No matter the country you might be from, moving to the UK can be a rather daunting task. On top of analyzing both the pros and the cons and you having to consider the fact that you’re leaving your family and friends at home, you also have to look at the costs of living in the United Kingdom.
In case you didn’t know, British people pay approximately forty percent of their monthly income on housing. By comparison, the European average is only about twenty-eight to thirty percent, which basically means that the rest of the Europeans have a little more money to spare after having paid rent.
And if you’ve decided to move to London, we congratulate you, but we would advise you to avoid being really enthusiastic about it because it can be very challenging surviving in the city. Both London and Birmingham are pretty expensive, and even those who were born there will tell you the same.
Without further ado, here are five tips you might be able to take advantage of if you are planning to move to the United Kingdom in the future, and you’d like to make sure that everything runs smoothly for you from a financial standpoint.
Tip Number 1. Get a bank account
This would be the first thing you’d have to do upon your arrival in the United Kingdom, whether you decide to stay for more than a month or not. The fact is that opening a bank account in the UK is often very easy, and you can use it for lots of things. Your friends and family could send you money when you’re all left dry, and the only solution you’d have to resort to would be to search for payday loans in UK.
Furthermore, you will find it practically impossible to get a job in the United Kingdom without owning a valid British bank account. These days, there are few places where you can get paid in cash, and you’d need proper documentation to be hired, anyway.
What documents do you need to open up a bank account? Usually, every bank has its specifics and requirements in this sense, but it might be worth noting that most will ask you for a tenancy agreement, a recent gas or electricity bill that’s less than three-months-old, a council tax bill, as well as a recent bank or credit card statement. Sure, you might ask – how come you should already be the owner of a bank account in order for another bank account to consider your application?
Well, the chances of you not owning a bank account in the country you come from are pretty slim. Banks have become slightly more lenient over the past several years, but they’re probably going to ask you for all of these documents once Brexit starts rolling in.
There is also the option of you opening up a bank account even before arriving in the United Kingdom. Applying for an international account online can be done at Lloyds, HSBC, NatWest, as well as Barclays.
We’ve already mentioned how Brits pay forty percent of their entire monthly income on housing, so it makes little to no sense for you to get that much money out of your wallet just to have your own apartment. In the beginning, when you’re still looking for a job that can provide you with the financial means you need, it would be counterproductive to have a flat all for yourself.
Shared housing is extremely common in the UK, and for good reason, too. Depending on the area where the house is located, you could pay anything from 600 to 1500 pounds and more. And yes, those are costs for a room, not for a whole apartment, especially in bigger cities.
Your London rent will definitely cost you a minimum in those lines, as will your Birmingham one. However, if you have a driver’s license and own a car, you could make do with renting a room in a home outside the city, in which case you’d surely pay less.
If you want to find someone to share your apartment with or if you’re looking for a room to rent, use websites like Gumtree or SpareRoom. They’re by far some of the most popular ones in the UK.
Tip Number 3. Save money on food
The neat thing about most supermarkets in the UK is that they slash their prices at the end of the day. If you want to avoid paying full price for groceries, you should try going shopping after 7 or 8 pm. Sure, that might not be the case of all supermarkets in your area, but it wouldn’t hurt if you took the time and did a little research on the topic.
On top of everything, there are apps such as Groupon or Tastecard which can help you get dining deals. For example, if you get a Tastecard subscription, you could get a meal at your favorite restaurant for half the money.
Buying organic food can be quite expensive in the United Kingdom, so if you’re set on living healthier, you definitely need to take our advice on shopping late. Another tip we can give you applies to pretty much all countries, not just the UK. You should get your non-perishable items in bulk. Even toilet paper can cost a pretty penny in Britain, so it goes without saying that you should never waste an opportunity to get it when it’s on sale.
Tip Number 4. Pay less for transportation
This section will tackle both public transport and flying out of the UK. First off, one of the best things about Britain is that the public transport system is extremely efficient, with subways and buses, as well as trains, being the main means of travel for most commuters. Think about it. Just one in three individuals who live in the capital city own a car. The other two choose to take a bus or some other method of getting where they have to be. British transport is that good.
While the cost of hailing a cab in some other countries is somewhat affordable, it is anything but in some countries in Europe, and so is in the UK. Ride-sharing services like Uber can get you out of trouble if you’ve been out for drinks with friends and have no means of getting back home.
Coaches are pretty cheap, especially if you buy your tickets ahead of time. National Express and Megabus are two services you might want to check out and compare some of their prices. Train tickets are extremely expensive by comparison, and that’s why you should consider installing an online comparison app to get the best deals.
What about flying? The truth is that, if there’s one pro to living in the United Kingdom, it’s that you can get pretty much anywhere fast. Leaving Britain is extremely easy, and there are amazing travel connections you can take advantage of almost every day. Sure, some airports might be off-limits for those who are on a serious budget, but fear not. Low-cost airports are aplenty, and one of the most popular ones in England, for example, is Luton Airport.
Our advice to you would be to use a comparison app like Skyscanner, but there are other ways of getting cheap flights, too. One would be to use a VPN or an incognito window on your browser. Believe it or not, most airline sites are able to tell your location, and the UK is considered a rich country, which is why it might be impossible for you to get the best deals if your IP divulges your location.
Another way of getting cheap flights from the UK would be to pack as little as possible. Checked-in luggage makes little to no sense these days, given that so many airlines allow you to take carry-ons that weigh between 15 and 22 lbs with you. Besides, if your dates are flexible, it’s always cheaper to travel on a Tuesday than in other any day of the week.
Tip Number 5. Avoid expensive subscriptions
The problem with most people is that they still rely on their cell phones, music services, and television to feel at ease when they get back home after a hard day’s work. It’s true that every person’s body and brain need to relax once in a while, but these days, the opportunities in this sense are endless.
If you have a Wireless connection in your apartment, you can choose services like Netflix or Now TV instead of paying for cable. You can even call your family and friends via the internet, using either Skype, Hangouts, or Facetime (if you own a MacBook computer). Some video streaming services can be as cheap as 5 pounds per month, and the fact is that satellite television can cost as much as 80 pounds per month, accounting for over 960 pounds per year. You could definitely do with a thousand pounds extra per year, right?