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Strategically Solvent in England

December 2012

By Quentin Clarke, London

The last three years have been hard on Londoners. Free education is a thing of the past, and job opportunities are few. Rent has risen dramatically, mortgages are only available to those with £30,000 deposits and even the price of food has risen 32 percent.  We’re saving, not spending, so we must come up with innovative ways to enjoy life.

Certainly fewer and fewer people live centrally enough to be near an Underground station, and the popular areas to go out in, like Dalston and Hackney, are no exception. That said, the Bus Master app has been a lifesaver.  Bus travel is cheaper and more pleasant than alternative public transport, but until now the Transport for London’s labyrinthine network’s unpredictable timetables challenged even the savviest locals. The Busmaster app uses GPS to trace the nearest bus’ progress, or identifies quicker alternatives within a few minutes’ walk.  Sodden half-hour waits in the cold are now history, and that's really important at this time of year!

While you’re on the go, the Sky+ app allows you to record TV at home through your mobile phone, storing up cheap entertainment for later. I'm shocked how many friends have food blogs now. But if that much of your budget’s going on food, you may as well preserve what you can.  Equally shocking has been the popularity of the TV baking show, The Great British Bake-Off, which is slated to travel across the pond to the US soon. Men are even picking up piping bags and getting creative with eggs, butter, flour and sugar, which is far cheaper than the organic meats of yesteryear. But the English haven't given up entirely on the good life.

Our appetite for booze remains undimmed with a surprising recent hit in flavored ciders, such as Sweden's Kopparberg. With popular flavors like pear and elderberry, it's too sweet for my taste, but flavored cider has recreated the cocktail experience at a fraction of the price.

Retail & Dining
Liquor, Beer & Wine
Food & Drink

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