Living in London, as you might have guessed by now, is expensive, and no doubt by now you’ve picked up ideas to save a few pounds here and there, but if you really need to save some money, say for that lovely new, but pricey, flat you’ve had your eye on, or simply to make sure you have emergency expenses, or any other reason, here are some easy tips for you to ensure your money goes further than it ordinarily would.
1) Planning lots of trips around the city? Use the weekly travel card. You might have read about the Oyster card and the pay-as-you-go scheme, and while it’s definitely cheaper than purchasing single tickets (this is very rare anymore!), if you plan on making more than six trips a week through the city, it might do your wallet some good if you went with a 7-day travel card.
Now, the benefit here with the 7-day card is that you can load them onto your Oyster card, and as your travel habits change, you’ll be switching between the 7-day card and the pay-as-you-go scheme, which can save you a few pounds. Just remember to tap in and out to ensure you’re being charged correctly either way, and all fare caps are in place based on where you go, at what time you travel.
2) Be eco-friendly and save more money. Riding around the Underground and the DLR might be fun for someone from the States who loves trains but has never had a chance to use train transport before. But even with the Oyster card and weekly travel cards and any accompanying price caps, public transport fares on the Tube or DLR can add up. This is especially true if you’re not watching your spending as closely as you need to.
So if you’re looking to pare down your train travel to save yourself some money for a time, you can’t go wrong with walking or cycling more often. Plus, as the days get warmer, you’ll want to be out and about on your days off, taking in a market area here, visiting a garden there, and whatever else you might fancy doing on a spring day or evening.
3) BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag. Owing to the need to reduce plastic bag usage, you’ll be charged 5p per plastic bag if you decide to do your grocery shopping without your own bags. If you need to do a lot of shopping, this can get costly, and 5p per bag adds up pretty quickly. So, the best thing would be to make sure you’ve got your own reusable bags. If you’re from the States and are still rather afraid of being seen as a ‘tree-hugger,’ don’t be. This isn’t just about saving the planet. It’s about saving as much money as you can, which is always a good thing no matter where you choose to live.
4) Take delivery of your groceries. On the flip side of the grocery coin, you can always comparison shop for food online across various supermarkets, and have your groceries delivered from, say, Tesco’s. Not only is this helpful if you have specific things you purchase, because your online account and grocery item preferences will be saved, but if you live several floors up from street level, you will not want the hassle of dealing with lots of shopping bags while using public transport. Plus, by having your goods delivered, you’ll not have to spend money on transport at all.
5) Take advantage of free (or dirt cheap) events and locations. While you’re getting used to life in London and doing your best to stretch every bit of money you can without feeling too financially pinched, there’s no reason why you can’t get out of the house or flat and go have some fun that’s either dirt cheap or completely free. Museums, of course, are free, and even if you have to pay admission to some places, many events around London are quite affordable.
If, of course, you are wishing to have an evening out to the cinema or theatre, you’d do well to search out discount tickets so you can have some occasional fun at your favourite West End shows and the latest movie releases without hurting your budget too much.
These are just five ideas to help you get in a money-saving mindset, but it’s very likely that the longer you live, work and play in London, the more savvy you’ll become at stretching your income.