Having recently returned from Edinburgh after almost a month off, I am definitely feeling the pinch of post-holiday blues. How I wish I could be one of the more sensible travel types who carefully save up their spending money in advance and therefore don’t disrupt their bank account for the next few months in the way that I do, but alas I am not grown up enough for that kind of sensible behavior.
As the first month of Autumn, it is typically a month that drastically dips from warm Summer to cold Autumn in the space of 2 days, as reflected this year. However, it does make me instantly excited for Winter and Christmas. I actually really enjoyed this ‘quote’ that popped up on my Instagram account the other day:
However part of being excited for Christmas is definitely coupled with the anxiety of Christmas presents and the spending that month is often responsible for. September is a month of trying to not spend too much because you’re broke from Summer, but also being painfully aware of the boots and Winter wardrobe that needs replacing and the Christmas presents I still need to buy.
It is also a time where I go back to visiting more restaurants, because whilst Summer is a time for rooftop bars and pubs with a garden, Winter is definitely the time where I love to visit new restaurants and eat warm, delicious food.
So, it is fairly apparent why I find this month quite difficult, and I appreciate that it is definitely the same for many people and for lots of people this doesn’t ease off at any point throughout the year. So today I am going to go through ways to enjoy life in London without breaking the bank, and maybe also doing your bit for the environment at the same time.
Probably one of the most talked about subjects this September is Oxfam’s movement of Second Hand September. Trying to target the fast fashion industries impact on the environment and showing everyone that there are so many ways to update your wardrobe without buying cheap items that will end up straight in landfill. This movement has been endorsed by Stella Tennant and the Guardian article on her point of view will definitely fill you in on the movement if you haven’t heard of it yet.
I definitely encourage everyone to TAKE THE PLEDGE and join #SecondHandSeptember on social media on advertising the fact you are not going to buy any new fashion this month if you want to take part. As well as being great for the environment, it is obviously so much better for your bank account.
Sounds interesting? Here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Charity Shops – perhaps the most obvious, but charity shops always have tons of items, most of which has only just gone out of season and you can always find some real steals from high end brands.
- Online shopping – believe it or not, the amazing company Re-Fashion is a great online store where they resell donated clothes. You can easily shop by size, brand or clothing item and they offer free returns on all their products.
- Hiring – have an upcoming event? Sites like Hirestreet are amazing for offering gorgeous dresses and jumpsuits that can be rented for 4-16 days. Great for special occasions and holiday suitcases, because even the most gorgeous dress will never be worn as many times by sitting in your wardrobe than it would be on a website like this one.
I totally get that there is no better feeling then putting on a brand new outfit that looks incredible on you and none of your friends have seen you in before, but this doesn’t have to cost the planet or you as much as it currently is. To quote the Guardian article by, “new clothes come with a cost about which we can no longer claim ignorance“.
As a foodie, I literally look for any excuse to plan a meal out. I am lucky enough that my boyfriend shares this passion and we have a separate budget that goes towards the amount of eating and drinking we love to do socially. However, September is also our anniversary month, which means for the rest of the month I definitely cannot justify eating out as places quite as nice as the one we went to this year (Clos Maggiore was lovely thanks, you can read all about it in my next post).
So how can you still make the most of all London has to offer whilst not breaking the bank? Here are a few ways that I do it:
- Groupon – the incredibly underrated world of voucher dining. Groupon constantly has so many great restaurants that need to pull in more customers and it’s such a good way to get a bargain. Currently featuring restaurants such as Vertigo 42 and Marco Pierre White’s London Steakhouse Company at amazing prices for a fancy anniversary or birthday.
- Tastecard or Gourmet Society – whilst not always offering the most exciting restaurants, it is really worth being a member of one of these for the occasions when your friends just want to grab dinner for a catch up and you can save 50% of the bill by picking somewhere off their list. I’m a member of Gourmet Society as a perk from my bank and I was a loyal Tastecard member until then.
- First Table – be the first to book a table at a restaurant for a specific time for £5 and you get 50% off the price of the bill! Sometimes it helps to be organised.
- Apply to be a Mystery Shopper – Companies such as Mystery Dining will reimburse you for your meal. I have yet to do this but it is a popular way to enjoy eating out if you enjoy reviewing your experience.
- App it – this isn’t a way to eat a meal out for cheap, but apps like Too Good to Go mean that you can pick up food that would otherwise be thrown away for a fraction of the price. Good for you and good for the environment!
- Google it – there are so many cheap places to eat out in London that are delicious without being hugely expensive. Timeout has a few articles on this, but there are also loads of great blogs that can point you in the right direction such as Broke in London and London Cheap Eats.
Hopefully this was helpful and gave you a few ideas on how to save money whilst rebelling against fast fashion and fast food. As much as we are an incredibly fast-paced city, it is important to slow down and enjoy the incredible city that we are lucky enough to actually live in and explore every day.
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