Moving to London on a Budget

No matter where you want to go, moving house is going to cost money. If you have made the decision to move to London, by now you will be aware that the city isn’t cheap!

However, by saving up and carefully planning where you are going to live and how you will go about daily living on a budget, you’ll be a Londoner in no time.

To help you get started, Comparemymove.com have created a comprehensive guide to moving to London on a budget.

Saving Up

Of course, there is no specific amount of money you need to raise when you move to London; everyone has different needs, spending habits and rent to pay. However, you can raise a significant sum by simply making some life changes:

  • Sell your car – As you will find out further on in the guide, public transport in London is fantastic, eliminating the need for a car. Not only that, but the infamous traffic and lack of parking will make you wish you never brought your car with you anyway!
  • Sell Household Items – Selling furniture and other household items you don’t need or want anymore will not only help you raise funds for the move, but it will also lighten your load when it comes to it!
  • Savings – Set some money aside from before you even think about planning the move – you would be surprised how much you end up saving over the next few months!
  • Go Freelance – Earn some extra cash by offering proof reading services and blogging! They’re skills to put on your CV and you can make £10-£30 each time. It’s not much, but it can add up!
  • Rent out your parking space – Depending on the area you live in, you could earn up to £200 per month!

Places to Live

Finding a place to live in London can be difficult as the property market is constantly in flux. It’s recommended that if you are going to be living in London for the first time, you should probably rent instead of buy. That way, you can get a feel for the place and find out if you can see yourself living there long term.

Renting

London is not a cheap place to live, but in general, prices to rent decline the further out from the city centre you go. If the property is close to a station, it will be more expensive. You also need to account for additional costs like utility bills (gas, electric, water, telephone, internet, TV license and council tax). Utility prices vary according to the provider, but you can find deals on uSwitch depending on your usage.

If you’re renting in London, you need to pay a month’s rent in advance and leave an upfront bond equal to 1-2 month’s rent. This means you will probably need to pay 3 months rent upfront. Some estate agencies can also charge an administration fee which can be £150-£200.

However, if you’re on a budget, a better option would be trying a house share, where the properties are already furnished and most utilities are already set up. Spare Room and Gumtree are good places to find house shares, or if you want to rent yourself, use Zoopla.

You can’t generalize what whole areas are like, but the following areas in North London, East London and South East London are some of the more affordable areas.

North London

Seven Sisters

Average rent for a 1 bed flat: £776

Tottenham

Average rent for a 1 bed flat: £729

East London

Harold Hill

Average rent for a 1 bed flat: £538

Dagenham

Average rent for a 1 bed flat: £636

South East London

St Mary Cray

Average rent for a 1 bed flat: £561

South Norwood

Average rent for a 1 bed flat: £718

Transport

Selling your car to raise funds will definitely be worth it in London, as the transport system is highly efficient and you will get to see more of the city. You have the choice of the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, Tramlink, London Buses and National Rail services in the Greater London area as well as buses, and taxis.

Commuting can be costly, but this varies from individual to individual; what you save on housing you might then spend on travel.

Oyster cards would come in handy when using public transport. These are plastic smart cards that hold pay-as-you-go credit for the bus, Tube, train, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus Services, and most National Rail services in London. Oyster cards are much cheaper than paper tickets and all you have to do to get one is create an online account and have one posted to you.

You can just as easily use your debit card as an Oyster card if you want to avoid the top-up machines.

Employment

You might be moving to London with a job lined up, of course you will need to be careful with money, but you can have some peace of mind knowing you have a steady income.

If you’re looking for a job, you need to make sure you can survive at least two months without income while you look for employment. Set a weekly spending budget and be aware you will probably be spending more on food and travel in your first few weeks in London, until you find your feet.

If you’re thinking of moving to London on a budget, make sure you have enough savings to pay for 2 month’s rent upfront, utility bills, transport, and food.

Living in an affordable area will make things slightly easier, but you need to do your research to find the right place for you. Consider the commute too – public transport is very efficient, but the costs can add up when you make daily trips. However, Oyster Cards help reduce the cost, so make sure you set up an account. When it comes to moving, make sure you save up to 70% on your removal costs by hiring a reputable moving company through Comparemymove.com.