'London is Cheap!'...said no one ever. Time to get thrifty.
Day to day living in London is extortionate. Just jumping on the tube to work can cost you around £10. Then there’s lunch for a fiver, couple of coffees for the same, your phone bill comes in and that’s £30 and before you know it you’ve had to cancel dinner plans because you’ve just checked your bank balance.
Looking at where we rate globally in terms of cost of living we come #2 for most expensive rents, Singapore takes the lead on that one. On a more day to day basis we rank #7 globally for the cost of a mid-range meal for two, and #1 in the world for the cost of a cinema ticket. With average wages still below where they were ten years ago, it’s no wonder we find ourselves willing away the days until the end of the month and our pay cheque clears.
Of course there's always the obvious solution of cutting down social plans and eating more economically, believe it doesnt require a complete lifestyle change to get through the month. There are so many thrifty, effective ways to divert your money and cut down without your life grinding to a halt.
Firstly, track your spending.__ There are the obvious outgoings i.e. rent, bills, travel, but there may be outgoings you spend a significant amount on without realising. Particularly now with payment only a tap away, it can become mindless and hard to work out where your money is going.
With apps for everything nowadays, there are, of course, ones for budgeting. Wally provides a ‘360 degree view’ of your spending, tracking what comes in, what goes out, what you've saved and even where you have spent geographically. Cards such as Monzo can instantly track and categorize your spending and even set a monthly budget.
Seeing your spend laid out at the end of a month can inform you on where you're overspending and what can be fixed quickly. You may be spending a huge amount on coffee, so bring in your own. Or on Ubers, take advantage of the 24hr tube or ViaVan (the £3 van shuttle. Honestly, if you haven’t tried it you’re missing out!).
But cutting down on everything isnt the only option...you just need to get thrifty!
Thrifty Eating Eating out can rack up extortionate bills. But there are ways to enjoy an evening out with friends without having to re-mortgage the house. Platforms like Quandoo get you great deals at local resaurants, and coupled with Drinki, an app which gets you a free cocktail or pint at selected bars you could be steaming on a shoestring!
Nights in are the same, so share the expense of cooking with housemates and (obviously) save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Mob Kitchen provides delicious recipe inspiration and commits to all recipes serving 4 people for under a tenner. Or the app Olio connects you with your neighbour’s food that otherwise would be going to waste…For free.
Thrifty Shopping For clothes and furniture London is awash with charity shops and markets offering up clothes and antiques aplenty at bargain prices. You may have to venture slightly outside the Capital to thrifty haunts such as Kempton market but it’s completely worth the journey. The platform Freecycle allows users to offer everything from silverware to mobile homes to local communities for free. A thrifty way to decorate your crib whilst promoting the three R’s.
Apps have made great bargains just a click away. Want to treat yourself to a pamper session? Download Treatwell where you can book haircuts for 30% off. Keen for a weekend away? Check out lastminute.com. Or browse Groupon for deals on pretty much anything.
Thrifty Culture Megan, on the marketing team at Tempo, loves the theatre but tickets can cost around £80 for the top shows. Her way around that is to check out todaytix.com for heavily discounted tickets every day. Of course plans have to be last minute, but a small sacrifice to make to see the best of the West End. If Art or talks are your thing, over 150 galleries in east London have got together to run free events, exhibitions and talks on the first Thursday of every month. Or if you're looking for a cheap laugh, The Backyard Bar in Bethnal Green even has a comedy night on every Weekend, £5 entry and BYOB.
Of course, there's always the option to get that side job, the one that helps you get by and save for something like that holiday in Australia you've always dreamed of. But with that, there are so many ways to spend that don’t break the bank. Just a little bit of research and inspiration from the web and you never know where you may end up on a Friday night. Being thrifty should involve getting creative. Take advantage of living in one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world with so much to offer. You'll have different experiences, try different cuisine and meet different, interesting people. Being thrifty could be the most fabulous thing that ever happened to you!