Interview: Broke in London? Save cash by lift-sharing and other useful tips

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London. It’s a really expensive place to live – that much is clear, but there are many clever ways to slash everyday living costs in the UK capital that you may not have considered. Savings site Broke in London was founded in 2011 by Manolis Zografakis to help people get by, and we spoke with him recently to get some expert advice on how to live well in the big smoke.

“I decided to create an easy to use website where Londoners or soon to be Londoners can refer to when they are looking for a job, a place to stay and budget solutions concerning entertainment and life in London,” Manolis tells us, and explains that he too was once out of work while looking for his first job after finishing his masters in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths University. The idea came during those hard days of scrimping and saving.

Today, Broke in London serves as a catch-all guide to reducing living costs in the capital, and Manolis is quick to point out that in a recent Telegraph investigation, London was found to be the most expensive city in the world, where the average monthly rent is around £1,200 for a one bedroom flat and £1,600 for a two bedder. Transport costs – on the other hand, will cost an average Londoner around £130 a month. As they say, ‘it all adds up.’

Manolis adds, “Although expensive, the city has to offer you everything you could ever imagine, from breathtaking exhibitions in world class museums and galleries to small DIY arts spaces ; from amazingly diverse street food to the best restaurants in the world.  Therefore someone can easily realise that living in a metropolis like London can be super expensive but also rewarding. ”

Liftshare exists to help people save money on simple travel and make amazing connections with people on the road, but we simply had to ask Manolis for his view on London’s entrenched transport option – the Tube.

“London transport is in the Top five most expensive Transport networks in the world,” he replies. “A single trip with the tube will cost at minimum £2.20 while with the bus will cost £1.45. Hence an annual travelcard for zone 1-2 – which gives you unlimited rides for the two zones, will cost £1256.”

“Sharing is caring and it can also save you a lot of money,” Manolis adds. “I am a BIG fan of the ‘sharing’ ideology and due to its potential environmental benefits for the world I find lift-sharing an excellent and also exciting way to travel. It is a great way to save money, to take care of the environment and at the same time meet like minded people. It’s a ‘win-win’ idea and I would really love to see more and more people around the world adopting it.”

But what can London’s car owners do to cut travel costs while staying mobile? Manolis suggests that only cars when absolutely needed is one solution, and to, “use them mostly for long distance trips where they can save money by finding lift partners through the lift-sharing community.” He also recommends mobile apps like Whatgas to help drivers find the nearest and cheapest petrol station.

Of course, we can’t overlook the fact that – cars and rent aside, there are many other ‘big spends’ for Londoners to consider, such as utility bills, council tax, TV licence, broadband, food and more. Manolis offers us some final words of expert wisdom to help Londoners stretch their income that little bit further.

“There are plenty of ways to reduce the everyday costs,” Manolis concludes. “However it needs a bit of research in order to find the best ways to save money on everyday expenses. There are plenty of great money saving apps out there that can help you on this matter. One of my favourites is mySupermarket through which you get cashback on certain items and it also helps you create a shopping list and then find which supermarket is selling these items for the cheapest price.

“Another great one is Spendometer which helps you stick to a certain budget by setting spending limits. Finally BrokeinLondon is always trying to provide helpful money saving tips and solutions from the best free film screenings of the month or free haircuts in London to ways to make money online or to get free accommodation. So always keep an eye on our website as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.”

Thanks Manolis, and be sure to keep an eye on the Liftshare blog for more money-saving advice.

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