find scholarships and bursaries in the UK, check with your university's financial aid office. They may have information on scholarships and bursaries specifically for international students. Also, use scholarship search engines, like Scholarships.com or Fastweb, to find relevant opportunities.

Additionally, some governments and organizations offer scholarships and bursaries specifically for international students studying in the UK. Research and apply to these opportunities as well. Remember to carefully review each scholarship or bursary's eligibility requirements and application deadlines. 

Tip 8: Shop at Discount Stores

A smart way to save money as an international student in the UK is to shop at discount stores. Discount stores in the UK offer a wide range of products at lower prices than traditional retailers. To find discount stores near you, look for local bargain shops or visit popular discount chains like Poundland, Wilko, or B&M.

Meanwhile, here are practical tips to help you shop at discount stores in the UK:

  • Make a list of the items you need before you go shopping.
  • Check the expiry dates of the products you plan to buy.
  • Compare prices between different discount stores to find the best deals.
  • Look for seasonal sales and clearance events to save even more money.

Some other popular discount store resources in the UK include HotUKDeals, MoneySavingExpert, and VoucherCodes. These websites provide information about various retailers' latest deals, coupons, and discounts.

Tip 9: Attend Free Events and Activities

As an international student in the UK, you'll have access to many free events and activities that can help you save money. Attending these events is a great way to experience the local culture and meet new people without spending much money. To find free events and activities:

  • Check local event listings: Look online or in your local newspapers for free events and activities in your area.
  • Join social media groups: Join social media groups and pages for your university or local community to stay updated on free events and activities.
  • Take advantage of student discounts: Many attractions offer free or discounted entry to students with valid IDs.

In addition, leverage these popular free event and activity websites: Time Out London, VisitBritain, and Eventbrite. By attending these events and activities, you can save money and create unforgettable memories.

Tip 10: Share Accommodation

Another smart way to save money as an international student in the UK is to share accommodation. Sharing an apartment, house, or room with other international students or locals can help you split the rent, utilities, and other housing expenses with your roommates.

To find shared accommodation in the UK check popular websites such as Spareroom, EasyRoommate, and Roomgo for shared housing options. Additionally, you can join Facebook groups or contact student services at your university for potential roommate matches.

Sharing accommodation saves money and provides opportunities to meet new people and experience different cultures. So, feel free to consider this option when searching for affordable accommodation in the UK.


Managing finances well is crucial for international students studying in the UK. We've provided ten practical tips to help you save money while studying in the UK. These tips include creating a budget, finding affordable accommodation, finding part-time work, using public transportation, buying used textbooks, applying for scholarships and bursaries, shopping at discount stores, attending free events and activities, and sharing accommodation.

Following these tips, you can carefully plan and make smart financial decisions as a student.

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