29 September 2014

Cost of first month in London

One question I get asked a lot is, how much does London cost when you first arrive? Its hard to give a straight answer because everyone is different. Some people have family or friends they can stay with, some people are travelling with a friend or partner, some are on their own. Some people have healthy budgets, some are on shoestring budgets. So I've decided to, let you know my own experience and help you out with a simple calculator.

Personally, I saved up a lot to make sure that I had enough to cover me for the first 3 months. I looked at spending about £30-£40 per night at a nice hostel, sharing a dorm with 4 to 8 people max. I was in a hostel for 6 weeks. Most of my money was kept for initial rental deposit (about 1 month or 6 weeks) plus first months rent. I was in a flat share, so this ended up being about £1,500 in 2012. To get an idea of how much a flat share is in areas you would like to live, have a look at Spareroom.com . The UKBA currently asks you to have at least £1,890 in savings when you apply for the Youth Mobility Visa (working holiday visa) - im really not sure what this is based on though.

So, the calculator, this will give you a budget based on 4, 8 or 12 weeks. Simply fill in what you expect to pay for accommodation or want for a weekly spend. Ive put in a rough average in the first line but you can delete and fill in your own. Please bear in mind that this is just a ball park estimate and that you should not rely only on this calculator, or any other calculator for that matter, for financial advice - please do your own research. Having said that, I do hope you find it useful. Do let me know what you think!

Rough average based on:
  • Hostel at £30 per night - this is based on a a shared dorm. Hostel prices can fluctuate between nights, and during the summer months.
  • Oyster card - used on buses, tube, tram, trains between zone 1 & 2 which are most central to London If you are staying further out, prices are here
  • Sim only, prepay freedom freebie from Vodafone (comes with 150 minutes, unlimited local text and 500MB) £20 gets you more so it depends on your use
  • Weekly spend at just under £15 a day (this can be difficult if you don't have cooking facilities)


  1. Fantastic, practical advice - I wish I'd had that when I arrived...!

  2. I had no idea what I wanted to spend when I first arrived. Wished I had read something like this. It was all monopoly money to me and I just chewed through it!

    1. And they say Aussies have monopoly money. Yeah, its tricky when you first arrive, or are trying to plan.