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London Lifehacks

So, you fancy yourself a Londoner, do you? That must mean you can complain with the best of them then and know how to survive in the Big Smoke, right? Right. If you can’t do either of those things very well, you definitely need to be careful. You might lose your ‘I am a Londoner’ card. And that would be a shame.

Now, let’s be clear, when I’m talking about surviving, I’m not talking about knowing how to build a fire with two sticks and a piece of gum, or how to gut a fish with a pinecone, or how to make a lean-to with just pine needles and fish scales, or how to mix berries and grubs to make a poison to kill the bear that’s chasing you. (Please don’t try any of those, lol).

No, I’m not talking about any of those things. What I am talking about is surviving in the city. London can be quite brutal to the uninitiated but for those who learn her ways, there is nothing like her in the world.

Three keys to it all are being practical, reasonable, and flexible. Those truly are three things that can make all the difference in the world. So, how do we go about saving money in this glorious city? Read on to find out.

Travel Tips

Well, this might seem a bit obvious but the cheapest way around town is to use your feet. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. But think about it. They are free and will allow you to go to places no public transportation system can. It might surprise quite a few people to find out that some Tube stations are more easily accessible on foot than by actually riding the train.

But for those whiners (you know who you are) who would rather not walk too far, here is another tip. If riding the Tube is more to your liking then an Oyster Card is a must have. This allows access to much lower rates for tickets and fares. The Oyster Card can also be upgraded to offer even greater savings with a 16-25 or 26-30 rail card. This can be done at the nearest Tube station to complete the transaction. Once done, all off-peak travel will be one-third the posted price.

Another tip is to bring your own snacks for the Tube and train ride. The prices onboard are a killer.

Well then, that takes care of the Tube and the train so what’s next?

Out on the Town

So, you’re ready to go out and paint the town red, are you? Well, you’d better bring some money. The average cost of a drink in a pub or a restaurant will cost between 12 and 15 pounds. Talk about a bite out of your wallet. It kind of puts a damper on things if every time you go out, you’re dropping that kind of money, doesn’t it?

How would you like to cut those prices in half?

Yeah, I said half. In some cases, it can be even more than that. The Drinki app is one way. Install it and get your first drink for free. Groupon is another great way to save money. There are some great deals on local restaurants like the Old School Yard which offers three drinks for the price of one or saving 87% on karaoke, pizza, and cocktails for as little as 30 pounds.

For those of you who don’t mind eating after 6 pm and are not on a diet there are plenty of establishments who will offer discounts up to 50% if you order in the last hour of operation. Some of the chain restaurants like POD, Wassabi, Tossed, and Itsu don’t like to waste their food. Stop by just before closing and you could reap the benefits.

Another handy app to give you a hand with this is Too Good to Go. For as little as two pounds, you could grab a bite to eat just before the restaurant closes.

There are other bonuses that can be had for the right person who’s on the ball:

  • Get a free banana with every coffee at Itsu
  • Sign up for a card to get a free coffee at Waitrose every day
  • A card from John Lewis will get you couple of free coffees and a few pieces of cake for free
  • Get free samples from Camden Market

Now that we’ve taken care of some outstanding deals for food and beverages, let us get to using the loo in London. There are a number of places with free toilets, so keep these in mind.

  • All public libraries have free toilets to be on the lookout.
  • At St. Pancras the toilets are free. Why is this funny? Well, because just across the street at King’s Cross it’ll cost you 30p to use their toilets.
  • The first-class lounge at King’s Cross doesn’t have a free toilet, but the one just outside of the lounge is.

Entertainment on the Cheap

As with most big cities, London has many different educational points of interest which are free to enjoy. There are plenty of parks, art galleries, and museums available to wile away an afternoon or two. Some of the wonderful spots to check out include The National Gallery, Borough Market, the Sky Garden, the British Museum, Greenwich, and Science Museum.

If you are more adventurous and want to enjoy the outside sites, then rent a bike for a mere 2 pounds and keep it for 24 hours. Feel free to ride around and check out the wonderful outdoor spaces of London. Maybe have a picnic in one of the numerous parks and greenspaces available. There are bike paths along the River Thames and throughout some of the historical locations in London.


In Closing

No matter if you are trying to save some money while staying in this great city on the River Thames or simply looking for an inexpensive outing, there are always option available.

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