9 Ways to Live the London Life on a Budget

Firstly I must clarify that I’m a huge believer in treating oneself. It’s because of this firm belief I’ve had to find some ways to save the extra coin whilst maintaining some sort of social life.

Local libraries for all my literary needs

I love the occasional book on my way to work but not the price tag that comes with some of them. Even with a Kindle it can be pricey and add up. With ID and proof of address I was easily able to sign up for free to my local library, which allowed me to borrow books at libraries in three different London boroughs. Now I just need to have reminders to hand those books back in time.


This is a recent craze in London which I’ve just signed up to. I prefer to use it as a savings account/ travel card but a lot of my friends use it for everyday use. The app will show you a breakdown of your spending e.g. transport, food, alcohol, etc. This is a good way to see where your money is going to, and to stop those expensive habits in their tracks. Plus the colour of the card is cool. Just don’t go posting it on Insta.

Get walkin’ girl!

I’m so guilty of preferring the bus or train instead of a slightly longer walk. But I notice the small changes in my bank balance, and occasionally my legs, when I choose to walk. You can see the TFL map below show just how little distance there is between some London tube stations, particularly in zones 1 & 2. I don’t ride bikes (that’s a whole traumatic story I can smell coming up in the future) but the Santander bikes around London are SO CHEAP (£2 for 24 hours at the time of writing)! It can be a good way to get around to work or a fun day out.


Early bird ticket prices

Just because you want to go to events, doesn’t mean you need to pay the big price attached. To guarantee a certain number of attendees, most events have cheap early bird tickets. My friends and I have gone to a few movie nights at the Clapham Grand using £1 ticket option in the first 24 hours, and most club events or festivals do £5 early bird ticket prices. I find out about the events I like through Facebook pages and friends so do your research and get in early.


Get in advance planning or enter the daily/ weekly lottery for cheap tickets. The discounts on theatre tickets compared to directly with the theatres can be huge.

See TV in real life

Picture this, having Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford one metre away from you. Breathe. Can’t picture it? See my diagram below:

image1 (1)

If theatre tickets are not in the right price range for you, there are several websites such as SRO audiences to see some of your favourite shows be filmed live. Through this website I’ve seen the ‘Nightly Show’ with David Walliams, The Last Leg and The Graham Norton Show be filmed for nada, nothing, zip. All I had to do was wait in a line, which would be nothing new the true Londoner. I had my combined RG/Star Wars moment without paying a cent (pence but that doesn’t have the same ring to it). All you have to do is apply for the shows that are available at the time and you’ll get an email if you get accepted. If you don’t manage to get into shows you’re given a ticket to (they do overbook) then you’ll get priority tickets for another show (better seats, less lining up). They get an audience; you get a behind the scenes look & a possible celebrity encounter for free!

Local farmers markets

Many local farmers markets sell big quantities for less than the big supermarkets. It needs a bit of planning for one person but if your housemates or partner want to go in with you, your groceries price can easily go down.

Netflix/ games night in.

It’s not a cop out to stay in. But you don’t have to be alone. Invite friends over, for drinks, movies or games nights for cheap. If all else fails, there’s Netflix and chill with bae or one of the millions of fish in London.

London for free events

I love finding out about all of the fun and exciting London events that happen for free. You can find these in Timeout magazines, on several Facebook or Instagram accounts (look for #londonforfree) or occasionally through big pages like Secret London. Through these I’ve been to events such as Seven Dials Fashion Fest, had a variety of free food and a screening of Baby Driver in a furniture store (with free popcorn). Keep your eyes peeled and always has a go-to friend or group to invite.

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