Live in London on a Budget
Is London expensive?
If you have lived in London for a long time you will know what most locals already know, that London is not one of the most expensive cities in the world, despite what most people think. If you have just arrived, though, and you feel overwhelmed by high prices, do not despair. Following the next simple steps will ensure that you have the time of your life while staying within your budget.
Go out as frequently as possible
There are hundreds of pubs and bars out there and most of them are desperate for clients. Find when they organize nights with discounts on drinks and take advantage of that. Do you like gigs? There are tens of free gigs in pubs around London every week; just search for them in Time Out London. Do you like cinema? Do Orange Wednesdays! If you have a mobile phone from Orange, you can get 2 for 1 cinema tickets on Wednesdays. These are valid for any film and any cinema, but remember that cinemas are more expensive in Central London, especially Leicester Square. Eat out with your friends. Avoid expensive restaurants in Central London. Visit the multi-ethnic neighborhoods in Greater London and enjoy the food there. Not only is it much cheaper (starting from 5 pounds for a full meal per person) but it is a lot more original. Be prepared for hot, exotic flavors! Don't forget to be a tourist. Visit all the famous London sights and take part in London walking tours that will take you off the beaten path.
Cut your bills
Consider renting a room in shared house, rather than renting your own flat. Maybe you could also move to a cheaper neighborhood. If you don’t want to live with strangers, why don’t you find a house to live with your friends? When you view a property, do not forget to negotiate the price with the landlord, as landlords are usually desperate to find tenants as soon as possible, although they will not say so! Try to reduce your utility bills. Replace your light bulbs with energy-saving ones and shop around to find the company that provides the cheapest broadband.
Go shopping as much as you want
Go for a walk in Oxford Street. Visit Primark for clothes and shoes in really low prices. There are several other shops with good offers, too, especially at the end of a season. You just need to shop around a bit to find them.
Do the shopping for your house wisely. Go to Wilkinson’s for everything that you need around the house; they are really cheap. Do not look down on Poundland or 99p shops either. When it comes to food, go to cheap supermarkets like Tesco and look out for special offers. It is also a great idea to shop locally. Try small foreign shops in your neighborhood, such as Indian shops, that sell food in bulk. Meat in halal shops is usually cheaper than at the butcher’s, although of equally good quality.
Travel around in your free time
If you want to save money and keep fit, follow the trend and buy a bike. Second-hand bikes are really inexpensive and can save you lots of money. Get the bus instead of the tube and buy a travelcard if you use it a lot; if you are a student, you are entitled to a discount. Do you want to explore new places? See whether you are entitled to a train travelcard and use it to visit cities in the rest of England. Book tickets with Megabus, you can find bus tickets for as little as 1 pound.
The best things in life are for free
There are so many nice places around; just take your friends for a walk along the Thames or go to Hyde Park for a picnic. If you like the arts, you will be surprised with the number of free exhibitions in London. Start with the British Museum and the National Gallery and take it from there. Take every opportunity to socialize; you will meet people from all over the world!