Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Cost of Moving to the UK: the cheap student version

Budgeting is a tricky issue because people have such different ideas about what is necessary when making a move like this. Below I am going to detail what we did: the cheapskate way. Keep in mind, my husband and I take a certain pleasure in roughing it a little. Then again, our budget was incredibly small so we just spent according to our means. Here is roughly what we spent (this is for travel in 2008--prices will likely have altered):

US Passports: $100/each = $200

UK Visas: $214/each = $428

Storage of belongings: $0 (Our parents were very generous with their attics. Also, we sold all but our nice furniture on Craigslist and made close to $1000 to help fund our trip.)

Shipping of belongings: $0 (We just decided that what we couldn't fit in our suitcase we could do without. We've missed a few things, but nothing we couldn't pick up here or just accept not having for a couple of years. If you're planning to ship, you might find this website helpful.)

One-way Plane Tickets: $470/each = $940 (Of course this depends entirely on the rates of the day. We've found Cheapoair to have pretty consistently low prices, though.)

Miscellany: $50? (Power converters, adapters, maps, etc.)

2-Nights in a Hostel: £24/each = £48 (It took us 2 days of pretty dedicated searching to find a flat. Thank you Gumtree!)

Bus fare for first 2 days: £8/each = £16 (We took a bus from the airport and then bought day-passes on the bus to get around the city for flat-hunting.)

Food for first 2 days: £22/each = £44 (We hit grocery stores for breakfast & lunch & very cheap hole-in-the-walls for dinner. P.S. Check with your airline--most airlines still serve meals on international flights!)

Setting up house: £50? (With a furnished flat we didn't need much.)

Phone & internet setup: £30

Housing Deposit: £200 (We were a little lucky--I think most people have to deposit a whole month's rent in advance. Also, we rented privately through Gumtree and so we didn't have to pay a rental agency fee--usually around £50 or £75.)

I don't think I've left anything out! So, the grand total (give or take a little for exchange rate variations) is $2234 for two people. And, subtract from that the nearly $1000 we made from hocking our unwanted belongings on Craigslist and you have a very cheap move indeed! (Oh yeah, don't forget that we did have to buy new plane tickets after our visas didn't come in time, but you shouldn't have to do that...)

Obviously, there is a LOT more you could spend, especially if you plan to ship anything, stay in hotels instead of hostels, and eat out a lot while flat-hunting. Perhaps sometime I'll do a non-cheapskate's guide to moving. Until then, take heart: you don't have to spend a bundle unless you want to!

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1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this guide. Clears up so many questions I had. Thank you so much.