London 101

If you’re a frugal college student like me and you plan on studying abroad in London, then these are all of the important tips you will need to save money! 


1. Always ask if there is a student discount – 

When you study abroad your school will give you a school identification card with your picture on it, and a lot of restaurants and retailers will give students a 10% discount. To name a few, Topshop, Topman, EAT and Abokado are some of the places that give students discounts. With this said, this also means that you should never forget to bring your student ID with you. Otherwise, you would not be able to receive this deal.

2. Never tip or pay the optional dining fee –

In most European cities, including London, customers never tip at restaurants. Do not be fooled by the “optional fee” on your receipt either. All receipts will list this with the cost of the fee, but that does not mean you have to pay it. There has been numerous times where I dined out and waiters attempted to be sneaky by claiming that we had to pay the fee. If that ever happens, let them know that you are not the “naïve American” they think you are and rightfully confirm that you know that it is optional.

3. Always “take away” your meals –

Unless you are eating at a sit-down restaurant, always choose the option of getting your meals to go. It is ridiculous how every restaurant will charge you one pound or more for just eating in. That is equivalent to $1.50! Instead, take your meal to a nice nearby park, to your school’s campus or even back home. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you will save a lot of money too. Trust me, these tiny fees will add up!

4. Apply for a free Waitrose membership card –

Waitrose is a large grocery chain store that is literally in every neighborhood you will go to in London. You can apply for their membership card for free online, and it will be shipped to your flat within a week. With this card you will accumulate discounts, but the best part of all is that you can claim a free cup of tea or coffee every day. All you need to do is walk up to the register, ask for a cup and swipe your Waitrose card for a free drink. Then you go to the coffee and tea dispenser, where you can choose from a selection of various tea flavors, a cappuccino, a latte or regular coffee.

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One comment

  1. Having only been in London for 2 weeks i quickly realized just how expensive everything is. Coming from Paris where they use Euros everything was a lot cheaper and so much more affordable.

    I found your tips very helpful and will definitely use them! I know the first time I was at a restaurant here I was unsure if we were supposed to tip. In paris you did not have to at all, however, while we were here we googled if you were supposed to and we found that it was polite to tip 10%. After reading your tips I guess I was one of the “naive americans”. Now that I know this will definitely help me save some money!

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