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How to Save Money in London

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How to Save Money in London

If you're on the hunt for 'London-cheap' experiences, you might stumble upon a humorous reel or short that perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of both residents and visitors in London, a city often listed as the world's 12th most expensive.

Despite its costly reputation, London is also a treasure trove of 'London on the cheap' hacks for those who know where to look and how to spend smartly.

While we sometimes splurge on London's finer things, we're equally passionate about uncovering how to save money in London, enjoying a thrifty lifestyle that still allows us to savor the city's offerings. We've honed a variety of cost-saving strategies through trial and error.

Here are some of the ways that we save money without having to whore ourselves or yourselves!


Cheap Accommodations in London

1) Give House sitting a go 🏑🐢

You might raise an eyebrow if we claimed to have relished cheap London vacations without spending a dime on accommodation, sidestepping the need to camp on the city's fringes. Indeed, we've managed to stay in sought-after locales such as Camden and Wandsworth, taking advantage of 'London-cheap accommodation' for more than four months, all without paying for our stays.

Our strategy for securing cheap London accommodation hinges on using TrustedHousesitters, where we obtain complimentary lodging through house and pet sitting. Originating in the UK, this service has a large user base, particularly in London, offering a way to stay in or near the city center without incurring accommodation costs for those with stellar reviews.

To consistently land house sitting opportunities in London, some initial investment and effort are needed, like paying an annual membership fee and crafting a robust profile. Nonetheless, the process is straightforward, and we're keen to show you how to become 'cheap in London' experts. Take advantage of our discount code 12TRUST for a reduced membership fee at this link, and get our guide to landing your first house sit by subscribing to our email list on our website).

TBT that time we got free accommodations in Wandsworth and got to hang with two ragdolls


Cheap Food in London

2) Escape Zone 1 and 2 to find cheap restaurants in London πŸšπŸ”

London, a culinary powerhouse, offers some of the best food without the need to splurge. While dining in Zone 1 can deplete your wallet, venturing into the city's outskirts can reveal cheap London eats and provide a plethora of cheap things to do in London, where exceptional food and ambiance come at surprisingly low prices.

For example, dining at the world-renowned Dishoom in central London could easily cost 50-100 per person, but venturing to the unique area of Southall in west London uncovers affordable culinary gems where you can indulge in more food, often deemed superior, for just 15-30 per person. While ambiance enhances the dining experience, those on the hunt for cheap things to do in London and eager to save money may find that making budget-friendly choices is essential.

Here are our favorite cheap restaurants in London:

Check out this list for more

andy's taverna camden An inexpensive meat explosion at Andy's Taverna

3) Shop at Aldi and Lidl; Don't shop at M&S and Waitrose πŸ›’

Upscale groceries like Waitrose and M&S offer a delightful array of prepared meals and delicacies, yet they come with a hefty price tag. In contrast, German discounters Aldi and Lidl provide 'cheap shopping in London', aiming to price food more affordably. Despite a smaller selection of pre-made items, their quality is commendable, and it appears that the rampant inflation hasn't fully impacted these stores. Conveniently located throughout London, not just on the outskirts, they offer budget-friendly shopping options.

4) Download Too Good To Go for cheap food deals πŸ“±

For takeaways or even groceries, consider downloading the app Too Good To Go, where eateries, supermarkets, and hotels with buffet breakfasts offer cheap London discount groceries. You might snag a surprise bag filled with the day's remaining items. For instance, for just over Β£3 recently, a bag from Morrison's provided us with an assortment of ten different vegetables and fruits. To maximize value for money, choose venues with high ratings.

too good to go Just ordered from Too Good To Go

5) Get your Groupon on 🎫

Groupon, though ubiquitous, remains a treasure trove for snagging deals and discovering new spots around London. If I'm on the lookout for cheap afternoon tea in London, Groupon is typically my go-to resource. However, there's a risk of overspending when faced with an array of irresistible deals.


Cheap Drinking in London

6) Seek out happy hours 🍺

Enjoy the city's bar scene without breaking the bank by visiting during happy hour for discounted drinks. There are also apps that let you enjoy discounted beers at pubs. The new one on the market is called Pubbl. You can use that app at the Prince Albert in Camden, for example.

ryan and fabio happy hour pub Us probably going to happy hour five too many times


Cheap Activities in London

As one of the major cultural capitals of the world, London might seem expensive, but with some savvy research and flexibility, it's possible to uncover 'cheap London experiences' and activities that won't strain your budget.

7) Find all the free museums πŸ›οΈ

First off, if you're a museum enthusiast, you'll be pleased to know that London is a haven for free museums London offers, such as the British Museum or the Tate Modern. Both are significant institutions, and you won't have to spend a penny for entry, making them ideal for anyone looking for cheap things to do in London.

Here is a list of free museums London boasts, ensuring you never have to pay for cultural education again. This is just one of the many free activities London provides for residents and visitors alike, helping you enjoy the city on a budget.

tate modern exhibits Cheap but fab Tate modern exhibitions

8) Use TodayTix for cheap London theatre tickets 🎭

Theatre is one of the cultural highlights London is famous for, but purchasing tickets directly from each play's site can be exorbitantly expensive. If your schedule allows some flexibility, consider using the app TodayTix religiously. Often, on the day of the show or a few days prior, tickets will become available at significantly discounted rates, offering a chance to enjoy cheap London theatre experiences.

9) Do free walking tours! πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ

While I have had bad experiences with paid tour guides, I have yet to have a bad experience with a free tour guide. While it isn't exactly free, as guides rely on tips in the end, because of this same factor, the tour guides are excellent.

My all time favorites are:

  • Jack the Ripper Foot Tour: There are thousands of tours around London, but this was my all-time favorite. Taking place in Whitechapel, the tour guide will take you through the then-derelict East London streets where Jack the Ripper roamed and brutally killed five women back in 1888. The walking tour with Sinead was phenomenal. Her retelling has given me nightmares ever since.
  • Sandeman's New Europe Tours: These are the quintessential free tours that they have scattered all around Europe. While we haven't done the London one, we have done the Berlin one and the incredible story telling has forever changed my outlook on the city.

We talk way more about inexpensive things you can do in our Gay Guide to London


Getting Around London for Cheap (and in and out of London)

10) Take buses 🚎

London's public transport system is extensive, featuring the Underground, also known as the Tube, Overground, buses, and trams. While it can be costly, opting for buses is the cheapest way to travel London, capping a day's bus travel at a mere Β£5.25. This is a stark contrast to the Tube, where a single journey can cost up to Β£9.40, highlighting buses as a cheap London transport option with significant savings.

tube london Prices on the tube can add up!

11) Take bike shares or e-scooters πŸš΄β€β™€οΈ

For a cost-effective and enjoyable alternative, consider using share bikes or e-scooters to navigate the city. Services like Santander Cycles, a cycle-share service with docking stations, offer cheap London bikes with a 30-minute ride costing just Β£1.65 or a monthly membership for Β£20. Alternatively, Lime e-scooters provide an economical choice with ride passes that offer more value for your money, making it one of the cheap things to do in London. Both options are not only affordable but also allow you to track your savings through their respective apps.

12) Plan ahead when you need to get in or out of London πŸ›«

For getting into or out of London, I find transportation to be quite reasonable, particularly on buses. I tend to use Omio to make comparisons between trains, buses, etc. Recently, I just took a 2.5 hours bus from London to Bristol and it only cost Β£4.9 and also mega-cheap bus trips to Oxford. And when it comes to planes, my go-to has become Trip.com, making it a savvy option to travel to London cheaply.


Cheap Clothes in London

13) Find your nearest charity shops πŸ‘™

Second-hand shopping is finally catching on in this world where we need it so! In the UK, there are vintage shops - which when I go in to scout out prices, I tend to be shocked that anyone would spend over Β£100 on a jacket. But then there are charity shops. These shops are low to moderate priced goods and I am always surprised by generally how good the selection is. I have even gotten shoes like barely-used Chelsea boots for only Β£8. On top of it, you are supporting a good cause.

You will find these all over London, but these are the most popular:

brighton Wearing charity shop clothes in Brighton on the hottest day ever


Conclusion

In conclusion, learning how to save money in London doesn't have to break the bank if you approach it smartly. By prioritizing your spending, taking advantage of discounts and free attractions, and making small lifestyle adjustments, you can enjoy the vibrant life that London offers without compromising your financial wellbeing.

Remember that implementing money saving tips is about making informed choices that align with your financial goals. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can make your life in London both affordable and memorable. So, embrace the city, enjoy its offerings, and save money while you're at it!

I hope this conclusion ties together the post nicely and gives readers practical takeaways on saving money while still making the most of their London experience.


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