Advice

Cost of Living in London: Explained

City of Westminster, London

Rife with golden opportunities, living in London is a dream come true. There’s no doubt in my mind when I say that there are millions of people from all over the world who would readily uproot their life for a chance to live in London. In fact, many residents in London probably did uproot their life and sacrificed a lot just to live in such an esteemed city like London. Among the thousands of cities in the world, London stands out due to its history, culture, architecture, and many more.

Below, we will discuss the current cost of living and some ways on how to make your stay in London more affordable.

Cost of Living

There are many things that you should know before you move to London. One of those things is that the average cost of living in London is one of, if not, the highest in the entire United Kingdom. In fact, it is part of the list of most expensive cities in the world.

Numbeo recently published survey results on the cost of living in London stating that a family of four will need at least £ 2,936.15 for their basic living expenses, excluding rent, going out, going on holidays, tuition fees for the children, getting a car, and other miscellaneous costs.  

Salary

There are plenty of job opportunities in London. Considered a global city and the capital of the United Kingdom, London is filled with international companies and conglomerates that are always looking for employees. Some of the most common jobs in London are office workers and sales agents. If you look hard enough, you will surely be able to find a job in London that fits your qualifications.

When you’re looking for a job in London, you should know that you will be competing against hundreds of other applicants. It is best that you exercise utmost professionalism and that you are on your best behaviour during the interview. 

Numbeo states that the average monthly net salary (after council tax) for an employee in London is £ 2,790.76. That amounts to an income of around £33, 500 per year for an individual. Is that a good enough salary? It depends. For residents living outside of London, this already means a comfortable enough life. On the other hand, a family of four living in London will struggle to survive with this amount, especially with living costs amounting to £ 2,936.15, rent excluded. 

Is 60k a good salary in London for a family?

A household of four with two working individuals will, on average, bring home over 60k in a year. To answer the question, yes. £ 60, 000 is a good enough salary to get you and your family in London.  

Is £33, 500 a good salary in London for a single person?

The monthly living costs for a single person in London averages around £ 827.17. This does not take into account rent, going out, going on holidays, and other expenses. 

Expenses

Expenses

Simply put, the cost of living in London is relatively high because of the expenses that you will incur. Below, I have listed the average prices of the most common expenses in London.

  • Rent

Moving to London, the most significant expense that you will have to pay is the monthly rent. The rates for monthly rent in London varies. If you wish to rent in a prime location such as Central London, for instance, expect to pay a couple of thousands of pounds. Even a one-bedroom flat in the city centre can cost you more than half of your monthly salary. Ex-Londoner, now real estate agent Greg Murphy, notes that whilst previously up until the early 2000s a single person could afford a one-bedroom flat, it’s almost a requirement to rent a room with flatmates.

The average monthly rent in London, according to Numbeo, is as follows: 

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 1,752.05 £

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,254.60 £

Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 3,200.00 £

Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 2,111.79 £

The median monthly rent, according to the Mayor of London’s website, increases as the location of the property comes closer to the city centre. For instance, it is possible to find a one bedroom flat whose monthly rent is under £ 950 in the outskirts of London. On the other hand, a one bedroom flat in the city centre will cost £ 1,300 upwards.

Residents in London found ways to live in London without having to shell out the thousands of pounds for rent. This is done through:

  • Micro flats

Micro flats are becoming more and more popular, especially with the cost of living in London steadily increasing. The average size of micro flats in London tend to go from 10 sq m to 15 sq m. However, any property with a floor area below 37 square metres is viewed by the British Property Federation as a micro property.

  • Flat-sharing

Co-sharing is another cost-effective alternative that residents in London can take. It lessens the rent that an individual has to pay and also decreases the costs for other expenses such as house maintenance and utility bills. Plumbing costs, for example, can be quite costly for one person but when shared among 3-4 members, it’s affordable.

While these are two great alternatives, the matter of space comes to mind. Where exactly do your items go? Storage of course! Storage units in London range from 10 sq ft lockers to over 200 sq m rooms. All of the non-essential items that residents don’t need in their daily lives are sent to self storage so that it doesn’t clutter up their space. This is much cheaper than having to rent a bigger flat just to accommodate all of your items. After all, the majority of young professionals in London spend most of their time outside anyway so all they really need is a roof over their heads and a bed.

  • Car

Owning a car in London will cost you about £ 400 a month. This is including the monthly payments for your car’s mortgage. Of course, this can go lower or higher depending on what car you want, the brand, the model, if brand-new or second-hand, etc. 

A  report commissioned by Kwik-Fit found that an average UK motorist will spend around £ 162 per month on fuel, car insurance, and road tax and servicing. The average monthly car finance averages over £ 226

For those who are just starting to live in London, it might not be a good idea to buy a car just yet. 

  • Public Transport

For the majority of residents in London, the monthly costs of a car can sway a lot of people into relying on public transportation. As the capital of the United Kingdom, London has one of the largest urban transport networks in the world. 

When you live in London, you get to have a lot of options on which public transport to take: buses, the London Underground, the Docklands Light Railway, the local trains, trams, the taxi service, etc. It’s best to acquire an oyster card early on so you can go anywhere you want in London.

According to a BBC report, London’s public transportation is the world’s most expensive. A monthly oyster card will cost residents £ 135 upwards. This figure is still quite far from the £ 400 monthly costs of a car but it is still quite steep, which is why many residents prefer to walk to ride a bicycle. It also allows them to avoid traffic, which can be quite common.

  • Utility Bills

When you’re accounting for your cost of living in London, don’t forget to factor in the monthly utility bills. The actual price of your utility bills every month will, of course, ultimately depend on your consumption. There are five common utility bills that you should expect to pay for every end of the month: Gas, Electricity, Water, Broadband, and Cable.

  • Gas

The average monthly gas bill in London is around £ 58. Your usage of your central heating system and boiler may affect the price, increasing or decreasing the amount respectively.

  • Electricity

We all need electricity to power all the appliances in our homes, including light. The average monthly power bill for a one or two-bedroom flat in London is roughly £ 56.

  • Water

Expect to pay at least £ 35 a month on your water and sewerage bills. If your water bill increases unexpectedly, that is to say, without your consumption increasing, then you should check your pipes for signs of leaks.

  • Broadband

The Internet has become a commodity. Just like gas, electricity and water, a house now needs a stable internet connection for its residents. The average cost of a decent Internet connection per month is around £ 32. 

  • Cable

Watching the telly is a globally recognized pastime. Cable costs somewhere from £ 11 to £ 80. Of course, many residents are choosing to switch to online streaming for easier access and cheaper entertainment.

  • Groceries

Your cost of living in London will greatly be affected by whether you will rely on restaurants for food or if you will cook yourself. Home-cooked meals are much healthier and of course, cheaper. It is a rite of passage that you learn how to do the groceries. The cost of groceries in London is expectedly higher as compared to other areas in the UK. For two people, the average weekly grocery bill costs around £ 80 – £ 100. With a bit of budgeting, you can surely drop these numbers down.

A simpler or humbler lifestyle is usually the key to living in London. While the cost of living is definitely higher than in most areas in the United Kingdom, it is definitely worth it. There are a lot of ways to save money when you’re living in London. You just have to be creative and innovative.

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