An Expat’s Guide To Cost Of Living In London
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It’s no secret that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, but it is also one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. Living in London is a cherished dream for many people all over the world. Despite the high living costs, London receives a steady flow of professionals and students from all over the world aspiring to jumpstart their careers.
If you are planning to move to London, we are not here to deter you. However, a realistic estimate of living costs in London will only help you prepare for your stay abroad. We are not going to get into minute details of every expense you may incur, but we will give you some estimates based on average costs to give you an idea of how much you need to earn or save if you’re planning to live in London.
1. Housing & Accommodation Costs
The biggest expense you will incur in London is the cost of housing. The cost of buying a house ranges from £250,000 to over a million pounds for an average flat, but most people moving to or living in London prefer to rent flats on a monthly basis. The average cost of renting a one bedroom flat is between £750 and £1000 depending on the flat’s location. Some areas are more affordable than others, but they may be further away from Central London. Cost of transportation from the workplace or the university is also a factor while renting a flat.
Some of the most affordable areas in London are:
- Croydon – Average one bedroom property: £950 per month
- Bromley – Average one bedroom property: £979 per month
- Hornchurch – Average one bedroom property: £950 per month
- Colindale – Average one bedroom property: £1,350 per month
2. Cost Of Transportation
London cabs are famous all over the world as they are luxurious and very convenient. But they are very expensive. Buses, tube and trains are cost-effective options for people looking to save money on transportation, especially students who have limited income. A London Travelcard is a good option to consider for travelling around London. A London Travelcard is a monthly pass, which gives access to major transportation networks in London like the London Underground, Buses, Docklands Light Rail and Overground Rails. The cost of a Travelcard depends on the zones allocated to these travel cards. These Travelcards are priced between £130 and £190 depending on the routes and zones of London that the commuter wants to include in the Travelcard.
If you are a foreign student in London who is above 18, make sure you get yourself a student Oyster card. The Oyster card is a travel card that can be used on the London underground, overground and bus services and offers students a discounted rate for travel. It’s a personalised card that bears your name and photo so that your money can be transferred to a new card in case of loss of the card.
An Oyster card will get you:
- 30% off on 7 Day, Monthly or longer period Travelcards
- 34% discount on off-peak pay fares and off-peak daily caps on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services if you get a 16-25 National Railcard and add the discount entitlement to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard.
3. Cost Of Food & Beverages
Weekly grocery bill for two people is around £100. We all like to eat out at restaurants and pubs at least once a week. The cost of going to a pub or restaurant can range between £25 and £40, depending on how much a person spends at a restaurant.
4. Utility Bill
Cost of Living in London includes all the basic costs that come with living in any city on the planet. They include water bill, power bill and heating bill. These utilities for 2 people in 85m2 flat in London will cost you around £164.
5. Recreational Costs
Besides working or studying, living in London is also a lot of fun. You must set aside some money every month to experience the joys of this lovely city. Here are a few recreational costs you may incur:
- 2 tickets to the movies: £25
- Basic dinner out for two in neighbourhood pub: £36
- Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the expat area including appetisers, main course, wine and dessert: £64
- 1 month of gym membership in business district: £69
6. Mobile Phone, TV & Internet Access
Life without a mobile phone, television and internet is unimaginable. More so, if you are living in a foreign country. Here’s what the following would cost you:
- 1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff (no discounts or plans): £0.18
- Internet 8 Mbps (1 month): £20
- iPad Wi-Fi 128GB: £419
- 40-inch flat screen TV: £346
Besides all the above-mentioned costs, you must set aside about £100 for medical and other recurring expenses while living in London. Here are some expenses that you are likely to incur: Cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands): £3.46, 1 box of antibiotics (12 doses): £8, short visit to private Doctor: £71, deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.): £1.83, Shampoo 2-in-1: £3.72, 4 rolls of toilet paper: £1.77 and tube of toothpaste: £1.82.
If you calculate the overall expenses, the cost of living in London rounds up to somewhere between £2,000 and £2,500, if you manage to be thrifty. Though London is more expensive compared to other cities, there is no denying that it is the best place to boost your career or academic qualifications. So, if you want to stick it out in London, work part-time, share a flat, prepare meals at home, travel by public transport and steer clear of expensive money transfers.
Living in London has its perks, but one needs to have a clear idea of everything before moving to this city. Whether you are an expat student or an expat worker in London, you will definitely be receiving and sending money to your home countries. This is where you need to exercise caution as most remittance firms lure clients with claims of low or zero-transfer fees, and sneak in a plethora of hidden charges.
Be wise and choose money transfer service providers such as InstaReM that guarantee you the best transfer amount and hide nothing from you. InstaReM eliminates FX spreads and hidden charges from your overseas money transfers, thus, saving you big bucks on money transfers from London. The best part about InstaReM is that it is absolutely transparent to its clients. No margins on FX. No hidden charges. It only charges a nominal fee for money transfers which is clearly displayed on the receipt. Check the GBP rates right away.
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