August 16, 2018

My top hacks for doing things on a budget in London

I’ve lived in London on and off for around five years and i’ll be honest, it’s expensive.

From taking the tube to going out and meeting friends, everything seems costly.

After six years i’d like to think i’ve gotten to grips to living in the capital on a budget but sometimes i’m not so sure.

In order to remind myself of some of my hacks for living cheaply, i’ve put together a list of my favourites here:

Get cheap hair cuts and colour by being a hair model

I don’t mean the model type where you walk down the catwalk. Many hairdressers in London need hair models so that their students can practice cutting hair on actual customers. Many have cut hair before but need extra models for their portfolio.

While others need a hair model so that the teacher can cut hair to show students on how it’s done.

It sounds daunting but some of the best hair cuts i’ve ever had have been when I was a hair model.

In fact, I just had my hair done by the creative director at Wella. It took an hour and a half and all I had to do was sit there while he told students how he was cutting my hair. I saved around £50 just by doing that!

Fancy luxury on a budget? Get the reduced food at M&S…..and Harrods!

Every store has a reduced section. It’s just a case of figuring out when. I genuinely love M&S for this. They have two waves of reductions, the first during lunch and the second in the evening. I’ve had some great meals from the deli counter for really cheap.

I’ve even bought a week’s worth of food shopping for around £20 in M&S. And once I bought a Percy Pig birthday cake for £1 and cried with laughter when I brought it into the flat to show my housemates. We had it on the sharing table all week!

And when I was a student, I actually managed to head to Harrods just before closing on a Sunday and they were selling off the food cheaply. Had the best lasagne ever!

Use apps and vouchers for going drinking

Time Out deals is a great example of this. I bought a voucher which allowed me four cocktails for £16 which is an absolute bargain. You can also get hold of some great afternoon tea or bottomless brunch deals too.

I’ve heard good things about the Drinki app so need to get on that! It tells you the places that are giving customers free drinks today.


This sounds a bit obvious but during the summer months I tend to walk home.

I save money, get some exercise and get to take in the sun on my way home.

Need something to do? Head to an art gallery or museum – they’re all cheap!

If the wait until payday is too long and you still feel like you need to go out and do something then definitely head to some of the city’s museums or art galleries.

The Imperial War Museum is one of my favourite spots in London

My absolute favourite is the Imperial War Museum – I could spend days there learning about different conflicts, seeing artefacts etc.

Some museums also hold talks you can go if that’s something you’re interested in.

H&M give out vouchers when you hand in old clothes meaning money off your next shop?

Want to buy yourself something without the guilt? Take a look through your cupboard and see if there’s anything that needs to go.

If there is, take it down to your local H&M where they’ll give you a voucher to use on your next shop.

Definitely worth it!

Impress your friends and family with a free trip up to the Skygarden

If you’ve got people visiting and you need something touristy to do then make sure to take your guests up to the Skygarden.

The Skygarden is free!

It’s free, the view is amazing and it will certainly impress! In fact, it will probably be the highlight of their trip!

Fancy learning something? See if you’re eligible for classes with your local council

I wasn’t able to ride a bike until around a week ago. I was thinking how annoying it was that I can’t just pick up a Boris bike and go for a cycle when I decided to Google and see if there were any classes around.

That was when I found out that as a Camden resident, I qualify for free lessons! So there I was last Saturday being pushed around a playground by a teacher.

And within half an hour I could cycle – i’m now going back in a few weeks time to practice turning etc.

I learnt a skill for free!

Cheap cinema days with Odeon and Genesis

Every cinema is a bit different but they all have a day where you can go and see a movie for under a fiver.

Independent cinemas such as Genesis and Peckham Multiplex also have cheap days (Wednesdays I think) and it means you can keep up with the latest films without breaking the bank.

Get a cheap meal and stop food wastage

I’ve become obsessed with the Too Good To Go app. Basically, you use it to search around for places with leftover food. They offer it at different times and you have to reserve a bag on the app.

I’ve had some really good meals from good restaurants and bakeries, all for around £3.50!

Sightseeing and photo tours on Groupon

Groupon sells sightseeing tours, photo tours and entrance admission to a range of different places. Last time I looked, they had an hour-long boat cruise for £5!

Is there anything I missed? 

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