How To Live On a Budget In a Big City

How To Live On a Budget In a Big City

I have lived in London for six months when I was finishing my masters. I was doing an unpaid internship in one of the most expensive cities of the world. Loving to Edinburgh didn’t make much difference. The city is also (less) expensive. And whether you’re a student, a graduate or a young professional, it might be hard to make it to the end of the month. This is why I put together these little tricks that will help you save some money while being on a budget!

1. Order your groceries online.
When you live in a big city, you rarely have a big grocery store just next to your home. The vast majority of products in Sainsbury’s locals or Tesco Metro are not generic brands so they are expensive. It is also almost impossible to get a big batch of groceries at once. When you order online, you can order the cheapest products from groceries, to drugstore to cleaning and beauty products. Delivery is often cheap or free above a certain amount. Cheap grocery and no carrying bags, win-win! Also, get stores’ loyalty cards because it may give you exclusive promotions or vouchers!

2. Poundland is your best friend.
Let’s admit it, a pack of six toilet paper rolls is super expensive at the supermarket. So why spend £4 at Sainsbury’s when you can have it for £1 at Poundland? The same applies for beauty products, cereals, food cupboard, and house cleaning products. I have saved so much money doing this when I was living in Edinburgh. Depending on the size of your local store, you may also find baking equipment, gardening tools, books, etc. Really, think about it because there is no little savings. When you’re on a budget, every pound counts and you may be saving a lot of money that you could use on something you enjoy.

3. Do not live in the city center.
Sounds pretty obvious. Accommodation in the city center is known for being expensive, barely affordable. You may be close to university or your work but is it really worth it? If you live in the outer city, your rent will be much lower. You may have to pay for transport, yes, but I believe you will still be able to put some money aside. If you don’t like public transport, you can invest in a bike and ride it to work everyday. Healthy and cheap. Flat in the outer city are also often bigger and in quieter areas, which are perfect when you want a relaxing weekend.

4. Workout at the park.
If your workout is essentially cardio, you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym. If there is a park nearby, you can run there. You can also run in the street. Have a look at Google Map, set a track for yourself and just run. Some parks may also have workout equipments such as exercise bikes. If you want to exercice once or twice a week, I am not sure a gym membership is worth it, especially during summer when it’s warm outside and perfect for a run.

5. Make your lunch at home.
Whether you are at university or working, you need to eat at noon. When I was a student, I always ended up going to the supermarket to buy a sandwich. First, processed food isn’t so good for your health. Second, it is super expensive in the long run. If you cook at home, you have control over everything you buy (usually in big quantity which makes it cheap) and how much of it you use. You can weight, measure and be creative. Put everything in a tupperware, take a fruit and you’re set for lunch. For almost nothing.

6. Find promoters in the street.
I am talking to all the party queens and kings. Which I used to be when living in London. Partying is expensive, so expensive. You have to pay an entry fee plus all your drinks once you’re inside. The beauty of big cities is that they have plenty of clubs that are always keen on getting new customers in. Clubs will have people stationed in the streets which will gladly give you free way into the club. Make the most of it because clubs are super expensive too.

They may all sound pretty obvious but they were not to me at first! Have you ever thoughts about these? What do you think? Any tricks you want to share with us to help us save some money?

I hope you liked this post! Thanks for reading!

See you soon,

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  1. May 10, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    Amazing tips! Although I’m not living in the city as big as London, I do live in the biggest city in my county. As a student it can be quite tricky to enjoy all of the benefits of the city and live on the budget. Food is definitely something I spend the most money on so I try my best to prepare my meals in my dorm as much as I can. xx

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

  2. May 10, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    Great tips! Not sure about the online grocery store.. i find that I tend to “overspend” (lol) when I online grocery shop and most big cities have tons of farmers market that are def cheaper and local! But you’re def right regarding the “amount” of stuff that buying online allows.

  3. May 10, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    I totally agree with opting out of gym memberships as I pay for a monthly membership when most of my working out it done at home. I love in Chicago so I joined a gym membership for the winter but then I’m left paying unnecessary money in the summer for the membership.

    Great read and Great tips!

  4. May 11, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    These are such good tips! I wish there were more dollar stores near my neighborhood in Chicago. I’ve been trying to bring lunch from home recently and it’s made such an enormous difference!


  5. May 11, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    These are all great tips! I totally agree with living further out and exercising in parks, if you live in a city you must take advantage of it!

  6. abbeylouisarose
    May 11, 2017 / 4:02 pm

    This is such a valuable post, Corinne! I have been studying the past 4 years in Oxford, which is comparable to London in terms of price! There are no budget supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi within the city centre, so I’m forced to shop at the more expensive options. I definitely agree that’s taking the time to pack yourself a lunch is super important in expensive cities as cafes cost a bomb! I wish that Oxford had a Poundland so that I could shop there more regularly!


  7. May 11, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    Hi, great tips I do most of them except for the gym. My best money saver is online shopping, Chloe #TeacupClub

  8. May 11, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    Great tips! Making a lunch at home seriously saves money!! A job I worked at a few years ago had a restaurant on site and I wased so so much money buying lunch everyday! When I changed to prepping lunch before I saved so much!!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

  9. May 11, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    Poundland is definitely one of the places where I would indulge in a guilty pleasure of buying too many sower gels. Because… They all smell just too good not to get them. Iga

  10. May 11, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    I totally agree with everything in this post! I’ve lived in Manchester my whole life and I still find it quite scary sometimes 💖

  11. May 11, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Okay so like. This is a super interesting post for me. I live in America So like i didn’t even know this was a thing???? Like I’m pretty sure I cant order groceries online, but that would be super dope. I wish lol. Learn something new everyday i guess.

  12. May 11, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    These all look like great tips. It makes me think of San Francisco where is it literally impossible to live on your own. I think cities are the absolute best, but then so many people do. It’s so hard to live in them because of how expensive they are. I have to settle with traveling in because the price just isn’t worth it to me. Such a bummer. These tips look like they can be a big help to anyone who makes that leap xx

    Breanna Catharina

  13. May 11, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    Great advice! I currently live in a town but plan to move to a city when I start university next year, so I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind. And Poundland is a lifesaver, it literally has anything and everything! Aoife x

  14. May 11, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    Very helpful post! I never thought to order my groceries online, that’s great advice! I also think it’s great to find alternatives to work out as opposed to a gym membership!

  15. May 11, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    I LOVE POUNDLAND!! It’s honestly not as grotty as everyone makes it out to be and is so good if you’re on a budget!! Loved this post xx

  16. Gemma
    May 11, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    There’s so really great advice here! I don’t live in a big city, but I always find that going to a pick your own is a great way to buy fresh fruit and veg in bulk x

  17. May 11, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    Ooh these tips are perfect! Especially the one on getting promotions off the street… never thought of that before. Thanks so much!

  18. May 11, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Great post, These tips are so versatile to wherever you live. When I get my own house it won’t be near a big city at all but I’ll still be trying to keep my money in check because it’s not cheap to live anywhere these days. Poundland is always a good shop to pick up some cheaper household items.

  19. May 11, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    These are great tips that I never really thought of! I live on the outer rim of my city so I’m naturally and unconsciously practicing several of these tips, but the one about ordering your groceries online is so interesting! I thought that ordering groceries online was actually more expensive, so I’ll definitely have to look into it to see if I can save a few bucks. Thanks for the great tips and suggestions!

  20. May 12, 2017 / 11:22 am

    Since moving out of London I’ve missed the inexpensive ethnic supermarkets and corner shops. I never have any luck in Poundland. They seem to shrink all the packets so it turns out more expensive!

  21. May 12, 2017 / 11:40 am

    Haha! workout at the park! You nailed it! Thats what i do now since i am broked!

  22. May 12, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    This is great to keep in mind! I don’t live near a city, but if I did, I’d follow these tips. Especially the bringing your lunch thing. I have issues with that now. I want to grab stuff but now I only allow myself to purchase on Mondays and Fridays. It helps!

  23. May 12, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    Thankfully I live in a small town, so this isn’t an issue for me. Idk if i’d be able to survive in a big city lol

  24. May 12, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    I loved reading this! I love your points as well, especially Poundland and working out in a park – Ive never had the opportunity to do this, but I guess it saves so much money and there are so many nice places to work out in the City!

  25. Lindsay A Tullar
    May 12, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    Extremely useful and helpful tips. I come from a small Bohunk country town originally and am learning quickly while I still [after 2 years] adjust to a popoulation 10X the amount of my previous location. Thank you for sharing!

  26. May 12, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    Making lunch at home is super important if you’re trying to live on a budget! This was a great post with good points in it 🙂

  27. May 12, 2017 / 4:30 pm

    Great tips! I used to live in NYC and was constantly looking for ways to save money or make my dollar stretch!

  28. May 12, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    Good tips for somebody moving to a new city.especially when you are a student or just started working.

  29. May 12, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    These are great tips and I can’t think of anything to add to them. I’ve started making my lunch and it’s been saving me money.

  30. May 12, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    Totally agree with all your points!! Living in London can really drain your purse if you are not careful!

  31. May 12, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Great post and great ideas. It can be so expensive to live in a large city so being frugal and definitely following these tips can help!

  32. Ola
    May 12, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    I’ve heard that London is crazy expensive. Perhaps another way to save is to get a roommate for your apartment.

  33. May 13, 2017 / 12:37 am

    When I lived on the Gold Coast I would often try to talk to promoters on the street to find out any deals that were going on! Also, find cheap nights for clubs! A few times my girlfriends and I would go out on ladies night where it was free drinks for ladies all night. Get there before ten and it is free entry!

  34. Tiara Wilson
    May 13, 2017 / 3:01 am

    These are some really good tips. I am such a frugal person. I love to coupon, budget and love a good sale!

  35. May 13, 2017 / 5:09 am

    These tips are actually really useful for younger people to consider when they decide they want to move out to the bigger cities. I would of loved to live in London is so beautiful and full of history.

  36. May 13, 2017 / 5:32 am

    Great tips, I actually use some of these already! I should do my food shopping online it would save me money, as i’m always adding chocolate and extra yummy things into my shopping.

  37. May 13, 2017 / 6:03 am

    I definitely love your post. And the quote really made me more inspired that its not how many you earn, its how you save it. It’s really a matter of perspective.

  38. May 13, 2017 / 7:27 am

    I live in a city (Nottingham) so saving money where you can is always helpful anyways. I totally agree with shopping in places like Poundland and also Aldi is my new best friend for food!

  39. Akamatra
    May 13, 2017 / 7:36 am

    Nice tips! I think the best one yet is making your lunch at home. That way you eat healthier and save too!

  40. Agentszerozerosetter
    May 13, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    Living in a big city can be really expensive, always good to try to save some money! I love London!

  41. Catherine Renton
    May 13, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    I lived in Edinburgh for most of my life and learned some of these tips the hard way. I love Poundland and can often be found rummaging around for bargains of a weekend 🙂

  42. May 13, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Great tips. I live on a small island and some things specialy groceries are expensive . Unfortunatly there is only 1 grocerie store who does online shopping and its expensive.Number 4 and 5 helps me save lots of money .

  43. May 13, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    Nice tips. A lot of them can be extrapolated to life in the States too.

  44. May 13, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    this is such a fantastically practical and brilliant post – what fab advice and all so true! There are so many ways to live cheaply!

  45. May 13, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    Such a good post! I am about to move to a large city, so perfect timing! I never thought of grocery shopping online, are the fresh produce any good or should I still go to a farmers market for those?

  46. May 13, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Awesome tips! I so agree with finding the best alternatives to save more! I definitely shop online mostly (Amazon Fresh,etc) which is something I stumbled upon more recently. But it does save on transportation when traveling to a big grocery store! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  47. May 13, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    I practice a lot of these! Specially now in the summer I make sure to pack a lot of snacks and look for freebie options for the kids!

  48. May 13, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Love the tips…especially making your food at home…it’s helps to save some cash…

  49. May 14, 2017 / 12:38 am

    Those are all great ways to cut costs! Working out in the park is great, but on rainy days, maybe try free youtube workout videos.

  50. Ra'Nesha
    May 14, 2017 / 5:44 am

    Good tips that can be useful regardless of where you live thanks for sharing awesome post

  51. May 14, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    We live just 15 min outside from the city center and that truly makes a big difference in the costs! You’re so right about this!

  52. May 14, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    These are amazing tips! We need to reduce our expenses in any form as we can do for our better tomorrow!

  53. May 14, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    great tips!! I lived in a city in the US for 2 years and it definitely got expensive. I never tried ordering groceries online but I know my mom has started to just because it’s convenient. Also, love working out outside and at home. Saves soo much money on the gym and running helps me explore too. Thanks for the tips

  54. May 15, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    Great Tips and I think all of these are applicable whereever you live. Exercising at the park versus the gym will save you a lot of money.

  55. May 15, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    I live in one of the most expensive cities New York. You offer great tips although it would be hard to shop online for food here. I think it would cost a lot more. I will look forward to using your other tips. 🙂

  56. Amrita
    May 15, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    Great tips for living well on a budget .Shopping smart does help.Also quirt suburbs make weekends fun

  57. Elizabeth O.
    May 15, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    I am used to living in the city and the prices are definitely different especially when it comes to fresh produce and supplies. It’s really important to learn how to budget and to know what strategies will help you save money. These are great tips!

  58. July 22, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    Saving money is honestly such a skill! I have been taught so many ways to save, but things that I think are second nature some people have never heard of. So interesting to hear how other people save their hard earned bucks!

    xx Victoria

  59. Kayleigh Zara
    August 15, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    These are some amazing tips as someone who’s been a student for three years I definitely agree with buying online you can save a ton of money and time x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿

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