Cost of Living in the UK

Living in the UK is getting harder and harder with each passing month. The cost of living has rapidly increased since the financial and economical crisis in 2008. Salaries stayed the same, while basic living expenses increased.

Those basic expenses, such as transport, food, rent, gas and electricity are the ones that can make or break a budget. UK citizens are having a hard time to survive in the economy and for migrants it could even be harder. Expats must calculate the initial cost after they move in, such as rent, food, cell phone bills and internet in the first few weeks.

Note: 1 British pound (£) = Php 70.1

Migrant workers pick strawberries. Credit: stevebarclay.net
Migrant workers pick strawberries. Credit: stevebarclay.net

Cost of Accommodation
Accommodation eats most of the budget. Rents are high and increasing. The best option for expats is to search for flat-share apartments. The cost for living in shared apartment goes from £300 to 400 for a single flat, and from £400 to £500 for double. One bedroom apartments cost around £650 per month. While one might think that rural areas are cheaper than the city, the truth is far from that. The costs for living in rural Scotland are around 40% higher than the cost in urban cities. Some medium cities, however, are cheaper and better suited for expats. London is by far the most expensive city in the UK, and one of the most expensive for living in the world as well.

Food and Drink
People in the UK face some of the highest food prices in Western Europe. The weekly grocery bill, that includes food, laundry and toiletry items for two people, is around £60. Meals in pubs go from £6 to £10, while restaurant meals cost around £20. Beer is not much expensive. One pin of beer costs £3. A McDonalds meal is one of the best options when it comes to fast meal, and it costs £4.50. Basic groceries prices are as following: 1kg carrots (£0.71), 1kg bananas (£0.93), 400g British beef mince (£2.4), 1.7kg chicken (£4), carton of six eggs (£1.45), 500 ml of milk (£0.4).

Transportation
People in London travel a lot using a Travelcard, a card that grants access to bus, tube, train and other public transport services. The city is divided in zones, and a weekly card for zone 1-6 costs £41, while the price for a 1-2 zone travel card is £86. The gasoline price in the UK is around £1.1 per liter, while taking a taxi costs around £3 per mile.

Park Hill flats in Sheffield. Source: www.bbc.co.uk
Park Hill flats in Sheffield. Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Entertainment
Going to the movies, pubs, theaters and similar places is considered a luxury, considering the prices. Tickets for cinemas cost around £10, while theater tickets are priced at £25+. Some pubs charge entry fee of £5, while going to a concert is a luxury that will cost you £10+.

How to Save Money in the UK?

  1. Take full advantage of travel card. Young people and students get additional discounts at museums, cinemas and clubs.
  2. Charity shops are excellent choice for clothing supplies. There are handful of second hand shops and charity shops both in London, and in other cities around the UK. They all stock decent clothing.
  3. Keep an eye on special offers such as “buy one, get the second one free”. A pound saved is a pound well used.
  4. Join the local library to get access to free computers and internet access. Libraries have symbolic join fee of approximately £1 – £3.
  5. People in London love to give away their clothes and furniture to people in need and working travelers. Keep an eye on such events.
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