How to save money when you live in London

Living in London is expensive it’s the 6th most expensive city in the world for renting and its notorious for its expensive travel costs, restaurants and leisure activities. The capital isn’t an easy place to live on a budget, but by taking these small and manageable steps you can gradually begin to save money in London. 

1. Keep a spending diary  

Spending diaries are always suggested when offering tips about savings, but they do work. It can be easy to spend money on your bank card without really looking at how much you’re spending and what you’re spending on. Keeping a physical spending diary for at least two weeks can help you understand areas where you can cut back. For example, you might notice that you like to buy bottled water when you’re out and about, cutting this small cost by using a reusable bottle will add up to bigger savings long term. 

2. Search for the best deals 

It’s advised to compare your bills every 6 months. By using price comparison websites to compare your WiFi, internet, phone, or energy suppliers, you can guarantee you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

3. Save money on food whilst saving the planet 

Deals don’t stop at household bills. If your circumstances allow it, shopping around to find the best deals on your weekly or monthly food shop can help save you money in London. The capital is bursting with big supermarkets, smaller corner shops and everything in between, your closest one might not necessarily be the cheapest. 

The rise of food sharing apps has skyrocketed in the last few years, with the likes of Too Good To Go, Olio and Karma dominating the space. These apps let you pick up food from shops and restaurants that would otherwise have gone to waste for a fraction of the price. Pick up boxes of groceries for £3.99 or a selection of pastries and sandwiches from £2.99. Just download one of the apps, pop in your postcode and find the best deals near you. 

Some of these apps have gone a little quiet during lockdown so make sure you check back regularly to see what deals their uploading every day.

4. Have a goal and work towards it 

Want to build up an emergency saving fund, save for a holiday or buy a new pair of shoes? Whatever your goal, setting one and working backwards is a sure-fire way to keep you on track. Do you have more than one goal? You could use a different account for each. Working on these goals should be consistent, putting time aside to work on managing your money better is essential if you’re going to reach your goals. Just like we put time aside to maintain a healthy body we should dedicate time to maintain healthy finances. 

5. Savings accounts

Savings accounts can help you earn a bit more interest than if you were just using a regular savings account. However, it’s worth noting that with these types of accounts or fixed term accounts you might not be able to access your money immediately.

Once you’ve chosen your saving account why not set yourself a saving challenge? These can be a fun way to gamify your savings and a great way to watch your savings automatically grow. We’ve shared some of our favourite savings challenges below:

The 1p challenge

The 1p challenge is a favourite of ours. Start with 1p on day one of the year with the final day taking £3.65, taking your total to £667.95 

£20 challenge

It’s easy to spend £20 on a bottle of wine or a takeaway on Friday night if you skipped that and put the money away every week you could end the year with over £1,000. 

£5 note challenge 

If you want a surprise at the end of the year you could save every £5 note you get throughout the year then count your savings in December. 

6. Transport wins

Perhaps one of the biggest costs to London life is transport, But there are some discounts you can apply to your Oyster card to help you save money whilst living and travelling in London. If you have a railcard you can connect it to your Oyster card which could give you up to ⅓ off on off-peak travel costs. 

But if you don’t have a railcard you could also get yourself a Network Railcard which anybody can get and which also offers a range of discounts. If you live close enough to work you could look at getting the bus instead of at half the cost of travel and also lets you take advantage of the Hopper Fare. The Hopper Fare on all London buses and trams gives you unlimited journeys for £1.50, made within the hour of tapping in.

7. Free fun in London

If you’re feeling the pinch but still want to explore London, there’s plenty of things to do entirely for free. From free museums and art galleries to free gigs and attractions, not to mention the beautiful neighbourhoods you can visit. TimeOut runs weekly free things in London feature where it lists all the free events happening throughout the city. 

Lockdown has bought even more fun and free events to your screens. Every week the number of free online events is growing from live theatre to bingo drag shows, there’s something for everyone. 

We believe every worker across the globe should have financial resilience. We work with your employer to let you track your wages in real-time, stream the money you’ve already earned, learn easy tips to manage your money and save your wages straight from your salary.

If you want to start your path towards financial freedom by getting Wagestream at work, sign up to our Waiting List.