10 simple tricks to enjoy London under a budget

how to save money in london - budget tips for a price savvy individual

After learning about a few tips, I have been loving the London life more than I could have imagined. Never been so grateful for such a wonderful city to be calling my home.

Every day I meet great people, go to various events, places and restaurants. Make few friends and most of all, I learn about different tricks to help me survive in one of the most expensive cities in Europe.

You too could live like a king regardless of how low your income is by simply switching your expensive thinking habits into an efficient saving ones.

One thing I am grateful for is I am staying at my brother’s where I pay low rent and I am truly very thankful for him. However you can find cheap rents around London if you put the effort in searching.

Working in the streets of London all day long, I  discovered numerous ways through trial and error that made me save so much and still enjoy my day.

Here are 10 tips I came up with to help you save time, money and effort which guarantee to contribute to an easier more enjoyable life in London.

Buy your groceries late at night

I always go to supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi an hour before they close (some times I am asked to leave as I am still shopping beyond opening hours). At such a late hour, every store has a reduced section and you can find all your daily food needs at 30 to 50 % off.

Whether you’re a healthy eater or not, you’ll find foods that suit all sorts of diets. A tip; the cheapest place for raw nuts is Lidl. At £1 per 100 grams for most types of nuts; you’d be nuts, nut shopping somewhere else.

Take the bus instead of the tube and train

Mr Sadiq Khan, London’s best Mayor since the age of empires, has imposed a new bus fee where your 2nd bus journey within an hour of your first will be free. I pay for a single journey to reach my destination £1.50 compared to the tube journey which could go up to £4 one way.

Next time you plan a journey on google maps, make sure you press options and tick the ‘bus’ box. Your journey could be a few minutes longer but your wallet will stay harmless.

Get a bicycle

I use my bicycle everyday for work. It’s the fastest most economical way to get around the busy city. Plus it’s only the initial cost of the bike then your excess fat will take care of running it. Almost forgot you will be healthier fitter and you’d save on those ££££ gym membership fees.

You can also use Santander street bikes and your daily commute could cost you only £2.

Eat sardines and coconut for lunch

I eat a tin of sardines in water or olive oil and raw coconut every weekday. Got the tip from Tim Ferris, Author of the 4-Hour-Work-Week; since then I have gotten rid of my Nivea cream, been feeling more energized and people say I look younger.

Sardines are great source for Omega 3 and Vitamin D which you hardly get from the sun in the winter. Also, they have age defying properties which will leave your skin hydrated even during the coldest roughest days and you will ditch spending money on those moisturizers.

A pack of fresh coconut from Sainsburys or Tesco costs only a £1 and they are loaded with numerous vitamins. They are also high in healthy fats which will keep you full for a good few hours.

Your lunch could cost you only £1.40 for 750 of healthy calories. Could you think of a cheaper healthier meal to beat that price? I didn’t think so.

I struggled to find cheap tins of healthy sardines, by that I mean only in water or olive oil, but after a bit of supermarket shopping I found them at Waitrose, don’t panic, they are priced at £0.40 and £1.00

Turn off all your notifications and check your apps only 3 times a day

Our phones have taken control of our lives and we have to put an end to the agitation and addiction.

I have now turned all my notifications off and only receive calls. Even messages. Nothing urgent is going to come through an SMS. If someone wants to get a hold of me they will call.

I would check my phone 3 times a day for messages. You can have a look in the morning (but not right after you rise cause when you check the news first thing in the morning it ain’t a nice start), in the afternoon and say farewell to my phone at 5pm.

Make it a habit and stay away from your phone after 5. Only if you get a phone call, but try and let people know that you have a life and don’t like to be disturbed after 5.

This way you’ll have time for yourself and those around you.

You may be wondering how this tip will save me money. Honestly it will save you something way more valuable, Time.

If you add app all those worthless minutes and hours you stare at newsfeeds without actually gaining any input and value you’d kill your phone, if not yourself.

Instead work on your business or your hobby and once you master them, money will flow like you’ve never imagined.

Ask for discount and be a better negotiator

I listened to a podcast for Chris Voss titled; “This is what I do for a negotiation.” It has saved me so much money and I have become a better negotiator and not in any way disrespectful or sounding like a beggar.

Voss explains ways to win almost any negotiation and one of the ways is to slow down while you’re talking. You can listen to the podcast here.

For example, when I go to a coffee shop, I’d ask the cashier how they are, compliment their shirt or simply say what a lovely day it is; then I’d have a sandwich to pay for and say ‘will you treat me for a free coffee today? Or a 10% off’ Most of the times it works. If they ask why? I’d say because the smile on you’re face shows how a kind and nice person you are. Now you have them trapped and will give you a treat if they can do so.

Don’t sign up for a gym membership

If you open Google now regardless of your location, you will find a park nearby. All parks I been to in London have a kids area with monkey bars, ropes, benches, etc.

You don’t need weights to be in good shape. Your body weight is what you should train with.

Our ancestors did not have Fitness First; but they had bricks, rocks, each other’s to use as weights.

Have a look at the statues scattered all around the world for the Roman Empire and you will see how fit and defines those people were.

Scrap the expensive membership for a free app called “Carrot” it has HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and circuit exercises that will get you sweat out all those excess fats in days.

All you need is 20-30 minutes of your time a day and you will be fitter in no time.

Book ticket events way in advance

A great app to find all about concerts and performances in London is called bandsintown. It emails you with dates for events you will be interested in. They are very good at algorithms. Once you like an artist on their platform they will email you relevant concerts.

Also Southbank centre website or magazine are great places to know all about London’s hustle if not bustle.

The good thing is that those apps announce the shows before anyone else so you can get an early bird ticket as cheap as a bag of peanuts.

I got to attend the London ATP Semis for only £19. Get in touch if you want to know more about cheap tennis front row ticket.

If you have to travel outside of London for business or pleasure don’t buy the journey ticket in one go instead buy it in chunks of sectors and it will work out cheaper. Same for if you’re flying out of Europe.

For example, if you’re booking a journey to Manchester and there will be a stop in New Castle. Book Lon-New Castle ticket then another one from New Castle to Manchester. You’re welcome!

Get in touch for more details if you’re stuck.

Don’t work on the weekends no matter how much you could make.

Ask yourself, Why am I in London? Why did I come here and not any other city? Because London is one of the most exotic and vibrating cities in Europe; if you work on the weekend, thinking that brining more money will be of better value than going and checking all those great places in the city, think again.

If you don’t start enjoying life in London now, you never will.

The below tip is an added bonus to thank you for reading the whole post; Make sure not to share this exclusive tip with many other wise Starbucks will up their coffee prices.

Choose your coffee right

Do you like Starbucks? I don’t either, but you can still enjoy a cup of coffee for a fraction of what you’re paying for those ‘Vanilla Latte Cuppa thing”

I like just plain simple black coffee so I always ask for a filter brew also called Pike (from Pike Place market in Seattle where starbucks was originally created).

One, because it’s cheap and two because it doesn’t give me stomach cramps.

But if you’re a fan of those frappe creamy chaos which could go up to £5 a cup, simply ask for a filter coffee with steamed milk on top. This will save you £££ on your future coffee purchases. Many times they’d say “Would you mind waiting 5 minutes to brew a fresh one” and you should reply with “I don’t really have time” then they’ll charge you for a filter at 1 pound and offer you an Americano, which is priced at 2 pounds.

Edited by Ivy Joseph

Sherif Seda


Sherif is a dayenjoyer who writes about ways to have a good day. "My favorite aspect about London is that there is a lot happening: business events, comedy shows, music, arts, fairs, festivals. And there’s always something for everyone to learn or do."

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