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All images Creative Commons

@metjournalism #unaffordablelondon

www.hollowayexpress.co.uk

Tenants: know your rights, p. 4

Students on a budget, p. 6

Ten things to do for £10, p. 9

Methome

Housing Special

FREE Issue 2 3rd March 2016

Is London unaffordable? Molly Arnold & Josephine Tamburello

More than 150 students, visitors and staff members took to the Henry Thomas room at London Metropolitan University on Tuesday, to grill local figures on the problems Londoners face when it comes to housing in the capital. Made up of five influential individuals, the panel included Green Party candidate for the Mayor of London Sian Berry; Tom Copley, Labourmember of the Greater London Assembly (GLA); Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the GLA; Dr Kristian Niemietz, head of Health and Welfare at the Institute of Economic Affairs, and housing campaigner Betsy Dillner, director of Generation Rent.

The panelists showed that, although they disagreed with each other at times, they weren’t afraid to share their laughter. When the panel were asked by student Wendy Abiri, “Is it okay for landlords to charge students to live under the stairs?” Dr Niemietz answered with a humorous, “I don’t have stairs.” Berry took the question more seriously, however, saying that something has to be done about the rapidly declining standards of student living in the capital. “We shouldn’t have people living under the stairs, in damp, and in horrible conditions,” she said. “UCL students have been protesting about this!”

The conference panel

photo by Laura Mendes

London Met Student Elijah Owen started the debate by asking, “Is studying in London a privilege rather than a right?” to which Berry was quick to respond: “Student housing costs are ludicrous!” Berry was highly praised

building on the Green Belt were top of the list of concerns put forward by London Met students. With the debate in full swing, there was a mixture of serious statements and heated disagreements, with an Continues on page 4 added touch of comedy.

for her comments by Dillner. Boff was quick to disagree, however, saying, “Studying in London isn’t a privilege or a right - it’s a choice!” which got a huge reaction from the audience. Student housing, first-time buyers and

Graduates struggle onto property ladder Courtney Noonan &Aimee Boden

With a starting salary of around £25,000, graduates are struggling to get onto the property ladder, with statistics showing that most property sales in London “involved flats which sold for on average £469,471”, according to RightMove. Not only are the prices sky high but graduates are leaving university with an average of £36,000 of debt. So, can university

graduates afford to live in London when they’re no longer being supported by Student Finance? With first-time buyers being advised to save at least 5% to 20% of the cost of their first home as a deposit, according to The Money Advice Service, many graduates have no savings, relying on part-time jobs on top of their student loans just to cover their rent. Continues

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Source: Creative Commons


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Meet our London Met panel SIAN BERRY

BETSY DILLNER

Green Party candidate for 2016 London Mayoral elections and Camden Council councillor

Director of Generation Rent, a national campaigning group

Ellie Jones & Rohma Ejaz

photo by Marina Mariano

ANDREW BOFF Conservative member of the GLA Housing Committee

Hasti Razaghi & Laura Formby Elected as Conservative member of the London Assembly in 2008, Boff lives in Barking. He’s been a Councillor in his hometown of Hillingdon (1982-1994) and Hackney (2005-2006), where the 57-year-old helped run the Saturday market, as well as publish a local magazine. Boff also ran his own IT support company. Boff has headed an investigation into housing overcrowding for the Assembly. He has also published reports on violence against sex workers, housing on the Olympic site, and end-of-life care. The solution to the housing crisis, according to Boff, is to provide more housing. He advocates encouraging small developers and self-builders to construct new homes. “Go to small developers and say to them: build on the land, by all means, and only give us the money for it when you resell. That then starts to open up, that starts to make a freer market and to insure there are more and more people wanting to provide housing.” Until two and half years ago, Boff rented a property in Hackney, but said he had to move because the rent was so expensive. “I hate the term affordable housing because it is subjective as to whether or not you can afford it,” he said. “I had to move and buy somewhere less fashionable in Hackney because that is the only way I could afford it.” Housing is an issue that affects everyone, Boff said. Building pop-up homes to construct new housing quickly and at a much lower cost could help tackle the current housing crisis. “It is very easy to address one group’s issues, but the housing issues in London are across all groups.” The cost of student housing might be prohibitive, but studying in London is neither a privilege nor a right, he adds. “It’s a choice that you make when you decide that you want to study in London and weigh up all the pros and cons of studying in London.”

Wendy Abiri & Terje Vaher

Siân Berry is the current Green Party candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral Election; she came fourth in the 2008 election. She’s the only Green councillor in Camden, where she lives and where she founded the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s in 2003. She’s been actively involved in campaigns against the Iraq war and genetically modified food, and to tackle air quality problems. Berry completely agrees that student housing costs are absolutely ludicrous; as Mayor she would redcue costs by establishing a baseline of reasonable costs every year. She also wants to help students campaign to get more out of their accommodation. In addition, she wants to help fund Betsy Dillner (Director of Generation Rent) to run a renters’ union which would help renters stand up for themselves and get the quality of homes they deserve, and work with the local council to bring mandatory support to stop people living in damp, horrible conditions. As a renter in London herself, Berry is very passionate about issues regarding renting. Despite having professional jobs her whole life, she said: “I probably couldn’t afford the land in London in a million years.” One of the main issues she brought up was the lack of basic, affordable student accommodation. Almost none of the student accommodation available is below £110 per week; only 3 - 4% is at that affordable level. The average rent in London at the moment is £226 weekly, which makes it impossible for a student to survive. Berry said: “You can’t be making studying in London only an exclusive thing; we need to be able to provide places for Londoners to be able to live and the talented people from throughout the country… We can’t be putting people off with the basis of housing costs.”

photo by Marina Mariano

photo by Laura Mendes

TOM COPLEY

Labour candidate, chair of the Housing Committee and Greater London Assembly Member

Shannon Eades & Cara Curtis Tom Copley, 30, studied at Bishop Wordsworth School in Salisbury, before getting a degree in Politics at the University of Nottingham. In May 2012, he was elected to the London Assembly as a London-wide List member. Housing has been one of his key issues, particularly the provision of more council houses. “What we need to be doing is freeing up local authorities to be building more council houses, not stripping away what’s already there,” he said. Copley has challenged Boris Johnson over housing issues in London; he advocates the introduction of the German model of rent regulation. “We need some sort of rent regulation. Sometimes people talk about rent control as if it’s only one thing, a universally bad thing. There are as many different types of rent control as there are cities in Europe.” London is becoming increasingly more unaffordable for everybody, especially students, Copley said. He fears a future where fewer students from poorer backgrounds could be studying and living in London, whereas students from a privileged background still can choose to live in London. “This is a tragedy for London itself, we want people from all different backgrounds to be able to come and live and study and work here,” said Copley, who rents a flat in Kentish Town. “In a few years’ time, London may well be a boring city.” Housing affects everyone, but especially students, said Copley, adding that everyone should be able to study in London but if “you can’t afford to come here, your choices are being limited by a personal circumstance”. Copley also fights against racism and extremism. Before joining the Assembly, he worked for the anti-fascist, anti-racist charity Searchlight Educational Trust.

Thirty-something Betsy Dillner from Portland, Oregon, self-proclaimed feminist banshee, is director of Generation Rent, a national campaigning group. She is campaigning for security, affordability and decent standards for those living in private housing. After joining the group in 2014 as the community campaign manager, she was appointed director in 2015. Before settling in the UK, she had an extensive resume with issues surrounding housing. She started in New York as a community organiser, working with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now from 2006 to 2007. She organized local protests against the selling of affordable housing and successfully halted a $1.3 billion legislation that would have taken subsidies away from the tenants. Later, Dillner moved to the UK to study for an MA in Community Organizing at Queen Mary’s University. She lived like any other student. “I lived in far East London because it was cheap for my student income and I also had a dog and very few landlords actually allow a dog,” Dillner says. “He was a fantastic landlord. I had a fantastic experience.” She is now working to bring in a tenyear tenancy agreement for the private rental sector so that tenants can feel stable and protected. “We would like to see the private renting sector to be taken seriously as a place where people are going to stay for a while, so that means landlords understanding their responsibilities and the government keeping them accountable.” As for the future, she says she would also like to explore the options for rent stabilisation and rent control so people could actually keep enough of their income to live a decent life.

photo by Laura Mendes

photo by Michaela Nagyidaiova

KRISTIAN NIEMIETZ

Senior Research Fellow and Head of Health and Welfare of the Institute of Economic Affairs

Leanne Carr & Patrick Kelly-Burton Dr. Kristian Niemietz joined the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in 2008 as Poverty Research Fellow, becoming its Senior Research Fellow in 2013 and Head of Health and Welfare in 2015. Niemietz is also a Fellow of the Age Endeavour Fellowship. He studied Economics at the Humboldt University of Berlin, graduating in 2007. During his studies, he interned at the Central Bank of Bolivia, the National Statistics Office of Paraguay, and at the IEA. In 2013, he completed a PhD in Political Economy at King’s College London. Niemietz previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Berlin-based Institute for Free Enterprise (IUF), and at King’s College London, where he taught Economics throughout his postgraduate studies. He is a regular contributor to various journals in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. In three words he would describe himself as a “free market fundamentalist”. When Niemietz thinks of London housing, he describes the problems as “supply constraints, overpriced and political stupidity”. During the debate, Niemietz explained that there is a standard measure of affordability which is the median multiple - that is, the average house price divided by the average income. He said: “The normal value for median multiples in most developed countries used to be between 2 and 3 salaries… We are now at a measure of 5 [in the UK]- as you go further towards the South East, 6, 7, 8 become the norm [salaries per household].” Dr Niemietz believes there are many solutions to the London housing crisis. He would like to see a free market in housing and suggests abolishing the London Green Belt and all other green belts. He describes it as “an extreme restriction on the supply of land that totally destroys the competitive land market”. The economist says that “it doesn’t achieve all of the things that people project into it”. In his spare time, he likes to go to the gym and when the weather allows it, he enjoys picnics on Putney Heath with his “missus”. He admits he is also a big fan of real ale and is a member of CAMRA, the campaign for real ale.


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What you need to know

# u n a ff o r d a b l e l o n d o n

photos by Michaela Nagyidaiova

continued from page 1

Student Laura Mendes then asked the panel, “How or when can we get affordable housing in London if we leave it to the free market?” Dr Niemietz’s answer elicited more laughter. “These problems are uniquely British problems. I would abolish London’s Green Belt,” he said. “When someone mentions Green Belt they think of the landscape in the Lord of the Rings. It is simply a blanket ban on land in London.” Boff joked, “I will absolutely agree with building on the Green Belt if we start on Hyde Park.” Berry said the Green Belt is important to London to stop it becoming a “city of sprawl”. “It’s also to provide access to the countryside for people and this is countryside that might be a golf course. It might be a walk, it might be a playing field.” Student Kartel Brown asked, “Will the Housing and Planning Bill prove to be the new poll tax for this Tory government?” No, said Copley, but the Bill is “the worst legislation in history”. He added: “This legislation was dreamt up in a panic when the Tory party thought they were going to lose.” The debate came to a close at 18:10 and the panel stayed behind to enjoy the crisps, nuts and cheap wine that the university had provided. They chatted with students, answered more questions and took pictures for The Holloway Express. If you’re interested in knowing more about what went on during the debate, visit www.hollowayexpress.co.uk to read the live blog and much more.

Know the rights of your tenancy Zorina Beeton, Emma Wynne & Lea Fourmaux

Tenancy rights are a touchy subject, with millions of homes across the UK filled with people renting. While some landlords are reasonable with those who live in their properties, the number of complaints against landlords increased 27% over the last three years. It’s not always

easy to know what tenants’ rights are. Many people are not aware of their rights or are so desperate for a room/house to live in that they end up in properties that are unsanitary. But, the law states that landlords must provide you with a safe place in a good state. “The toilet was blocked and my landlord said they would fix it,” said Jessica Dary, 25, a London Metropolitan stu-

dent. “After a month, it still wasn’t fixed and he started to ignore our calls. We had to fix it and pay for it.” As a tenant you are protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent. You should always ask for a tenancy agreement, which is a contract between you and your landlord. In it you should find: your rent and when you have to pay it, the rules of the landlord/ house and the notice period for both the

tenant and landlord. “I moved to a new room and after a month my landlord told me he sold the house,” said student Sonam Kaur, 21. “Two weeks later I was in the street with no place to live.” If your landlord is blaming you for damage you didn’t do, or they believe you caused it, you should challenge it. You can ask for proof as landlords can only charge if they can

prove it’s from you. It is your right to live in your accommodation undisturbed. “My landlord was live-in and he never let us use the living room, saying it was ‘his personal space’ when in the contract the living room was included,” said Karen O’Gorman, 19. Many people on the street may notbe aware of their rights. If you have any doubts check GOV.uk or contact your local council.

Housing Bill: pros and cons What can we do to solve the housing crisis?

Laura Mendes & Kimberley Bastin London Met’s distinguished panel had a lot to say on the current state of housing in London, and the nation at large. Here are some highlights... Andrew Boff - Conservatives On housing issues: "The trouble is there are no quick fixes now, once you spend years and years of not building enough you can’t just suddenly find the land to build the houses." "...we need to have a mayor or administration that realistically addresses those issues”. Betsy Dillner – Generation Rent On starter homes: “Is that really the best use of our government funds to help those people up the ladder? I would argue not.” On the Housing Bill: “If people really knew the implications of the Housing Bill it could spark riots.” Tom Copley - Labour On students: “I think that we should be trying to create a situation where people’s material background is not a determining factor as to where they end up at university.” On student housing: “I do think that there are specifically issues around students.” On the meaning of “affordable housing”: “This is the kind of abuse of language that Orwell would have recognised.” Dr. Kristian Niemietz – Institute for Economic Affairs On student housing: “They are all just different manifestations of the same problem which is there is just not enough housing in London.” On rent control: It “is just a way of shutting up the messenger who brings the bad news... or putting a gun to the messenger’s head and forcing him to deliver good news when the underline reality is a bad one”. On the Green Belt: “Let the farmers sell and let people develop these places. Lots of the Green Belt is nothing special.” Sian Berry – Green Party On possible housing solutions: “The Mayor who gets elected this year needs to get stuck in to working with a whole range of people to get more homes more quickly and more affordably.” “What we need to do in London is really really dig into the fact we have public land and public funds that we can put towards getting a new model starting.”

Victoria Pennant, Ieva Rakodedaite & Sophie Deijkers

The proposed Housing and Planning Bill will focus on building new homes for first-time buyers. Concerns have been raised that other forms of housing will lose out if the Bill only caters to a very specific set of people. Firsttime buyers under the age of 40 will get a certain discount on the market value which will boost home ownership. However, people looking for temporary housing or who just don’t want to buy or haven’t got the money will be overlooked by the Bill. Renters such as students won’t benefit from this and will remain in the same situation as they are in now.

PROs

CONs

20% discount on full market value for starter homes

No more cheaper social housing

Boosts home ownership More power to tackle rogue landlords

Price cap of £450,000 in London

Speeds up planning permission to build more houses

Only focused on first-time

Extensions of the Rightto-Buy programme to all housing associations

Pay to stay: means-testing

Local authorities must provide enough plots of land to meet the demand set by the government for selfbuild and custom building

buyers

for tenants which can triple the rent of social housing Secure tenancies scrapped Erodes the housing rights of travellers and Gypsies

LADDER continued from page 1 buy a starter home, according to reTarun Singh Heer, 22, graduated from Coventry University in June 2015 with a 2:1 in Economics. Despite his degree, he has only got as far as interviews when looking for a job, most of which come with a starting wage of about £18,000 a year. On this wage, Heer would find it difficult to get a step on the housing ladder. He is currently living at home with his parents in Ilford, Essex. “I would love to buy an apartment along the River Thames but that seems so out of reach that it’s almost impossible.” First-time buyers need to have an annual salary of £50,000 to

search conducted by Savills Residential Research. “Home ownership is in general now limited to those who are both income and equity rich,” Associate Director Neal Hudson was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail. When speaking to The Guardian, The Resolution Foundation warned anyone under the age of 35 that it will be almost impossible for them to ever buy a home of their own. Help to Buy and shared ownership are currently under scrutiny. So university graduates may wait a long time before they can afford to make the move from renting to home-owning.


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Students

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Your Essential Student Guide Home thoughts from abroad dddddh

Ellie Jones, Rohma Ejaz & Silvia Cerisara

BEAUTY ON A BUDGET

FASHION ON A BUDGET

The London School of Beauty and Makeup

Brick Lane Vintage Market

Everyone loves getting a mani-pedi once in a while, but prices are so prohibitive that this luxury is often a rarity.

This famous market is a great place to pick up vintage and one-off items without making a big hole in your wallet.

But London has a dirty little secret: in some places, prices for manicures start as low as just £8. What’s even better is that getting your eyebrows tinted will only set you back a mere £7.

Even if you’re not into vintage clothing, the vibrant atmosphere and great street food make this market an unmissable day out.

So if you’re looking to spruce up your appearance without spending a fortune, we’ve got just the place for you. 18-19 Long Lane, EC1A 9PL

Toni and Guy Academy With haircuts from £5 and colour from £20, it would be hard to miss this offer. This name brand salon offers fantastic deals for clients willing to be guinea pigs for trainee hairdressers. If you’re not happy, remember that hair grows (usually) quickly. 71-75 New Oxford Street WC1A 1DG

Sunday 9am-5pm 91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QR

Traid Many charity shops in the capital offer unattractive clothing that is either dated or worn-out. Traid is a charity shop with a difference. The vast majority of its items on sale are hip, cool and fashionable, making it the go-to place for many a vintage hunter. Visit Traid at Brixton, Camden, Hammersmith and more. Visit http://www.traid.org.uk/shopat-traid/

NIGHT OUT ON A BUDGET

FOOD ON A BUDGET

Angel Comedy @ The Camden head - Free Every Tuesday

Franco Manca Restaurants available from Covent Garden to Ealing

Showcasing the best comedians on the circuit, Angel Comedy is a great way to enjoy a fun - and funny - night out

With sourdough pizza prices starting from £4.50 to £6.95, this is the perfect student treat

2 Camden Passage, N1 8DY

39 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7LJ

Sky Garden @ Fenchurch Street - Free

Herman ze German Charing Cross

Perfect for a romantic evening, visiting the top of the Sky Garden is free. But entry to the garden is limited, so book online early to avoid any unwanted disappointment.

A modern twist on a traditional German Bratwurst. Wurst in a roll with pommes frites and Fritz Soda (vegetarian available) - from £8.55

20 Fenchurch St, EC3M 8AF

The Book Club Shoreditch is the home of this great pub/eatery, which also offers a menu of activities for the mind, including poetry nights, art workshops, craft extravaganzas and gigs. Visit www.wearetbc.com to see what’s on offer. 100 – 106, Leonard Street London, C2A 4RH

Leanne, Laura and Cara out and about

19 Villiers Street, WC2N 6ND

Compare your supermarket shops - and save That Little Waitrose near your student digs might be convenient, but making the effort to buy affordable can save you wads of cash. Bargain supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and even Morrisons are good for your wallet. Plan a romantic dinner with cheap eats.

International students face a host of challenges when they arrive in the UK. A lack of language skills, problems with finance and homesickness can make life difficult, but there are many advantages of living in the capital, once they finally adjust to the London lifestyle.

Alina-Stefania Ivanovici, Julia Spalek & Syed Abbas

The UK has many world-class universities, so thousands of international students come here to get an education. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), in 2012 - 2013 about 18% of the students were from other countries including China, India, and the USA. Leaving home to study in a foreign country is not always easy, and international students face a myriad of challenges. One of the most common drawbacks is feeling lonely and homesick. Without family and friends around, students are more vulnerable – they cannot just go home every week like British residents. University counselling services are there to help. Katarina Szesniewiz, 21, studying Music Entertainment at Westminster University, has had emotional problems as well as financial ones ever since she came to London from Poland last year. “My main challenges came in being lonely without family to encourage or

support,” she said. Another disadvantage for the international students is the language barrier. For those who are not native English speakers, moving to London might cause many misunderstandings - and make adapting to a new environment harder. This is why it is very important that students hoping to study in the UK are aware that knowledge and perseverance will be needed in order to polish their language skills. Finance is a struggle for every student, considering the fact that London is one of the most expensive cities. Tuition fees average £9,000 - £12,000, which can be paid in full or after finishing the course. Add ever-increasing living costs to that, and the price is even higher. “I see many students who have suffered hardship, such as homelessness,” said Nura Al Janubi, student advisor co-ordinator from Westminster University Stu-

Carlotta from Italy

Life as a student can be expensive, but a haircut, a night out and an occasional manicure and cheap food are essential. Here are several ways to get the jobs done without breaking the bank…

dents’ Union. “They have financial problems because of the increased cost of living, and unexpected circumstances arising in their home country, resulting in their not being able to pay fees.” Student loans can help the fees, and if you are willing to work it’s not hard to find part-time jobs in London. On top o f

that, grants and bursaries can help with living costs. Another good thing about living in London is its multicultural aspects – it offers opportunities to develop your skills, apply for internships and training placements. Also, you can meet great people from all around the world and learn cultures that are not similar to yours. Carlotta Castiglioni, 23, studying psychology at London Met, says: “At first it was difficult considering the language and accommodation, but now I’m quite happy.

London is multi-cultuand very fascinating.” International students have to overcome many challenges and restrictions before acquiring a visa to study in the UK. After arriving in the capital, getting used to university life can be a big challenge. But enjoy the good aspects, and make the most of learning from the negative ones. Before too long, you’ll be feeling right at home, like a real dyedin-the-wool Londoner. You are only a uni student once!


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Guides

Interior design on a budget! Carmelita Zappala & Barbara Sike When you think of interior design, what comes to mind is often spacious rooms, quirky decorations, and fancy flats displaying everything about their owners’ distinct personality. However, this is not the case for students: for those who live on a budget, interior design narrows down to decorating cheap rooms and flats with accessories and some essential pieces of furniture, with little space (both physically and metaphorically) for any creativity. The average rent for a room, according to figures from Gumtree, was about £660 two years ago, twice as much as any other city in the UK. And the prices are going up, as the Green Party – vocal about the housing crisis – reports that pri-

vate rental rooms and student halls cost an average of £226 a week, with peaks of more than £400 weekly for rooms provided by some universities around the country. Giada Bocca, a 20-year-old London Met student from Italy who lives in a student accommodation in Holloway Road, agrees that since rent is so expensive, students are left with very little to spend on interior design. Decorating for her is mostly making her room “feel like home”. “Since I live in a student hall, I can’t really change much about my room,” she says. “I’ve only bought candles, a number of small other things and hung pictures to the walls, mainly. Overall, I don’t think I’ve spent more than £10 on that,” she says.

“I used to buy luxury stuff, because it lasted longer than buying anything cheaper,” says an older student, Carlene Henry, 32, who lives in a council house. In the past she has spent around £300 on upgrading her home; however, things have changed quickly. “Since it’s not my own property, in the past few years I have found myself at the risk of an eviction because of the housing crisis, so I stopped.” According to students, popular shop choices to spruce things up are IKEA, Wilko, the Danish brand Tiger, and Primark, which all offer a wide range of houseware accessories under £10. Others have turned to online shopping, which offers items that cost as little as £5.

London: 10 things to do for £10 Susanna Flore, Nike Onabanjo & Emma Hati

London can be an expensive place to live. After paying your rent, it might seem that there is no money to do anything fun. But don’t worry - we have found all the best things London has to offer for a tenner.

4. Discover London

Fly over London without stepping on a plane. Emirates Air Line’s cable car will show off London in a totally new perspective for just £4.50. Don’t miss this opportunity.

1. London’s cheap movie theatres

Seeing the latest blockbusters doesn’t have to be expensive. London’s independent movie theatres bring you all the movies you want with a side of homey athmosphere. East: Genesis (Students £4.50-7) North: Rio Cinema (Students £7-9) West: Coronet Cinema (Tuesdays £3.50)

8. Full stomach - happy wallet

Mem&Laz: Situated in Angel Islington, offers any two courses for £8.95... Bargain!! Smack Deli: If you find yourself in London’s prestigious Mayfair, don’t be intimidated by the rows of high end shops... Head down to Smack Deli where you can get a taste of luxury: a Lobster roll for only £7. Tokyo Diner: Located in Chinatown, this authentic Japanese food is suitable for vegetarians. Prices from £6.50

5. Lose yourself in the parks

TOP SHOPPING TIPS 1. Decoration stickers, IKEA £4. 2. Mirror, IKEA £5 3. Mirror, IKEA £1.50 4. Plant pot, IKEA £2 5. Lighting chain, IKEA £4 6. Artificial potted plant, IKEA £3 7. Lantern for teelight, IKEA £2 8. Scented block candle, IKEA £5 9. Vase, IKEA £3 10. Frame, IKEA £1

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2. Get your drink on during happy hour

Sometimes it’s good to escape busy city life and immerse yourself in nature. For £9.90 visit London’s oldest botanic garden, Chelsea Physic Garden, and enjoy this green oasis. If the weather is nice, swim in Hyde Park Serpentine Lido for £4.80 or rent a sun lounger and get tanned for £3.50. If you’re a sports enthusiast, join other Londoners in the Fulham Palace parkrun and run for 5km for free.

Happy hour doesn’t get any better than in Simmons. A bottle of beer, glass of wine and spirit + mixer are all £2.50! So with £10 you can get a nice buzz on. The best part is, you can find Simmons in Camden, Fulham, Kings Cross, Fitzrovia, Soho, Tower Bridge and Liverpool Street.

9. Laugh it up

Nothing cheers up a day like free stand-up comedy! Go check out Comedy Cafe Theatre on Wednesdays. Funny new acts every time and the drinks are more than reasonably priced.

6. Take part in free sport

1. Removable wall sticker, ebay £1.59 2. Picture frame, ebay £0.99 3. Bamboo Nat Wax votive candles, ebay £0.99 4. Skull mirror, Amazon £4.98 5. Bamboo tray, Amazon, £3.47 6. Wooden box, Amazon £4.66 7. Glass vase, Amazon £4.98 8. “Leaning Tower of Pisa” bookend, Amazon £2.13

3. Sophisticate yourself

images Giada Bocca

One of the benefits of living in London is having access to a lot of museums for free, or with convenient student discounts. But if you’re up for some ballet or a play without breaking the bank, the Young Barbican is the thing for you! Under 25-year-olds can get cinema tickets for £5 on Mondays and Thursdays. For £10 you can see a theatre play (don’t miss Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest!) or a classical music concert.

Cycling: Why not enjoy the scenes of London and couple it with exercise? Hire a “Boris Bike” for £2. Tennis: Regents Park encourages people to turn up and play! It’s as simple as that. Guerilla Yogis: Southwark Park hosts free yoga sessions every Saturday morning - as long as the weather is pleasant.

7. Scout Groupon, Wowcher & Vouchers

Today you can can wake up your inner assassin and shoot some paintball for £5. Or take part in a climbing lesson for just £10. You can even find yourself on a Singles’ Pub Crawl for just £9.

10. Shop at a local market

You don’t have to go to Harrods to find “All Things for All People, Everywhere”, sometimes a trip to one of London’s markets is just as good (and definitely cheaper). If you’re looking for vintage clothing and quirky stuff, have a look at the Brick Lane Market, Alfies Antique Market or the Old Spitalfields Market. If you would like to immerse yourself in a movie atmosphere, go to the Portobello Market and feel like Julia Roberts for a day!


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Nifty and Thrifty An A to Z of Saving Money Skint? These tips might help...

Amazon offers free Premium Apps. Bake your own cakes for the week. Compare energy providers – and switch. Ditch the gym and start jogging. Examine the small print and pay less. Forage for food wherever you can – hedgerows, supermarket skips. Go home for the holidays – instead of Ibiza. Haggle with your landlord to get a cheaper rent. Internet prices fluctuate. Don’t pay more. Just visit Fiverr to sell your talents for quick cash. freebies can save, from condoms to cosmetics. O nline K ick the drinking habit (see Q). Price compare your weekly food shop. Loyalty cards are offered at more places than you think. Quit smoking – and doing drugs. M ake – and take – your own sandwiches. Ration your restaurant time – or find cheap ones. N eed a haircut? Be a hair model. Sugary drinks? Water is cheaper – and healthier. Tap water instead of Evian. Upcycle your furniture. Vouchers can save you big time. Why not ride your bike to uni? X-rated films – thought of starring in one? Not! Y’all can write to Aunty Sal in Tennessee and ask for cash. Zither – get one and busk.

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