Cost of Living in London?
London Cost of Living: Further Expenses
Groceries and Dining Out
The price of food increased 4.4% in the UK in 2013. This change is especially reflected in the high price of meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. On the bright side, budget supermarket chains such as Aldi and Lidl can now be found all over London and are giving other grocery stores a run for their money. If you buy a lot of imported food from your home country, though, this will also add up, as it can cost up to four times as much as it did back home.
A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs an average of GBP 50, but this can of course increase or decrease dramatically depending on where you eat and what you order. You should also be aware of an “optional” 12.5% gratuity that is often automatically added to the bill at many restaurants.
A beer costs an average of GBP 4 in downtown London and a cocktail will set you back GBP 10 to GBP 12. Ways to save money include going to bring-your-own-wine restaurants and cooking with friends at home, which is a common alternative to restaurant dining in London.
Entertainment and Consumer Goods
A ticket for the cinema costs an average of GBP 12 in downtown London. Be on the lookout for discount cards, however, which start at only GBP 15 per month. The price of electronics is generally quite high in the UK compared to many other countries. The UK is the cheapest place in Europe to buy an iPhone, however, and monthly cell phone bills are often also lower than in other European countries.
A pack of 20 cigarettes, on the other hand, is very expensive, costing an average of GBP 7.50. Clothing costs less than in other European countries, with a pair of Levi’s going for about GBP 60.
Always be on the lookout for deals and ways to save. Ask other expats for tips. Especially when you are setting up your phone and internet, cashback websites such as QuidCo and Top Cashback can be a simple way to save some money.
Childcare and School Fees
If you are moving to London with children, providing for childcare and covering school fees can also make up a hefty part of your budget. It costs around GBP 14,000 per year for the full-time care of a child under two at a nursery in central London. Tuition for private schools in and around London can reach up to GBP 20,000 per year, especially for the higher grades.
One thing you won’t have to worry about when working in London is large expenses for health insurance, as everyone legally living in the UK is covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Depending on the quality of care you are accustomed to, however, you may want to take out a private health insurance plan as well. Ask your employer if you and your family will be covered by a company health insurance policy in addition to your free NHS coverage.
For additional information on the cost of living in the UK in general, take a look at our article on the cost of living in the UK.
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