An Expat’s Manual To Living Costs In London


It’s a well-known fact that London is amongst the most costly cities in the world, yet it’s also one of the best cities to live in. Living in London is a dream for many people throughout the world. Despite the high living costs, London gets a consistent stream of international professionals and students from across the world trying to make something of their lives.

If you are moving to London, here is a practical idea of the living expenses you can expect to incur during your stay in London. We are not going to dive into the smallest of expenses, but we will give you an idea about general expenses that you need to be mindful of.

  1. Lodging Expenses

The greatest expense you will face in London is the cost of lodging. The cost of purchasing a house ranges from £250,000 to over a million pounds for a basic accommodation. However, the vast majority moving to or living in London like to lease pads on a month to month basis. The normal cost of leasing a one-room apartment is between £750 and £1000 depending upon the locality. A few zones are more moderate than others, however, they might be further from main London. Cost of transportation from work or college is also a factor you need to think about while renting an apartment.

Probably the most reasonable zones in London are:

*Croydon – Normal one-room property: £950 every month
*Bromley – Normal one-room property: £979 every month
*Hornchurch – Normal one-room property: £950 every month
*Colindale – Normal one-room property: £1,350 every month

  1. Cost Of Transportation

In London, taxis are a popular mode of transportation as they are extremely comfy. But, they are extremely costly as well. Buses, tube and trains are cost-efficient alternatives for individuals hoping to save some cash on transportation, particularly students who have limited income. A London Travelcard is a decent choice to consider for going around London. A London Travelcard is a monthly pass, which offers access to the London Underground, Buses, Docklands Light Rail and Overground Rails. The cost of a Travelcard depends upon the zones allotted to these cards. These Travelcards cost between £130 and £190 as per the routes and zones of London.

If you are a student in London who is over 18, ensure you get yourself an Oyster card. The Oyster card is a travel card that can be utilized for the London underground, overground and bus services and offers students a good discount on travel. It’s a customized card that bears your name and photograph with the goal that your cash can be exchanged for another card if you lose your 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.
  1. Cost Of Food & Beverages

The weekly cost for food & beverages for two individuals is around £100. Being away from home, it’s easy to get tempted by eateries and bars. However, eating out or drinking can cost you anywhere between £25 and £40, depending upon how much you spend at an eatery.

  1. Utility Bill

In London, the average cost for basic things includes all the fundamental costs that accompany living in any city on the planet. They incorporate water charge, power bill and heating bill. These utilities for 2 individuals in an 85m2 flat in London will cost you around £164.

  1. Recreational Expenses

Other than working and studying, living in London is also a lot of fun. You should set aside some cash each month to experience the delights of this beautiful city. Here are a couple of 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
  1. Mobile Phone, TV & Internet Access

Existing without a cell phone, TV or the internet in today’s time is impossible. More so, when you live in a foreign country. Here is 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

Other than all the previously mentioned costs, you should set aside about £100 for medicinal and other recurring costs while living in London. Here are a few costs that you are probably going 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 general expenses, the typical cost for basic items in London adds up somewhere close to £2,000 and £2,500, if you are being thrifty with money. Despite the fact that London is more costly as compared to other cities, there is no denying that it is the best place to help your professional or academic career. If you plan to stick it out in London, work part-time, share a flat, make food at home, travel by public transport and avoid costly overseas money transfers.

Living in London has its advantages, yet one must think everything through before moving to this city. Regardless of whether you are an expat student or an expat professional in London, you will need to send or receive money to and from your home country. This is an area where you must exercise extra caution as most remittance firms draw customers with promises of low fees or zero-margin, yet sneak in a plenty of concealed charges.

Be vigilant and pick specialised remittance firms such as InstaReM. InstaReM promises you the best transfer amount and conceals nothing from you. InstaReM removes FX spreads and hidden charges from your overseas money transfers, therefore, sparing you heaps of cash on money transfers from London. The best part about InstaReM is that it is completely straightforward with its customers. No margins on FX. No hidden charges. It just charges a small fee for the transfers. Check the GBP rates immediately.