As everyone knows, London living costs can be eye wateringly expensive, and sometimes you can be left wondering how you are going to be able to enjoy the city and everything that it offers, without sliding down the slippery slope of credit card overuse. After all, what’s the point in living in one of the most interesting (and expensive) cities in the world, if the cost of living means that you can’t go out and enjoy it? Over the last couple of years, I have found myself in this situation and have luckily found a few ways to take the edge off. If you’re finding yourself struggling a little this month, have a look at these tips to save money TODAY.
Add your railcard to your oyster card
That’s right! You can get a third off your off-peak oyster card journeys with an 18-25 rail card. (FYI- if you are about to turn 24, I would highly recommend going online to get a new 3 year rail card- there’s a loophole which means you can continue to get the discount until just before you turn 27!) I added my railcard to my oyster around a year ago and I have been saving money ever since. All you have to do is go and ask a staff member at any station and they will be happy to add the railcard onto your oyster for you. Even if you don’t have an oyster card, a rail card is a fantastic investment, in just one return trip to London from Manchester you will make back the cost of the railcard- it’s a no brainer!
Take a packed lunch
With a Pret on virtually every street corner in London, it can be easy to drop £6 every day on lunch during the week. Yes, it’s convenient, but damn, it’s expensive. Let’s say you spend £6 every weekday on lunch for a year- that would set you back a staggering £1,440 over 48 weeks (assuming you take 4 weeks holiday a year). That is the cost of a beautiful holiday. A couple of city breaks. A Chloe handbag. If today, you make the decision to stop buying lunch every day for the rest of this year, you will be around £660 better off.
Switch your utilities
Most of us are overpaying for our utilities, and with agreement from your landlord, it’s so easy to make the switch to another provider. Head to some comparison websites such as uSwitch to find out how much you could be saving each year using their handy postcode checker. These comparison sites will scan the market to check which energy provider will offer the best deal for your area- you can do this around every 12 months to make sure you are always paying the best rates for your energy.
Buy second hand
Since London is a city brimming with people, it means that there are so many second hand treasures to be found. If you are moving house, for example, and you need to find some extra bits of furniture, you can look on eBay, Gumtree, Shpock and even Facebook to find second hand furniture in your area- trust me, once you look on these sites, IKEA will start to look expensive. Similarly, if you fancy a new outfit for the weekend, take a look in your local charity shops to see what you can find. Usually you can find something unique at the fraction of the cost of a brand new outfit from the high street. If you have something specific in mind, eBay and Depop are also great places to look for new and second hand clothing at bargain prices.
Swap over your current account
Many of us still bank with the same bank that our parents use, or the bank that we had our first ever account with as a child. That bank may not be serving us with the best interest rates, but we tend to stick with them out of familiarity. The thing is, you can actually receive money to change your current account to another bank, at the time of writing, you can receive £100 in cash by switching your bank account to RBS, with an additional 2% cashback on most household bills paid by direct debit. What are you waiting for?
BONUS TIP Check out my Free Things to do in London guides and entertain yourself for free!