Top tips for city skinflints

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We invited suggestions from the thriftiest Londoners we could find – Time Out‘s staff and readers – to assemble this indispensable guide to living it up for next to nothing.

  • Late lunch Our more frugal correspondents claim that Benjy’s – the Poundstretcher of sandwich shops – sells all its sandwich and pastry products for £1 between 3pm and 5pm.

    Travelex ticket offers

    There are theatrical bargains to be had on the South Bank thanks to Travelex, which lets you see plays at the National Theatre for a tenner. The 2006 season opens in March with ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’ directed by Trevor Nunn. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

    Haircuts Reader’s tip

    Daniel Hersheson (45 Conduit Street) and Michaeljohn (25 Albemarle Street) are two luxury Mayfair hairdressers that do cheap haircuts and colouring on model nights (prices vary). For really cheap cuts, Mr Topper no longer has the monopoly. TO reader Neil Barker has spotted a £5 cut at the barber close to the back entrance of Sir Montague Pyke (Charing Cross Road), a £4 one in Crescent Road, E6, near Upton Park station, and a £3 job in the Hackney area, seen when riding the last Routemasters on the 38 route.

    Cheshire Street Market

    ‘I once picked up a toaster here for 50p,’ says Martin Horsfield, our chief sub. ‘It lasted for years, before it caught fire.’ You can also find video-recorders for a fiver. But 50p for a toaster – that’s not to be sniffed at. Comes in a black bin bag. Cheshire St, E2. Open Sun 8am-2pm.

    More theatre tickets

    Half-price theatre tickets galore can be purchased from the ticket booth on Leicester Square; it’s one of those places that tourists seem to use more frequently than Londoners. An alternative would be to grab tickets for a preview performance; these are usually cheaper than post-first-night performances.

    Free folk and country music

    Health & Happiness is a fine monthly (third Tuesday every month) acoustic club night at the ever-popular Social (5 Little Portland Street, W1), which is totally free. If modern folk and country is your bag, you might like other free club nights like Come Down and Meet the Folks (The Apple Tree, 45 Mount Pleasant, WC1), hosted by former Rockingbird Alan Tyler on the third Sunday of every month, and In the Pines (The Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, WC1) every other Sunday afternoon.

    Wining

    For budget plonk, head to the Canterbury Arms (8 Canterbury Crescent, SW9) in Brixton. They don’t get many wine drinkers in here. God knows why: it’s only £5 a bottle.

    Dining

    Restaurant website TopTable offers bargains such as two courses and a cocktail at the Cinammon Club for £25 and many more. It also lists central London eateries that offer discounted pre-theatre meals.

    Pizza Reader’s tip

    ‘Ecco pizza joints [Ecco Holborn, 186 Drury Lane, WC2; Ecco Victoria, 40 Strutton Ground, SW1] are a real find, especially if you want to get away from all the expensive food outlets for lunch in the Covent Garden area. Cheapest pizzas ever – £3 for real 11-inch pizzas exactly how they make them in Naples.’ Lucy Watt

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