Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Cost of Living in the UK: the cheap student version

It's hard to address the issue of budgeting because everyone's lifestyle expectations are a little different. Your specific location will also be factor. For instance, these figures are based on our life in Edinburgh. I imagine you would have difficulty getting by on this little in London. The point is to show that it is possible to get by on a small budget in the UK, if you need to.

Housing: £475/month (This was a pretty good deal when we arrived. We have found that many friends pay around £550. However, we have recently noticed more and more flat prices falling down into the £400's. Don't forget to explore alternative options too. Are you or your spouse interested in nannying? Being a caretaker? Helping at a B&B? Check out my post on how to avoid paying for housing. There are options out there for free housing. We would have done this ourselves had they been interested in taking us with a baby on the way.)

Food: £30/week (This is not easy, but it is possible, depending on the stores you have available. We eat healthily and we think it's tasty, but it's not particularly luxurious. We eat meat only a couple nights a week (sometimes less). We do not eat out, except on a VERY rare occasions. And, I plan our meals and grocery list pretty scrupulously each week to avoid unneeded items and to ensure that nothing is being wasted. For people with less time/interest in scrimping, £40-£50 might be a more reasonable figure. Sometime, maybe I'll do a post on cheap menus especially crafted for life in the UK...)

Electricity/Gas: £60/month (We used the heat pretty sparingly this winter before the baby came. Not so much afterward... I think that's a fairly good average of summer and winter months, though.)

Water/Sewer/Garbage: £0 (This is covered under the Council Tax, which as you'll remember from this post Council Tax Exemption for Students and Spouses, you are not responsible for paying. Yay!)

Phone/Internet: £30/month

Diapers (a.k.a. Nappies): £3.33/week
(Thanks to ASDA!)

Other Toilettries/Household Items: £10/month

Transportation: £10/month or less (We really do walk just about everywhere. No need for a car.)

The total here is £8755/year for a family of three. And, of course, this does not include tuition which, depending where you are studying will probably be around £10,000/year.

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