52 Ways To Save Money in London (as a Londoner!)

London is an expensive city, there is no doubt about that! If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re hoping to pick up a few extra tricks and ideas on ways to save money in London while you’re living in the city. Well, you’re in luck, I’ve been living in London for years and there are plenty of tricks I learned along the way.

The thing is, when I moved to London back in 2016, my salary was £23k. I needed to know EVERY trick in the book to make sure that I could thrive in the city while also making sure my bank balance was positive every month. It wasn’t always easy, but I’m sharing what I learned in the hope it might help you too. Let’s get into it!

Save money on bills in London

1. Reduce your rent

Your rent is likely to be your largest financial outlay when you are living in London. The average cost of rent in London as of 2023 is £2,179. However, this fact also means that your rental payment is the area with the biggest potential to make a saving.

You probably already know that if you get a house share, or you share a room in a house share with your partner that you will pay less rent. You’ll also pay less rent the further you live from the centre of the city, and the further you are from a tube station.

That said, there are some other ways that you could consider reducing your rent…

2. Become a lodger

If you decide to become a lodger in someone else’s home, they pay significantly less tax on their earnings from your rent. Lodging is a cheaper option than a standalone rental or house share.

Likewise, if you do own your own home, taking in a lodger is a fantastic way to earn more money to pay towards your mortgage.

3. Rent out your parking space

If you are entitled to a parking space at your rental property- usually the case with high rise flats that include a car park- you could opt to rent out the parking space. Use a service like Your Parking Space to list your space and start making some extra money. Just ask your landlord first!

4. Negotiate your rent

Easier said than done, but negotiating your rent before you move in can be one of the best ways to save money in London on rent upfront. Whether you sign a contract for two years, or you can prove to your landlord that you can add value to their home, there are ways and means of getting a potential landlord on side to secure a better rate.

5. Price compare your utilities

6. Gas & Electric

Your utility bills such as your gas and electric could be cheaper if you switched to a different provider. Doing a price comparison check is a very quick and easy way to save more money in London. Some great options to do this are MoneySupermarket, Compare The Market and Go Compare.

Quick tip- if you use a cashback website like Topcashback to search for your new provider, you can get cashback when you change, which can sometimes be as much as £40!

7. Water & Council Tax

Unfortunately, in London your bills such as your water and council tax will stay the same, as your water provider is likely to be Thames Water, and your council tax is of course billed by your council. However, if you are a single person or a student, you may be eligible for a reduction in your council tax bill.

8. WiFi & Broadband

One other utility that is also in your control is your broadband. Broadband can be significantly overpriced, so be sure to do your research to see which is the best priced provider in your area.

Our top pick is Plusnet Broadband, who have won several awards in 2023 including Broadband Provider Of The Year and Best Value Provider. They have a reputation for their impeccable customer service and great value for money.

9. Reduce your phone bill

Your phone bill is a very easy way to save money in London. If you go for an O2 mobile SIM-only plan, you can make huge savings when compared to a handset deal.

O2 mobile is a great option for Londoners, with great coverage across the UK. O2 customers get the benefit of O2 priority, with lots of London based perks that make it well worth going with this provider. Plans are priced from £10 per month, which is very affordable.

10. Pay less for insurance policies

When you live in London, whether you rent or own your home, you’ll need to take out a contents insurance policy. You may also wish to take out travel insurance, and possibly life insurance or income protection insurance.

Again, when you research prices for insurance, be sure to use price comparison websites such as MoneySupermarket, Compare The Market and Go Compare. And make sure you use Topcashback for your insurance policies too, because again, you could get £10-40 cashback on your policy!

11. Save money on food

12. Meal planning

Meal planning is a simple concept that works on the basis that you will create a plan for yourself and/or your household of what you will eat for the week ahead.

For example, you will plan out what you will have for breakfast, lunch, dinner (and even drinks and snacks if you wish!) for each day of the week, a week in advance.

This means that you can do one ‘big food shop’ per week, and get everything you need. There should be less waste, and less money spent on convenience foods. Meal planning also has the added bonus of taking away some of the ‘mental load’ of preparing food each day.

13. Supermarket loyalty cards

Supermarket loyalty cards are offering better deals and promotions than ever. Make sure that you are signed up to every loyalty card your local supermarkets offer to make sure that you aren’t missing out on saving some cash on your groceries.

14. Online shopping introductory offers

The big UK supermarkets have some great introductory offers for online shopping. If you haven’t yet done an online shop with the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons (or even Iceland and Ocado), do take a look at their current offers to see if you can make some savings.

15. Meal kit introductory offers

Meal kit delivery services can be a good way to save money on food- but this is usually only the case when using their generous introductory offers.

16. HelloFresh

HelloFresh offer 60% off your first box, including free shipping. Including the discount, the box comes to £11.60. It includes 3 recipes for 2 people, making each portion £1.93.

17. Gousto

Gousto have a particularly good introductory offer for new customers, with 65% off your first box using this link. With the 65% discount, the box comes to £10.50, and includes 3 recipes for 2 people. That’s 6 portions of food at £1.75 per portion!

18. Use cashback websites and voucher sites

19. Topcashback

If you don’t have Topcashback yet, you’re missing out! I use the app or browser extension whenever I buy anything online (including online grocery shopping!), and have got hundreds of pounds back over the years.

How does it work? Whenever you click through to a retailer website via Topcashback, the retailer will pay Topcashback a small commission (also known as an affiliate payment) for referring you to their site. Topcashback will keep some of that commission for themselves, and then pass on the rest to you!

20. Cheddar

Cheddar is another cashback website, where you can earn cashback automatically as you shop. You simply connect your card and shop as normal! There are several supermarkets on the app, which mean it’s really a no brainer to start getting automatic cashback on your shopping.

21. Jam Doughnut

Jam Doughnut is another app which can save you money on your supermarket shop (even when you shop at Aldi or Lidl!). The basis of the app is that you buy a voucher first to cover the amount of your food shop, for example, £100.

You’ll then receive cashback on your shop which is immediately added to your wallet on the app. As an example, when you shop at Tesco, you can currently receive 3.5% cashback. If your grocery shop costs £100 per week, you’ll get back £3.50 per week, or £14 over 4 weeks. Over the course of a year that’s £182!

👀 Download the app for free and use my code YVVR to get a £4 bonus when you use the app for the first time

22. Try out Olio

Olio is a zero-waste app where users can list unwanted products and food in their local community. Users can pick up food from neighbours or stores for free.

The app aims to build communities and helps everyone to fight food waste and be more mindful about their grocery shopping habits.

23. Use TooGoodToGo

Too Good To Go is another app that is fighting food waste. And you’re in luck because this app is particularly popular in London.

Food shops, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets can list foods on Too Good To Go and you can pick up a bag of food for a snip of the full price.

The only slight downside is that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting in each bag, and you may end up with lots of sweet pastries rather than ingredients to cook dinner! But hey, that’s also part of the fun.

24. Save more money in London

25. Use a budgeting app

A money management app like Snoop makes it so much easier to manage your money, especially if you have more than one bank account. I love it because it’s free, and it also gives you personalised ideas on how you could save more money- perfect for when you live in London!

Snoop will also show you all of your accounts (including savings accounts and credit cards), on a dashboard so that you can see an overview of your finances at a glance. It makes it so much easier to manage your money when you don’t have to flip through different apps.

👀 Try Snoop here.

26. Make extra money in London

The best way to save more money is to make more money. Whether that’s from asking your current employer for a pay rise, or starting up a side hustle.

When I moved to London on a low salary, one of the best things I did was to start a small Etsy store where I hand embroidered t-shirts and sweatshirts to make some extra money each month.

There are so many options when it comes to finding the right side hustle idea for you, but if you get stuck on the process as a whole, you can check out my eBook, The Side Hustle Toolkit.

27. Open a high interest savings account

A high interest savings account is a low-effort way to increase your savings without doing any extra work yourself. If your savings are sitting in a low interest savings account (especially if the rate is less than 4%), you should consider moving your savings elsewhere.

You can earn hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds more on your savings if you have your savings in an account that pays good interest. Use the Bank of England calculator to see how much interest you are currently getting, and what you could be getting.

A great option for a high interest account is Chip. It’s an Instant Access account which means that you don’t need to wait to access your money, nor is there a charge to withdraw your money. It has really been a game changer for me!

28. Use a budgeting spreadsheet

If you prefer to use Excel or Google Forms to manage your budget, you could consider using the Thrifty Londoner Ultimate Money Matrix Dashboard. It’s an all singing, all dancing spreadsheet which is split out into monthly tabs, with an annual overview dashboard.

You can use the budgeting spreadsheet to track bills, expenses, savings, and track your debt pay off journey. You can also track upcoming expenses and tick off your financial goals.

👀 Try The Ultimate Money Matrix Dashboard

29. Make the most of your pension

If your employer has a good pension scheme, make the most of it! If your employer stipulates that they will match your pension contributions up to 7%, for example, you are missing out on free money if you don’t take them up on that offer.

Although you will sacrifice some of your pre-tax salary to pay more into your pension, you will technically get more money from your employer- only, you’ll be getting it at retirement instead of now.

Consider using a pension calculator to see how much you’d need to retire comfortably, and see if it’s worth increasing your contributions to increase your wealth in the long run.

30. Consider investing

Investing is another long-term way to grow your wealth. You could consider investing alongside investing in your pension as part of your long term retirement plan. The great part about investing (for example, in a stocks and shares ISA), is that you can access the money before retirement age if you wish to.

To find out more about investing, you could download the Hargreaves Lansdown Free Investment Guides.

31. Save money on shopping

32. Try charity shopping in London

Charity shopping in London is THE BEST. Not only are we seriously spoiled with choice, but the caliber of the clothing is also pretty top notch.

There are charity shops in London on every high street, and you’d be hard pushed to find a neighbourhood in London that doesn’t have thrift shops.

There are some great charity shop crawls where there are lots of charity shops in one area- you won’t regret going! Pricing at charity shops can vary depending on the area, and the type of clothing that they are selling. It goes without saying that designer pieces are more expensive than high street options.

33. Shop at low cost retailers online

Everything 5 Pounds is essentially an online outlet store. The labels have been cut out of the clothing on the website, but with some careful checking and Googling you can try to determine the high street store that they are from.

Past finds have included clothing from River Island and Oasis. You might even recognise some of the clothes on the website from previous seasons!

34. Try outlet shopping in London

There are several London outlets spread across the city and beyond. You can buy all kinds of things from the London Designer Outlet villages- including discounted clothing, make up, skin care and even food!

The main outlets are located near Wembley Arena, and the O2 arena- each of the outlet villages have tons of shops, and many with large discounts. You may even find yourself a discount on current season stock.

Brands at the Designer Outlets include Levi’s, M&S, Nike, Adidas, New Balance and many more.

35. Save on gift shopping

Gift buying can very easily make a dent in your budget, especially around Christmas and in the summer during wedding and baby shower season.

A slightly more alternative option is to give second hand gifts, or regift unwanted items. But if that’s not your vibe, you could look on websites like Etsy and Not On The Highstreet to nab something unique and interesting from an independent business, but without a huge price tag.

36. Save money on entertainment

tkts booth leicester square
TKTS booth, Leicester Square

37. Use TKTS booth for cheap theatre tickets

Have you heard of the famous TKTS booth in Leicester Square? It’s one of London’s best kept secrets when it comes to getting cheap theatre tickets. You can get the best discounts for on-the-day bookings, and discounts can be as high as 50% off!

When you’re living in London, you can afford to be a little last minute when it comes to going to the theatre. Especially if it means you’re going to get such a big discount on your tickets!

38. Theatre tickets lottery

Another way for Londoners to get cheap theatre tickets is to use theatre tickets lotteries. As the name suggests, it is a lottery, so there is never any guaranteed tickets. However, if you do win, you can see some fantastic shows for a lot less than the advertised price- which could be £10 – £25.

If you want to see a particular show, go to the website and search to see if they have a ticket lottery. These are the lottery pages for Matilda The Musical and Hamilton for example.

39. Get tastecard

A tastecard is a must if you regularly eat at chain restaurants with friends- you can often get 2 for the price of 1 meal midweek which is a fantastic offer.

If you’re not so into chain restaurants, it may not be suitable for you. But do check it out all the same because you can also get great discounts on cinema tickets and more.

40. Use LivingSocial for discounts

LivingSocial is a fantastic website for getting huge discounts on meals out, drinks, attractions, events, spa days and more. The site offers up to 80% off which is a really great saving on entertainment in the city!

My current top picks are £59 for a 3 course dinner for two at a 5* hotel in Westminster, and an Elemis spa day with 4 treatments for £42.50 (with access to pool and facilities)! But the offers change all the time, so be sure to regularly check the website.

41. Save money on travel

42. Get a railcard

A railcard is a huge money saver in London- not only can you get 1/3 off train fares for travelling around the country, but you can also add your railcard to your Oyster card. If you make just one journey from London to a city like Manchester or Liverpool, the card already pays for itself!

There are several different types of railcards, with the most popular being the 16-25 and 26-30 rail cards. They cost £30 for the year, and are worth their weight in gold.

43. Put your railcard on your Oyster card

When you connect your railcard to your Oyster card you can also save 1/3 on off-peak tube journeys (including at the weekend!). This can make a huge difference to the cost of travel if you regularly find yourself on the tube during the evenings and weekends.

44. Hire a bike

Boris Bikes are popular in London, and you can now also hire electric scooters to zip around the city. London has a commitment to great cycle lanes and cycle routes around the city, so riding a bike could be even quicker (and cheaper) than getting the tube sometimes.

Riding a bike in London is not only cost effective, but is more environmentally friendly, and also good exercise. It’s a win all round!

45. Swap the tube for the bus

Tube fares can vary depending on which zones you are crossing in and out of. The cheaper option? A London bus! A bus fare in London is only £1.75 which is considerably cheaper than the tube in most cases.

You can also transfer on and off multiple buses within one hour of tapping in for your first journey, which makes it very cost effective. The maximum charge for a day of bus travel is £5.25. When you compare that to a maximum fare on a SINGLE journey on the tube of £9.40- there are lots of savings to be made when travelling by bus.

46. Use Citymapper

Citymapper is a great tool for all Londoners. Not only does it make navigating London a breeze, but it can also save you money too.

The app will show you different routes to your destination, and as well as telling you the fastest route, it will also tell you the cost of each route!

47. Try Skyscanner for cheap flights from London

London is served by several different airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Stanstead, London City and Luton. Using a website like Skyscanner will show you budget flight options from any of these London airports to your destination.

Often, travel is cheapest from London due to the abundance of airports in the area. It’s a great perk of living in the city!

48. Use cashback sites for travel

Again, using cashback websites such as Topcashback, and voucher sites such as Jam Doughnut is a brilliant way to save money on your travel.

Virgin and British Airways are both listed on Topcashback, while Jam Doughnut offers 4% cashback on the Eurostar (and remember to use code YVVR to get £4 cashback when you use the app for the first time!)

Since travel is usually more expensive than your day-to-day spending, it’s a good idea to get all the cashback you can get. After all, the higher the purchase amount, the more cashback you’ll get!

Top tip: use Topcashback to click through to a price comparison website and get a great deal on your travel insurance too!

49. Free things to do in London

50. Visit free museums and galleries

A great way to save money when you’re living in London is to make the most of all the free things that the city has to offer. There are over 190 museums in London, and many of them are free to enter.

Alongside the museums, there are also famous galleries like the Tate Modern, and National Portrait Gallery. Make sure you don’t ignore these amazing things to do on your doorstep for free!

51. Go to free events

There are also an abundance of free events in London throughout the year which can really save on the cost of entertainment and socialising. Free events include outdoor cinemas in the summer, networking events, seminars, talks, and even trade shows and exhibitions.

A great place to find out about upcoming free events is to use Eventbrite. You will often need to secure a ticket for free, so that the event organiser knows how many attendees there will be.

52. Attend free exercise classes and gym passes

Did you know that you don’t have to pay for classes or a gym membership to exercise in London? From free outdoor gyms, to free dance glasses, and free gym passes– there is no excuse not to stay fit, even while you’re on a budget!

If you’re looking for a more permanent or local gym, you could also check out our list of cheap gyms in London which might have something that’s still budget-friendly.

FAQs

How to live on a low budget in London

Living on a low budget is not impossible, but you’ll need to make a concerted effort to reduce your costs in all areas, while simultaneously increasing your income. Start by reducing your largest costs such as your rent, utility bills and phone bill.

See if you can increase your income through asking for a pay rise, or alternatively taking up a side hustle to get more money coming into your bank account each month. It’s not easy to live on a low budget in London, but covering the basics will help you on your way.

How can I save money in London?

You can save money by making the most of lots of the free things to do in London- including free classes, events, and tourist attractions. But the absolute best ways to save money in London are to reduce your largest expenses, and increase your income.

Can I live off £1,500 a month in London?

£1,500 per month is a low income by London standards and unfortunately after paying rent, bills, and any travel, you will probably not have anything else leftover. Unless you find a way to supplement your income, it will be very difficult to live on £1,500 per month.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *