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11 Things All Londoners Spend Their Money On, Even Though They’re Skint

By Holly Platt-Higgins

11 Things All Londoners Spend Their Money On, Even Though They’re Skint

The list of little extras that might explain your overdraft…

It’s basically the first thing anyone ever says about London: “Oh, it’s so expensive!” If you so much as take a breath in the capital, someone, somewhere, will ask you for a fiver. And while that may be true, if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, we all know we’re guilty of a whole host of unnecessary expenditures which make London living that little bit more pricey. If you’re always asking yourself, “Why do I never have any money?” Well, we have the answers for you. Here, by very unpopular demand, are some home truths about what brunches and happy hours are doing to your bank balance. (Sorry.)

1. Expensive coffee

We are not quite sure when it happened, but London has become a city completely crawling with caffeine snobs. From matchas to macchiatos, soya milk to skinnies, we are utterly obsessed with all things coffee. But, unfortunately, that sneaky pre-work pick-me-up is probably taking a toll on your bank balance. Three quid may not seem like a lot, but after a while, those early morning lattes really start to rack up. And no matter how much sugar you put in, they’ll start to taste a little bitter knowing they might just be the cause of your financial instability.

2. Transport

A necessary evil, we feel slightly bad about putting TfL on our list — after all, the night tube has saved us all more than once. But let’s face it, it’s a daily expense that, frankly, we resent. Granted, it gets you from A to B, but when that journey also involves being sneezed on by an elderly gentleman and stuck in someone’s sweaty armpit all the way to Brixton, you sometimes wonder why you’re having to pay seven quid for the pleasure…

3. After work pints

Ahhhh, the cold refreshing taste of a pint after spending a long, hard day staring at a screen and dealing with people you don’t much like. We’ve all been there. You and your work pals head down to the pub to grab a cold one and discuss Janet from Accounting’s new haircut—which by the way is terrible—and catch up on all the office drama. However, in London, very few pints are going to cost you less than a fiver and, pretty soon, Barclays are going to be texting you to let you know that you are, once again, out of money and dangerously deep in your overdraft.

4. Lunch time pints

Ok, no judgement. Sometimes it’s just been that sort of day. Maybe it’s a Friday, maybe it’s Tuesday, but work has really taken its toll. You say you’re all heading for a cup of tea in the staff room but really, you’ve all slipped out the back and you’re already in the local knocking back a speedy pint of Amstel. It might feel good at the time, but this cheeky beverage is probably pulling your purse strings just as much as that client is testing your patience. (But, if you are looking for the cheapest pint in the city to save a little money, check out this handy tube map.)

5. Happy hour 

I know, I know, they reel you in: two cocktails for £10, that’s a bargain right? No, it’s actually not a bargain. Come on, London! Just because it’s half price doesn’t mean it’s a good deal — you’re still paying through the nose for half a shot of vodka and some fruit juice from Costco! It just doesn’t make any sense. And while it might be good for the ‘gram, trust me when I say, your careless consumption of cocktails is sure to leave you rather unhappy after the hours of 5-8pm.

6. Brunch

It’s a Saturday morning, you wake up and realise you don’t have to go to work today. How could things possibly get any better? That’s right, brunch! Brunch makes everything better. Sure it tastes good but—and we hate to be the ones to say it—brunch comes with consequences. Whether it’s avo on toast or chorizo hash, eggs Benedict or American waffles, as you chow down on these tasty plates, they are sure to be burning a pretty impressive hole in your bank balance.

7. A gym membership that you never have time to use

In theory, £25 quid a month for a gym membership seems like a very reasonable investment — a healthy, grown-up life choice no less. But if you never manage to make it to the gym—because you’re too tired after work or can’t help turning that 6am alarm off—then it starts to become a bit of an unnecessary expenditure. We know you keep saying that you’ll go one day, but has that day ever come? Will it ever come? I think we all know the answer to that…

8. Going on a night out that you had no intention of having

We’ve all got that one really edgy friend, they drink Mate, they are friends with a bunch of stand-up comedians, they know way too much about what’s going on on Twitter, and they probably live in Shoreditch or thereabouts. It’s a rogue Tuesday evening and they’ve invited you out for a pint. You’re having a nice time and then, accidentally, you’re 5 pints in and they ‘know a really cool place’ you should go to. This place will inevitably be an extortionate east London club, which will cost you a stupid amount of money just to walk into, look around and realise you’ve made a terrible mistake. Surrounded by hipsters and jaw-swingers, you’ll end up spending a small fortune on getting buzzed enough to pretend that you aren’t there.

9. Lunch

In theory, lunch is a necessary cost — but we all know that buying the reduced soup in Sainsbury’s or a meal deal from Boots gets way too depressing after a while, and we accidentally go a little wild. On those days, when it has just been way too much, even the best of us have fallen victim to a £14 bacon burger or a massive mound of molten-gold mac and cheese. Sitting in the office afterwards you feel warm, fulfilled, satisfied; but you better bask in that glow while it lasts because sooner rather than later, when that unexpected electricity bill comes through, you’re going to be regretting every chunky fry and falafel wrap you ever sunk your teeth into.

10. A drunken Uber home

So, the eighth couple you know just got engaged, your housemate has finished all the milk and not replaced it for the umpteenth time, and you have so much work to do that you think it might just be best to quit your job. Okay, it’s time for a drink. Attempting to forget the tragedies of modern life, you end up absolutely trollied, steaming about the city after the tube has closed. You’re way too drunk to plan a bus route so you do what any self-respecting adult would do: order a £18 Uber home and bother the driver with intimate details about your private life. Granted, it’s still cheaper than therapy — but a pricey path to take nonetheless.

11. Expensive wine at the corner shop

“This wine is expensive because it’s good quality!” Oh no, it’s just really expensive because nowhere else for about three miles is open at 4am and selling the holy combination of wine and chocolatey snacks that you so desperately desire. Just because you didn’t preempt needing more than three bottles between four people (foolish really), instead of picking up a nice Pinot Grigio in Aldi for a few bob, you have to trek out into the cold and down to the local offy to grab a bottle of something pretty filthy for upwards of eight quid. Expensive and only drinkable because you’ve had too much already — this is a bottle we guarantee you’ll regret buying.