Last updated on October 31st, 2019
London is not that expensive if you know the ways! In this post, I’m going to share with you 10+ amazing and super easy ways to save money in London such as “autosaving”, buying a cinema card, switching to a cheaper electricity and gas provider and more. Even if you’re in London for a couple of months, I’m sure some of these tips will help you to save a lot of money! And, some of these methods / cards and, of course, autosavings account you can use all around the UK. So without further ado, let’s get started!
10+ easy ways to save money in London
1. Open an Autosavings account
The easiest way to start saving money in London is by opening an Autusavings account. If you’re just like me and you always feel that it’s very hard for you to get separated with your money and actually transfer money to the savings account, Tandem’s new Autosavings account is a lifesaver. By the way, Tandem is a new revolutionary bank from London and they know everything about savings. They also offer credit cards with amazing perks, however, you don’t have to apply for a credit card, you can start saving money just with their app.
There are 3 ways you can use Autosavings by Tandem. I instantly set up the first one called “Round ups”, because it’s my favourite. Long story short, once you buy something with your “normal” debit card, Tandem rounds it up to the next pound and transfers the difference to the savings account. If you buy your lunch out every day, imagine paying £5.60 for a sandwich and a drink. You’ll end up paying £6 (and you will hardly notice the difference), however, 40p every day, that’s £146 in a year. Then add to this every small purchase you make – and you’ll manage to save £500-1000 per year (which is amazing).
If you want to start saving, even more, you can use the “Weekly deposit”, where you can set up a regular amount that will be transferred to your Tandem Savings account every week, e.g. £20.
Finally, there is a very unique function that is called “Safe to save”, where Tandem will analyse your past spendings, will ask, then is your payday and will basically tell you how much can you save this month (realistically).
If you only use weekly deposit and round ups, you can save money effortlessly and then, once you saved enough, you can either use it to buy something you always wanted to buy or just save it for the future (in case you decide to quit your job and travel the world). Why not?
2. Save on restaurants and pubs with the Gourmet Society Card
There are quite a few of these cards on the market right now, but I’ve only used two of them: Tastecard and Gourmet Society Card. I actually got my Gourmet Society Card for free when I opened a Club Lloyds current account, so it was a win-win situation. However, you can certainly just buy a membership there without having to open a current account. Gourmet Society card helps you reduce your food/total bill costs by up to 50% and it’s pretty awesome. Some restaurants don’t offer discounts on Fridays and Saturdays), however, many do. Also, you can get a discount for up to 8 people, which can save you all a LOT of money!
The downside: well, there are some amazing restaurants participating in the programme, however, as you can expect, your favourite restaurants might not be there (because they don’t need to provide discounts to get more clients). Always check a rating of the restaurant on Google or Yelp before booking it.
3. Use your supermarket points card, when doing grocery shopping
Did you know that just by showing your points card at your local grocery store, you can land free restaurant meals every 3-5 months or so (in case of Tesco)? When I used to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, we had a huge Tesco nearby and we were always buying our groceries there. In 6 months, we managed to visit 3 restaurants using the points from Tesco Clubcard.
Nectar (Sainsbury’s card) lets you earn points, which you can later spend on things like groceries (more groceries) or even things from Argos like memory cards or anything you want.
3. Open a current bank account that gives you benefits
If you’re thinking of changing a bank, you might research the benefits in advance. Some banks even give you free cash or vouchers worth up to £150, if you switch to them. Some others, give you pretty amazing benefits, like a free magazine subscription, cinema tickets or a Gourmet Society Card (p.1 above). I got my GSC from Lloyds. Some other banks like Monzo and Revolut don’t have a commission on transactions abroad. So if you’re travelling often, they could be your lifesaver.
5. Switch to a new broadband operator
It’s always nice to look for some great deals. For example, I switched from Three to Vodafone and got a free Spotify premium for a year (or Sky Sports subscription for a year as an alternative). There are multiple services like uSwitch or Switchd that pick the best gas / electricity plan for you, so you can save a substantial amount of money within a year.
6. Get a Limitless / Unlimited cinema card
Another way to effortlessly save money in London is by getting a cinema card. This would work for you if like watching movies in the cinema. Currently, Odeon and Cineworld have those. You pay around £20 pounds a month (£18 excluding central London) and can go to movies as often as you’d like. Knowing that an average ticket price is from £13 to £19 in London, going to the cinema twice a month with that card will already save you a lot of money.
7. Buy discounted theatre tickets
If you really like theatre, but can’t afford to buy tickets at regular prices, you can go to TKTS at Leicester Square and buy tickets with up to 50% for the same-day performances. That’s how we got our tickets to Venus in Fur for £33 (for the 4th row) and to American in Paris for £18 (also Stalls circle). If you like traditional theatre, opera and ballet, you can monitor Friday Rush tickets. Friday Rush works in Royal Opera House and National Theatre and it’s a sale that starts at 1pm every Friday and sells previously reserved tickets at a very affordable price. I went to see the ballet at the Royal Opera House twice and I loved it! This way of saving money in London also works for tourists, so if you’re in London for a week or so, you can totally participate!
8. Check if your job gives you benefits
Some jobs provide you with really great benefits and discounts for various shops. For example, if you work in Expedia, you get up to 30% off in Bodyshop and 9% off in Gap and many more discounts. Why not use them? One of the schemes is called Lifeworks and many big companies are part of that.
9. Buy unsold food with Too Good To Go
By buying your breakfasts or dinners via Too Good To Go app you can fight food waste and save a lot of money on food. Just log in around the time you’d like to eat and look for available restaurants. I used the app once or twice, just because it doesn’t operate where I live and it’s been amazing!
10. Save money on lunches
Lunches in London can be really pricy and not everyone has time to cook to have lunches every single day. If you’re lucky enough to work in the city centre, especially in areas like Soho, you can use some of the apps that will help you to save a lot on lunches! One of the apps, Nez, gives you 10-30% off right away, while MealPal lets you buy a subscription for a month of lunches for £4-5 per lunch in plenty of participating restaurants. Finally, there is Embargo, a loyalty app for restaurants that helps you to earn free meals after you eat in a restaurant x-times.
11. Buy a railcard or a Commuter’s club monthly travel card
And the last but not least way to save money in London is to buy a railcard or a Commuter’s club monthly travel card. It’s cheaper to buy the Oyster travel card for a year, but not all of us have that money at your disposal. Commuter’s Club solves that issue and gives you the yearly Oyster card, but you pay for it in monthly instalments. And you also get a railcard, where you can save up to 30% on rail prices. If you don’t need a yearly oyster card, you can just buy a railcard. For example, we often travel as a couple with Pepe and we have the Two Together railcard, that already saved us a lot of money. Just so you know, it works for all rail tickets – including trains to Stansted, Gatwick and other airports. The card costs £30 for a year, but summing up all the discounts we got, we probably saved around £200-300 already!
Okay, so that was it about the tips to save money in London. If you know any other money-saving tips, please, leave them in the comments!
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