Money, Money, Money

Megan Kempton headshot
Megan Kempton
February 18, 2024
A picture of my student Oyster Card

Being frugal in a new country is HARD. Especially not having a job. I’ve had a job consistently since I was 14, and not having one now makes it hard to adjust to not having a stream of income coming in. Because of this, I have had to reassess how I view money and how I spend it. Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up!

1. Remind yourself you’re not on vacation

This was a hard one for me. The first month that I was here I was spending obscene amounts of money on things since I felt like I was on vacation. My mentality was that I’m in a new place, why not do everything?

Well, the reality is that I am here for four months. That is a long time, and it’s a long time to be able to experience different things. Pacing is super necessary. Buy groceries, try to cook for the majority of your meals, and maybe do one or two things that cost more money a week! Eating out can be super tempting, but remember, you want to make the money you have stretch. Cooking for yourself can be relaxing and it is a real wallet saver.



This one is hard. It’s so tempting to just grab a quick bite in between classes since you’re at class anyways. However, this adds up QUICK. Invest in some tupperware and meal prep the night before. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, most days I pack a ham and cheese, but having packed food for lunch saves the wallet and time during your lunch break! You can mix it up too, I’ll cook fun things the night before to bring for lunch, like quiches, pork sandwiches, and pasta dishes!

While you’re at it, pack dinner too if you’re going to be out all day. It’s worth it, I promise.


3. Pret pret pret

Plain and simple, the Pret subscription has saved my life. I am a full blown caffeine addict, and being able to get up to 5 free drinks a day? Incredible. The 30 pounds a month is nothing once you consider that you’ll probably make a return on investment within a week if you’re getting coffee every day. Also, if you’re a kuerig coffee drinker in America, it’s about the same price as a 30 pack of k-cups, but this way you get custom barista drinks for the same price.

It also gives you 20% off on everything else in the store, which can be a real savior if you forget to pack a lunch.


4. Invest in that travel card

With the student oyster card, you get 30% off of travel cards. This is SO HELPFUL. An unlimited pass is about $150 USD per month for zones 1-3, which is incredible considering I spent over that amount in the first 2.5 weeks before I had my oyster card. The tube adds up, get those deals where you can.



Groceries here can be really inexpensive if you know where to look. My personal favorite is LIDL, because it’s pretty close. The good thing about these cheaper supermarkets is that even though they are technically the lower brow grocery stores, they have exponentially higher quality food than they would otherwise in the US. My advice is take advantage of the lower prices, and get some good produce while you’re at it.


6. Find your happy hours

While not drinking alcohol or eating out is the best way to save money, there are still ways to be frugal. Happy hours here can be incredible. Most don’t go for super long, but a lot of places have 2-4-1 drinks, half off food, and more! It’s still possible to have a cheap night out if you do your research first.


7. TodayTix

I am a HUGE theatre fan. A big part of why I wanted to come to London in the first place is to see the shows! However, theatre can be expensive. This is why I recommend using TodayTix for these tickets. For most shows, day-of tickets are usually around 25-30 pounds per person. Additionally, many offer rush and lottery tickets for even less! I won the Operation Mincemeat lottery (not on TodayTix, on the musicals own website), and got two front row tickets for 40 pounds total. The deals are there.


8. Fever

If you’re a movie fan, I highly recommend checking out Feverup. Fever is a site similar to Groupon that provides discounted prices on experiences, and my favorite one is for movie tickets. They provide codes for discounted tickets at Vue movie theaters all over London, and while it’s only a few pounds cheaper, every penny counts.


That’s all for now, but I hope these saver tips can help a little bit!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs
Megan Kempton headshot

Megan Kempton

My name is Megan Kempton and I am a junior at American University studying Musical Theatre and Communication studies. I'm going to London to study and to embark on an internship. In my free time I like writing, reading, puzzles, and making music!

2024 Spring
Home University:
American University
Theatre Arts
Explore Blogs