/ Money 💰

How to save money while renting in London

Pad caught up with Jessica Lindsay, lifestyle reporter for Metro, for her money saving advice 💸

Living in London is a pricey endeavour. Rent is invariably more expensive than elsewhere in the UK, and you’ll definitely get a shock the first time you pay six quid for a pint. However, it doesn’t have to be all scrimping and saving. After all, what’s the point of living in the capital if you aren’t enjoying yourself? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your time in London without breaking the bank.

Try renting with a difference
Some of the hidden costs of being a tenant include deposits and fees. That’s before you even factor in bills or any other luxuries that might make your life a bit easier. Instead of losing your deposit or paying through the nose for terrible Wifi, give Pad a go. It’s renting for the digital age, with no hassle, no deposits or fees, and an easy digital interface for any issues or claims.

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Kit out your pad on the cheap
Freecycle, Gumtree, and other ways to get discounted furniture can be too much effort. But, in the Big Smoke, these are way more accessible. My housemates have bagged everything from coffee machines to cacti, all for the cost of the tube to pick them up. Maybe just avoid rush hour - no furniture blag is worth the glare of a thousand commuters being held up.

Be trigger ‘appy
Apps like Dice handpick the best events the city has to offer, and have sections specifically for free parties and club nights. Prosecco tastes a lot sweeter when it’s handed to you for free. TodayTix is another great one if you want to get your culture on. Tickets to West End plays and immersive theatre are heavily discounted on the day, so you could be sitting in the front row for as little as £20. Those who are super savvy could also try Olio, which lets companies and individuals share when they have surplus food and drink. Users have scored everything from free Pret sandwiches to crates of beer.

Use your new pad to your advantage
Staying home doesn’t have to be a drag. Instead of always going out, throw themed house parties. You can introduce your mates from different circles and save money buying rounds and paying for entry (no one will begrudge being asked to BYOB). Get your housemates involved and promise to be designated cleaner-upper and they should be more than up for it. Save yourself spending over the odds on food, by getting supermarket deliveries. Traipsing to the shops without a car is a thankless task and often means buying impulsively, but this way you can meal plan and avoid temptation from the chocolate aisle. Some shops will let you pay a monthly fee and get free unlimited deliveries, even if they’re last-minute.

Red, pink and white balloons on the floor in a living room in Toronto, ahead of a house party

Get to know your local area
Central London - as a huge money trap - caters to city boys and tourists with cash in their pockets. There’s lots to be done, but it also costs lots to do it. From Brixton to Borehamwood, however, there are tons of hidden gems that are way more authentic and less spenny. One of my fave recent finds is Sappho Meze Bar in Clapham North. For about £12 per person, plate after plate of traditional Greek food is brought to your table. Dalston is also full of insanely good BYOB Vietnamese and Turkish restaurants that’ll impress your mates way more than any chain place. It’s a great way to find your feet in this city, and having a local pub and a few good restaurants nearby will make you feel at home.

Know your benefits
Plenty of workplaces here will offer season ticket loans that could save you hundreds over the course of the year. They might also offer free dentist appointments, private medical, or reduced rate gym memberships. If you work in hospitality or retail, make use of your staff discount. That 20ish percent might not seem like much, but for presents and essentials it all adds up.

Being a Londoner doesn’t have to mean being skint, and while it’s a big cliche, it’s true that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. Saving money on the boring stuff means you can enjoy the city for real. Now get out there and explore!