How to Save Money in London: My Top Tips 💰 🇬🇧

Hi there!

My last post I did on London seemed to go down really well, so I thought I’d do another on how to save money here! Also, I thought I’d do a bonus mid-week (kinda) post for y’all, so enjoy!!

Now, everyone who’s lived in (like me) or been to London will know that the cost of living (and even visiting!) can be pretty darned expansive! However, this should NOT have to get in your way of visiting this most beautiful city! So, here I’ve devised a little list of ways that you can save money during your time in London next time you’re there. 🇬🇧 If I’ve missed anything out, feel free to comment your tips down below so that we can all learn from each other. I really hope you find this post helpful!

 

Travel 🚝

1) Use an Oyster card instead of train tickets when travelling by rail once you’ve got to the London “zones”.

Whilst on red London buses they charge you the same whether you’ve got a regular Oyster card or use a contactless debit/credit card (they unfortunately no longer accept any payment by cash), this is NOT the case when you travel by train. Be sure to buy an Oyster card once you’re within the boundaries of Greater London, so that you’re charged less – the card is free, although it does require a minimum £5 deposit. Your Oyster card is also capped within a 24-hour period so that you’re never charged more than a certain amount in one day for travelling within certain zones – you would not get this if you bought all of your train tickets separately. For example, the daily cap standard for travelling between zones 1 and 5 is £12.30 for a 1 day travel card, but less at  £11.20 with an oyster card. This cap obviously depends on how far you travel – and in which zones. Take a look at the TFL website for specific, up-to-date prices. If you’re a young person and you have a 16-25 rail card like I do, you can even get your card loaded onto the Oyster card if you visit a travel office located at bigger stations such as the St. Pancras/Kings Cross underground station travel office – you’ll then be able to travel even more cheaply than with just a standard card! 🙌

 

2) You can save money when travelling by rail through avoiding central London.

When travelling to/from places not in central London (Zone 1), you can go round a longer way so that you are charged less – this is the case whenever you see a pink Oyster reader located at certain stations. Take a look here for more information on this, including the names of the stations where these special readers are. This is a particularly good option when you have a little more time on your hands (which the average Londoner probably doesn’t have, to be fair). It’s also great if you want to see more of this beautiful city from the comfort of inside a (often less-busy) train! 😍🚝

 

3) Places in London are often closer to each other than you think.

Yes, London is now home to over 8 million people, but it is one of the most densely-populated places in the world! Often it’s more beneficial to walk rather than even bother getting the Tube or a bus, particularly if the British weather is kind to you that day. 🌤 It’ll save you money AND you’ll get some exercise and fresh air (although maybe not in polluted London?!). For example, Regent’s Park and Russell Square are just 1 mile apart in real life, so it would take 15 minutes to walk between the two, but they are on completely different lines on the tube map, so it would take just as long to walk there as it would to got there on the tube, if not less time! ⌚️

 

Facilities 🚽

4) Use loos in museums/shops/cafés instead of ones just in general public places.

Now, really this is true for every big city, but this is particularly the case in London. Obviously it’s polite to buy something if it is in a commercial place when you do this, but it’s still better value than paying 30p just to spend a penny (or 30) 😜! For example, there are public loos right in the middle of many public squares in Central London in particular, but whilst you have to pay to use these, just a few metres away you can often go to the loo for free in nearby museums (which are also often free to visit, as I’ve mentioned before in one of my last blogs)! A similar thing goes for railway stations – before getting off a train to a major station, go whilst you’re still on the train, as you often have to pay to go to the loo when you arrive. Whilst there are a few major stations where you can still spend a penny for free, such as St. Pancras International, this is more of an exception than the rule in central stations.

 

Keeping up with current affairs 📰

5) Get a cheap/free newspaper instead of having to pay loads for one.

Okay, so again, this could apply to places outside of London, but it’s really worth it if you want to save that little bit of extra money every day – it soon adds up! This may seem like an obvious tip, but in most major stations which you’ll be likely to go in on your visit/commute, there are many free newspapers available, such as the London Evening Standard and the Metro. “But I want a good quality broadsheet!”, I hear you say. Well, you can always read online articles on the websites of broadsheets, or on the BBC News website. Alternatively, if you want more of an overview of the news, popular operating systems on phones such as iOS now have a News app, so that these can be easily accessible, and can even send you notifications of the most note-worthy news. These solutions are ideal, as you will not be annoying the person next to you on that commuter train, with a massive newspaper held by your arm-span, covering up both seats! 😜

IMG_1987
An example of a Metro newspaper stand at Crofton Park Station, Southeast London. (they even have them at more minor stations, such as this)

6) Make the most of free WiFi. 📲

Okay, so this is the case in many cities these days, but there is free WiFi in a LOT of places in London, so why use up all of your precious 3G/4G mobile data when you can use WiFi for free?! Usually it only requires your email address or Twitter account, so it’s totally worth it!

 

Shops 🛍

7) Patronise local businesses and save money through doing this by using a loyalty card.

It’s so hard for local businesses these days to compete with these ever-growing TNCs which dominate our commercial world today. Why not give business to these small shop owners who are in such desperate need of it, so that their hard work can be rewarded? Many local areas, such as Lewisham have a card scheme whereby you purchase one for a small fee, and it gives you a small discount every time you visit one of the businesses and present it. It’s really worth doing it, and often works out cheaper than buying your coffee from that Starbucks over the road (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good Starbucks, but small businesses need your custom more!).

So, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it will help you save money! see you on Friday! 👋

Sarah xx

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