moving to london budget feature

Moving to London Budget and how to create yours

Are you trying to create your own Moving to London Budget but aren’t sure where to start? Keep reading to find out how much moving to London can cost, what you need to plan for on arrival and how to calculate your very own Moving to London Budget.

We’ll start by stating the obvious – setting up life in London isn’t cheap. In fact it’s well known that London is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in. ‘Says who’ you ask? Well, say a lot of people, including The Economist, Mercer and ECA Insternational. So it’s vital to have a budgeting plan before you move.

Unless you’re an absolute budgeting champion (we salute you!), chances are that you’ve left saving up for your move to London until pretty last minute. Hey, we get it. Who wants to adult when there are so many other, much more fun things to focus your time on.

So, we’re going to take one for the team and help you out because unfortunately, setting up a ‘Moving to London’ budget is a crucial part of planning for your move to London.

Let’s break it down into the most important things that you need to think about.

Disclaimer: The info below is for general informational purposes only. We are in no way giving out legal, accounting or other professional advice so if you do need expert advice, please seek the services of a professional.

moving to london budget details


First thing’s first. Before you start a savings plan, you need to work out how much money you’ll actually need to move. We don’t need to point out why this differs for everyone, since we all arrive in completely different circumstances, from different parts of the world, with different lifestyles and expectations.

What we can do is point you in the right direction of what you need to think about when setting up your own ‘Moving to London’ budget.

Side note: The upcoming 2019 Moving to London Guide goes into detail of how much setting up in London costs, including a workbook for you to complete yourself, helping you set up your own budget. It’s due for release in September 2019 – sign up to the London New Girl newsletter for updates.

Short-Term Accommodation

When you first get to London, you’re going to need a place to stay. There are plenty of options out there – take a look at the Finding short-term accommodation in London article for some ideas. Once you know what kind of accommodation you’re after, do a little research to see how much it’ll set you back. You can expect to pay from £20 p/night for a hostel dorm bed up to £150+ p/night for a decent hotel.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to book short-term accommodation for at least two weeks minimum, to give yourself time to find something more permanent. One month would be more ideal – time is your friend when it comes to finding somewhere new to live.

Basic Needs

Be sure to put aside some of your ‘Moving to London’ budget for a few basic things that you probably couldn’t fit in your suitcase but 100% need. Think along the lines of toiletries, bedding, towels, celebratory bottle of gin, etc. etc.

Be careful not to underestimate here – something like bedding alone can set you back over £150 once you add up the duvet, pillows, sheets, covers and cushions. Most UK rental contracts require you to have a mattress protector too! Take a closer look at our Renting in London Guide to find out more.

moving to london budget finding job

Finding a Job

If you’re moving to London without a job – firstly, bravo you! It’s a scary thing to do but once you’re set up you’ll feel so proud for making it work.

Secondly – remember that if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. You’ll need to add a serious buffer into your Moving to London budget to make sure you don’t run out of money before your first paycheck.

Tip: Most companies in London have one payroll run per month meaning even after you start your job, it could take a month or longer for your first paycheck. Set up your NIN and bank account as soon as you land to keep delays to a minimum.

How long it takes to find a job in London varies from person to person. It completely depends on what industry you work in, how specialised your job is, how picky you are about finding the perfect role, etc. You get the drift. In very general terms, aim for at least 2-3 months spending money as back-up while you look for a job. Obviously the more you can save, the better and it’ll help to take some pressure off when you first arrive.


In London you’re generally required to pay a month’s rent in advance plus a bond equal to 1-2 months’ rent when you move into a new place. So basically you should be prepared to pay up to 3 months’ rent upfront. Some real estate agencies also charge you an administration fee which is usually around £150-300.

The average size of most flats in London is 43m². Meaning there’s really not that much space to cram your entire life into. Since renting your own flat is quite expensive, most young Londoners share their flats to save on rent. That’s why so many Londoners living in a share house decide to rent self-storage facilities in London. Storage facilities act as a temporary home for your belongings. It’s a great way to avoid living in a cluttered shared house and saves you the hassle of playing Tetris with your stuff.

Once you find a flat, you may also have some other upfront costs. From setting up your utilities, internet and phone, to paying council taxes and buying essential household items that you’re missing. Moving into a share house where everything is already set up can save a lot of hassle and money. Plus it’s a great way to meet new people too!

For a complete breakdown of rental costs you can expect in London visit our Renting in London Guide.


London truly has an excellent public transport network. For all the horror of riding the Central Line in peak hour, you can’t deny that the tube is fast and (mostly) efficient at getting you where you need to go. Then there’s the gloriously air-conditioned overground, not to mention over 700 bus routes.

The most cost-efficient way of travelling is to use your contactless credit/debit card. However, if you don’t have a UK bank account then an Oyster card will help to avoid international bank charges every time you travel. It costs £5 but if you ever want to hand the card back then the £5 is refundable.

If you’re planning on travelling most days, budget for £35.10 per week. This is the 2019 weekly fare cap for using public transport within Zone 1 and 2.

moving to london calculations


What does this all mean in real dollar (or pound) terms? We all vary with our lifestyle costs, so think of it as more of a calculation. Keeping in mind all the info above, you basically want to cover your rent + general spending money.

Let’s summarise the above so you can easily pull together your own total. The below is based on a 3 months’ buffer between arriving in London and getting your first paycheck.

Accommodation1 month short-term accommodation
Basic NeedsToiletries, bedding, winter coat, anything else you need to buy to survive when you first arrive
Spending MoneyCover your costs for 3 months including groceries, toiletries, eating out and general socialising
Rent2 months’ rent
Rent BondUp to 2 months’ rent
Transport3 months of transport
Total(this one’s for you to calculate)


This article is designed to provide information on moving to London and should only be used as a general guide and not as the ultimate source of information on budgeting for moving to London. The information provided within this article is for general informational purposes only. It is posted with the understanding that neither the author or website are engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

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