Fun on a budget: Nine things to do for £9

As low wages and soaring tax rates take hold it seems like everyone is tightening their belts and spending less on entertainment.

People are turning more and more to cash saving websites like ebay, Quidco and myvouchercodes for shopping, but what about nights out and restaurant trips?

Museums and galleries may still be free (for now!) but what else can you get for under £10 in London? Here are nine things for £9 that you can indulge in guilt free, without breaking the bank.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
1. High notes for low costs
If you thought that opera was reserved for the moneyed elite then think again. The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden offers tickets to its world-class performances from as little as £6. These seats might not be the best in the house – you'll be stuck up in the slips either standing or on padded benches – but if you don't suffer from vertigo and all you care about are acoustics then these are a steal. If you manage to grab a £6/£7.50 ticket then you've got enough change left for a scoop of luscious gourmet ice cream from artisan chocolatier Venchi in Covent Garden market - we recommend the 56 per cent dark chocolate or cappuccino flavours.

2. Cheap cinema
It's hard to find a decent cinema in London that doesn't charge over a tenner for a ticket, however, the fantastic Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square still offers lunchtime and matinee showings of the latest blockbusters for £8 and classic films for £6.50 a ticket. Become a member for the paltry £10 annual fee and that price drops to £4, which leaves plenty of spare change to smuggle in some childhood favourite sweets from where you can get 50 flying saucers and a quarter of blackjacks for £3.94 - how could you resist?

3. Splashing out
It's Saturday evening and you've got £9 left in your pocket. If you're going to have a drink then you'd better make it a good one. Bar nightjar - a prohibition-style jazz bar hidden away on the fringes of Shoreditch - has an excellent menu of weird and wonderful alcoholic concoctions. Try the Chrysanthemum: vodka, champagne vermouth, yellow blossom infusion, Benedictine and absinthe jelly or the London Mule: Gin, ginseng spirits, limes, Rhubarb and Korean pear, Galangal beer and stout bitters.

4. City swap
It's possible, if you get in there early enough, to get train tickets to major UK cities for under £10. Check website and book up to three months in advance. An advance standard ticket to Birmingham costs £6 and there are loads of free things to do once you're there. Wander to Birmingham's oldest church, St Martin in the Bull Ring, visit the Symphony Hall and catch a free concert or relax in the beautiful grounds of Eastside City Park with a sandwich from one of Birmingham's best and most reasonably priced eateries, The Lord Clifden, where a huge BLT will set you back £2.95.

5. Taste of the unknown
Always wanted to take up ballet and photography or kickboxing and rock climbing or even salsa dancing, French and sailing but never had the time or the spare cash to commit to lengthy courses? has a huge database offering taster classes and sessions covering a plethora of activities in London and around the UK. Some are completely free and you can search by keywords dependent on your mood so there's guaranteed to be something for everyone from the cultured, like singing lessons and wine tasting, to a parkour class for the adventurous.

6. Michelin style working lunch
It's easy to spend £10 buying a sandwich, drink and coffee from a chain restaurant. Even if all you're after is a quick desk break, there are tastier things to spend your lunchtime budget on. Hereford Road restaurant in Westbourne Grove houses super chef Tom Pemerton, previously the head chef at St John Bread & Wine, and offers the cheapest, quality set lunch I've ever come across. Their express lunch includes a main course, glass of wine or beer and a coffee for £9.50. The menu changes daily but on last inspection it was offering mussels, cider and thyme and a London lager, bon apetit!

7. Thrifty theatre
Avoid hanging around the box office for return tickets and the relentless ticket touts in London's West End and instead try for bargain price tickets to musical theatre productions, Shakespeare's Globe and comedy nights. Prices range from £6-£15 and while the selection can be a bit hit-and-miss - there are currently tickets on sale for Shakespeare's As You Like It performed in the Georgian language - some are real finds like tickets for The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre for £12.

8. Lazy Sunday
Is your idea of sunday morning heaven buying a coffee, reading the sunday papers and catching up on the latest magazines? Re-create it at home for a fraction of the newsagent and cafe price with a subscription to your favourite sunday paper or magazine with They offer huge discounts on subscriptions to every magazine and newspaper out there, like a 12-month subscription to The Guardian Weekly for £56.10 (that works out at £1.12 per week) and one month of The Times for £26.00 (92p per day) as well as 12 month subscriptions to Elle magazine for £18 (a measly £1.50 a month) and Empire for £30 (£2.50 per month). Combine it with some exceptionally good, hand-ground coffee from, where you can buy a 12-month subscription for £115 - 34p per day - and each month they'll send you a 350g bag of single origin coffee handpicked by the coffee aficionados in store.

9. Bank it
The only sensible option for the true scrimper and saver would be to invest the £9 a week in a high-yield ISA. The offers an online ISA with a 60 day notice withdrawal period and an impressive 2.80 per cent AER that can be opened with as little as £1. If you saved £9 a week for a year you'd have the tidy sum of £481.10 (including interest). Compare more savings accounts here.

Have you got any suggestions or money-saving ideas for days out? Tell us in the comment box below.

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Fun on a budget: Nine things to do for £9

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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