11 Ways to Save Money in London, UK

11 Ways to Save Money in London, UK

11 Ways to Save Money in London

Living in London can be expensive, but there are many ways to save money without compromising your lifestyle. By making smart choices and taking advantage of available resources, you can manage your budget and enjoy all that London has to offer.

Accommodation Costs

Accommodation Costs

  • To reduce accommodation costs in London, you can consider house-sharing or renting a room in shared accommodation to lower your rent costs. Save money by living further from the city, where rent is cheaper. Talk to your landlord to see if you can get a better deal on rent.
  • Becoming a lodger in someone else’s home can be a more affordable option than renting independently or in a houseshare. Landlords pay less tax on earnings from lodgers, making it mutually beneficial. If you have a parking area, rent it out for extra cash. Compare prices for gas and electricity to find cheaper options and lower your bills. Some affordable housing options in London include:

London Living Rent

  • London Living Rent is a type of affordable intermediate housing in London designed for middle-income residents who aim to save towards buying their own homes. This scheme offers high-quality rented homes with stable tenancies, where rents are based on a third of local household incomes. Tenants can save the money they would have spent on rent towards a deposit for their future home.
  • London Living Rent is part of the Mayor’s initiative to address the housing crisis and is funded through Affordable Homes Programmes. Eligibility criteria include living or working in London, having a maximum household income of £60,000, not owning any other residential property, and being unable to currently buy a home in the local area.
  • The scheme aims to support tenants into homeownership within ten years and offers tenancies for a minimum of three years. Rents are set below market levels, allowing tenants to save and potentially buy their homes through shared ownership during their tenancy.

First Steps

  • First Steps is a service for first-time buyers in London that helps individuals choose and apply for affordable housing options. It offers access to homes for sale through low-cost home ownership products like Shared Ownership and Equity Loans.
  • Additionally, First Steps provides information on renting homes through Intermediate Rent, allowing individuals to save towards owning their own home. The service also includes details on resale homes available through First Steps, as well as priority information for London’s council and housing association tenants.

Shared Ownership

  • Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme that helps first-time buyers who cannot afford to buy a property on the open market. Through this scheme, buyers can purchase a minimum 25% share of a home and pay rent on the remaining share.
  • This scheme helps individuals with household incomes that allow them to afford between 25% and 75% of the full market value of the property. Additionally, shared ownership allows buyers to increase their share over time through a process called “staircase,” eventually leading to full ownership of the property.

Help to Buy

  • The Help to Buy scheme is a government initiative designed to assist first-time buyers in purchasing residential property with a minimal deposit. Under this scheme, buyers can borrow up to 20% of the purchase price (40% in London) as an equity loan, which is interest-free for the first five years.
  • To be eligible, buyers need a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price and must use the loan to buy their main residence, not a Second home or buy-to-let property. The maximum purchase price for a Help to Buy property is $300,000.

Transportation

London Buses

Use cost-effective transportation methods like public transport, cycling, or ride-sharing services to minimize travel expenses. Exploring London affordably is easy with various transport options:

London Buses

  • A single bus ride costs £1.75, and unlimited daily bus travel with an Oyster card or contactless payment card is £5.25.

Santander Cycles

  • Use Santander Cycles for £1.65 for 30 minutes, with additional 30-minute rides at the same price.

Oyster Card

  • Purchase a Visitor Oyster card before arriving in London to save money on journeys and the card itself. Visitor Oyster Cards are cheaper to buy (£5) than a normal Oyster Cards (£7).

London Underground (Tube)

  • The Tube is convenient for central London travel using an Oyster card for Tube journeys saves money.

Taxi

  • Licensed black cabs are available with metered fares.

Groceries

Groceries

Plan your weekly meals to buy only what you need, reducing food waste and unnecessary purchases. Make a list of needed items before shopping to avoid buy-on-the-spot purchases and stick to your budget. Determine a total budget for groceries and estimate costs before shopping to avoid overspending.

  • Lidl is a German discount store, that provides cheap groceries and various deals.
  • Aldi is another German store known for its low prices and good products. It is popular in the UK for its affordable prices and British product support.
  • Co-op Food is a store where members run the business, selling basic groceries and giving rewards and discounts to members and non-members.
  • Asda is a supermarket chain with many locations in the UK, selling quality British groceries at good prices.
  • Tesco is a popular supermarket chain with different types of stores like Tesco Express and Tesco Extra, sell a wide range of products at competitive prices.
  • Sainsbury’s is a mid-range grocery store found in London and the UK, selling various groceries, clothing, homewares, and more.

Food Expenses

Food Expenses

Look for deals on websites like TheFork, DesignMyNight, OpenTable, FirstTable, and Wowcher. Explore street markets for affordable food options. Use food waste apps like Too Good To Go to get discounted food from cafes and bakeries. Some affordable restaurants in London include:

  • Lahore Kebab House – Umberston St, London, E1 1PY
  • Bun House – Lisle St, London, WC2H 7BA
  • Roti King – Doric Way, London, NW1 1LH
  • Fez Mangal Ladbroke Grove – Ladbroke Grove, London, W11 1PY
  • Misato – Wardour St, London, W1D 6PG
  • Pizza Pilgrims – Dean St, London, W1D 3RP
  • Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar – Cranbourn St, London, WC2H 7AD
  • Bibimbap Soho – Greek St, London, W1D 4DJ

Sightseeing

Sightseeing

  • To save money on sightseeing in London, get a Visitor Oyster card can help you save on public transportation costs while exploring the city. Explore free attractions like museums, galleries, and parks such as the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery to enjoy London without spending on entry fees.
  • Save money by booking tickets for attractions, shows, and tours online in advance to benefit from discounted rates and avoid higher prices at the door. The London Pass provides access to over 90 attractions and can help you save money by including entry to top sights, museums, and tours in one pass. It allows you to budget your trip better and save on entrance fees.

Theatre Tickets

  • The TKTS booth, run by the Society of London Theatre, offers discounted tickets for same-day shows in London’s West End. It is a reliable source for discounted tickets, with prices up to 50% off. It is located in the heart of Leicester Square in London.
  • December, January, and February are highlighted as ideal months to find discounted theatre tickets in London, with prices significantly below their regular cost during this season. Platforms like TodayTix, Lastminute.com, Time Out London, LoveTheatre, Stagedoor, Little Bird, and SeatPlan offer discounted tickets for various shows in London.
  • A Consider joining free ticket schemes like Central Tickets or Masterclass for discounted or even free theatre tickets in London. Choosing matinee shows and attending during the weekdays rather than weekends can help save money on theatre tickets in London.

Haircuts

Hair-Salon-in-London

Check sites like LivingSocial for deals on haircuts, styling, coloring, and treatments. You can save well over 50% off the standard price and even find deals offering up to 80% off. Take advantage of ‘first-time customer’ discounts by switching your salons. Use services like Treatwell to browse different salons nearby and benefit from their frequent offers for new customers. Choose independent salons that are more likely to have lower prices compared to big-name chains. By going to smaller salons, you may spend less money on your haircut.

  • Hari’s, King’s Road: Located in Chelsea, Hari’s offers free haircuts.
  • Total Barber Academy in Shoreditch: Total Barber Academy in Shoreditch provides free haircuts and shaves for men on weekdays starting at 10:30 am.
  • Rush Academy, Covent Garden: Rush Academy offers free haircuts for men and charges £5 for Women. They also provide Ombre or Balayage treatments for just £25.
  • The London School of Barbering provides over 500 weekly discounted haircuts and shaves at their London and Manchester barbershop academies. They offer brilliant haircuts and styles in about a 60-minute timeframe.
  • Taylor Taylor, Spitalfields: Taylor Taylor, a renowned London salon, offers free haircuts on training nights. Trainee color appointments start at $10 to cover costs.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi Hotspots

  • Take advantage of free WiFi hotspots available at various locations in London, such as Pizza Express, Caffe Nero, Pret-a-Manger, Wagamama, and shopping centers. These spots offer free cloud Wi-Fi that you can connect to without any additional charges.
  • Create a cloud account with your username and password in advance, and log in when you are at a hotspot. Sign up for O2 Wi-Fi, a free internet service available at locations like McDonald’s, Debenhams, Costa Coffee, House of Fraser, and Cafe Rouge.
  • You don’t need to be an O2 customer to access this service, and there is no requirement for passwords. Download the O2 Wi-Fi App to easily find the nearest hotspot, even when offline.
  • Connect to free WiFi hotspots in London using WiFi Map apps like WiFi Map, which can help you locate over 12,520 free WiFi hotspots in various locations across the city, including restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, and more.

Free Alcoholic Drink

  • Apps like CheckoutSmart, All Bar One, Ember Inns, Nicholson’s, and TRIYIT offer free drinks or seasonal offers. Loyalty cards from Tesco Clubcard and Revolution bars can earn you points for free alcohol. Use the DUSK app to get free drinks every night of the week by selecting your location and claiming a complimentary drink at local bars.
  • O2 Priority App offers two free drinks every Thursday between 5-8 p.m. at O’Neills, Ember Inns, and Sizzling Pubs, including a range of drinks like wine, beers, soft drinks, and cocktails. Sign up for Be At One’s mailing list to receive a generous birthday treat of a £25 birthday bar tab. Join the El Tab app for a daily digital bar tab at different London bars, where you can claim up to four free drinks per night for a monthly membership fee.

Shopping

Shopping Mall

Look for pre-loved clothing at thrift stores, charity shops, and online platforms like Depop and Vinted to find affordable and sustainable fashion options. Some of the best online discounts and voucher websites in the UK include:

  • Hot UK Deals: Known for tech gadgets and gaming discounts.
  • Wowcher: provides a variety of discount offers, voucher and bargains, especially for UK holidays and household essentials.
  • Extreme Bargains UK: offers a wide range of deals and discounts from popular UK retailers across various categories like fashion, food, gaming, gifts, beauty, homeware, travel, toys, and kids.

Gym

Many gyms offer trial periods or guest passes for new members. These options allow you to try out the facilities and services without having to pay right away. Some low-cost gym membership options to consider include:

  • 24 Hour Fitness: offers memberships starting as low as £9.99 for a Silver membership, £26.99 for a Gold membership, and $39.99 for a Platinum membership.
  • Planet Fitness: provides memberships for around £10 per month, offering 24-hour access, free fitness training, and ample equipment.
  • Snap Fitness: offers 24/7 access to personalized fitness assessments, customized workouts, lifestyle coaching, group classes, nutrition consultants, and personal trainers. High school and college students receive a 10% discount on monthly dues at most locations.
  • Anytime Fitness: Anytime Fitness also offers a 3-day free gym pass with numerous locations across London, such as Kings Cross, Chelsea, and St Paul’s, providing quality equipment for weightlifting, cardio, and cycling.
  • The Hidden Gym: The Hidden Gym in Southwark provides a one-day free pass for individuals of all fitness levels. It has a resistance room, a cardiovascular area and two studios. The pass expires 7 days after the initial request.
  • ClassPass: ClassPass offers two weeks’ membership for free, focusing on fitness classes like Pilates, yoga, spinning, and boxing. The app allows you to book classes easily across London.

Saving money in London is possible with the above-mentioned practical ways that can make a major difference in your budget.

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