By Rhijuta Dahal/@RizDh
A friend of mine once mentioned something to me that really resonated with me, she described London as a place where you pay £5 to breathe in, and another £5 to breathe out. This held extremely true when I was unemployed in the city. Now I am finally back to work and can look back at the financial hard times. Here are some good tricks that I learned which I am going to share with you today.#ootd is outfit for everyday
This is where minimalism came to play. After spending few years in Nepal, I got used to not owning many clothes. You know, so I could survive in Kathmandu. I brought this philosophy back in London so I didn’t buy anything unless I really needed it.
Most people I know rush out of the house in the mornings to stop and grab a pastry and a cup of joe to go on their way to work. Usually an overlooked expense, all those £2.69 cups slowly begin to add up. I won’t lie, I am a coffee fiend. Like many people I can’t function without a morning boost. Being cash strapped doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying the finer beans in life though! With the same amount of money I might spend on one or two cups from my local barista, I buy a nice big bag of beans from a supermarket and enjoy unlimited (somewhat) cups of coffee at home. More than saving money, making a cup of coffee at home means that I often wake up earlier to really enjoy my cup. That in turn means I usually end up having some breakfast at home to accompany my coffee. Waking up ten minutes earlier is also a nice way to get some time to myself and compose myself for the long work days ahead of me.
Although I have been inactive on Instagram lately, it really helped me when I was unemployed in London because I couldn’t afford to eat out or do exciting things that cost money. One thing I started doing more was being more experimental with my cooking. I documented this on Instagram. Somehow the instant gratification of a “like” became addictive enough to push me to try different ingredients to make my food look more colorful and practice the art of presentation. The one temptation to avoid with Instagramming food? Be careful who you follow! All you need to is follow one restaurant and the temptation to spend will creep up faster than you can post that next ‘gram.
Au naturale. More like au poor!
When I was living with Kathmandu, makeup was a no no for me, with all the KTM foundation covering your face, going from one place to another. So, it had been a long time since I’ve bought any makeup aside from mascara here and there. Being broke meant I had to give up wearing my makeup all the time and only wear it occasionally. I started feeling more comfortable being completely bare. With celebs like Alicia Keyes empowering women by going makeup free, it encouraged me to not always put mascara or eyeliner on. Following this lifestyle also meant that I started to feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin and came to accept and embrace my minor flaws. And haircut? What is that?
Cocktails? No thank you!
There was a time, when going out and meeting friends was understood to mean one thing- cocktail night! Now, however, on a mission to save money and be more of a minimalist, I realized just how much a catch up with friends or an accompanying drink with my meal costs. Let me be clear – I’m not shunning the notion of a nice glass of wine with my fish, or a girls night out. I just feel that catch ups can also be had over cups of tea (and homemade coffee), and meals can sometimes be enjoyed by themselves (unless you’re on a really awkward date of course). Getting used to saying no to cocktails and catch ups has not been easy at all, but as the saying goes everything in moderation. Just like the au naturale movement, this makes the few times when I do actually have a drink much more enjoyable and special.
Everything in London costs money. But if you are wise, there are also plenty of things you can do for free. London is a city known for having plenty of green open spaces where people can enjoy a nice sunny day, or even a London cloudy day! My favourite promenade has always been a nice walk alongside the Thames starting at Tower Bridge and strolling towards the famous sights of London Bridge, The Shakesperian Globe Theater, and of course stopping off at the Tate Modern Museum to look at what’s new in the world of modern art. The highlight for me with this stopover is being able to get to the top of the museum and take in a wonderful 360 view of the city. This area is also great because it is where all tourists congregate, giving the Thames promenade a lively atmosphere filled with people from all over the world taking in the sights and sounds of London with sporadic buskers giving you great entertainment for free. (Note: always support your starving neighborhood artists!) All in all, I find it’s a great way to wind down from a long day of work.
Over the weekend, when the hustle and bustle of the urban metropolis proves to be too overwhelming, I love wandering around one of the big park areas that surround London. Places like Victoria Park, Hampstead Heath, or Richmond Deer Park. These parks are a wonderful way to reconnect with nature, as well as enjoy time just loafing around. Even the most stressed out individual can’t help but relax seeing parents sharing a day out in the park with their children, friends sharing a laugh, and dogs of all shapes and sizes running around socialising in the sun. It’s one of those little moments that just makes one feel happy.
There are often times when you just want to unwind and turnoff by watching a movie. Forget about the overprices popcorn, at times just the movie tickets themselves feel overpriced! For these sort of moments, I slowly realized that movies don’t need to be seen at the biggest cine-plex. I’m not just talking about Netflix! A quick google search will show you that there are so many options to watch movies at places arguably more exciting than a theatre. Ever hear of outdoor cinemas? Cultural film festivals?
*Share your tips! What are you favorite free things to do? How do you save and still socialize?