Minimum monthly cost of living in London

Many people wonder, before going to live in London, how much money they will need to spend their first months in the English capital. In reality, it depends on many factors.

Here we will give you an indication of the main expenses you will face, so that you can get an idea of ​​what you will need to live in London.

Going to live in London with a substantial sum of money is very important, because life is very expensive in this city and, if you do not already have a work contract there before going there, it is better to bring enough money with you to avoid going through difficult times.

I know the case of people who have exhausted all their reserves before managing to find a job, to the point of not even being able to pay for the return trip to their country of origin.

They had to start begging and take their meals in reception centres. This is an extreme case that does not fit the majority of situations – because finding a job in the hospitality industry, at least, is quite simple. B

ut this example shows how risky it is to go to London without having a job and demonstrates the importance of the financial reserves that anyone coming to live in the capital of England must have.

As I have already pointed out, calculating the amount of fixed monthly fees required is not easy because these depend on many factors.

But, so that you realize how expensive London can be, we are going to give you an indication of the price of fixed monthly expenses that you will face if you want to reside in this city:

Room rental price (cohabitation in an apartment)£433-500
Charges: water, electricity, gas, internet, counciltax…£50-60
Mobile telephony£10

I imagine that this figure may be scary but, in reality, I think it is even too optimistic. I lived in Colombia, where I spent around 600 euros per month while I went out a lot, which significantly increases the expenses.

Keep in mind that these figures only correspond to the mandatory fixed costs per month. I will now go into the detail of each category and you will realize that I sometimes even underestimated the real cost of living.

Rental prices

If you can find a room to rent in a decent shared flat for £100 a week*, that’s almost a bargain. For less than that, you’ll only find shared rooms.

The normal price for a single room in a shared apartment is between £100 and £150 per week, so £433/month for rent is a fairly low estimate. A flat just for you could cost you £1,000, if it is very small.

*Remember that if you want to calculate the monthly price of an apartment from the price per week, you should not multiply it by 4 but by 52 weeks and then divide the total by 12.

£433 per month corresponds to rent of £100 per week.

Domestic charges

The monthly cost of living in accommodation will depend on the number of people living there and the total common expenses but it seems to me quite reasonable to count around £10 per person for each post. Counciltax is £120 per month per accommodation but is often included in the rental price.

Sometimes, certain costs are also included in the rent, such as internet for example, which allows you to save money at least at this level, but it also means that your rent will be a little higher because, whether the internet is not included in the price, you will still end up having to pay for it, like everything else.

Generally £483 for a room including all charges is a bargain and hard to come by. This is why this figure is ultimately quite optimistic. If you want to live in a good area of ​​the center, expect to pay a lot more.


As far as transport is concerned, the sum of £126 corresponds to the monthly price of a zone 1-2 travelcard in 2017. This price increases every year. Living in zone 1 or 2 is quite usual.

If you are going to live in zone 3 or 4, your rent will decrease slightly but the price of public transport will be higher and the total will be substantially the same.

On the other hand, you could pay a little less if you avoid the metro and travel only by bus, for example. A travelcard valid only on buses is worth £81.50 (2017) and is valid for all zones.


Food is a very difficult expense to estimate because it depends on how much you eat, what you buy and where you shop, but £150-200 can be enough , as long as you do normal shopping including vegetables and not too much meat, which is quite expensive.

Here, obviously, I consider that you will eat at home and shop in the cheapest supermarkets. If you plan to eat out, you will spend a lot more money each month.

If you like good restaurants, the sum you will need can be multiplied by two or three, because in London, good food is expensive.

Mobile telephony

And as far as mobile phones are concerned, I think that’s a subject that I know quite well and I must say that a rate for calls and data packs like the one offered by Giffgaff (at £10) , you won’t find it anywhere else.

Today, it is almost impossible to live without a mobile phone and you will not be able to save money at this level either.

Especially since London is a big city and it is therefore impossible to find someone if you are not connected to your phone.

I tried to live without it in New York and after a week I had to buy one because I couldn’t find the friends I was meeting with.

Finally, remember that these figures represent only the minimum monthly expenses required to subsist, without buying toiletries, without shopping or going out for drinks with the friends you will soon make.

If you plan on going out, partying, eating out, sightseeing and sightseeing a lot, you are obviously going to spend a lot more, as a night out in London can cost upwards of £60-70.

London is a very expensive city and it is very important to come with a substantial reserve of money to be able to cope with at least three months of living in the place, no matter what. At least that’s what I always recommend.

The best is to come with £4,000, which will allow you to spend about 3 months without problems before finding work.

Don’t forget that in the first month you will also have to pay the deposit for your accommodation and that you will need a few weeks to find your feet, which means that you will spend more.

I also advise you to put £100 aside, in order to be able to pay for a return ticket if necessary.

Finally, I would add that if you don’t have a good level of English, you won’t find a job paying more than the interprofessional minimum wage, which is £6-7 per hour.

If you want, you can quickly calculate the number of working hours needed per day just to cover the basic expenses needed to live in London. Many people finally realize that they are only in London to work and cannot enjoy the city.

This article is not intended to discourage you, because the experience of life in London is really worth it, but I also want to warn all those who would like to try the adventure because, often, we forget to do some simple calculations and problems happen quickly.