5 money-saving tips for grads moving to London
Unless you’re the heir of McVities or became the best promoter on campus, we all struggled financially during Uni. The nights out, all those teaching hours (4 hours a week is a lot, okay?) and the hangovers led to us trying to justify far too many impulse buys. Everyone eagerly awaited the quarterly birthday feeling when the student loan drops, just like a new Drake album, and you’re suddenly spending cash like Paris Hilton. Sadly, that dramatic poor-rich cycle doesn’t last forever and the next thing you know you’re in the working world full of regular income and serious responsibilities (insert: bills). It hits you that you should probably start counting the coins.
So we’ve pulled together some of our top money-saving tips for graduates starting their new job in the city. So you don’t need to be living on pasta two weeks before payday anymore.
Get yourself on the Monzo hype
Fun drinking game: do a shot every time you see a fluorescent coral card while you’re at a London bar. We promise you’ll be drunk in minutes, as Monzo has well and truly taken over. A Monzo bank account monitors every time you use your card, so you can track your spending all on a smartphone app. Trust us, you’ve never felt so guilty about impulse buys and in the long run, you’ll definitely save some cash. It’s much easier to set up than a traditional bank account and you can be swiping away only a few days after you apply. Monzo's competitors Revolut and Plum also provide great options, so pick whichever suits you!
Find the cheapest way to travel
London is now officially the most expensive city to travel in, so, it’s key that you track this outgoing each month. Time to ditch the last-minute Ubers and plan a financially sustainable route. Our biggest tip is to look at apps such as CityMapper and find the fastest route for the cheapest price, whether it's walking, bus-ing or cycling. Make sure you look into TfL travelcards to find the best price for you, especially if you’ll still be travelling around on the weekend. If you won’t be travelling enough to warrant a travelcard you can also attach a 16-25 Railcard to an Oyster and get a 1/3 off tube/train fares. Just whatever you do, don’t buy paper tickets they’re almost never cheaper!
Resist the food markets
With food markets around every corner, it’s hard to not be tempted by the amazing food London has to offer. However, with the average price of a meal around £6, it’s time to ditch those Big Bao’s and King Falafel wraps and take your own lunch to work (boring, we know). But for £6 you could easily create 3 or 4 packed lunches, which saves you tons of cash in the long run. Also, cut down on the weekly meals out by cooking for yourself or even better, join up with your housemates to make the weekly shop that bit cheaper. If you’re trying to be a super saver then you could even try Quorn! (I’m still not completely convinced).
Fill your phone with savings apps
Everyone loves a bargain, especially when you’re on a budget, so use up your phone storage on savings apps such as Groupon and Nez. With deals varying from food and drink to nights out and day trips, it’s well worth having a look to see where you can save money. For those of you who love the West End, take a look at TodayTix to find tickets to shows for under £20! In London, there’s never really any reason to pay full price for anything so plan ahead and check out the deals available!
Embrace life in the suburbs
You might want to be the next cast member of Made in Chelsea or dream of overlooking Hyde Park from your penthouse in Mayfair but for most of us, that won’t be happening anytime soon. Therefore, embrace life in the suburbs! Graduate hotspots such as Clapham and Bow are buzzing with young professionals, however, can be quite costly, so look at new up and coming areas such as Tooting and Ealing where the commute may be a tad longer, but the renting prices are a lot cheaper. Trust me, that £100 a month will be a Godsend at some point! Doing your research prior to moving can help you get a real feel for the best places to be.
We don’t mean to sound like your Mum when it comes to saving but little changes can make a big difference to your wallet. At the end of the day though we’re not the fun police, enjoy your graduate job and treat yo’self when needed. You’ve survived 3 years at Uni with no money so we’re sure you’re an expert at this point!