Cost of Living in UK : How Much Money You Can Save?

The cost of living in London,  How much money should I take? Will my salary be enough, or should I be drawing on savings? What expenses will I have each month? These are questions that we ask ourselves before coming to live in London. Being proactive, especially when it comes to financial matters, is recommended to avoid last-minute burdens and fears of spending.

cost of living in England

The economy is something that worries us a lot when we go to live abroad, and more if we are in a situation where there is a change of currency. When we do not use the same currency as in France, we can, unfortunately, by making the necessary expenses, wreak havoc in our economy.

In this post, we are going to tell you how much it costs to live in the UK and what the minimum monthly expenses are.


Cost of Living in London and England

As you can imagine, the cost of living in  London or any other city in the UK depends on many factors and on each person’s personality. The cost of living in London varies a lot, what we are telling you here is indicative but can help you a lot.

Below, I will list this series of almost mandatory expenses in order to know your budget well.

The first thing is to ask ourselves how much money we will need to adjust our budget. It will depend on whether we will already have a French contract or, if not, what is our level of English to determine the time needed to find a job.

I always recommend how much it costs a return flight from the UK city where you will live to the French town where you live, for cel, look at the ticket price of the weeklong flight to the UK. Imagine the ticket costs £ 60, this money must be untouchable and should still be in your bank account. A tip, you can put it in another bank account in which you do not have a card, so as not to fall into the temptation to spend it, or make a cash withdrawal and store it well at the bottom of the suitcase. This is one way to be sure that you won’t exceed your spending so much that you can’t get home.

On the other hand, although it is quite rare not to find work for a period longer than a month, it is strongly recommended to have a budget for a month of expenses, with which we can quietly look for a job, pay the first month’s rent or notice, etc. That is to say, we will assume that we are to live in the UK, without any income, for a month. This is how we will make sure that we are not in trouble. This is one of the most important points.

Another point of view is that some immigrants, whom I would define as “adventurers,” go abroad with a few books in their pockets to survive about 10 days, and if they don’t find anything, they go home. It is a much riskier option, but this option does exist among young people who do not want to spend more than 10 days of savings to get a job. The budgets here are minimal.

It can also be a way to motivate yourself to find a job because if you know you only have 10 days, you will be much more proactive than someone who knows they have a month. This way, the expenses you have had will be recovered more quickly, and you will be able to face the cost of living in the city more easily.

However, as I have told you on several occasions, usually finding a job will not take you more than 10 days, especially if you are looking for a job in London. Although it depends on several factors, I hardly know anyone who needed the extra time.

If you are going to work in the United Kingdom, you will no doubt be interested in knowing how to export your unemployment to France as well as all relating to British taxes.


Cost of Living in London Budget Calculation

These expenses depend on many factors, and maybe in your case, they could be smaller or larger, so we’ll break them down below:

1. Rent

In the case of rents, a shared room is usually priced under £ 150 per week in smaller towns and a bit more in towns like London. As you can imagine, the price will depend on the neighborhood, type of house, etc. After all, it would cost more to live in a university residence in France.

Living in London, the further you get from zone 1, the lower the rent, so I always recommend living in zone 2 or 3, as we will be close to the center (no more than 20 minutes) and we will save a lot in rental fees.

In the rest of the British cities, being small, we do not encounter this problem. However, it is true that a house in the center costs much more than a house in further urbanization.

Remember, to know the cost of living in London correctly; you will need to calculate your monthly rent by not multiplying the weekly price by 4, but rather multiply by 52 and then divide it by 12. A rent of £ 150 per week is equivalent to £ 650 per month. Important when performing calculations to control the costs relating to housing properly.


2. Expenses Associated with Housing

The expenses such as electricity, gas, and water associated with the house affect the cost of living in London and depend on the number of people who are shared. Keep in mind that often these costs are included in the rent; in this case, everything is much simpler.

Also, there are many cases in which roommates decide not to pay for a TV or Internet license because they barely spend time at home and therefore see it as an extra expense. If so, Giffgaff’s 4G rate may be more than enough for you.

As for the Council Tax, which is usually around £ 120 per month, so if you share an apartment with 4 people, it will be £ 30 each. Make sure you are familiar with the country’s taxes.


3. Transport Costs

Transport costs are, without doubt, where the difference between some cities is more noticeable. For example, a monthly travelcard for zones 1 and 2 in London costs £ 123.30, and a bus travelcard costs £ 80.70, while in cities like Bristol the monthly voucher costs only £ 60.

The dilemma is always the same: the further you are from the center, the lower the rent and the higher the transport costs. Therefore, it is better to take your time to do the accounts and see what is the most profitable. Below are some tips that can be useful:

  • In London, the bus is much cheaper than the underground, and its service is excellent (there are many trips and its frequency is high). Find out about the lines that cross your neighbourhood that can get you to work.
  • Another idea could be to rent a room in zone 2, near the border with zone 1, and walk to the first metro station in zone 1. It is a 10-minute walk that will do us good for our economy in addition to our health.
  • Have you tried going by bike? In the UK, cycling to work is very common, and it is quite normal to see hundreds of cyclists commuting to work in the morning. You can buy a used bike for around £ 100 and get some exercise.
  • Post signs in your neighbourhood asking if someone is traveling the same place and times as you, you can carpool and practice English!


4. How Much does the Food Cost?

Food is one of the most personal expenses and, therefore, the most difficult to calculate when estimating the cost of living in London. You have to keep in mind that lunchtime is a “break” to have a sandwich and a juice, while the dinner is more robust (different from France). Leaving aside the whims and buying white labels, your food budget can climb to around £ 150 per month.


5. Cell Phone

Today, it is impossible to live without a mobile phone and internet access but, thank God, the prices in the United Kingdom are lower than in France so, for £ 10 per month, you will have your calls and Internet rate with Giffgaff. Without a doubt, the cheapest company of all to reduce the cost of living in London.

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Final Words

Living in London or the UK is a very worthwhile experience, but we need to plan all the details of our new life, especially the financial part, beforehand in order to avoid last-minute scares.

Be aware that a UK minimum wage is around 1000 pounds per month, so do your math.

Note that the survey, carried out in mid-2015, among more than 2,000 French people living in the United Kingdom, the vast majority of them manage to save more here than in France, a fact to remember!

I hope this post about the cost of living in London or other UK cities has been helpful to you.

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