For anyone thinking of moving to London figuring out the cost of living here is a smart thing to do. While costs vary significantly depending on a bunch of different factors, I'm gonna walk you through some of the numbers to get you started and also give you some tools to help you figure out what's the cost that you're going to have for your current situation. Oh, and i'm gonna tell you what I pay in my current situation. This video is part of my 'Living in London' series and I have a free 'Cost of Living in London' guide that you can get, I will tell you how to do that if you watch to the end of this video.
According to homelet.co.uk the average rent for new tenancies in London in January of 2018, was 1532£ per month. That of course is a very general number but it kind of gives you an idea of just how expensive the rent is here in London, in fact London is one of the most expensive cities to rent or to buy a place in the world. Now generally speaking the closer that you live in to central London the more expensive that your rent is going to be. The Mayor of London has a London rents map and as you can see the center of London, where you can see the red, that is where the most expensive rent is and then as you get further outside of the centre is when the lighter colours come in because the rent is lower.
This is a good tool to use to get an idea of what the median rent price is for the type of apartment that you're looking for and also the areas that you're thinking of renting in.
Another good way to get a sense of rental prices in any specific area that you're looking in is to go on rental listing sites like Rightmove or Zoopla and having to look and seeing what is the quality of the places that you could realistically afford depending on your budget. If you're looking to rent just a room and you're gonna need some roommates then use the website called SpareRoom, that's where you can do your searching and it will do the same thing. I've put all the links to all of the things that i'm mentioning in this video in that 'Cost of Living in London' guide just so you know. Essentially if you're on a strict budget then you're not gonna be able to live in more central London and you'll want to start looking on the more of the outskirts of the city, if you do have more money to spend that is great and it gives you more options, however you're gonna want to think about, what your trade off is in terms of: living more centrally located but having a lesser quality and smaller space or having a bigger apartment and probably a much nicer one if you are willing to sacrifice and live a bit more outside of central London.
There are some amazing communities that are in zone 3 and further outside on the outskirts, definitely don't discount them, they have a really nice balance of city life and suburb life and they're also especially good for families. The apartment I live in right now I pay 1750£ a month and I live on the outer edge of zone two, I live in a modern new building that has a lot of amenities, before this apartment i lived on the outer outskirts of zone 3, almost zone 4 and I paid 1,500£ a month for a two bedroom that was a ground floor flat and didn't really have any amenities to it. Flat expenses and council tax Now when you rent a place in london for the most part you're always going to have to pay on top of that rental fee, the bills to cover the electricity, water and the gas.
It's hard to give you a number of how much that's gonna cost because it obviously depends on how big the flat is that you're renting, how many people live in it, how energy efficient is, it's just hard to say. I'd say if you're looking at pretty small places then maybe budget in around 60 pounds a month at least, it's just as a starting point and don't forget that you're probably, gonna want tv and internet in your flat and that costs extra too, costs for that start around maybe 29£/month depending on what package you get, which provider you end up going with, if you even choose to have cable and also, if you're really good at negotiating with them on the phone to get a lower price. You can use websites like moneysupermarket.com to compare packages and prices for a flat that you're gonna be living in personally I pay 29£/month, and that's just for internet, we don't actually have cable.
Finally, you'll need to account for council tax which is paid by the renter's not the landlord, again this vary significantly depending on how many bedrooms there are in your flat, which council/borough that you're in because the rates will vary depending on where you are and a few other factors. You can do some research ahead of time to see what the council tax rates are in the area that you're looking in and if there's a specific flat that you want to look at, you can ask the renting agent or the landlord, how much that the council tax will be per month and you only pay ten months out of the year two months are free. I pay about 90£/month in council tax, my electricity and water bill is about 40£/month but that's pretty low because we have a very energy efficient flat plus we just have a very small flat so there's not much to heat and we also don't have any gas.
Cell Phone! If you already have a cell phone that you can switch the sim cards out of, then you're kind of set, you can get pretty affordable cell phone plans here if you want to lock yourself into a contract or you can just get pay as you go, and it's pretty affordable! If you want a cheap option and you want the sim card to be able to get sent to you before you actually arrive to London then I'll usually recommend checking out giffgaff, you can get a free sim card sent I think almost anywhere in the world and I have a link to the page that helps you do that in the 'Cost of Living in London' guide. I currently pay twenty pounds a month for my cell phone service and that includes 3g of data per month and a stupid amount of text and minutes that i've never end up using. Public transportation unless you're majorly loaded you are probably going to be using public transportation a lot when you're in London, especially if you aren't able to walk to work, which most people in London usually do not have that luxury, so you'll probably be using public transportation at least a few times a day.
In terms of how much that's going to cost you, again this vary significantly generally speaking the further that you travel on the tube or on the train across more zones, then the more that you're going to pay and if you're kind of confused at this point, for the sake of the length of this video, i'm going to point you over to my: 'How Do London Zones Work' video which you can watch by clicking the card up there to kind of give you an idea of how all of that works otherwise this would be a very very long video. Something to think about is that the further out of London that you decide to live the higher that your transportation costs probably going to be, so for example, if you are going to be living in zone 5 and working in zone 1, your transportation costs every day are going to be much higher than if you are working in zone 1 and also living in zone 1. Usually the difference in transportation costs isn't going to make it worth just living in zone 1 and paying the really high rent prices, but it's definitely something to consider and look into.
In terms of what I pay, I work from home so i only use public transportation probably four out of seven days of the week, I typically travel into zone 1 and I live in zone 2 which means that the most i will pay in a day because of the daily caps for the zones is 6.80£, so on average i spend about 27.20£ per week on public transportation, however that does vary, I also sometimes take ubers on the weekends and the cost of those also vary but on average there are about fifteen pounds that i split between me and my husband. Groceries In my opinion, you can get fairly affordable groceries here, if you have a farmer's market anywhere near you live i always recommend going there because you're gonna get not only really affordable fruits and vegetables and produce, but they're also gonna be really fresh and in season. If you want a more budget friendly grocery shop you can find an Aldi or a Lidl, those are usually the cheapest although they're usually only on the outskirts of the city.
The next higher up in supermarkets in terms of costs are places like Morrison's, Tesco and Sainsbury's they're pretty standard across the board and you can usually find one of one or a few of them in every area of London and then in terms of more high end places there's shops like Waitrose, which sell kind of the same stuff as the the lower tier places, but they're just a little bit more expensive and then we do have a couple of WholeFoods here. If you want some average numbers on groceries then the data that's submitted to Expatistan, i don't know if i'm saying that right, Ex Pa Tistan is: for 500 grams of chicken breast that costs 4.10£, one litre of whole fat milk costs 96p, twelve large eggs cost 3.12£, one kilo of tomatoes is 2.57£ and most importantly one bottle of decent red wine costs 10£. Now those are averages and that's not like scientific data, that's just what people submit to this website but it can kind of just give you an idea of cost and you can compare to what you're used to at home.
What i pay for groceries, my husband and I actually use this service called 'Gousto' and they deliver a box of ingredients to you so you can make four meals throughout the week, it's very similar to 'Blue Apron' or 'Hellofresh' if you've ever heard of those it's pretty cost efficient and we also waste a lot less food which is very important to me. We've been using gusto for about three years so when you move here if you want to give it a try yourself I do have a promo code, I will put that in the 'Cost of Living in London' free guide so you can try that, you get 50% off the first two boxes I believe, it is outside of those four meals a week that we make via 'Gousto' I also pop down to the farmers market on the weekends and pick up some produce and stuff like that now you can usually fill a pretty good bag for about 7£ and then during the week as I need things like stuff for breakfast I just popped into one of the grocery stores in town and that cost kind of just varies depending on what i'm getting. As I mentioned in the video about 'Ten Things You Don't Expect When You're Moving to London' which you can watch by clicking the card up here or the link down in the description box.
As a New Yorker who's used to eating out for like every single meal London is great because people actually are much better about making food and eating it at home, which means that if you trying to save money and not go out to eat all the time then you're not gonna like completely lose your social life, for when you do want a proper sit down meal at a restaurant budget restaurants their main courses will usually start at around 8£, for a mid range place the main courses are usually like 15 20£ and for a more luxurious restaurant you can usually expect mains to be 20£ and up, again this is not scientific fact, I just eat out a lot so this is what I've experienced around London, also generally speaking restaurants that are further outside of central London are gonna be a little bit more affordable than the ones in central. I usually spend on average about 60£ for a meal for me and my husband and will usually have like a glass of wine and maybe a starter. I typically spend that about once a week and then I'll usually go during the week and have lunch somewhere in central London that can cost me anywhere from 10£ up to 25 or 30£, but I got to do that so I can keep giving you guys good recommendations for 'The Local Guide to London' it's a hard job, also remember you usually pay about ten percent tip on top of the cost of the meal, if you've had decent service or it might be included in your bill which will be about 12.5%.
Okay, Drinking and Partying!! According to the website Expatistan, one pint of beer in a neighborhood pub is on average 5.12£ and one cocktail in a major club is about 11£. Again it's kind of an average, you will find just like it was for food that clubs and bars will end up being a little bit more affordable as you move outside of the centre of London. Also if you're drinking on a budget you can usually find pretty good happy hours during the week, so go and take advantage, I had two cocktails for the price of one last night, so you can bet i had six cocktails! I don't go out on really big nights out much anymore but usually when I do I spend around 40£ on cocktails that like mid range bars not super nice ones and if i go someplace that's more of like a lounge relaxing more high end I usually end up spending about 20£ for about two cocktails or a little bit more if i drink a little bit more.
Entertainment! Entertainment in London is as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it, there is so much to do here that you can do for free, there's loads of exhibitions, all the parks are free, although most of the museums are free there's so much that you can do without spending a dime oops, sorry, a pence! Or if you're happy to spend money there are things like going to the theatre or going to the movies, pretty much anything that you might want to do that you're willing to spend money on you can probably find somebody that's willing to take your money for it. In terms of what I spend for this category it's not really that much because I spend most of my entertainment money on food and drinks. And I also love checking out free things to do here i love to go and explore the free museums i like to check out new parks, sometimes i'll just walk around a new area and take photos and see what's going on so i don't spend very much! Okay if you want my free 'Cost of Living in London' guide it has a little bit more detailed and that's in this video plus lots of links and resources to help you figure out how much it's gonna cost to live here, then you can click on the card that's popping up in the corner here or the link in the description box to get that absolutely for free and again this is part of my living in London video series, I'll have a couple of videos coming out every month so click up here to watch the video about: 'Things That You Don't Expect When You First Move to London' and down here to check out the other videos that are available in this series.