Moving anywhere can be expensive. So when you’re packing up and moving overseas to London, you know the fees are going to mount up.
However, there are ways that you can drive down the costs. Most of these are all down to pre-planning. So let’s take a look at the top 10 ways you can save some of your hard earned cash when making the move to the UK capital.
Tip 1: Saving money on flights
Unless you’re moving from Europe, you’re probably going to be taking a flight to get to London. The city is officially served by four airports (to include London Luton and London Stanstead), but in all reality, you’re likely to be arriving at either London Heathrow or London Gatwick.
Most flights go up in price the closer to the day of travel, so the earlier you can book these, the better.
All the major airlines fly to London, including British Airways, American Airlines, Emirates and Qantas. Websites such as Trip Advisor and Skyscanner search multiple sites to find the best deals, so are always worth checking out prior to finally booking your tickets.
Tip 2: Save money on grocery shopping
London is an expensive place to live, and that includes the purchase of essentials such as food shopping.
However, thanks to the influx of various cut price stores over the past few years, it’s now possible to drive down the price of your weekly grocery shop. Check out stores such as Lidl and Aldi – German based stores with a “pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” strategy. And the best thing is that the regular grocery stores, such as Tesco and Sainsburys are now starting to price match in order to be competitive.
Very often, shopping online gives you better deals than actually going into store, although this is only true with the larger supermarket chains, not the discount ones.
Another way to save money on food shopping is to purchase from local markets. Fruit and vegetables in particular can be found cheaper in these locations, plus you get the added satisfaction that you’re buying from independent traders, rather than large, faceless corporations.
Tip 3: Use vouchers when dining out
Websites such as Groupon and Voucher Cloud provide a never-ending amount of restaurant voucher codes, offering such deals as 2 for 1 on meals, free courses or a percentage off of the final bill at many restaurants across the UK.
In fact, it’s virtually never necessary to pay full price at many eating establishments again. If you don’t want to use these discount websites, simply sign up for the restaurants loyalty scheme to receive deals directly to your inbox.
Tip 4: Shop around for utility bills
Gas, electricity, TV, broadband and phone bills can all add up. Make sure you’re getting the best deal by regularly checking out the opposition.
The website U Switch will quickly compare your usage and bills from your current supplier, and let you know if you could save money by switching.
Tip 5: Ditch the car
Strange as it might seem, many people who live in London don’t own a car. It’s expensive to run (car tax, mot, insurance), you have to pay a daily congestion charge of £11.50 to drive into the centre, parking is astronomically expensive (that’s if you can find a space), and the traffic is, ahem, interesting…
Add in the fact that fuel costs in the UK are among the highest in the world, and you can see why owning a car could be a drain on your finances. Thankfully, London has a wonderful public transport network, consisting of The Tube (the underground train system), and the London Buses. Between these two modes of transport you can travel all over town at pretty much any time of day.
Tip 6: Shop around for fuel
If you simply have to run a car, you’re probably going to be shocked at the cost of petrol (or diesel). But by using the website, Petrol Prices, you can easily discover the cheapest fuel going close to your location. This can amount to a huge saving over the course of a few months or a year.
Tip 7: Buy the most economical appliances
When buying appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers, fridge freezers, microwaves etc. be sure to check that they’re the most energy efficient possible. Look for an A, or A+ rating when purchasing.
These might not be the cheapest in the first place, but they will save you money in the long run.
Tip 8: Be “Tax Credit” savvy
If you’re working in London, find out if you qualify for tax credits. These are government allowances that will boost the income amount you earn before you pay tax. If you have children, you might also be eligible for extra child tax credits if they’re under 16, or under 20 and still in full time education or training.
Tip 9: Student discounts
If you’re in full time or part time education, no matter what your age, make sure you apply for your student discount card from the National Union of Students.
Tip 10: Check out employer discount status
Many employers have negotiated deals for their workers. These include large organisations such as the NHS, and other large corporate firms.
Other things to look out for are corporate gym memberships, which can save you hundreds of pounds per year over the regular price. Many of the large chain gyms, such as Virgin Active, David Lloyd and Fitness First offer such discounts.