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Saving money in London

#1 Saving money in London
27/04/2007 16:33

Mr S. Kint

OK, I'm skint. I live in London, have the smallest mortgage I possibly can, and despite having a good job and living frugally, I'm broke at the end of each month.

Does anyone have any practical tips for somehow cutting back on living expenses or saving money? Assume flat sharing etc isn't really an option, and I need the car (a £500 Ford Mondeo I use regularly).

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#2 RE: Saving money in London
27/04/2007 19:46

JJ to Mr S. Kint (#1)

Er... move out of London?

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#3 RE: Saving money in London
27/04/2007 20:23

Top Tips to JJ (#2)

I did a fairly comprehensive answer to this question a little while ago, based on my own times on a shitty salary. Perhaps try the site's wonderful (!) search function

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#4 RE: Saving money in London
28/04/2007 09:10

Mr S. Kint to JJ (#2)

JJ, I did think about moving out of London. However, when you factor in stamp duty, moving costs, the massive increase in travel expenses (£4K season ticket, plus parking at the station) I'd actually be worse off.

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#5 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 09:49

eh? to Mr S. Kint (#4)

What are you hoping to get out of this poster?

Your biggest expenditure is on property and a car (admittedly small) but you're unwilling to budge on these. The impact of rationalising the rest of your outgoings is likely to be minimal.

But if the only option left is to minimise your other spend:

Food - eat in at all times, make packed lunches, shop somewhere cheap or use the 'basics' ranges of food from the larger supermarkets. Do a proper food shop once a week to a fixed budget and make it last.

Booze - stop drinking, or drink just once a week. If going on a big night out have a few before you go and arrive late to minimise time at the bar.

Smoking - stop (if you do).

Clothes - tough one as I presume you need to look presentable for work and you don't want to look like a tramp in front of your friends

TV - get rid of Sky if you have it

Gym - pack in the membership and get lapping the park.

Alternatively dig yourself out of the hole you're in by leveraging your experience and securing a pay rise somewhere new.

Alternatively 2, move out of London properly - jobs exist elsewhere. In fact I did just that and am now consulting for Big 4 in a regional office where the houses are affordable, parking is provided and everytime I'm in London it's via 1st class trains and nice hotels. I see my old London friends as much if not more than I used to and life is so much better!

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#6 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 10:17

Mr S. Kint to eh? (#5)

Packed lunches sound like a good idea, a real way to save a little bit here and there. It all adds up.

Gym - have just cancelled it, thank you for the suggestion.

Drink/smoke - I don't do either.

Also don't have Sky.

Am working on increasing the salary but cannot yet move out of London because the increase in travel costs and the stamp duty/moving costs is prohibitive. Longer-term it may be viable but I think I need some more short-term measures to build up some savings.

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#7 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 10:48

cyclist to Mr S. Kint (#6)

How much do you spend on transport?

Buy a bike: save money and get fit.

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#8 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 10:56

Mr S. Kint to cyclist (#7)

Yes, the transport bill is quite hefty at around £1,200 per year. I would gladly cycle to work, but it just doesn't seem practical. Firstly it's a fair old trek, and secondly my suit would be absolutely ruined (especially in bad weather). Changing once I reach the other end isn't really an option either, because I go to several different offices and none of them has a locker room or changing facilities.

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#9 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 11:09

A to Mr S. Kint (#8)

I'm sorry, but i can't see what you are hoping to get out of this. People have already posted some decent (yet fairly obvious) ideas. There is no magic formula to help you save money, either get an increase in income, or decrease your outgoings. I seriously hope you're not a financial services consultant!?

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#10 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 11:17

Mr S. Kint to A (#9)

I'm looking for creative little ideas about how I can reduce my living expenses.

Not all of these ideas are 'obvious'. E.g. the sandwiches idea was a very good one - I had just got into the habit of buying sandwiches every day, but making my own at home will save some money. Also maybe people have creative ideas for how cycling into London can actually become a realistic option for me? I'm looking for practical little hints and ideas for saving money that I may not have thought of previously.

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#11 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 11:24

published to Mr S. Kint (#10)

Are you researching a book or something?

'Consulting on a shoe string' by S. Kint will not be a big seller!

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#12 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 11:29

Anon to Mr S. Kint (#10)

Plan a working/volunteer holiday - not only will you have a cheap break with like minded people, but you'll also realise that it's not just about counting the money...

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#13 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 11:43

Mr S. Kint to Anon (#12)

Well yes, I agree this isn't exactly a 'glamourous' topic, but the reality is that my income isn't covering the bills at the moment and I need to take some action. Getting a new job is a big, risky decision (even on my pathetic salary I still actually need a regular income to at least stop the mortgage going into arrears) and in any event simply doesn't just happen overnight.

The holiday idea is a good one - I'm off camping this year, I've worked out that I can still have a good holiday within a £200 budget.

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#14 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 13:25

Cheapo to Mr S. Kint (#13)

Cycling is the biggest saving you could make. How far do you have to commute from home to these offices? If it's 4 miles or under, get on the bike. It rarely rains in commuting hours and your suit will survive fine until it starts to get hotter. Admittedly the lack of showers at the offices will then be a prob. But I'd rather be sweaty from cycling than the tube.

I save money by never spending money unless the experience I get for it is good value. Thus: trip out of town to new place - worth it; another drunken night in a bar that I won't remember three days later not worth it; book from library that I will read and will make me think - free and worth it; 3for2 from Waterschmone's - not worth it.

I'm guessing most people on here aren't bothered in the slightest, but London is surprisingly possible on a shoestring given how damn expensive it is.

p.s. dine out in Japanese restaurants in Chinatown. Formica chic, innit?

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#15 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 14:01

cyclist to Cheapo (#14)

How far do you mean by "a fair old trek"? I cycle 8 miles each way. Yes, we have a shower at work but frankly, if you take it easy and enjoy the sights you shouldn't really need it.

As for your suits, get the tube in on a Monday and carry your suits/ shirts for the week. Cycle the other days in scruffies. Job done.

My monthly food bill has gone down staggeringly since I met my now wife. She's veggie, so no more buying expensive chicken and steaks. Veggie food is surprisingly good with a little imagination, and is stunningly cheap.

If you're not a confident cook, I'd say invest some money in a night school cooking course. Fresh veg is so much cheaper than pre-processed/ pre-washed/ pre-chopped/ pre-peeled etc etc etc.

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#16 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 14:53

Anon to Cheapo (#14)

...or just read the books in the bookshop, instead of buying them, isn't that what everyone does?!

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#17 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 15:00

Mr S. Kint to Anon (#16)

"Fair old trek" = 9 miles each way. Certainly enough to ruin my suit, I don't understand how anyone can cycle this far in a suit and not arrive looking like a dog's dinner?! Also I have nowhere to change at work.

Good idea re: change in eating habits, I'm going to look to see where I can cut a few corners here too now. I think the idea about fresh veg is a good one - nice and cheap, and healthy too.

Regarding books, I don't really read much for fun, but think I'll take your advice and use the library on the odd occasion that I do.

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#18 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 15:28

A to Mr S. Kint (#17)

OK, enough. I have an 11 mile cycle to work each way and it takes 50mins - 9 miles is not a "fair old trek." You have knowhere to change at work? You need to get onto your HR dept; toilet facilities are a legal requirement.

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#19 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 15:41

Mr S. Kint to A (#18)

OK, my fault - I didn't give enough info.

Basically, 9 miles is fine for me to cycle - I enjoy cycling and I'm good at it. No problemo in that regard.

However, I often have to work at client offices rather than my 'usual' place of work. I'll literally be somewhere different in London every day. Sometimes this can be London Bridge, other times it can be Putney, other times it can be right at the top of the northern line. So, first issue - I can't leave my suit at work. And stuffing it into a rucksack doesn't sound like a very likely way of avoiding the 'dogs dinner' situation?

Secondly, the clients expect me to turn up looking presentable. I don't think I could get away with turning up in jeans and a t-shirt with a rucksack and asking the receptionist "is it safe if I leave my bike chained to the rails outside, plus also can I nip to the loo for 10 minutes to get changed" whilst trying to sign my name in the visitors book as fast as I can so that I manged to duck and dodge my way out of being seen by Mr Powerful Client and Mr Lowhumour Boss in the lobby because I don't want to get myself into a "we need to talk" situation.

If I can address the above concerns, I'd be sorted travel-wise and saving myself £1,200/year whilst getting fit too...

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#20 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 17:04

Anon to Mr S. Kint (#19)

Just a thought; shouldn't you be expensing all this travel to client site - and your eats too (depending on your company's policy/contract)?

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#21 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 17:32

Mr S. Kint to Anon (#20)

Now there's a fricking good idea.

Suggestions like that are exactly why I posted the original question.

I'll be digging out the company handbook shortly to see what I can and can't do. I guess I've just fallen into a routine of using my travelcard and buying my own sandwiches.

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#22 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 18:09

o100 to Mr S. Kint (#21)

Just curious... how much do you make a year Mr S. Kint?

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#23 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 18:29

Mr S. Kint to o100 (#22)

£34K, no bonus. I'm 28 years old. OK, this is a rubbish salary yet nonetheless I could be doing worse I guess (though probably not much worse). Once you take off mortgage payments and bills I'm actually not making ends meet. I like my job but I hate the crappy pay.

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#24 RE: Saving money in London
30/04/2007 18:58

Cheapo to Mr S. Kint (#23)

Don't knock it; I know plenty of people earning less than that, some way less than that, at that age. Admittedly none are consultants...

Further thoughts on veggies: shop at the markets. Not the organic middle class stuff but the ordinary ones where (mainly non-white) housewives trundle round with their shopping trolleys.

Sympathise about the biking given the distances. Scooter?

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#25 RE: Saving money in London
01/05/2007 10:41

God to Cheapo (#24)

A scooter is not a bad idea, no congestion charge, limited insurance and tax and all the free parking you can squeeze it into. Would almost certainly cost less than £1200pa.

I've taken to earning from a hobby too - I sell cars, usually <5 year 3 series because the demand is constant and selling 6 or 7 a year nets me a few extra grand. I have a friend who makes about £300 a month from a website he set up about sausages!

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#26 RE: Saving money in London
01/05/2007 11:05

Mr S. Kint to God (#25)

What are the total costs of getting trained, buying the required gear and running a scooter? I have a driving licence but no idea about bikes. I'd like something with a bit of pep... don't fancy the idea of being tailgated by lorries over London Bridge at 31mph. Prefer the idea of an actual motorbike to a scooter if poss.

Believe it or not, I did think about buying/selling 2nd hand cars, but it seems almost impossible to find buyers in my area (SE London). It's a very competitive market. I couldn't even sell my good-condition Mondeo for under £1,000 a few years back. I'd love to turn a hobby into a business but just can't think of anything that I could profitably do. Probably something to do with the fact that I don't really have any hobbies sadly.

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#27 RE: Saving money in London
01/05/2007 11:44

z to Mr S. Kint (#26)

Scooter CBT test £80 - allows you to ride with L plates until a two year period is up.

Motorbike training and test £500 - allows you to ride anything.

Scooters are easier - automatic, more comfortable and easier to manouvre. Also cheap - £500 will get you a decent modern 4 year old one which you can throw away after a couple of years.

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#28 RE: Saving money in London
01/05/2007 11:46

Mr S. Kint to z (#27)

What about insurance, crash helmet, body armour jacket etc?

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#29 RE: Saving money in London
01/05/2007 11:49

Cheapo to Mr S. Kint (#26)

World of difference between the 5yrs or younger 3-series - perfect car to use for this; endless demand, quality product, used prices lower proportionally to new ones than they used to be - and an old Mondeo.

Used cars are so much cheaper than they used to be that the premium on quality is exacerbated in that market.

Scooters: depends how illegal you want to be in that sense that there are zillions of folk zipping around on provisional licences for years. Think you can get a provisional pretty much immediately. Some scooters are pretty nippy these days.

But I'd spend a couple of hundred quid on lessons and get a 125cc bike. More poke, better to ride, you can take them on any road, you'll feel more comfortable in your abilities having passed the test etc.

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#30 New job
06/06/2007 07:17

Polo to Cheapo (#29)

Sorry but you have tio get yourself a new job. You're underpaid. Don't understand why job hunting will mean you won't be able to pay your mortgage. Sounds more like laziness to me.

If you get another job offer you'll find your company are suddenly trying a lot harder to please you. My cynical view is that companies only give pay rises when its likely you'll go elsewhere if you're not promoted/paid higher.

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#31 RE: New job
06/06/2007 08:45

2nd income to Polo (#30)

a little income on the side is the best way. Can you do a bit of freelance tutoring, car boot sales, run a side business importing something and selling on e-bay (by the way, have you tried clearing out all your old possessions and selling stuff. It sounds like a couple of hundred quid per month in side earnings would go a long way

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#32 RE: Saving money in London
06/06/2007 09:19

matilda to Mr S. Kint (#1)

34k is not a lot for a professional to earn, but lots do and they survive. If you're constantly broke and living frugally then your budget must be poorly balanced. I suspect you either have some debts that are making life tricky or your mortgage is too big for your income. To balance your budget you shouldn't be spending more than a third of your income on housing. As this is London you may well be spending more. If you have 2 bedrooms do consider renting one out- it's very easy and the extra £400 a month makes a huge difference. It's also tax free up to a limit under the rent a room scheme. I suggest keeping a diary for the month listing everything you spend. 2 coffees a day can add up to about 5% of your income a month and it's surprising how these things slip under the radar. The same is true of takeaways, lunches, beers out, magazines etc All those little treats add up. Next stop taking too much cash out of the cash machine, stick to £20 a time. The more there is in your wallet the more you have to spend. Next review all your bills and ensure you're getting the cheapest deals, including the single rate on council tax. Finally, get work to pay you for your travel- if you're driving between sites they may owe you a lot of mileage! There are also lots of websites and books that cover this including motley fool, so go and get yourself educated!

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#33 RE: Saving money in London
06/06/2007 09:32

Mr S. Kint to matilda (#32)

Thanks everyone for these helpful suggestions.

I have started taking my own sandwiches to work and have totally stripped back on any unnecessary purchases such as going to the cinema once a month.

I'm going to try and find a second income, but to be honest I really don't know if I'll be able to because of uncertainty in my working hours.

I just wish my commute wasn't so darn expensive. I'd love to move out of London, but ironically I'm stuck here because, once everything's taken into account, it's cheaper.

I service my own car, spend about £50 per year on clothes, and just can't see how other people balance their budgets. A large chunk of my income goes into a pension (£150 per month) because my employer doesn't give me a pension and I'll surely need something to live on in retirement. I'm considering selling the TV so that I don't have to pay the licence fee, but this is getting desperate right?? I have no debts other than the mortgage which at £800/month for a 1 bed flat is crippling me. But, I need somewhere to live. I can't do anything about council tax, I never turn the heating on (even when it's snowing outside), I use next to no electricity, I can't do anything about water rates, the TV licence is under review, I have a PAYG mobile on which I spend about £6 a month, I do have a BT landline but only use it so I can have broadband (£12/month) at home, I can't cut back on season ticket or the car because I need both... what else is there I can do??

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#34 RE: Saving money in London
06/06/2007 11:15

newbee to Mr S. Kint (#33)

Here's another suggestion: rent out your flat to cover the cost of the mortgage and go and live in a cheaper flatshare, outside london, etc. Removes stamp duty and other costs of moving, you're still on property ladder, but your cost of accomodation is reduced. This assumes that the £££ you get from renting your place covers the cost of the mortgage...

Other things to think about: if your mortgage is repayment, switch to interest only... Riskier option but it'll give you room to breathe. Ideally do this for short term until you get a better income.

Also, my mortgage company allows a payment holiday of something like 3-6 months. Not sure of the terms, you'll have to check yours details but typically your outstanding balance needs to be less than 95% of property value. Again, it's only a short term fix and doesn't tackle the real problem, but it does mean that you can save for 3-6 months and then dip into this saving when the holiday is over (i.e. don't blow it on a fancy holiday and wild nights in the pub)

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#35 RE: Saving money in London
06/06/2007 12:13

Know it all to newbee (#34)

Get a part time job at Tescos or M&S, get dosh, discount card for cheap food and clothes save money on going out as you won't be able to .... not ideal but hey

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#36 RE: Saving money in London
17/06/2007 16:31

Agreed to Mr S. Kint (#1)

Agreed with Newbie. Rent out your flat to cover the mortgage and move somewhere cheap. You can find some decent houseshares by looking at adverts in newsagent windows. East London is a good place to start. I personally rent a double room in a houseshare in East Ham for just £55 a week all inc, and its just 20 mins from the city by tube. Plenty of free parking too. If you can rent out your flat for £1000 a month, you should also be able to cover your rent with the surplus. Alternatively, you could opt to share your flat and cover over half your mortgage + utility bills.

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#37 RE: Saving money in London
18/06/2007 14:12

e-bay to Agreed (#36)

2 options. I had a major e-bay clear out a few years ago. made about 150 quid. unbelievably, it turned out that some of the IT books a friend gave me when I left University and made an abborted attempt to learn IT had been listed as essential reading by the local University. A vicious price war followed and I got a tenner each for them. The Transvision Vamp CD's were also snapped up... what a strange childhood I led!!

Alternatively, I hear that there is good money to be made around Kings Cross doing favours for old men

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#38 RE: Saving money in London
24/06/2007 22:38

Corporate Whore to deleted (#0)

Mr Foreigner, your calculations are incorrect. You have also omitted key financial requirements.

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#39 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 09:31

Mr S. Kint to Corporate Whore (#38)

OK, here's the breakdown.

I get £2,200 per month (roughly) after tax.

Then I spend:

Mortgage - £800 (yes it's high, but it's the lowest I can actually buy a place with)

Pension - £150

Electricity - £15/month

Gas - £10/month

BT line rental + a few calls - £12/month

Broadband - £15/month

Water rates - £30/month

Buildings insurance - £20/month

Contents insurance - £10/month

Mobile phone - £10/month

TV licence - £10/month

Groceries - £150/month

Travelcard - £100/month

Car insurance - £20/month

Car tax - £15/month

Car MOT and service components (I service it myself) - £10/month

Petrol - £50/month (a necessity)

Clothes - £10/month

Haircut - £0 (now doing it myself)

Home maintenance (boiler repairs, allowance for when things go wrong) - £20/month

Eating out - £20/month

Council tax - £100/month

OK now admittedly that lot only comes to £1,577 but remember this: a) I have probably under-estimated some of the above such as grocieries (I make my own sandwiches for work etc now) plus I am 100% certain I have missed out a few other big areas of expenditure (e.g. only at the last minute did I remember that I'd missed council tax from the list). There may seem a big difference at the moment, but believe me that £600 difference is very quickly absorbed by things that aren't 'luxuries' at all (in fact as I'm typing this I just remembered I haven't included a budget amount for dental treatment, shoes, the odd trip out every now and then etc).

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#40 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 09:35

bingobango to Mr S. Kint (#39)

Mr S Kint, good to see you took my advice on the sandwiches - hope you like 'a million variations on tuna mayo'

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#41 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 09:50

Mr S. Kint to bingobango (#40)

Well... it was a very good piece of advice bingobango - thank you. I always have my ears open to good suggestions!

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#42 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 11:28

anon to Mr S. Kint (#41)

I've followed this thread with interest as I'm saving for somethign special so have cut down all expenditure as far as I can too.

there doesn't seem to be anything excessive there. I spend £20 per week on a food shop and stil manage to get a bottle of red and some dark choc as treats but get heaps of healthy food for that amount. The more you cook, the cheaper it gets.

Just checking - are you getting the single persons rebate for ctax?

Also, have you joined your local library? You get cheap dvd rental and taking out books keeps me out of mischief and away from potential pursuits that end up costing the little bits of money (liek buying newspapers) which i didn't tend to count as I thought they amounted to nothing.

Haircuts - of you're not happy doing it yourself, places like tony and guy have training schools and you can get cheap cuts theer £5 but it will take the trainee twice as long although everything is supervised so they can't go far wrong with what they're doing.

Good luck.

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#43 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 13:00

The Scot to anon (#42)

Looks to me that you could save some further money by switching to Talktalk for phone and broadband. Service is nowhere near BT, but it's £22 a month, with free international calls and Bband!

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#44 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 16:01

D to Mr S. Kint (#39)

Why not ditch the pension until you are earning a little more? You are only saving £1800 a year on that - not much to lose for a bit more fun for a couple of years?

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#45 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 16:30

An ass out of you and me to D (#44)

That's assuming that there'll be jam tomorrow of course.

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#46 RE: Saving money in London
25/06/2007 16:50

DCF to An ass out of you and me (#45)

There's not all that much fat to be trimmed from that budget.

I think you just have to accept that you will "only" be left with £600-700 a month on a salary of £2200 net... if you are going to own your own flat.

I would think that's fairly normal. It's a reasonable amount of pocket money. Many people obviously get by with much less. My first job not all THAT long ago only paid about £970 a month net. That seemed to be about £100 less than you could actually live on, though.

Your choice. What value do you place on having your own flat?

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#47 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 09:57

Mr. Big Bucks to DCF (#46)

I earn £7,500 a month and my monthly expense is nearly £3,000

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#48 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 10:12

bingobango to deleted (#0)

£7.5k is nice, you must gross around £160/£170k.

Now, either you are lying and trying to cause controversy on a thread about the hardships of living in London.

Or you are a boring, tight git who doesn't know how to spend his money.

Either way your post is poor, neither funny nor insightful.

Unfortunately you display the lack of credibility familiar in so many consultants.

Please cease.

No, don't reply, don't try to justify.

Just stop.

And crawl away.


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#49 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 10:18

D to bingobango (#48)

I am presuming you don't have a spare room in your flat to rent out?

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#50 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 10:29

Is BingoBango Jealous? to D (#49)


Your jealousy is obvious.

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#51 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 10:45

expat to deleted (#0)

rent the flat out, leave the country, sell the car. It's the only way to turn things around. If you can cope with an OK posting (Africa/Saudi etc) over the glam/equally expensive locations (Dubai/HK/Sing etc) you can stash the cash pretty well for a couple of years, return a more interesting profile and sort out all your problems.

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#52 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 11:57

bingobango to expat (#51)

Not jealous, just not a pri*k. I earn plenty of money thankyou but am not the type to flash it about as I am not insecure and I respect the fact that not everybody is a high flier on this site.

I have followed this thread with interest over the past month and was dismayed by such a boring, boring, cheap shot by Mr B Bucks.

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#53 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 18:45

Mr S. Kint to bingobango (#52)

I am very much a low flyer. I do work hard and have quite a lot of responsibility but don't get paid very much all things considered. The work life balance where I work is quite good however.

Regarding my budget estimates, I know the total of the items I listed falls around £600 below my monthly income but believe me there are lots of other non-luxury items on the list that I'm sure I've missed out. Basically I end up living hand-to-mouth each month. I'm literally only breaking even and only just holding my head above water. It's a very tricky situation - I don't think my salary is great but neither is it really all that bad, and I don't want to change jobs if I can help it... but surely as somebody who works in a supposedly high-paying professional services sector I should be able to afford more than just about being able to scrimp and save so that I can afford to live in a dingy little 2-bed flat in a deprived inner-city neighbourhood? Am I grossly underpaid or something?? I can't figure out where I'm going wrong. I certainly run a tight ship where costs are concered so can only assume my income is well below what it should be???

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#54 RE: Saving money in London
26/06/2007 18:51

Corporate Whore to Mr S. Kint (#53)

Mr S. Kint, how old are you?

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#55 RE: Saving money in London
27/06/2007 08:35

Mr S. Kint to Corporate Whore (#54)

Hello... I am 30 years old. I do know that I could make a bit more by jumping ship, but really I see this as a last resort particularly as I have a good work-life balance at the moment. Also I tend to think that all these jobs that pay £60K+ either involve extremely long hours or come with very little security (I know there's no such thing as a job for life, but I really would like to be operating with more than a 12-month horizon, unsure whether or not I'm going to be fired for no apparent reason by some partner I've never met before at my next appraisal...)

What do you think?

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#56 RE: Saving money in London
27/06/2007 09:05

Corporate Whore to Mr S. Kint (#55)

I once knew a man, who was a senior manager at a relatively small firm. This man was relatively disgruntled with his salary and voiced his opinion to his superiors. They did nothing.

Now this firm had won a very substantial contract. This man's discontent grew each week. One week, it peaked. As it happens, it was the same week as a crucial stage in the project.

The man decided he'd had enough and tendered his resignation with immediate effect.

His superiors got all worked up as this man was vital to the delivery of this project. I'll leave you to guess what happened next.

In the end, he managed to raise his salary by 60%. After 8 months or so, the man resigned, using his higher salary to negotiate further increases.

In the space of 12 months, he had doubled his salary.

I think I'm not mature enough to advice you, but if I were in your shoes, I would seriously consider the story above and try to apply it to my circumstance.

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#57 RE: Saving money in London
29/06/2007 11:04

anon to Corporate Whore (#56)

Go to and look for ideas there. Stuff like getting a credit card that pays 2% cashback on everything you spend, getting very cheap flight deals, exploiting loopholes in loyalty card schemes etc, is all there.

I transfer a few of hundred pounds of my paycheck every month into a separate account on the day I get paid, and then put that money into long term savings (10% interest with Barclays), instant access savings (6.15% with ICICI Bank), ISA, and Zopa, which is a peer-to-peer lending site where you can get over 10% interest if you are prepared to lend to higher risk borrowers. So far I haven't had any defaulters.

This way you don't miss the money that you don't have. Then read to get a few extra pounds of savings. It really doesn't make a huge difference but it puts you in the frame of mind of minimising how much money you spend.

Then, as previous posters have said, get your weekly food shopping at Asda, get packed lunches (I don't, I'm too lazy - so I spend a fiver a day on lunch), and try to get a bus or even cycle / jog to work if you can.

You can also save a lot on stuff like mobile and internet contracts by negotiating, international phone bills by using skype, and clothes by going (don't laugh) to primark or looking for sales (House of Fraser on the north end of London Bridge has a very good sale on now).

For going out, I'm not going to suggest the truly studenty and frankly morally wrong ways of saving on alcohol because you probably know them already!

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#58 RE: Saving money in London
29/06/2007 11:38

CT to anon (#57)

Couldn't agree more. Am in a similar position to yourself and and the like have saved me packets.

Also check out

Addictive stuff. Best of luck.

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#59 RE: How's the original poster doing?
05/12/2008 08:08

Ask to CT (#58)

Just wondering how the original poster was doing in these tough times?

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#60 RE: How's the original poster doing?
05/12/2008 09:02

Mr S. Kint to Ask (#59)

Hello Ask, thank you for asking of me.

Since I first posted my question (was it really that long ago!), the following has happened:

1. I am still in the same job, still earning not a lot. I went for a few interviews with other companies, but was torn between the extra pay versus doing something I like and having my own time in the evenings. I figured there are some things which just aren't worth sacrificing for a few extra quid. So, I had to work on the cost side of my budget instead. Additionally, I'm glad I didn't change jobs, because I've subsequently found out that some of the companies with whom I interviewed are now laying people off left right and centre.

2. I've continued working on cost reduction. For instance, my electricity bill is now around £150 per year. I have achieved this through shopping around and careful management of my personal energy consumption.

3. I've managed to cut all my other costs to the point where I almost have a balanced budget. I'm still in deficit by around £100 every month, but am hoping that inflation adjustments every year will eventually help me clear this. I am going to 'freeze' my personal budget, however tough this might be. If I can't clear the balance, then the short-term remedy will be to take a pension payments break for a while although I am loathe to do this.

4. Right now I'm trying to just 'hold on', to weather the storm and hopefully get the mortgage down a bit. I think now's a good time to 'stay put' and just keep things ticking over on as low a cost base as possible.

5. I've reached the conclusion that if things get really tough, I'll just have to bail out of London. £34K would be OK in Norfolk, for example. I'm not keen on the idea of having a high pressure job with long hours to pay a huge mortgage on a slum property in London. I'd rather earn less and live in the countryside. This is a long term project for me. Right now I'm trying to suss out property prices and the feasibility and affordabililty of moving out of London, including the option of living further out but trying to find a cost effective and reliable way of commuting in.

So... maybe not the major transformation of my personal finances that I would have liked, but I've instead been trying to change my way of thinking about money and am trying to focus on the positives of the situation whilst working out a long-term 'plan B' that I can implement if my annual pay adjustments don't enable me to get the goal of a balanced budget back on track.

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#61 RE: How's the original poster doing?
05/12/2008 09:35

Depression to Mr S. Kint (#60)

So just to sum up, you originally posted in April 2007, and effectively absolutely nothing has changed except that you are losing slightly less money each month. 20 months ago! Please tell me you have at least taken a holiday, had some casual flings, or maybe gone really crazy and bought a new pair of socks?

I'm glad you didn't post that on a Monday or I would have been seriously depressed.

As the saying goes, it's not a dress rehearsal. You can never get that 20 months back...

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#62 RE: How's the original poster doing?
05/12/2008 09:57

Mr S. Kint to Depression (#61)

Yes, I went on a nice thrifty camping holiday and had a lovely time.

I'm glad I have done what I did during the past 20 months. What was the alternative? Working 60+ hours per week for a Big 4 or similar and missing out on summer? I may not have been paid much, but I had a great summer and enjoyed those balmy evenings when instead I could have been couped up in an air conditioned basement office all night. I think I did the right thing.

As always, I need more money. £34K is not a good salary. But then again, I have friends earning £100K+ who complain that they're skint too. I think it's all a matter of keeping things in perspective and focusing on what's really important to yourself.

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#63 RE: How's the original poster doing?
05/12/2008 23:12

ZeeBee to Mr S. Kint (#62)

60+ hours a week at Big-4? Are you nuts? It's big 4 not MBB. Yes i am @ big-4 and i hit prob 35-40 hours a week. Copy and paste central to be honest.

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#64 RE: How's the original poster doing?
05/12/2008 23:57

Odd? to ZeeBee (#63)

£ moving to London to start on a few £k less if I get on a Big 4 grad scheme appears impossible?!

Odd though this......

The OP was 28 years old on 30/04/07

Then was 30 years old on 26/07/07

Perhaps a localised tear in time and space is causing him to experience extra days each month - thus eating up salary without any realisation or knowledge of the fact?

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#65 RE: How's the original poster doing?
06/12/2008 11:04

Mr S. Kint to Odd? (#64)

I can sort of make out what you're trying to say, but the first sentence in particular is unintelligible. Please could you re-word it?

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#66 RE: How's the original poster doing?
06/12/2008 15:48

spexii to Mr S. Kint (#65)

Recommend the Motley Fool's Living Below Your Means (LBYM) disscussion board:

They also have an article called something like "seriously stingy money saving tips" if you can dig that out.

You have a 2-bed flat, definitely rent one room to a lodger. Frankly you should have gone for a 1-bed or even not bought at all if you couldn't afford the mortgage... but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

An app for your (Java-enabled) mobile phone to allow you to record your daily spending:

(or use a notebook if this app won't work on your phone)

Using your freezer to allow you to make the most of Buy One Get One Frees/food which has been reduced because it's about to pass its sell-by date (shopping just before the store closes is the way to get hold of these bargains).

Ebay for clothes. Buy online and use price comparison sites.

Consider a broadband dongle, it's possible it might save you money compared to landline + broadband + phone. Or use the internet at work and in your local library and ditch the landline + broadband altogether! (Imagine how much that would save you over the course of a year.)

Anyway there are many more tips out there, the main thing is to get into the mindset where you don't feel the need to spend money on things you don't need, and you try to come up with creative ways to save money. And before anyone has a go at me as well for not living while I'm young, I have a good life which I'm happy with, plus a get-rich-slowly plan which has a decent chance of succeeding! Who here wouldn't like to (at least have the option to) retire early?

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#67 RE: How's the original poster doing?
06/12/2008 16:18

7663 to spexii (#66)

Odd - you said exactly what I was thinking. Well except for the spacetime continuum bs - but nice touch!

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#68 RE: How's the original poster doing?
08/12/2008 08:21

Mr S. Kint to 7663 (#67)

Thanks spexxi, that is all really useful stuff!

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#69 RE: How's the original poster doing?
08/12/2008 17:07

Mars A Day to Mr S. Kint (#68)

Skint, sod the budget, have a life, go bankrupt along with everyone else, and start again when the market turns round!

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#70 RE: How's the original poster doing?
08/12/2008 17:14

Mr S. Kint to Mars A Day (#69)

You know what Mars? There's a lot of sense in what you just said. This government seems determined to bail out people and institutions that spend beyond their means. Frugal saver-wannabes such as myself get consistently 'hit' by inflation and taxes, whilst there are handouts galore to the spongers. As the old saying goes, if you can't beat 'em........

Really, so much of happiness is in the head, not the bank balance.

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#71 RE: How's the original poster doing?
08/12/2008 17:21

anon to Mr S. Kint (#70)

I think you are extremely brave Mr S. Kint for your positive attitude during this tough time. Living with Progeria cannot be easy.

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#72 RE: Saving money in London
08/12/2008 23:19

Mather Chod to Mr S. Kint (#10)

Heres what i would do:

1. go to a club like stringfellowes and marry one of the , um, entertainers there. they make so much money from their well-heeled patrons that you can comfortable live on their income for a long time. Beware of high maintennance costs though, such as silicone implants ( if they dont already have them), and regular botox treatments. You should still be able to live a good life, will save you some money in , er, seeking alternative methods of servicing.

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#73 RE: Saving money in London
09/12/2008 16:09

Mars A Day to Mather Chod (#72)

Here's the thing which is nagging at me Skint - well several of them excluding the wife..

What kind of life are you leading at 30 that your existence breaks down to plotting out a tenner here on this, a tenner there on that - where is the sponteneity, the room (and budget) for fun, chasing girls, drinking odd cocktails at 3 in the morning, all that good stuff? Where is the room in all this for the things which make life worth living (and let's not get started on that whole happiness is in your head nonsense - happiness is a good life lived well, not a philosophy dreampt up to stave off the momemt of realisation that you don't have one)?

You say you have a 'good job and live frugally' - well if all you can do is subsist, is it a good job? Or to be precise, a good company you work for? I don't care how nice the people are, money talks and if you cannot afford to make it worthwhile, then the company is a sh!t and taking you for one.

How long can you live on tuna sandwiches before you think sod the environment and sod the dolphins? Where is all this going to lead you? An incremental increase - maybe - where you are, so you can do what? Take an extra tuna sandwich to work, eat it in isolation while your mates shoot off down the deli? Strap on a pair and move to another company. Your employer is loyal to P&L, the shareholders if they have any, and certainly not you. Do you think your managers are scraping a living plotting out how they will eek through next month? Doubt it.

Is this all really worth it?

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#74 RE: Saving money in London
12/12/2008 08:11

fb to Mars A Day (#73)

As is often the case, Mars A Day is talking sense. Sounds like you just need to more aggressively manage your career and put yourself in a position when you can demand a sensible living salary, not mess around cutting back on day to day expenses.

People in professional services who go for cheap suits, sandwiches in a plastic box and a bus pass are missing the bigger game - When partners / clients are thinking about who to promote / recruit who will they typically go for.... - Mr Frugal, or Mr Swagger :-)

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#75 RE: Saving money in London
15/12/2008 12:32

Ex-Expat to fb (#74)

This is probably not much comfort to the OP, but I was pretty much exactly in his position five years ago, when I was about his age.

I now earn almost exactly twice as much as I did then, I don't live a particularly extravagant lifestyle but I still don't really save any money outside my pension. Of course, I didn't have any kids five years ago...

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#76 RE: Saving money in London
18/12/2008 11:50

Juniper Berries to Ex-Expat (#75)

Have you considered volunteering for a fun and cheap Summer holiday:

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#77 RE: Saving money in London
18/06/2009 21:41

Onan to Mars A Day (#73)

by Mars A Day 9/12/2008

This is the best post i have read on this message board. It has prompted me to start looking for a better job.

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#78 RE: Saving money in London
18/06/2009 22:03

Onan to Mars A Day (#73)

by Mars A Day 9/12/2008

This is the best post i have read on this message board. It has prompted me to start looking for a better job.

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#79 RE: Saving money in London
22/06/2009 09:49

here_4_life to Onan (#78)

I have always been too chicken to go do what I really want but secretly hope I soon get the push that will make me do it!

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#80 RE: Saving money in London
22/06/2009 10:21

anon to Juniper Berries (#76)

Hey Juniper Berries,

Thanks buddy for giving such wonderful sites.

I have left my current job and will be joining the new one in August. Wasn't sure how I will be spending the gap period. I am now planning to sign-up to do some volunteering in South America.

It was always my dream destination but couldn't go due to high work pressure (it has been 2 years since I went on a holiday). Hope this work will be an edutainment!

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