I'm surviving living in London on a budget and heres how you can too!
So you've moved to the big city to follow your dreams - fresh faced and wide-eyed, ready to take on the world. And then you get there and it's not Kansas, and rent in London costs three-quarters (at least!) of your salary, and a vodka-lemonade costs 3x what it did in the Northern city you went to university. So you resign yourself living pay-check to pay-check, hoping you'll have enough money to make it to the end of the month whilst also being able to afford your exterminate commute to get to work - I feel you girl.
I graduated two-years ago to follow my dreams and work in fashion. I'm in a job I love and feel fortunate that I get to enjoy what I do, but living in London is hard when you've just stepped onto the career ladder. You're struggling to pay rent whilst also enjoying what this city has to offer.
So here's five tips to make your life on a budget, that little, tiny bit easier...
1. Depop your Wardrobe
When I first moved to London I lived in a box room with a 3/4 double bed and one small chest of drawers and wardrobe. There was barely enough space to swing a at in the room (if that's your thing!) but I loved it. It's not easy working in fashion whilst living in a shoe-box. Constantly seeing new clothes is hard enough for my bank balance, let alone wardrobe space, and the stream of sample sales means you always seem to have more clothes than you can fit. I handled this problem by operating a strict 'one-in-one-out' policy - and it actually works. When I bought something new I had to sell something in my wardrobe to make it fit. So not only do you think really carefully about each purchase and end up buying less, you get to put the money from the sale towards what you just bought! That way you can keep updating your wardrobe without compromising on other things in life (like who needs to eat, seriously!).
2. Inspiring Careers Panels
Entrepreneurship seems to be the big buzzword of the year! It's definitely the trendy thing to do to go freelance or start your own side hustle whilst working on the day job. Places like BumbleBizz (a new networking app, created by the people behind bumble) often hold free panels with bloggers, journalists and inspirational #girlbosses. If you follow their Instagram you'll find out about them first, and all you have to do is RSVP before the list fills up and you've got an evening of getting to hear motivation from your favourite influencers - the career kick-start you might need!
3. Free Shows
If you look for it, there's actually a lot of free entertainment right on your door step! Comedy nights are often a good way to experience a free night out. Organisation such as Angel Comedy at the Camden Head in Islington offer RAW comedy nights where comedians test out new material. It's a great way to experience live comedy without having to shell out - and it won't disappoint. You can also get free audience tickets to big TV shows looking for live audiences. I've been to see Graham Norton live and it's such a fun evening out. Sign up to websites like SRO Audiences to claim tickets to your favourite TV shows! FYI Just make sure you get there early, you'll often have to queue as they give out more tickets than seats each night.
4. Take a Bus and See the World (well, London)
Getting a tube in Zone 1, during peak time can cost you £2.40 a single journey. Taking a tube up to Zone 6 in peak will set you back £2.80. If you don't have a travel card (and to be honest, with contactless you don't really need one) then just your commute alone can cost over a fiver a day. And that doesn't take into account if you head somewhere after work for drinks or are having a day travelling around differnt areas. A daily contactless travel cap can cost anything from £6.40 to £11.20. A bus however, costs £1.50 a journey, anywhere in London. I get the bus every day to work and it allows me to watch the world and actually see parts of London I would miss if I was sardined on a sweaty tube underground. You can also get two buses in 1 hour and not pay for another journey so it can actually end up saving you a lot of money! And when you get bored of watching the world, you can use your data to browse the internet, watch TV or Whatsapp your friends without feeling to total isolation of being underground!
5. Download Drinki App (#notspon)
And finally, Drinki is a handy app which lets you have one free drink a night whilst introducing you to cool new bars. When a drink in London can cost £12 upwards - this can make a big difference.