As you may already know that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. If you are visiting London for a long period of time or thinking of migrating there, then you definitely need guidance on how to live there, especially if you are on a budget. This problem is very common amongst students who come from abroad to study in the prestigious universities of London and the millennial generation.
To live in London, you need to be financially prepared and the cost of living depends on the taste and situation of any individual. If you are moving to London from abroad then you also need to consider the difference of value between UK Pounds and your own country’s currency. So it is wise to save some money before moving to London, even if you get a job there.
The Cost of Living in London
As you plan to visit or migrate to London, the first question that comes to your mind is, how much it will cost you to stay or live in London? For students, not only they have to worry about the cost of their college or university but they also worry about other costs like living and accommodation. They need to make their budget considering the difference of the exchange rate like £1 to $1.55 conversion rate.
A report from International Employment experts indicates that as compared to the other countries where people relocate to study or work, London topped the table of rental prices in Europe. The average price of rent is £5,187 in London where if you rent a place in Central London, it will cost you around £7,000 and outer London will cost you around £4,000. Meanwhile a study found that cost in Central London had decreased over the past few years.
Settling in London is never easy. If you don’t plan accordingly, the initial costs will deplete your wallet very quickly. Especially, if you’re planning to setup accommodation for longer term. Here are some common initial costs that you can encounter so that you can budget accordingly.
Accommodation: First thing you need to worry about is accommodation. Make sure you have enough money for a hostel or hotel accommodation if you haven’t arranged for it before your arrival. It can cost you from £11 to upwards per night. You can also give money to mates who let you doss.
Bond and Rent: This can be the first major expanse you bear when you move to a new city. If you lease a flat or room then you have to pay the bond. The bond can be up to 6 weeks rent and you also have to pay the rent for the first month, which will cost you around £1500 depending on the price of your rent.
Transport: Transport is another expanse you have to bear while you are still looking for accommodation and job. So it is better to have some cash on hand for public transport. You can also get an Oyster card to move around in London.
Mobile Phone: You need to buy a SIM card or unlock your phone by paying your previous telecom company. Go for prepaid calling and avoid phone contracts. Save some cash for prepay top ups just in case if you have to call back a potential employer.
Internet Access: You may also need the internet to look for job, research for your studies, use social media and phone calls to your loved ones back home. While £1 per hour may sound cheap but you may be surprised to know how many hours you use on the internet each day. So it is wise to use free wifi on coffee shops and pubs to save some cash.
Clothing: We hope you have the sense to check for the latest trends and weather to pack your clothing accordingly. Don’t forget to pack suitable clothing if you are expecting a job interview in the near future. In case you are not expecting anything similar in the near future then it is wise to save some pounds in your budget for interview or work wear.
Eating and Drinking: Eating out in London isn’t cheap and your first few weeks will be a blur of eating, drinking and socializing. It is best if you learn some basic cooking skills at home, buy groceries and prepare your own meals because it is way more economical than having every meal outside.
How to Save Money While Living in London
Don’t get intimidated by the information we provide you above about the expenses you have to bear while living in London. Luckily you are reading this piece from the team who is an expert in saving money without compromising any of the comforts of life. Here are some frugal and sensible tips for you to survive in London if you are on a tight budget.
Travel Smart: There are some discount offers available for traveling like student or international youth travel card. You can also get a discount on museum entry, cinemas and clubs. You can also benefit from special deals and discounts that comes with Oyster card to get around in London.
Buy from Charity Shops: You can save some money if you shop homewares, utensils or crockery from charity or second hand shops.
Look Out For Specials: There is always some discount or special offer available around you if you pay attention to the details like on the back of your cinema ticket or on the window of a shop or diner. Make a note for happy hour times of pubs and restaurants, every time you pass them.
Book Ahead of Time: You can find amazing deals if you plan ahead and book your tickets or accommodation early.
Watch Out for Swaps and Freebies: Fortunately there are many kind souls in London who like to help out struggling travelers with the stuff they no longer need like couches or mattresses or computers, so keep a lookout for such freebies.
Utilize Local Library: You can save your expanse of internet and also get some Cds and DVDs if get a membership of local library.
Renting in London
The key to find a suitable place for your accommodation is to find the right area. Shoreditch and Mayfair are good but expensive as well. Camberwell, Elephant and Castle and Walthamstow are a lot cheaper (£450-£650 a month). You can find the complete rental map of London for 2019 provided by Royal Cleaning. You can also talk to locals or police offices for information while you are looking at properties.
Make sure to select a decent neighborhood because many cheaper areas are either rundown or with a high crime rate. What’s the point of living in a place where you can get robbed every once in a while. The areas around Tube stations cost a lot more than around overground and bus service stations. Finally if you can’t afford a place at all, look for moored boats or caravans that you can buy to stuff your stuff and get a good night’s sleep.