Londoners’ thrifty tips: How to live in London on a budget

There’s no doubt that living in London can be costly. But fear not, for in this guide, we’ll uncover the secrets to living in our city on a budget!

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive headfirst into the realm of penny-wise living in London’s bustling streets!

Use SpareRoom for affordable housing

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SpareRoom is an online platform that connects people looking for affordable housing options with those who have spare rooms to rent. 

It’s gained immense popularity in London due to its effectiveness in matching individuals with suitable living arrangements. This platform offers a host of benefits for those seeking budget-friendly housing solutions in the city.

Plus, SpareRoom provides a vast selection of available rooms and apartments across London. Whether you’re looking to live in the heart of the city or a quieter suburban neighbourhood, SpareRoom has you covered. 

Use the TFL website for transportation

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The TFL website is your go-to website for information. Whether you’re planning a journey or just checking for updates on delays (because let’s face it, delays are as predictable in London as the weather), the website has your back. 

Now let’s talk about the money-saving magic of the TFL website. By using its journey planner, you can unlock the secrets to cost-effective travel. 

It not only suggests the most economical routes but also presents alternative modes of transport like cycling or walking. 

So, if the weather is pleasant and the distance is manageable, you can opt for a leisurely stroll or bike ride while enjoying the sights of London. It’s a win-win situation for your wallet and your well-being.

Get discounted theatre tickets on the TodayTix app

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Picture this: you’re strolling through the lively streets of London, feeling the energy in the air. The theatre district is calling your name, but you’re hesitant because you’re on a budget. That’s where TodayTix swoops in like a theatrical superhero, ready to save the day. 

With the app, you can browse a wide range of discounted theatre tickets, from popular West End shows to hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Plus, gone are the days of queuing in long lines at the theatre box office or tirelessly searching the web for deals. 

With just a few taps on your phone, you can effortlessly browse through the available shows, select your preferred date and seating, and secure your tickets right then and there. It’s like having a personal concierge for all your theatre needs!

Use Oyster cards for discounted fares on public transportation

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With an Oyster card in hand, you’ll have access to discounted fares on buses, trains, trams, the underground, and even the Emirates Air Line cable car. 

Using an Oyster card is as easy as pie. Simply top it up with credit at any Oyster Ticket Stop or online, and you’re ready to go. 

The price of an Oyster card varies depending on the type of card you buy:

  • Standard Oyster card – £7
  • Visitor Oyster card – £5 (plus postage)
  • Zip Oyster card –  £3 (for children aged 11 to 15)

Explore cheaper rent options in areas like Bexley

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Located on the southeastern outskirts of the city, Bexley offers several advantages for budget-conscious individuals seeking affordable housing in London.

The cost of rent in Bexley is generally lower compared to more central areas of London. This can be attributed to its distance from the city centre and its suburban nature.

Moreover, Bexley boasts a pleasant and peaceful environment, making it an attractive residential option. The area is characterised by green spaces, parks, and a sense of community, creating a tranquil atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Enjoy happy hour deals at pubs like The Angelic 

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Located in the heart of London, at 57 Liverpool Rd, The Angelic stands out as a haven for budget-conscious individuals who still want to savour the quintessential pub experience. 

At The Angelic, you can expect to find a wide array of drinks on offer during happy hour. From refreshing pints of locally brewed craft beers to carefully crafted cocktails that will tickle your taste buds, there’s something to suit every palate. 

And with the discounted prices, you can indulge in a few rounds without feeling the pinch.

Shop at budget-friendly supermarkets like Lidl

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Lidl is a budget-friendly supermarket chain that has become a go-to destination for savvy shoppers looking to make their pounds stretch further.

What sets Lidl apart from the rest? It’s their unbeatable low prices. The shelves are stocked with a wide variety of high-quality products at budget-friendly prices that won’t make your bank account weep. 

But affordable prices don’t mean compromising on quality. Lidl takes pride in offering top-notch products at a fraction of the cost you’d find at other supermarkets.

Their private-label products are carefully curated to meet rigorous quality standards, ensuring that you can fill your cart with confidence. 

Try affordable street food at Borough Market

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Borough Market is full of culinary diversity. From fragrant curries to sizzling grills, and fresh seafood to heavenly pastries, the market boasts a wide range of options that cater to all tastes and budgets.

The best part? The prices are incredibly wallet-friendly. You can indulge in a world of flavours without feeling like you’ve emptied your pockets. It’s like embarking on a global gastronomic adventure while keeping your budget intact.

Rent a Santander Cycle for biking

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Renting a Santander Cycle is a pocket-friendly option, especially compared to other modes of transportation. Instead of shelling out for pricey tube fares or taxi rides, you can hop on a bike and pedal your way through the city for a fraction of the cost.

Here are the prices:

  • Single ride – £1.65 for the first 30 minutes, then £1.65 for each additional 30 minutes.
  • Monthly membership – £20 per month. This gives you unlimited rides for up to 60 minutes.
  • Annual membership – £120 per year. This gives you unlimited rides for up to 60 minutes.

You can also rent an e-bike, which is a bike with a small electric motor that helps you pedal. E-bikes cost £3.30 for the first 30 minutes, then £3.30 for each additional 30 minutes. You can only rent an e-bike if you have a membership.

And with over 750 docking stations and 14,000 bicycles at your disposal, you’re never far away from a convenient ride. 

Shop at vintage stores on Brick Lane

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Brick Lane is the best place for fashion enthusiasts on a budget. Its streets are lined with a myriad of vintage stores, each one brimming with unique pieces waiting to be discovered.

Stores like Beyond Retro, and Rokit Vintage, offer an array of fashion-forward finds at prices that won’t leave your wallet weeping. From retro clothing to one-of-a-kind accessories, you can curate a distinctive wardrobe without denting your budget. 

It’s a budget-conscious shopper’s paradise, where you can embrace your individuality without compromising on style.

Go to public libraries for free books and Wi-Fi

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Public Libraries offer a vast amount of knowledge at your fingertips, all without costing you a penny. With shelves lined with books spanning every genre and subject imaginable, you can indulge in your literary cravings without shelling out your hard-earned cash. 

But it’s not just about the books. London is home to a network of fantastic libraries with free wifi, such as the British Library in St. Pancras, the stunning Senate House Library, and the historic Guildhall Library.

To explore the libraries near you and discover the range of services they offer, you can visit this website. So, grab a book, connect to the Wi-Fi, and let the world of knowledge and connectivity unfold before you – all without breaking the bank.

Find deals on attractions with Time Out 

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Time Out is a treasure trove of deals and discounts on attractions, entertainment, dining, and more. It’s like having a secret key that unlocks a world of possibilities while keeping your wallet intact. 

But what sets Time Out apart from other deal platforms is its curation. Time Out scours the city to handpick the best and most popular attractions, ensuring that you get the most out of your London experience.

Moreover, Time Out keeps you in the loop with the latest happenings in the city. By subscribing to their newsletter or following their social media channels, you’ll be among the first to know about limited-time promotions and special events.

Attend free concerts in parks like Greenwich Park 

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Greenwich Park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including free concerts that showcase both emerging talent and seasoned musicians. 

You can bask in the melodies of gifted artists while enjoying a picnic with friends or loved ones. It’s an experience that combines the beauty of nature with the magic of music, all without spending a penny.

But wait, there’s more! Attending these free concerts isn’t just a financial win: it’s an opportunity to discover hidden musical gems and support local talent. You might stumble upon a rising star, witness a jaw-dropping performance, or encounter a genre that ignites your passion.

Use apps like Too Good To Go for discounted meals

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Too Good To Go connects hungry individuals with local restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that have surplus food at the end of the day. Instead of letting these delectable dishes go to waste, they offer them at significantly discounted prices through the app.

So, how does it work? It’s as easy as pie! Simply download the Too Good To Go app on your smartphone and explore the plethora of participating establishments near you. 

Choose your preferred location, select a “Magic Bag” option, pay through the app, and then pick up your surprise meal during the designated time slot. It’s like unwrapping a foodie treasure!

Some of the restaurants in London that offer Magic Bags are the following:

Take advantage of National Rail’s 2-for-1 offers for attractions

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National Rail, the lifeline of Britain’s railway network, collaborates with various popular attractions to bring you incredible deals where one person pays full price, and the second person goes free!

So, how do these offers work? It’s as easy as pie! First, grab your train ticket from any National Rail station and keep it safe. Then, visit the Days Out Guide and browse the extensive list of participating attractions. 

Choose your preferred destination, download the 2-for-1 voucher, and present it along with your train ticket when you arrive at the attraction. Voila! You’ll enjoy two tickets for the price of one, making your London adventure twice as thrilling and affordable.

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