Affordable London Living


The husband of my friend S always rolls his eyes when she mentions the word 'discount'. He has no problem paying full price, and thinks she’s being a bit silly. I could not disagree more. No matter how good your income, Central London living is not cheap.

So S and I actively look for discounts. Not necessarily because we have to, but just because we want to. To us it’s like a national pastime (even though we have different nationalities). Last minute theatre tickets, discount vouchers, student discounts (yes, we are both also students).

If you agree with my friend’s husband that full price a good thing, stop reading now.

If you’re interested in getting better value for money, have a look at the following list - which admittedly is incomplete and in random order:

Discount vouchers, 2-for-1 deals and freebies in a handy list which pops into your mailbox on a weekly basis. You might not need them, but they’re there if you want them.

Any sales discounts normally paid to websites when you click through from their site comes back to you - bar the first £5 or so per annum.

The Buzz card only applies in Bankside (from Tower Bridge to Waterloo Bridge) and is designed to support local businesses. It doubles up as a Wedgecard.

Supporting your local business is in any case a good thing, and you get a discount for shopping locally. Although some of these businesses may still be more expensive than a chain, I for one will happily pay a little more to have a more individual High Street.

Become a student

Student discounts are amazing, but you’ll have to invest in the course, so it might not prove to be very cost effective. But if you’re considering being a student anyway, it’s a nice little benefit.

Check your local theatres

They often have discount schemes for residents, the Young and Old Vic being good examples for the residents of Southwark and Lambeth.

Newspaper coupons

Free movies, books, and music, or discounted entry to all the big amusement parks. The only thing you have to do is buy the paper and collect the coupons.

Invest in a rail card

Particularly interesting if you are doing a bit of off-peak travel, and you don’t even have to do that too often to make it worth your while.

For all sorts of money saving tips, be it the best insurance, discounts or savings rates.

The final option of course, is to just ask. You’ll be amazed what you can get. Or not, as the case may be.

Anyway, better stop while I’m ahead, or S’ husband will never speak to me again. He already thinks I’m a bad influence.