London is a notoriously expensive city in which to live. Being England’s capital, it is an understandably vast and populous city, and a major draw as a result – for businesses, professionals, and individuals looking to live the true urban lifestyle.
But London is only getting more expensive, and the current economic outlook is bleak for the vast majority of its citizens. Rising costs make merely existing in London a task, let alone getting the most out of it. If you’re aspiring to live in the capital, what can you do to make your lifestyle not only feasible, but enjoyable?
Cutting the Cost of Activities
London is such a vibrant place to live, with partial thanks to the wide variety of activities and attractions available to both visitor and residents. But some of these attractions come with a fairly hefty entry fee.
While a permanent citizen of the city is much less likely to visit the London Eye than a tourist, caution can still be taken when it comes to making plans. There are cheaper ways to enjoy what the city has to offer than spending an hour’s pay on five minutes of distraction. For example, London’s National Gallery – home to seminal works by Vermeer and Monet – is free to enter, as is the National History Museum.
These options are a novel way to reframe your social expenditure – especially in a world where ‘socialising’ typically means whiling away an evening in your local bar or pub. Finding incredible cultural assets like these is not just a frugal act; it’s a radical one.
Budgeting for Lifestyle
Of course, you can’t expect to thrive in London on free exhibitions alone. Whichever way you cut it, carving out the life you’d like to live will cost money. As such, it is of vital importance that you budget accordingly. You may need to compromise in some key areas, but with the right attitude and the right provisions, you can make your new London lifestyle work.
One such provision would be to get yourself a savings account. This is essential for long-term saving plans, but also for your short-term budgeting. Your account can become a repository for additional income, as a form of rainy-day fund – and more expensive months can be easily subsidised by your planned, budgeted savings.
Ultimately, though, budgeting is about balance. Where there may be some things you are utterly unwilling to compromise on – from good craft beer to quality clothes – there will be others you could happily take a hit. What are your goals, and how can you re-align your spending to meet them?
This last point is a fundamental one for London life. London is a sprawling urban metropolis, and one that is not easy to walk – at least, not without expending a serious amount of energy. Private travel around London is also a prohibitively expensive option, especially in comparison to smaller northern cities with less sanctions on driving.
But there is hope, in the form of London’s public transport network. The London Underground is an institution as much as a public service, and London’s bus network is similarly impressive. By learning to use these judiciously and effectively, you can significantly reduce your expenditure without increasing your commute time.