How to save money as a grad in London
Moving from student life to one of regular income and serious responsibilities (insert: bills) can be stressful. Especially when you actually gather the courage to look at your banking app. So, we’ve made the ultimate guide to money-saving tips for graduates starting their new job in the city. The best part? You won’t need to be living on pasta two weeks before payday.
How to save on food and drink
Everyone at BrighterBox is quite simply obsessed with food and, more importantly, cheap tasty food. If you wanna save as much coin as possible, it’s probably best to get cooking (and bring lunch in from home). Recipe books and websites like Mob Kitchen have delicious, easy meals that cost under £10 for a 4 person serving. It’s honestly life changing.
If you’re going to get food from The Outside World, there are still ways you can save:
nez – This app helps users discover the best food and drink offers in London. Free to download and no credit card required, it’s the easiest way to save money at local restaurants, cafés and bars. We’re based in Farringdon, and couldn’t live without it! (You can read our ultimate review of Farringdon lunch options here)
Dusk – This is going to sound too good to be true…but it is very much true. Dusk gets you free & discounted cocktails for no fee. Yep. The app will show you bars and pubs nearby, and what they’re offering. Perfect for when you simply need an after work Espresso Martini.
Shopmium – This free app gives you access to exclusive offers for everyday supermarket products. You select an offer, buy the item and then upload a picture of your receipt. They’ll then deposit the cashback in your account within 3 days.
Too Good to Go - By signing up to this app, you can purchase surplus restaurant food at a discount and help reduce greenhouse emissions. I have got SO much sushi on this one. For more food & drink startups changing the game, head here.
Get on the Monzo hype
Monzo: the fluorescent flag of the millennial. A Monzo bank account monitors every time you use your card, so you can track your spending all on a smartphone app. You can set category-based budgets and make savings pots – and you can set the app to round up your spending and automatically put them into savings. 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!
Organise your house share
Living with other people usually requires one person to be the organised one. However, there are loads of tips and apps about that will do this for you! We’ve got a more detailed blog post on house sharing here.
It’s also a good idea to sign up to an automatic energy switching company, such as Look After My Bills or Migrate: companies that will move you to the best deal each time your contract comes to an end. They’re essentially an evolution of the comparison website, not only finding great energy deals but managing the switch process too. And, if you’re interested in working in this industry, check out our roles here!
Cheap travel in London
London is now officially the most expensive city to travel in, so it’s key that you track this outgoing each month. 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 as they’re almost never cheaper!
Free and cheap things to do in London
Sadly we can’t all afford to spend every night living it large on the London Eye. But there are plenty of other ways to get out the house without breaking the bank. For those of you who love the West End, take a look at TodayTix to find tickets to shows for under £20! There are plenty of free comedy gigs at Angel Comedy, where you can reserve a seat for a fiver or pay what you want on exit. You can also download DICE, a mobile ticketing platform that uses a personalised algorithm to find events for you, and there’s loads of free music gigs on there.
Shopping on a budget in London
There comes a time when you have to accept that maybe the jumper with a hole in each armpit just isn’t doing its job anymore. Buying new clothes can be a massive expense, both on your wallet and the environment due to the fast fashion industry. Why not visit your local charity shops or (this is my top tip) pop over to your nearest wealthy area and visit theirs! You’ll find some absolute bangers for a bargain. You can also look at Ebay and Depop, or raid your parents/siblings/friends/any consensual being’s wardrobe. You’ll be surprised at what you can find!
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!