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While the notion of “comfort” varies significantly from individual to individual, the following considerations should give you an idea of the cost of living a comfortable life in the UK.
The national average yearly salary in the U.K. is around £27,000, which may seem like a fair amount of money, but, this is before tax and national insurance are deducted.
There are people who manage to lead a decent lifestyle on minimum wage, but if you want to live alone in a rented flat or studio, buy quality food, go out from time to time, and go on at least one vacation a year, you will likely need to earn more than £1,900 a month, tax aside.
While most professionals can earn a good salary in big cities such as London, the cost of rent puts a huge strain on your budget. If living in a bustling city is not something you care too much about, maybe you should opt for a smaller, more affordable one.
When moving to the U.K., rent will be your biggest concern when it comes to money. London, above all others, is an extremely expensive city. And the closer you are to the centre, the more jaw-dropping the price of rent is. Let’s discuss rent for various types of accommodation in London and Manchester.
Renting a one-bedroom apartment close to the city centre in London would cost you about £1,600 a month, but you can choose one outside the city centre for about £1,000. Renting a family home, on the other hand, costs about £3,000 a month if you go for one close to the city centre and about £1,900 for one outside the city centre.
Alternatively, you can move to a city like Manchester, and pay a little less. A one-bedroom apartment close to the centre of the city is about £700 a month or £500 a month if you choose one outside the city centre. A family home is about three times less expensive than in London, even if you move closer to the centre of the city.
Let’s compare living expenses (excluding rent) in London and Manchester, a more affordable alternative, so you can get a feel as to how much you’ll be spending on food, public transportation, and entertainment on a monthly basis.
As a single person, you can get by with about £1,500 in London and a little over £1,200 in Manchester. This means you’ll need about £18,000 a year for living expenses in London and about £14,400 to live in Manchester.
If you’re a student and you can take advantage of various discounts and you also don’t mind cutting back on a few things, you can get by with about £850 a month even in London, while £530 a month should suffice in Manchester.
A family of four, however, should allow at least £2,700 a month for living expenses alone in London, and about £2,100 a month for Manchester. This means you’ll be spending about £32,600 and 25,300 on living expenses alone in London and Manchester respectively.
The following cities are known as the most affordable places to live in the U.K.: Bradford, Durham, Carlisle, Lincoln, Wakefield, Dundee, Sunderland, and Newport. Moving on to the most expensive cities, but at the same time the richest in job opportunities, we have London, Oxford, Winchester, Bath, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Cardiff, Southampton, and Bristol.
If you want to live comfortably in one of the most expensive countries in the world, you will be able to live a comfortable lifestyle with £30,000 per year to spend on all things related to accommodation, general expenses, and leisure activities. While moving to the U.K. may seem a bit scary to some, there are plenty of job opportunities for ex-pats, and you’ll find right at home in this melting pot of cultures.