London is one of the best cities in the world, and it’s especially expensive to live in. In fact, London has previously been ranked as the most expensive global city to live in. But there’s no precise estimate for the cost of living. It all depends on your individual situation (i.e. where you want to live, where you dine, etc). For someone who’s looking to move to London though, for whatever reason, it’s important to be briefed with the various costs that you might incur in the city.
Before you travel to an exotic new destination, it’s important that you do your research so that you do not come across any unpleasant surprises. Think about cost-saving strategies that work in your destination. In the United Kingdom, public transportation, and shared housing are two of the main approaches that you can leverage to dramatically reduce your living costs. If you’re looking to stay for a while, getting a job can also be easy and quick, so you want to think about it. Most people find that opening a UK bank account helps save money.
If you don’t plan accordingly, there are certain initial costs that can aggressively affect your finances in London. This is more so true if you’re planning to set up long-term accommodation. Consider budgeting for the following:
- Accommodation upon arrival – if you aren’t able to organize for accommodation in advance, you’re going to need to book for hotel or hostel accommodation. You’ll need over £11 pounds per night for that.
- First-month rent – you can’t stay at a hostel for any more than a few days. Eventually, you’ll need to rent a room. This means that you have to pay bond and rent. The bond can be up to six weeks rent that you pay in addition to the month’s rent in advance. Depending on where you’re going to stay, this can be more than £1000.
- Transportation – to move around using public transportation, you’ll need to purchase an Oyster card. Make sure you budget for that!
- Cell Phone – bringing your mobile phone with you is a great way to trim down costs. But even then, you need to procure a UK sim card that you can actually use in London. The phone has to be ‘unlocked’ to accommodate the new sim card. Rather than getting into carrier contracts, go for the pre-paying option for now. You’ll need some cash to purchase pre-paid top-ups, otherwise, you aren’t going to be able to call people.
- Internet access – if you need to use the internet, you might need to spend £1 per hour at an internet café. Many public pubs, restaurants, and shops also have free Wi-Fi. So you can take advantage of that if you managed to carry your own laptop.
- Food – eating in London isn’t cheap, so you want to buy some groceries and cook for yourself if that’s possible. Keep your eyes peeled for specials too.
- Clothing – the cost-friendly thing to do is pack some clothes for the season when you’ll be arriving in the UK. If you didn’t do that, though, make sure that you have a bunch of pounds that you can use to get some extra wear.
Planning ahead and familiarizing yourself with options for accommodation, dining, etc is the way to go. Also, follow the cost-saving approaches covered above to keep more money in your pocket.