Moving to the UK: Living on a Budget

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2019

Moving to the UK: Living on a Budget

A recent Financial Times article reported that consumer spending in the UK is at its highest since 2005 due, as shown by figures released by The Office for National Statistics. The article outlines that the average monthly UK household spend is £572.60. While the rising cost of living is making it difficult to live on a budget in the UK, there are still things that you can do and resources you can use to help you make your money go that little bit further. We have put these together in this blog post.

House Share

Rental prices in the UK vary depending on where in the UK you move to, of course. London is obviously pricier, with average rental values in the city hitting over £1,000. You are likely to pay less if you rent a room in a house or flat with other people. A useful resource for this is the house-sharing mobile app Spare Room, where you can browse rooms to rent in most UK cities and also look for a flat mate.

Public Transport 

The UK’s rail network is used as the main method of transport in the UK, especially in London. You can get a season ticket from the UK national rail service, which is better value than buying daily train tickets. The season ticket can run for a period of 7 days, one month or up to one year, and you can get further travel discounts if you buy an annual one. You can get information about where and how to buy a season ticket on the National Rail website.

Fuel Costs

There are ways to be savvy when it comes to how much you spend on fuel. You can compare UK petrol and diesel prices on a site called Petrol Prices, which also has a mobile app for when you’re out and about and want to find the cheapest and nearest petrol station. You can also be more fuel-efficient by doing simple things like decluttering your car, keeping your tyres inflated, and turning off air-con at lower speeds.

Money Management Apps 

Budgeting is done properly by knowing what is coming in and out of your account. There are money management mobile apps that allow you to keep track of this. Money Dashboard is an example of one of these. It is an award-winning money management app and budget planner. Using the app, you can store all of your accounts in the one place, have access to data on your spending habits, and use a range of budget trackers.

Discount Retailers 

There are lots of discount retailers in the UK where you can get better value for your money on everyday essentials. These include Tesco, Lidl, Iceland, Home Bargains, The Range, B & M Bargains and Aldi. You will find one close to wherever you are living in the UK, as they have many locations across the country. A popular discount clothing store in the UK is Primark – a fast-fashion retailer that originated in Ireland as Penneys. The biggest Primark store opened in Birmingham in April 2019, where you could spend a full day, as it spans across five floors, has a Disney-themed café, a beauty studio, a barber’s shop, and a massive Harry Potter section.

Budget Eating You can still eat well and have tasty meals without breaking the bank, as there are lots of healthy budget recipes you can try. Social media is a useful resource for finding them. Instagram accounts are good to follow for budget eating. Some include @onepoundmeals, @budgetbytes, @ldncheapeats. You should also visit local food markets in the UK for fresher and cheaper food than is offered by the big supermarket chains. If you want to treat yourself and eat out, check out our blog series on the cheapest food finds in UK cities, including London, Manchester, and Birmingham.

Mobile and Broadband

Make sure to do research on the range of providers and their packages to find the cheapest deals and prices for mobile and broadband. The main broadband providers in the UK include Sky, Virgin, TalkTalk, and BT. You can compare deals and prices for these on a website called Broadband Genie.  The main mobile networks in the UK include O2, Vodafone, Three UK and EE limited. You can compare deals and prices for them at UK mobile phone retailers, for example The Carphone Warehouse.


There are lots of fast-fashion retailers in the UK with reasonable prices, including Primark, New Look, H&M and Pull & Bear. If you’re looking for something even cheaper, you can find hip and trendy bargains at vintage and charity shops. The leading charity shop in the UK is Oxfam – you will find their stores throughout the UK and they also have an online shop.

Instagram is great for budget fashion, with many users on the platform promoting sustainable second-hand clothing. You can get involved in this and find lots of inspiration by following the trending hashtags, which include #thriftedfashion, #secondhandstyle, #budgetfashionista, #budgetfashion, #recycledclothing.

Send My Bag are here to help your budgeting with our international luggage shipping service – a much cheaper choice for when you are moving to the UK and don’t want to fork out on the expense of a removal company.

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