Friday, 29 September 2017

How to save money in London (and still live your best life)

Living in London can be tricky. It's so much fun, but it's not cheap.

So when you don't work in a particularly well-paid industry (I'm looking at you, journalism) but have rent and bills to pay, you have to be savvy.

I've always been thrifty - even as a student, I've never touched my overdraft - I think it's a mindset I inherited from my grandma.

Whilst I may not have a load of money, I always manage to save, even just a little.

I'm not tight with money either though - what's the point in living in such a fabulous city if you're not going to make the most of everything it has to offer?

Sure, I still go on family holidays and live in a tiny room because I can't afford more, but I love it. I have so much fun.

Granted, I am very lucky to get perks through my job - the occasional meal out, free box of chocolates and even press trip from time to time - and I accept most people don't.

But freebies can't pay your bills and rent unfortunately. I haven't actually tried it but somehow I don't imagine my landlord is going to accept a Le Creuset teapot and packet of fancy biscuits as payment.

So a gal's gotta be thrifty. My attitude is that if I save money in some areas, I can afford to treat myself in others.

Did you know that 94% of women believe they’re financially frugal compared to 88% of men? I'm sort of not surprised really.

Even as a pretty frugal gal, one can always be better with money, so I was keen to get involved when E.ON invited me to take part in their Savvy Shopper challenge.

The premise was simple: jot down everything you spend for one week, then try and cut that amount down the next.

Of course, some weeks one has one-off big costs, but I was pleased to cut down my weekly spend from £172 to £132. When I look at those amounts, it looks like a lot of money, but ya know... Dinners and drinks and waxes and clothes and travelling all adds up eh?

And I'm pretty chuffed with a £40 saving. How did I do it?

A post shared by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie) on

Here are my top tips for bring thrifty in the city:

1. Use Spending Tracker 

This is a great app for just seeing where your money's going. Log your earnings and everything you spend, and then you can see which categories are eating up most of your income. For me it's always rent first obvs, usually followed by travel (not that I'm going anywhere, just from topping up my Oyster card to get around London, cry), eating out, clothes, drinks and food shopping.

2. Buy frozen fruit and veg

Eating healthily is important to me but the healthy stuff always costs money, boo. So I'm obsessed with frozen fruit and veg, and I'm talking a lot more than just peas. I'll chuck some berries in a bowl of yoghurt in the fridge before I go to bed and in the morning I have a delicious berry yoghurt mix, I throw spinach into stews, and all frozen fruit and veg are perfect for thick, creamy smoothies.

3. Put your young person's railcard on your Oyster

Not many people know you can do this as TfL don't really advertise it, but if you find a station with an attendant and ask them, they'll put your 16-25 railcard on your Oyster, giving you a third off off-peak journeys.

4. Walk everywhere 

Obvious I know, but I always walk when I can. I'll walk for hours. Saves travel money, it's free exercise, good for the soul and I get to see more of this beautiful city.

5. Be prepared 

Learn from my error and don't leave your gym stuff at home because you think you're going to have time to pop back and get it before your evening cardio kettlebells class. You won't. You'll end up working late because there is always extra work to do, and then have to buy emergency gym gear near work and dash to the class.

E.ON recently launched their Cap and Track 1 Year tariff which is a new dual fuel, fixed monthly Direct Debit tariff, which tracks the average price of all energy tariffs on the market and is priced below the market average.
The tariff offers customers the simple reassurance that their energy prices will be tracked against the market average and that their bills won’t rise above those the cap they signed up to for the duration of their contract, but could fall further. 
The aim of Cap and Track is to remove the hassle for people who don’t want to spend time shopping around but who still want the reassurance that their prices are fair and stable – with the important possibility that they could fall further too.
See here for more information.

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