Starting up in London: 3 Tips for Saving Money in London - Broke in London

Starting up in London: 3 Tips for Saving Money in London

Are you just starting? Here’s how to save money in London!

Guest post by Tiffany Wagner 

Starting a new life in another country certainly isn’t an easy task for a lot of people. For one, moving to another place creates a longing for your home. People often have this feeling of having left something behind, and that can affect them negatively. Others choose to work hard to forget the sorrows, and they eventually use that sad feeling to become positive and successful.

Depending on where they “restart” their lives, people can easily attach to the culture and norms that the residents have. Enter London, where life is fast and bustling. A lot of people enjoy living in this city because opportunities are vast and of course, the pay is excellent. Although living in London is fantastic, it certainly isn’t easy.

According to an article by the Independent, a person would at least need to earn £21,100 a year to be able to live comfortably in the outer parts of London. Not a small amount, but by no means is it impossible. To be able to live comfortably, you need to do plain, honest, hard work. Here are some more tips to help you to save money and start earning in London:

Disclaimer: Before continuing, do note that the figures mentioned in the article are all rough estimates and can vary from person to person.

What you do before starting matters

Before anything else, always come prepared when coming to London to work or live. Even if you don’t plan on returning home, always keep every document you have with you in a safe place. To be able to start, you need to have at least £1000. Look for cheap flats for rent. These often cost around £400-800 with all the utilities like water and electricity included. £150-200 should be enough for food.

When you’re already in the city, it’s best to get a U.K. mobile number. Check for a mobile plan that can help you save money. Don’t borrow any money yet, as your Credit Scores vs Income will almost immediately disqualify you from getting one. Don’t event try borrowing from shady sources as you’ll only end up in more debt.

Almost all the time, newcomers don’t know the city. Buying a London A to Z can be of great help to you when navigating through London. It’s also important to apply for NIN or National Insurance Number. The NIN  used to gain benefits such as healthcare.

Oysters and Bicycles

Remember that we’re here to save a bit for the first few months. Trains cost money every time you use them. Although there are still charges for rental bikes, it wouldn’t cost as much as going to the train every day. If your route to work is virtually nearby, you can save a lot by investing in a bike. Not only do you help the environment, but you also get exercise, plus you’ll get to know London more personally.

If you do, however, live far from your workplace, a lot of people will say that you should get an Oyster card. Oyster cards are permanent, electronic tickets shaped like an ATM or Credit card. Owners top up money on their oyster cards so they can use it to pay the fare. You can use Oyster cards for the bus, tram, or you can also use it in the Tube. The Tube is the London Underground, a public transit system.

Food for the week

The average costs that person living in London for food is at least £20-30 per week. Avoid eating out too much as you’ll only spend more on dinners that you could actually make yourself. If you do eat out, be sure not to prepare anything back home, as it’ll only spoil, wasting time, effort, and money. If you’re having trouble on where to go for a grocery run, here are some places to go:

Tesco – This supermarket has a wide selection to choose from, which makes it a favorite for almost everyone with specific tastes. Tesco also has the best vegetables to choose from.

Morrisons – When you want to purchase meat, Morrisons is the place to go. You can find almost every cut here: beef, pork, chicken, lamb, fish, etc. Their selections of spirits and alcoholic beverages are also good.

Waitrose – If you want to splurge on your groceries a bit, be sure to do it at Waitrose. As one of the high-end supermarkets in the U.K., you’ll be sure to find a lot of the more finer things you’re looking for. They also have pork cheeks which are considerably more affordable here than any other supermarket.

Pro tip: Wherever you go for groceries, always apply for their loyalty cards! They’re never a hassle and can help you save a lot. Some of their rewards are discounts, free food, and even free movies. You’d be missing out a lot if you don’t get loyalty cards.


It certainly isn’t easy to live in London, especially if you’re just starting out. Before doing anything else, be sure to get all the necessary paperwork. Getting a NIN or National Insurance Number should also be a priority as this number gives you access to benefits like medical care.

Getting oyster cards for travel and using supermarket membership cards can also help you to save up more. Indeed, working is hard, so you need to have time off to destress. With the way you’re saving, you can be sure that you’ll have a small amount for your occasional splurge. Good luck, we’re rooting for you!