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Cost of living impact - tips and advice

Inflation and the rising cost of living

The UK is currently experiencing a high increase in the cost of living, including food, gas, and electricity amongst other things. We want to provide you with as much advice and support to minimise the impact this will have on you and enable you to access support if needed.

St Mary’s is here for you during the cost of living crisis.

You can apply for financial support, such as our:

We also offer a range of scholarships and bursaries for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Throughout the year, you can apply to various student jobs at St Mary’s University. You could work:

  • as a Student Ambassador
  • as a Student Support Worker
  • as a Resident Mentor
  • in The Refectory
  • in the Library
  • in the Student Union (SMSU)
  • with Sports St Mary’s.

You can use CareerConnect to:

  • search and apply for jobs
  • book one-to-one careers appointments
  • view upcoming careers events
  • find useful careers guidance and quizzes.

Find out more about St Mary’s jobs by contacting our Career Service at

Our accommodation fees always include a meal plan. We, therefore, offer one of the best student accommodation deals in London.

The Pay it Forward scheme ensures all students eat a warm and nutritious meal. If you can’t afford a meal in the Refectory, you can use this scheme to get one for free. You can also donate to the Pay it Forward scheme to help someone else.

Our Student Union (SMSU) hosts a food bank. Please feel free to take what you need or even donate some items.

Our toilets are stocked with free sanitary products.

If you’re late returning a book, you won’t be subject to fines at our Library.

If you choose to live away from campus, you’ll access our commuter lounge. Here, you can relax, eat, and stay cosy between lectures. The commuter lounge is in the middle of campus, with kitchen facilities, lockers, and a comfy seating area.

External resources

We've compiled a list of external resources which may help you save money as a student. 

You can use the app TooGoodToGo for discounted food that’d otherwise go to waste.

Get a Richmond Card for the best deals in the borough.

You’re also eligible for student discounts. You can access a range via:

You can also get discounted subscriptions with Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Prime.

You can also buy discounted tickets to many exhibitions, galleries, and events nationwide. Be sure to keep your student card on you for proof.

You can also get freebies from a variety of companies. These include things like:

  • food
  • toiletries
  • haircuts
  • tickets
  • online courses.

Tips and advice

Read our tips and advice on the cost of living and minimising the impact. 

  • Check if you’re eligible for any government benefits and bursaries.
  • Create a weekly or monthly budget.
  • Get a student bank account.
  • Save what you can. Many banks can also help by automatically saving small amounts that add up.
  • Cancel and avoid unnecessary subscriptions.
  • Shop for clothes and books second-hand.
  • Have a “no spend” day each week.
  • Buy frozen and tinned food.
  • Make extra portions of food, so you’ll have leftovers. You can even freeze these, so they last longer.
  • Buy own-brand produce and shop at cheaper supermarkets like LIDL, Aldi, ASDA, and Tesco (Which?, 2023).
  • Sign up to supermarket loyalty cards to earn points, discounts, and rewards.
  • Get a railcard. You can also link it to your Oyster for discounted travel within London.
  • Walk or cycle where possible.
  • See if you qualify for the Government's warm home discount scheme, which could see you receive a discount on your energy bills between October and March.
  • Only use the heating when you need to. Make use of the timer function and set it to reflect the times you most need it so that you are wasting having it on while you aren't there. If you have a landlord, ask them to make sure the property is as draught free as possible - they can draught proof areas where energy may be escaping. 
  • Turn plug sockets off for appliances or technology equipment when you aren't using them. Things such as kettles, phone chargers, laptops will all be using energy while they are plugged into a socket that is turned on, even if the apliances/items themselves aren't being used.
  • Avoid electric heaters as they are one of the most expensive forms of heating and make sure to turn lights off when you don't need them on. 

You can access additional resources like (you may need to speak to your landlord about some of these suggestions):