The aim of this post is to provide some suggestions in how to save money in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I hope you’ll find it useful.
Central London dwellers miss out many supermarket offers as only big chain supermarkets such as Sainsbury and Tesco have branches here and they mainly have a smaller range of the most popular and more expensive items. Outside the central area there are larger branches together with those of Morrisons and Asda. All of these run special offers and one of the cheapest ways of getting perishable goods is to shop just before closing time especially on a Sunday afternoon, usually before 4.oo pm or 5.00 pm. Other good options are supermarkets such as Netto, Aldi and Lidl (best known as ‘no frills’ supermarkets) to be found in the inner and outer suburbs and are generally cheaper than the well known stores though the range of products is more limited.
They have struggled in recent years in the face of rising cost and competition from supermarkets selling cheap clothes and fruit. The most central is Berwick Street in Soho, where there may be a chance of picking up unsold food very cheaply at the end of the day. Other more famous markets such as Petticoat lane and Portobello Road now cater more for visitors than for local bargain hunter.
’99p’ and ‘Pound’ Shops
These chain in the last few years have become a familiar sight, except in central London. They offer branded grocery and other goods at much less than other outlets and are also a good source of many household goods. The thing to be aware of is that a few items, because of the standard price, might be dearer than some special offers elsewhere, but they are still well worth a visit for the bargain hunter.
Clothes & Charity Shops
Charity shops are to found on every high street. However, those in the central areas have higher prices and really are more for visitors interested in ‘retro’ clothes. The shops run by national charities often have a corporate and inflexible pricing policy which doesn’t seem to take into account the location. Best bargains are to be found in shops linked to a specific local charity; prices are lower as the managers generally have more discretion. The stock is more mixed as all donations come to that shop rather than being rotated amongst several branches.
Other good places to buy cheap clothes such as t-shirts, underwear and sock, mainstream shops such as Primark and Asda offer the best value, and you can be certain that what you want will almost certainly be in stock.
Londoners have two free morning newspapers on weekdays. The metro carries brief news stories along with TV listings and sports stories, while City AM is very much business orientated. The Standard has been free for a few years and is circulated from about 3 pm. It contains more in depth news and is more politically balanced than in the ‘paid’ days. Local areas have free weekly issues ranging from virtual advert sheets to those such as Camden New Journal which takes a campaigning line with wide coverage of local issues.
If you want internet access, most libraries offers up to an hour free each day to members.
Travelling is very expensive in London. If you do need to travel often it may be well worth getting an Oyster Card. An Oyster Card will reduce the cost of each bus fare (the cheapest way of travelling in London is by bus) from the extortionate £ 2.20 single to £ 1.30 and you will pay a maximum of £ 4.00 a day for an unlimited number of bus journeys. Day travelcards are cheaper after 9.30 am on Monday to Friday and all day at Weekends and Bank Holidays if you need to use the tube, but can avoid the morning peak.
I hope in the next few weeks to add more suggestions and I’m happy to add yours. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your tips in how to save money in London.