Meet the English

5 Things I Refuse to Pay for in London

What you shouldn't spend money on in London


Pampering yourself in London is way too expensive. If you go to a proper beauty salon and ask for a stylish balayage or ombre cut, you end up paying a whopping 100 pounds or more. It all depends on the length of your hair, they tell you, but in the end it still costs a fortune.

The other issue is the language barrier. It can play a very cruel joke on you. Perhaps you didn’t give a clear idea of what you wanted or the stylist misinterpreted your request. Anyway you end up with a completely different look from what you’d expected.

I’ve never been lucky enough to come out of the hairdresser’s satisfied with the result. Instead I’ve completely given up asking for anything fancy. I’ve now grown out my fringe and ditched the idea of ever dying my hair so there’s no real need for me to go to the hairdresser’s in London. Besides, whenever I am visiting family in Russia, I just go to the local hairdresser’s for a slight crop of my damaged ends. It’s super cheap.

As for my husband, he is happy for me to do his hair. Although the cheapest barbers haircut is only about 8-10 pounds. By a haircut I actually mean a very short trim. So when my husband used to have his hair done at the cheapest barbers, he looked more like a military man. If you are a man and want to have a more stylish haircut in London, then prepare to pay around 40-50 pounds. My husband’s hair grows out so quickly and there’s so much of it that it’s easier and cheaper give him a nice cut at home. (*Not always nice but I try my best)


Black cabs are very traditional, comfortable and elegant. They do have however one and only flaw – they are super expensive.

I’ve taken a black cab only once in my life. It was nice and comfy. I felt in safe hands because, as you may be aware, black cab drivers know all streets of London by heart. Yet, I kept looking at the price meter with the number rapidly going up as the cab was negotiating the busy London streets. It was entertaining but a bit scary.

I also don’t really understand why you would take a cab when there’s such a great public transport system. You can get anywhere on the tube in no time dodging all the traffic. If you take a cab in the rush hour hoping to make it to your appointment. I am afraid you’d have to call it a day.

Next Day Delivery

Why order something with next day delivery and pay double when you live in London?

9 out of 10 times when you order something from a London-based shop to your London address and opt for standard delivery it arrives next day. London is quite small hence it doesn’t take a courier a long time to deliver a package. Be reasonable. If companies say that it might take 3-5 days to receive your order on a standard delivery they may be trying to make you pay for the upgrade.

If you really need something ASAP just go for the same day delivery – most retailers offer this service.

Water in Restaurants and Cafes

You can drink the tap water in England and there’s nothing odd about asking for some tap water even in the finest restaurant. English tap water is clean and has a very nice and smooth taste. 

Do not waste your money ordering bottled water which is going to add a lot to your bill. Besides, in most eateries you can get as much tap water as you want free of charge. Free stuff always has the best taste.

Manicure and Pedicure

I’ve tried having manicures and pedicures done in London – with a voucher and full price. Both were a bit disappointing. The salons I went to were not one of the most prestigious but I still expected a very reasonable price and decent service. In the end, I paid a fortune but didn’t get the expected result. They also charged me to take off my old gel. I am very picky but at the same time I don’t like being ripped off.

Doing my own nails with a gel nail polish didn’t turn out well either. It’s just so time-consuming. I am now using my favourite nail polish – Rimmel London. Their Super Gel collection is more durable and very quick to apply. You don’t need to have a UV lamp or any other equipment to look after your nails.

Tourist Attractions

You can’t even imagine how overpriced everything is in the famous tourist spots in London. Even if you are tempted to buy a bottle of water or a chocolate bar in the tourist area, you will pay twice as much compared to the average price.

They may also try to upsell you or make you sign up for something. A good example of this is all the cultural activities, exhibitions or attractions specifically targeted at tourists. They often offer really overpriced tickets and sell expensive souvenirs and other goodies. In addition to that, these places are very crowded so this is another reason why they are a no-go for me.

Where are you from and what would you never spend your money on in your city?

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