Chevening’s top tips for making your money go further

Read our top tips and tricks for making your money go further whilst living in the UK as a Chevening Scholar.

Congratulations on winning your Chevening Scholarship and arriving in the UK! We’ve put together this handy guide for making your money go further so that you can make the most of your time in the UK.


One of the UK’s cheaper supermarkets, Lidl

1. Choose your food shops wisely

UK supermarkets are not all created equal. Here at Chevening, we love to shop at Aldi and Lidl. These supermarkets sell good quality food but without the expensive brand names – so the price you pay is much lower.

For cheap household goods, we recommend your nearest B&M, Home Bargains or Poundland.

2. Get a rail card

Rail cards are one of the best investments you can make during your Chevening year, if you’re planning to explore the UK beyond where you live. It’s a one off £30 payment for a year’s railcard. You can then purchase all train tickets at a 1/3 discount. It usually pays for itself within approximately two trips!

The ‘student’ railcard is called the 16-25 railcard – don’t worry if you’re older than 25 though! Regardless of age, any student in full time education is entitled to one. You just need to fill out a different form.

If you’re trying to travel somewhere in the UK really cheaply, then National Express coaches are your friend. You can also get a student discount on these if you sign up to one of the participating student sites (see more detail below).

Glenfinnan Viaduct (nb. railcards unlikely to be accepted on novelty steam trains)

3. Link your rail card to your Oyster

This tip is for scholars living in or visiting London. Once you’ve got your railcard (see above), you can link it to your Oyster card. That’s right, you can get 1/3 off all your off-peak travel on the tube too!

For London residents, regular tube travel can become expensive. We know filling out forms isn’t especially fun, but honestly, it’s worth it in savings!


4. Make the most of student discounts

You’ll be eligible for lots of discounts as a student living in the UK! Websites such as Student Money Saver, Unidays, Save The Student, Totum and StudentBeans all have discounts and saving ideas to help students, so only pay full price for something if you’re absolutely sure you’ve double checked you’re not entitled to a discount.


The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden

5. There’s so much you can experience on the cheap!

Going to theatre shows and concerts are fun ways to spend an evening, but they don’t always come cheap… unless you visit sites like Last Minute! Here you’ll find on the day tickets at a fraction of the cost. Venues like the Royal Opera House and Wigmore Hall in London offer discounts for students. And your railcard can also get you cheaper tickets to the theatre!

Mobile phone networks also tend to offer perks occasionally. To tempt you into using their service, they’ll offer things like discounted tickets to shows and matches, free cinema tickets, or even just a free coffee once in a while. Check out the current perks offered by networks.

Finally, it’s a good idea to make use of a budget calculator and reading the tips at Money Saving Expert.

Staying on top of your spending and knowing where you can afford to treat yourself is much better for mental health and peace of mind than just winging it. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to make the most of your time in the UK if you’re smart with your cash.

Don’t forget to tag us on social using the #IAmChevening to let us know how you’re making the most of your time in the UK!

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