This is a rather different post for me but I think that it deserves discussion! London is famous for being one of the best and most beautiful cities in the world but also for being expensive! It is however, typically non-Londoners who feel this way. I live quite central on the average London income so I’m passionate on the subject. I truly believe that London can be for everyone, if you only know how to afford it.
Live within your means (location)
I’m going to kick off with a typical cliche when it comes to money management but I mean it quite literally. An important thing to note is that there are many different Londons. Your London experience will differ greatly from another person’s experience and it largely depends on where you live. It’s very important to do your research on where you can afford to live and then move to a borough that’s financially viable for you. I’d personally recommend that your rent be only a third of your monthly income. If it suits, opt for cheaper boroughs, which are typically found a little further from central, (but make sure your commute is cheap!) and if you feel financially comfortable, move closer to zone 1 and 2. There are benefits to both!
London has a lot to offer you, no matter what your budget might be. There are really great high end cinemas and restaurants and experiences if you’re in the mood to splurge but there are also great ways to save. For example, shop at a street market for food if you’re not feeling your local store. This will save some vital pounds! Shop your local thrift store or one of the many vintage markets for new clothes, or make use of all the sales! When it comes to activities, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Search the latest pop ups and openings for offers on food, drinks and activities. New bars and escape rooms open up all the time with freebies! With so much on in London, there are always so many fun free things to do and see. Sure, a night out could cost you upwards of £8 a drink if you walk into just any bar, but there are ways to save if you look for them!
Pay as little rent as possible
The renting situation is London is less than ideal. To get an idea of the market, a simple 1 bed is often a minimum of £1000. This increases when you add square ft, modern fittings, parking spaces, security and other amenities such as gardens, gyms etc. If you’re a regular earner but single, it might be worth considering a house share because you get a lot more for your money. Couples tend to have an easier time with housing because you have double the income. It definitely takes longer to find a quality house that’s good value for money but they do exist. Either buy in a different borough to suit your budget or commit to a longer-term browse! It typical to spend a third to a half of your income on rent. But London workers earn around £8000 more than the rest of the UK to compensate the expensive rent and other living costs! So don’t panic if your shiny apartment is a little above average costs!
I hope that this has shed some light on the fact that a city isn’t always expensive. You should never give up on a location based on heresay and definitely do some more research. I truly believe there’s a style of London for everyone! I’m really not shy with these things so if you do have any questions, I’ll be happy to chat!
Image: Arvydas Venckus