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How to Make London Affordable

Once I got over the culture shock of coming to England, I realised that saving money isn't as hard as it sounds.
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I received a lot of jokes about being my parent’s most expensive child after deciding to study abroad in London, the most expensive city in the world. Like most students studying abroad, I am under a lot of pressure to have a great time, but on a shoe string. However, once I got over the culture shock of coming to England, I realised that saving money isn't as hard as it sounds.

Here are 7 easy ways to keep your costs low:

  1. Go to a supermarket or grocery shop. Eating out will take up a huge amount of your budget each month. It is much cheaper to pick food up and make the meal yourself. If you want to make the meal special, take your homemade meal to Hyde Park and have a picnic there or have some of your mates over for a dinner party where everyone brings a dish to share.
  2. Most museums are free. The Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum and so many other museums are free! Visit those first before splurging on attractions that cost money.
  3. Explore. London is an international city and each borough has its own personality. It doesn’t necessarily cost money to explore each one. Go look at the street art in Shoreditch or the skate park in the South Bank. The Indian food on Bricklane isn’t expensive if you barter down the price and many pubs in Camden have open mic nights during the week where there is no cover charge.
  4. Free walking tours. A group called New Europe Tour gives a 2.5 hour walking tour through the city of Westminster. Entertaining tour guides will tell you the history of London and interesting facts about the city’s biggest attractions. Even though the tour is free, make sure you tip a few quid at the end!
  5. Get a student card. Most study abroad programs will give you a student card. You can use that card to get discounts at museums, attractions and even stores. Topshop gives students 10% off!
  6. Standby. Most theatres have a standby option for those with a valid student card an hour before the show to sell the extra tickets. The discounts are as much as 70%! Make sure you get in line early though, because the tickets go fast. Sometimes if you get there a couple hours early they will let you buy the tickets then.
  7. Make friends. If anyone is going to know how to save money, it’s the students or young adults who live in London and know the ins and outs of the city. They might point you to a cheaper restaurant outside of the touristy areas that has better quality and prices.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting London, The Best Western Victoria Palace is located in the heart of London. It’s within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square, which is a great way to save money on public transportation!

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