Guest post by Zoe Price
Arriving in London for the first time is an amazing feeling. This is one of the most vibrant cities in the world and there is so much on offer here for you to experience! However, London is also an incredibly expensive city to live in, and you need to make sure that you are not blowing your budget. Here are some of our top tips for saving money when you first move to London.
Find a House-share
You need to sort out where you are going to be living as soon as possible. In London, the markets move incredibly fast and you can find the perfect property and then lose it in a blink. When you first come here, you might also not be able to afford a place on your own. Many professionals with a good salary might want to pay the premiums of a flat to themselves, but those who wish to also save a little bit of money would do better to find a house-share.
If you are able to find a nice room in a house-share with good links to public transport and nice housemates then you have undoubtedly hit the jackpot. Try to stick to official sites and noticeboards when trying to find somewhere for you to stay. It is going to take time, but you will find somewhere. Trying to look elsewhere means that you could run the risk of getting scammed or ending up with accommodation that isn’t quite what you thought it would be.
Change Up Your Phone Set-Up
If you are currently on an expensive phone contract, you might want to assess whether or not it is actually worth it. The money that you are spending on that contract each month could be put to much better use elsewhere, especially in the money vacuum that is London. It might be a better move for your finances if you jump across to something like what is on offer from some of the best SIM-Only deals. You can get a bundle with all the data and free calls that you need without having to pay a fortune for it.
Many companies, such as Lebara, offer these sorts of packages. Click here to know more about their SIM-Only plans. By knowing how much you typically use each month in terms of data, you should be able to find something that matches up quite well. By adjusting small things like this and keeping an eye on savings where you can make them, you should be able to grab a little extra here and there. This can make all of the difference each month in terms of your spending.
Get Your Oyster Card
As soon as you get to London, you need to make sure that you pick up an Oyster Card. This is Transport for London’s travel pass and it can be used on buses, the Tube, and the London Overground system so you can use it to get anywhere that you need to go. Uber and taxis add up in cost rapidly, so you need to find cost-effective ways to travel. The public transport system of London is definitely it!
You really can get anywhere you need to go in London with public transport. Though it can be a bit of a headache at first, you especially need to work out how the bus system works as this can often get you places where the trains don’t.
The advantage of having an Oyster Card for all of this is that it caps your fees at a certain amount each day. This means that if you have a lot of travel to do in one day – such as if you have a lot of errands to run – you don’t have to worry about spending a lot as it will get capped at a certain point. This is often cheaper than even buying an all-day travel pass, and it is certainly cheaper than buying individual tickets. Make sure you get your Oyster Card and start your savings as soon as you need to hop on public transport.
Find Real Supermarkets
When you live in London, the temptation can often be to jump into one of the many small and convenient supermarkets that are scattered around the city. You might even have one that is very close to where you live. However, if you only shop here, you are going to be paying a lot more than you would if you were to stick to the bigger supermarkets. Find out where your nearest superstore is and try to get into the habit of buying your groceries from there over another shop.
You could also check out some of the many markets around London. These are great places to pick up some of the freshest food ingredients in the city and the range on offer is amazing. Of course, you will also have a local high street that should have some great options for local shops that you could choose to support too. No matter what food you like to eat, there is going to be ways to pick up the ingredients you need without breaking the bank.
Check Out Second-Hand Clothes Shops
Rather than spend a lot of money on new outfits constantly, you should learn to shop more effectively. There are so many amazing second-hand clothing stores that you could turn to for your fashion needs in London, and you don’t have to break the bank to shop there. Try to avoid the vintage shops as they will carry more of a hefty price tag – charity shops could be your best friend.
You ideally want to find pieces that are high-quality and are going to be able to last you a long time. Try to avoid items that are fast fashion as they are not designed to last. Stick to these principles when buying new too – though it might cost more to buy a good pair of boots or a coat, they are going to last you for years and will definitely be more of a cost-effective option.
Remember that really anything goes in terms of style in London. If you want to fit in with a certain crowd, you are always going to be able to find a shop that is able to sell the types of clothes you like at a price that is not going to hurt your bank account. Learning to be a savvy shopper will definitely be worth it.
Enjoy Your Time in London!
London is a very exciting city to live in and there are so many exciting things waiting for you here. Make sure you dive in and take all the opportunities you can. Though this is an expensive city, there are plenty of ways for you to save a bit of money. Having a bit put by is always a good idea, and you can shave down your expenses here and there where you can to make things easier to manage. Take a look at your current finances and see how much living in London is going to affect them. You might have to make fewer changes than you might think!