Save Money by Renting a Cheaper Place

Happy Monday, friends! It is bank holiday in the UK and I’m so grateful for this extra day off work since last week was a busy one and when I left the office on Friday I was feeling exhausted and desperate to have a couple of days off!

Now that I have caught up on my sleep, I have some exciting news to share with you all. As some of you may know, my current rent (including utility bills) takes 42% of my main income after tax (scary stuff!). I live in a very nice area of London by the Thames and have a fantastic apartment that I share with a friend, but it comes with an expensive price tag. I have lived in this place for nearly 2 years and during this time I have spent over £20000 on my share of rent and utility bills. When I added the numbers together, I felt a bit dizzy. This is a lot of cash! So last week I made the decision to move out. It was not an easy decision to make as I love my place and it feels like home, but I know this is the right thing to do.

I will be moving out in mid-September and I will stay with my sister for a couple of weeks before I find a perfect place to move into. I will not be paying any rent while at my sister’s (same as she wasn’t paying any rent while staying with me earlier this year), and this will save me a few hundred pounds. I will, of course, get her a small gift to thank her for her kind hospitality. I will be looking at much cheaper places in the part of London I live now and I would ideally like to spend no more than 30-33% of my main income on my rent and utility bills. I have to be realistic, and it is highly unlikely that I will ever find anything in central (ish) London that will be a nice place to live and take less than 30% of my take home income.

I have a lot of stuff in my current apartment; and a lot of that stuff I don’t use (and in some cases, haven’t used for 5 years!). My plan is to get rid of it. By “get rid of it” I mean sell it, donate it or bin it. Ideally, I would like to minimise my possessions by half. Seriously, half of what I own is going! I will start decluttering today and I have a feeling I will spend the whole day at it. To be honest, I am very much looking forward to this new chapter in my life where I get to move into a cheaper apartment, possess less “stuff” and throw even more money towards my debt!

Here’s my weekly spending report –

Monday, 19 August
no spend day

Tuesday, 20 August
groceries -£1.27
personal care -£5.99

Wednesday, 21 August
groceries -£2.07

Thursday, 22 August
no spend day

Friday, 23 August
groceries -£1.07

Saturday, 24 August
no spend day

Sunday, 25 August
groceries -£19.57
personal case -£1.49

Total: -£31.46

Overall, I am happy with my spending last week. I ran out of pretty much everything and had to do a big grocery shop on Sunday. I am on the final days of my spending crash diet where I try to squeeze all my needs into a measly £100 per month. I will write a separate post about this sometime soon, but for the time being I’ll just say that I will most likely keep “crash dieting” for an additional month (September).

As for the goals that I set up last week, I haven’t done that great.

  • Keep my grocery spending under £20 – FAIL! I spent £23.98 on food last week.
  • Have my usual 3 no spend days – PASS!
  • Go to the gym 3 times – FAIL! I went to the gym just once on Monday after work.
  • Read 1 more personal finance book – FAIL! I am half way through the book, but I am yet to finish it.
  • Make some extra cash – FAIL! I didn’t bring a single penny in.

These will be my goals for each week and hopefully next week I will do much better (especially in the extra income department).

How was your weekend? Are you on track with your spending?

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20 Comments

  1. Congrats on your decision to reduce your housing spending. That’s my biggest area of spending too, but have had a hard time thinking of any other options I’d be happy with. I’ve gone back and forth for a good year with my indecisiveness.

  2. That sounds like quite a challenge and it seems that you are doing really well, I’ll have to take some of your tips 🙂 Can I ask what you are normally eating? Spending less than 5 pounds a day on food in such an expensive city like London seems crazy! I live in Brussels and although I tend to shop at the cheapest stores, I find food is actually my biggest expense besides rent. How do you manage such a small food budget?

    1. Thank you Liz, I am working hard trying to spend less, and it’s becoming easier and easier as I go along. In terms of my grocery shop, I don’t buy processed foods, I cook ALL my meals from scratch. Also, I am a vegetarian so I don’t buy meat or fish which is a bonus as this stuff is expensive. I buy potatoes, rice, pasta, all sorts of vegetables and fruits (within reason of course), cheese, mushrooms, etc. I eat very well on less than £20 each week (normally). You can read more about my grocery shopping here: http://girlcountingpennies.com/10-ways-to-cut-your-food-bill-in-half/

  3. Big changes coming soon! That’s great you will be looking to reduce your rent. You don’t have to tell me about how expensive London can be! Living in student accomodations in Borough was expensive so I can imagine what a nice flat by the Thames would be!

    I’ve actually got a draft up on rent/buy and gonna have a neat little excel sheet (not one I’ve made, but a very nice one I’ve found) that you might find interesting playing with. Reading your post gives me more motivation for getting that draft written sooner than later!

    1. Did you live near Borough Market? If so, this area is quite pricey as it’s not too far from the London Bridge/Tower Bridge, and this is where the rates go up. I love Borough Market on a Sunday!

      Can’t wait to check out the spreadsheet! 😛

  4. Eva, that’s great about you wanting to find a cheaper place to rent! I bet that wasn’t an easy decision if you loved the place where you are now. But I’m sure you’ll find somewhere you love and you can always make a place feel like home. 🙂 And another week of fabulous limited spending activity too.

  5. how exciting! Good thing you´ve got a place to stay when you´re in-between-places, so you can take the time you need to find a decent place to stay. Decluttering is time-consuming but so rewarding! Which reminds me, I should do that too in the near future. I´ve got so much stuff I never use, so I think it´s time to say bye bye and sell what I can, and donate the rest.

    1. I know, I’m really lucky to have my sister living in London. It was a pain to move in the past, I literally had to move out of one place and move into a new one that same day! I remember it being pretty stressful. Good luck with your “spring clean” 😛

  6. Wow Eva, you really are serious about this new chapter in your life and that’s awesome! Owning less stuff and paying less rent just means paying off debt faster and then more exotic travels. The future is looking good 🙂

  7. We’re in a similar situation that our rent and council tax takes us close to %50 of our net income… yuck :/ Congratulations for coming to the decision to move and look for somewhere less expensive! No bank holiday for us in Scotland today, but I hope you had a good one!

  8. That’s a really hard decision to make Eva. Moving out of a nice apartment in a central London location once you’ve been there is not an easy thing to do.

    However, 42% of your net income is a little high for rental expenses (especially when trying to pay down debt), so kudos for making such a tough decision.

    Good luck with the move and finding somewhere nice.

    Alternatively, stay with your sister debt-free for a year and pay off your debt really quickly!! 😉

  9. Great decision, Eva! I”m proud of you for making it, as I am certain it wasn’t easy. It’ll be so nice to free up some of that cash and put it towards more important things. Good luck w/ the move and the apartment hunt!

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