London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. It has a rich history, museums, architectural wonders, and buzzing nightlife. But if you’re not careful, it will feel like you have a hole in your pocket with all the money spent.
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For you to make the most out of living in London, here are 10 tips on how to save some money.
Drink and order tap water
A 500ml bottle of water costs anywhere between 1-2 British pounds in a supermarket. Getting a bigger bottle is cheaper but still adds to your spending. London tap water is safe to drink, and that’s also true for all the cities around the UK.
When ordering at restaurants, stick to tap water and double-check with your waitress or waiter. If you don’t accentuate it, they will bring you a bottle of sparkling or still water (the type that you get charged for).
Make sure to ask for tap water politely, and you can save close to a hundred pounds a month.
Eat grocery store meals
You can live in London and do perfectly fine without visiting expensive restaurants daily. Grocery stores have meal deals, and you can get excellent portions for 3-4 pounds. Usually, these deals include a drink, some chips, and a big sandwich. Bring the meal to a public park when the weather looks good and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the city.
Choose carefully where you shop
Travel global and budget local. Londoners don’t shop in places like Waitrose. That’s a tourist trap, and it’s unnecessarily expensive. Instead, go to Lidl, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Aldi, or Tesco. You will find the same products for a much lower price.
Cook at home
If you’re staying in an apartment with a kitchen instead of a hotel room, go ahead and cook at home. Eating out is expensive, and you can get loads of ingredients in bulk and meal prep for the week. It will take you one afternoon to make breakfasts and lunches for the entire week. If visiting London, you can book an inexpensive London hotels with self-catering facilities like St Nicholas Hotel to save on the cost of eating out.
Don’t overspend on souvenirs
Do you really need a bobblehead of the royal family member, or are you buying it because everyone else is posting pictures of them on Instagram? Trends are expensive, and stores love to capitalize on them.
Be creative when it comes to souvenirs, but don’t overspend. Get a few postcards and a few fridge magnets, or make a scrapbook from all of the places you’ve visited. Save the tickets from museums, trains, and concerts and make a custom souvenir.
Get your steps in
London is a big city. It will take you hours to walk from one end to the other. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your steps in. It’s incredibly efficient to walk for 10 to 20 minutes instead of taking a cab or waiting for a train. It’s going to take roughly the same time, but it will save you a lot of money.
Get a great pair of walking shoes and some headphones. Enjoy the architecture, spend some time people-watching, and tune into a podcast or an audiobook to get to know the history. You’ll feel better, and it will count as an excellent workout if you consistently get more than 10k steps per day! And you won’t have to pay for the gym membership, either.
Have a daily spending limit
London is a place where you can spend hundreds of pounds a day. If you don’t set a spending limit, you may easily fall into temptation. Students, teens, kids, families, and workers enjoy this city without spending an exuberant amount of money per day.
Create an ideal day plan for you, and calculate how many things you need and what you are going to buy. When you have a general idea, put it into practice and see how close to the real numbers you’ve got. Revisit your spending limit constantly. If you spend less one day, allow yourself to have some extra leeway the day after.
Visit free events
You’d be surprised to find out just how many free events there are in London. From Oxford Boat Races to the Notting Hill Carnival or events in Trafalgar Square – there’s always something happening in London. All you need is to follow the right social media accounts. Join Facebook groups and follow Instagram accounts dedicated to London events and check if there are any free events. You may have way more fun than visiting the most advertised happenings everyone knows about.
Book attractions in advance
You can have a lot of fun as a local, but you also must visit some of the top attractions. For places like the London Eye, it’s best to book in advance. That way, it’ll be cheaper. You’ll save around 4 pounds if you book beforehand.
A good idea is using a VPN app and connecting to UK servers before you arrive to get better deals.
Moreover, you won’t have to wait in line. You never know how many tourists will come out of nowhere. Have your tickets on your phone and arrive at the right time. You’ll save yourself some headaches.
Ask for discounts
Families, concessions, young people, and students can get a lot of discounts. All you have to do is ask. When you visit a store, or a museum, or plan to buy a public transport card, feel free to ask about discounts. The worst they can say is no, and the best thing is you’ll save some money!
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