Save Money on Short Term Accommodation
Dossing: Try Couch Surfing
Bed and breakfasts/Independant Hotels (UK): Try Top Rooms
Long Term Accommodation Money Saving Tips
Like most places in the world rents and council rates/taxes vary depending on the area. Net-Lettings gives a guide of rent costs and whilst the figures are a little inflated use it as a indicator for price variances of the different areas. What Katy did next has an excellent council tax comparison table. By renting directly through landlords or flat share over estate agencies you can save yourself up to £200 in administration fees. For more information go to our find a place to live section under living in london . Always try and negotiate a better deal when renting a property don’t settle for the first offer.
check to see if you can get a discount on your council tax, some of the reasons could be because you are a student or a single occupier.
Setting up home
Fortunately most homes/rooms will come furnished, however it is inconceivable that you will have to purchase products such as linen and other household items when settling. To get excellent value for money we suggest the following businesses Ikea and Argos and online stores Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda/George.(Note Tesco’s, Sainsburys and Asda/George will have more to offer online than at their supertsores) EBuyer and PC World are excellent value for electronic items. Kelkoo is an excellent search tool that will help you source the best price. For second hand items try Gumtree, Ebay and Loot.
London has some of the best discounted dining in the world if you know what to do and where to look. Many restaurants will offer specials early in the week so it is worth keeping a look out when strolling passed restaurants.
Get a Taste card: A taste card will cost you up to £70 for a years subscription but can give you and your partner either a 50% discount or 2 for 1 deals at 100′s of restaurants in London. If you looking to be here a year and enjoy dining out it is a must. Taste card often run free trials so check there website even if you are only going to be here short term.
Budget Restaurants: go to our restaurants directory and go to our “Dining out on a Budget” category to find restaurants that offer real value for money.
Get cheap Theatre Tickets- If you have time we suggest you go down to Leicester square to purchase tickets from the box office if you are looking for an easier option compare theatre tickets will save you money by sourcing the best west end ticket deal for you. Discount-London is another option worth checking who have access to cheap tickets for West End shows online. My Box Office is a website worth registering with that offers great discounts(sometimes just paying a small admin fee) on live concerts, comedy and theatre.
Movie tickets- Watching movies in central London is usually more expensive. Orange offer 2 for 1 movies for their mobile users, it can be worth getting a £1 Orange sim card even if you don’t use them as your phone provider. See Film First is a website well worth registering with as they offer free tickets for movies before they are released in the cinema. lovefilm often has free trial introductions where they send you DVD’s via the post or to download online and is an affordable way to watch movies of your choice.
TV Audience- If you are looking for a source of free entertainment than why not register for free TV audience tickets. To get access to these try BBC, Be on Screen, Standing Room Only, Clappers, Applause Store and TV Recordings.
London Attractions: Many of London’s attractions are free including most of the major museums and art galleries. For the attractions which do charge it is worth purchasing tickets online as these attractions will often offer discounts for online purchases. Discount-London and Attraction Tix are worth comparing for different attractions. If you plan your sightseeing well London Pass is a ticket that you buy which covers entry for a range of attractions and can be used for the period of time you bought it for. If used well it can save you considerable money.
Major Sporting Events/Festivals: Some well known festivals and sporting events e.g. Royal Ascot offer early bird discounts for people who purchase tickets well in advance. Your Glastonbury or Lords Ashes test is unlikely to do this though as they will be well subscribed. If you have missed out on the festival ticket or seat to watch the sporting event that you really want to attend option B is working and be paid at the same time. Contact and register your details with the following websites that will get you into festivals/sports for free whilst at the same time giving you a chance to earn money. Event recycling, Festaff, Oxfam, VSC Workers Beer and Cash and Traffic management. Keep a look out for jobs online on websites such as the Gumtree and dont be afraid to do your own research by finding out which companies have the contracts for the events you want to work and contact them direct.
Free/Cheap Comedy in London: A couple of venues in London offer free comedy nights, check there websites for details. The standard will vary. Monday night (Theatre Royal Stratford, Camden Head ) Tuesday Night (Cavendish Arms, Comedy Cafe), Wednesday Nights (Comedy Cafe, Ku Bar comedy and cabaret) Also don’t forget to try the tv audience websites listed above as well as registering with Myboxoffice which will includes comedy shows in its discount offering.
Playing Golf To reduce the cost of green fees 2fore1 vouchers allows you to purchase discount vouchers that give close to 50% off the cost of a round for two players. The website is excellent in identifying local courses which are part of the discount scheme.
Gambling: If you want to save your money don’t gamble. If you do want to gamble than most online betting companies offer betting money for registering these include Betfair, Paddy Power and William Hill all reputable betting companies.
Save Money getting around London
London Transport: The cheapest and easiest way to pay for travel around London is to get an Oyster Card. Alternatively if you don’t have a oyster card then travel cards which allow unlimited journeys for the period they are purchased (e.g daily, weekly etc) are the next best way of getting around. If purchasing a daily travel card they become cheaper after 9.30am.
Transport London to/from Airports (Gatwick, Stanstead and Luton): Easy Bus is a low cost bus operator for journey’s to/from these airports. You may have to pre-book to get the best deal.
Driving in London: The UK runs the roads like there own legalised money racket so it can sometimes be best avoided running and owning a car in London. If you don’t need a car but want to have access than it may be worth considering becoming a member of street Car. Buying a scooter can be both a way of saving money and time getting through traffic and is also a more viable option to find suitable and affordable parking. If you have the unfortunate expenditure of a car, you will need insurance. Make sure you get the best deal as this can be expensive. If you have access to two personal addresses you can use get quotes for both adresses as where you live can reduce your Insurance bill considerably. To get quotes we suggest go compare and compare the market
Black Cabs vs Mini Cabs: Mini cabs are usually the cheapest option, it is worth ringing mini cab companies to get the best price and play them off against each other. You can also get a comparison price with london taxi fare calculator. You can compare black cabs costs with Addison Lee the largest mini cab operator in London on your IPhone check out our Useful London Apps page.
Night Bus: The night bus is a viable mode of transport to get around most places at night. Know where and which buses you need to catch to get home or to your destination and save considerable money on cab fares. The TFL website will give you the information you need to know.
Cycling: This sounds like an obvious tip, however cycling is not only a healthier and cheaper option to get around London it can actually be the fastest! A top gear challenge using boat, tube, car and cycling. Cycling actually came first! You can buy a cheap bike at Brick lane market on a Sunday.
Save on Healthcare costs
Dental care: Register with a NHS dentist who can provide you with subsidized dental treatment for certain dental care. If you are looking to get a good deal on teeth whitening Groupon and KGB deals will often have excellent discount offers.
Medical Treatment: Uk residents have access to arguably the best public healthcare system in the world. Most drugs are subsidized meaning prescription costs are not too expensive.
Sex: local council run family planning clinics often provide free condoms.
Glasses/Contact lenses prescriptions: These are generic items so it can be worth your while searching for the best deal online. Compare the following contact for lenses, Cosmetic lenses, Spectraders and Eye experts
Pet Care Your pets are part of the family but they can be expensive particularly if they get ill. Pet insurance is well worth considering. Ask you vet what cover you should look for in a good policy and then search insurance comparison websites such as Comparethemarket to find the best deal to protect your pet.
Household & Telecoms
Household and Telecommunications Bills
Phone/Internet/Television: The main suppliers for Broadband/TV/Home Telephone are (in no particular order) Virgin Media, BT and Sky. A range of companies offer broadband services these being Plusnet, Orange and Primus. Broadband Choices is an excellent comparison site to help you decide with service will be best for you as well as to see present introduction offers.
Digital television: You can pick up many channels for free using as digital receiver so if you dont have one it is worth purchasing. Alternatively you can watch the same free digital channels on a computer by going to Tvcatchup.
Grocery/Supermarket Shopping: My Supermarket is an excellent website that compares prices with the major supermarkets to help you reduce your shopping bill. It also suggests healthier similar options and saves you time with your weekly shopping which makes it well worth using. It is worth registering with the reward schemes the supermarkets offer (e.g. Sainsbury’s nectar card, Tesco club card) as you will receive vouchers and discounts. These can also be used on Mysupermarket.
Many of the supermarkets will reduce perishable items around 8pm which is a great time to pick up bargains. Quite often street stalls are cheapest and best value for money when buying fruit and vegetables.
**Telecommunications must know savings tips: To save money on costly premium call numbers such as 0870and 0845 it is always worth checking saynoto0870 which can give you an alternative and cheaper number to ring. To save money calling mobile phones from a land line it can be worth subscribing to 18185 which is an override number that offers extremely cheap calls. 18185 is also excellent for international calls.
Insurance: Whether it be for car,house, health etc the easiest way to find the best insurance is using a comparison website money supermarket and gocompare are two excellent sites to assist you with decision making.
Tips on where to find things and how to save money doing so!
Are you a shopaholic, who loves hunting for bargains? Here are some tips to get less of a scare when opening the credit card bill.
Online Price comparison Red Laser is an app worth getting if you have an Iphone, it records bar codes so you can then search for the same product online for cheaper. Kelkoo and Price Runner are also excellent for comparing prices of products online.
High Street Buddy: is an online shopping mall with over 600 shops, it also tracks all the online sales so you can easily keep in touch with what bargains are going on. It is the easiest way to shop in the UK. For those outside the Uk they have an international stores search so you can see if the product you seek is worth buying for the UK.
Discount Vouchers websites are where you can get promotional codes and vouchers that will discount items you are purchasing. Voucher Codes is a website is well worth looking at particularly if a website ever asks if you have a promotional code when buying online.
Bicester Village is a shopping centre a short trip out of London in Oxfordshire which is home to over 130 clearance outlets for boutique shops and designer brands.
Click on the buttons to explore the sub sections:
London Street Markets
Camden Market: There are 6 separate open air and indoor markets all with a different feel. Great setting by the Lock, your feet may get a little sore wandering through the different stands on cobbled streets that sell anything from second hand clothes, jewellery, period clothes, fashion, etc. Great place to browse. Do make sure you haggle. Open all the time.
Petticoat Lane: This is probably London’s most famous market that sells a variety of things with a bias towards clothes. Bartering is essential here to get the bargains you want. Open: Mon- Friday 10-2.30 and Sundays 9-2.00pm
Borough Market: A food market, with a 700 year tradition, that originated from medieval times. Your stomach will rumble at all the wonderful food. Open: Fridays 12-6pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm.
Brick Lane: A sprawling Sunday market fills Brick Lane and the surrounding streets, great place to pick up a cheap leather jacket. This east end tradition sells everything from household goods, clothes, food and produce to sporting goods. It is the place to pick up a bicycle. Open: Sundays 8am – 12 noon.
Spitafields: Friday and Sundays are the times to comes to this covered market when organic food is sold along with the antiques, junk and crafts sold during the week. Organic market is open 10-5 Fridays and Sundays: General Market Mon-Fri 11-3pm Sun 10-5pm
Portobello Road Market: Portobello Road is a narrow, winding thoroughfare that is home to 2000 stalls selling anything from second hand goods, antiques, jewellery and fruit and vegetables. Some stores are open during the week but the best time to go is on a Saturday.
Leadenhall Market: A food market that originates from the middles ages, here you will find some of the finest food in London and fresh produce. Mon-Wed 8am-6pm, Thurs 9am-1pm, Fri/Sat 8am-7pm.
Columbia Road Flower Market: A lovely way to start your Sunday is sifting through the many stores selling flowers, plants and shrubs. There are also other stands now selling farmhouse cheeses, perfume, jewellery gifts, garden accessories and antiques. Mon-Fri 7am-4pm
Brixton Market: This unique African-Caribbean market is lively and vibrates to the sound of reggae. Here you can buy lots of herbs, spices, goats and shark meat, incense, trendy clothes and the wig of your dreams. Mon-Sat 8am-6pm
Greenwich Market: This market has a maritime. Everything from antiques, hand craft toys, bric/brac, food and clothes are sold here. The best day to go is the Saturday as the markets vary at the times they are open during the week. Open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Sat 8am-6pm Wednesdays 8am-3pm.
Here is a brief guide of the main retail shopping hubs in and around London
Oxford Street: Endless array of department stores and fashion outlets.
High Street Kensington: Lots of well known retailers stores.
Carnaby Street: Famous for being on the cutting edge of fashion and trends.
Sloane Square, Kings Road: You might bump into a celebrity as you wander down a street mixed with independent and chain retailers aiming at the high end market.
Richmond: lots of nice shops and great places to grab a coffee or two along the way.
Kingston: Has a bit of everything, department stores, good places to relax by the river and all your typical high street retailers.
Bluewater, Kent: Is a bit of a journey from London, but the ideal place if you want to get lost while shopping.
Whitecity, Westfield Shepherds Bush: The largest shopping mall in London
Stratford City, Westfield Stratford: London's newest shopping mall based in East London and near the Olympic Village
Where to buy what
Where to buy the things you are looking for!
Where to buy specific items:
Tailored suits (Savile Row) Mens shirts (Jermyn Street) Wigs (Brixton market) Used records (Hanway Street) Antique books (Cecil Court) New and 2nd hand books (Charing Cross road) everything Music related (Denmark Street)Electronics (Tottenham Court Road)
Getting Set Up:
Household Items: for everything at good value for money Tescos Direct, Argos, Ikea, Asda Direct and Sainsbury (online) if you are seeking bed linen you should also look at e-linens. For outdoor/hardware/larger house hold items try B&Q or Homebase. If you looking to add a touch of personality to your house through art on a budget try World Gallery, Easy Art, Art republic or all Posters.
Value for Money High Street Clothes Stores: Primark, and Uniqlo provide simple stock standard clothing at quite a good standard ideal for a budget. Matalan, Bon Prix, Dress for Less and M and M Direct are good online shops which provide value for money on pretty much everything clothing wise. If you are looking for Designer Discount stores Tk Maxx is a popular High Street option that stocks loads of designer brands at clearance. At times that can be trying to find a needle in a haystack so try online for great bargains on designer clothes at the following stores Secret sales, Brand Alley, Designer Discount, Brown Bag Clothing and Get the label. Popular stores for younger females which provide both value for money and stock a good range of up to date fashion are Boo Hoo, Miss Selfridge, Miss Guided and Select Fashion. For Lingerie, basic try the stores above as well as keeping an eye out on Be Cheeky, Anne Summers and Pabo. Plus size woman should check out Evans, Simply Be and Fasion World. Men seeking business shirts of good quality/value should watch out for bargains available at Charles Tyrwhitt, TM lewin, Saville Row, Moss bros and The Menswear Site. For shoes at good prices try Spartoo, Barratts and Discount Shoes.
Clearance/Outlet shopping: (For a short retail therapy excursion out of London)
Bicester Village out of London near oxford but is worth a trip for the shopaholic
Save money travelling around the United Kingdom
Train Travel: Compare train ticket prices on Rail Easy and The Trainline always look to buy in advance and if possible try travelling during off peak times to get the best deal. Train ticket pricing does not make much sense which means there are other things worth trying to get a cheaper price. Buying two single tickets as opposed to a return ticket can sometimes be cheaper. Splitting tickets is one way of getting a cheaper ticket this is where you have two tickets for the same journey. E.g London to Manchester you would have tickets for London to Milton Keynes than Milton Keynes to Manchester even though it is the one journey.
Touring UK by Train: Ranger and Rover are tickets you can purchase that allow unlimited travel over a set region and can be worth considering if looking to tour a certain region or the UK. For More information try this website Railrover.
Car Travel: If you are going to have a need to hire a car regularly it might be worth joining streetcar alternatively if you want to compare rental deals try Car Rental Bookers, Car Rentals or Liligo to find the best deal.
Flying within UK/Ireland: The easiest way to find the best deal is using Sky Scanner or Liligo alternatively check the main airlines that fly within the Uk and Ireland, these are Easy Jet, Fly Bmi, BA for the UK and for Ireland Ryan Air and Aer Lingus.
Save money travelling Europe and Internationally
Travelling Touring Europe via Bus: Try Eurolines for individual journeys or if looking to tour Europe by yourself try busabout. If looking to do an organised tour across Europe Top Deck, Contiki and Trafalgar Tours represent excellent value for money.
Getting the cheapest Flight (UK-Europe/Continental): When looking at flight options factor in cost of journeys to and from airports as some budget airline routes will land you at a less common airport and include other add on costs. e.g. £10 to catch to the shuttle bus into town, baggage charges. Remember budget airlines are not always the cheapest option so hunt around on flight comparison websites listed below.
Budget Airlines: Which budget is an excellent website that lists all the budget airlines across Europe and where they fly to.