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Understanding the Cost of Living in the UK 2023: a Guide to Managing Your Finances


If you’re considering moving to the UK but are uncertain about the associated living expenses, or haven’t decided on which location to move to, this article can provide some helpful information. While the cost of moving to a new country can be challenging to estimate precisely, it’s worth exploring the cost of living in different areas of the UK to get a better idea of what to expect.

There are various costs associated with moving to the UK, including visa fees, the immigration health surcharge, and the cost of living. It’s important to research and budget for these costs. Our article covers everything related to tech visas costs.

The cost of living in the UK can be relatively high compared to some other countries, but it also depends on the specific location within the UK and the lifestyle of the individual. For example, London is generally more expensive than other parts of the country, with higher housing costs, food prices, and transportation expenses. However, there are also many affordable areas in the UK where the cost of living is lower. Additionally, the UK offers a range of options for entertainment and leisure activities, which can vary in price, but overall are not considered overly expensive. Ultimately, whether the UK is considered an expensive country depends on individual circumstances and factors such as income level, location, and lifestyle choices.

This article presents the main typical costs associated with daily necessities for comfortable living in the UK. By examining these expenses, individuals can assess how their budget may be impacted and develop effective financial management strategies.

Let’s start with the basics. Accommodation in the UK

Housing is one of the most significant costs for people living in the UK. Whether someone is renting or buying, the cost of housing can vary widely depending on the property’s location, size, and quality. According to recent data from UK Government «Private rental market summary statistics in England: October 2021 to September 2022», the median monthly rent in England between October 2021 and September 2022 reached an all-time high of £800. This represents a substantial increase in rental costs across the country. Notably, London had the highest median monthly rent at £1,475, nearly double the national median. Conversely, the North East had the lowest median monthly rent at £525, highlighting the significant regional variation in rental prices.

There are many areas across the UK where rental homes are available within the range of £500 to £800 per month. The rental price varies depending on factors such as location, size, and type of property. By conducting research on affordable rental options in different areas, you can find a suitable rental home that fits within your budget.

In London, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom flat is £2,090 . Rental costs for one-bedroom flats vary depending on the borough’s level of affluence. For instance, if you choose to reside in Southwark, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment would be £2,310 . However, if you opt for areas situated on the outskirts of the city, such as Catford and Streatham, the average monthly rental cost for a one-bedroom flat would be significantly lower at £1000 . Goodlord reports that in Catford, located in southeast London, the typical monthly rent is £980, and it takes only 11 minutes by train to reach London Bridge. In contrast, Northampton, located in the East Midlands, requires a longer train journey of 52 minutes to reach Euston, with an average monthly rent of £700.

As a general trend, rental costs tend to decrease as you move further north. For instance, in Stoke, the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom property starts from £550- £895, which is significantly less than the monthly rental cost of a similar-sized property in London, by over £4,000.

Many IT founders and specialists choose to live in the area named Shoreditch. It is a technology hub located in the East End of London, known for its vibrant startup scene and innovative tech companies. Often referred to as the “Silicon Valley” of London, Shoreditch has become a popular destination for entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts alike. The area is home to many coworking spaces, accelerators, and incubators, providing ample opportunities for collaboration and networking within the tech community. Additionally, the area’s creative and artistic culture has fostered a community of tech entrepreneurs and designers who are keen to disrupt traditional industries with new and innovative ideas. As of 2022, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Shoreditch is around £2,000-£2,600. However, prices can vary depending on the type of property, its location within the area, and the specific amenities and features it offers. For instance, a studio flat in Shoreditch could be rented for around £1,550-£1,900 per month, while a larger two-bedroom apartment may cost upwards of £3,500 per month.

Another tech hub is located in Old Street, an area that used to be known as the “Silicon Roundabout” of London due to the high concentration of startups and tech companies located here. However, in recent years, the area has also transformed into a cultural center with many restaurants, bars, and shops. A two-bedroom flat is priced from £2600, while a studio costs from £2100.

For those looking to buy a property, the average cost of a house in the UK is around £256,000, but again, prices vary depending on the location.

Another essential expense for people living in the UK is food.

The cost of food in the UK can vary significantly depending on the type of food, where it is purchased, and where in the UK you are located. According to the ONS(Office for National Statistics), the average household in the UK spends around £60 per week on food and non-alcoholic beverages . However, this can vary significantly depending on the area and lifestyle of the individual. For example, those who choose to eat out regularly will spend more on food than those who prepare meals at home. Here is a list of some typical food prices you can expect in the UK:

Milk: A liter of milk costs around £0.90-£1.20 depending on the brand and location.

Bread: A loaf of bread can cost between £0.50-£2.50 depending on the type and brand.

Eggs: A dozen eggs cost around £1.50-£3 depending on the brand and whether they are free-range or not.

Fresh vegetables: Prices for fresh vegetables can vary significantly depending on the season and location, but a few examples include a head of lettuce for around £0.60-£1.50, a bag of carrots for around £0.50-£1, and a bunch of bananas for around £0.70-£1.

Meat: Meat prices also vary depending on the type and quality. For example, a pack of chicken breasts can cost around £3-£6, a pack of beef mince for around £2-£6, and a pack of pork chops for around £3-£8.

Fish: The cost of fish can vary depending on the type and whether it is fresh or frozen. For example, a pack of fresh salmon fillets can cost around £5-£10, while a pack of frozen fish fingers can cost around £1.50-£3.

Ready meals: Ready meals can be a convenient option, but they can also be more expensive than cooking from scratch. A single ready meal can cost between £2-£5, depending on the brand and type.

Eating out: Eating out in the UK can also vary in cost, depending on the restaurant and location. For example, a typical meal at a fast food chain can cost around £5-£10, while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around £39-£100 for 2 people, about 20-40 for 1 person.

It’s important to note that these prices are just a general guide, and prices can vary widely depending on factors such as location, availability, and seasonality. Additionally, prices may be higher in more affluent areas or tourist hotspots, while supermarkets and discount stores may offer lower prices.


Transport costs in the UK can vary depending on the mode of transport and the location. Here is a detailed guide to help you understand the different options and their costs. In London, for example, the cost of a single bus or train journey is around £1.75-£2.50, while a daily travelcard can cost up to £15.00. For those who drive, the cost of petrol is around £1.47-£2.20 per litre, depending on the area.

Public Transport:

The UK has an extensive public transport network, including buses, trains, and the London Underground. The cost of public transport varies depending on the location and the type of transport used.

Buses: In most cities and towns, a single bus fare costs around £2.50. Some areas offer discounts if you use a smart card or buy a weekly or monthly pass.

Trains: Train fares can vary greatly depending on the distance traveled, the time of day, and whether you buy your ticket in advance. For example, a one-way ticket from London to Manchester can cost between £60 and £180, depending on the time of day and how far in advance you book.

London Underground: The London Underground is the most expensive form of public transport in the UK. A single journey in Zone 1 costs £2.50 with an Oyster Card, and up to £6.30 if you buy a paper ticket.


Taxis are available in most cities and towns in the UK, and they can be a convenient way to get around. However, they are also the most expensive form of transport.

Black cabs: Black cabs are licensed taxis that can be hailed on the street. They charge a minimum fare of around £3.20 and then around £2.20 per mile.

Private hire: Private hire taxis can be booked in advance, and they generally offer lower fares than black cabs. The cost can vary depending on the distance traveled and the time of day.

Utility bills

Utility bills, including gas, electricity, and water, are another essential expense for people living in the UK. The cost of these bills can vary depending on the area and the size of the property.

The average yearly gas and electricity bill for a direct debit customer with ‘typical’ energy consumption levels will be £2,500 from October 2022 to March 2023. This represents a 27% increase compared to the summer 2022 price cap and a 96% increase compared to winter 2021/22 price cap. The maximum limit for the energy price cap was set to increase to £3,000 annually from April onwards. However, the government has now announced that it will remain at the current level for the next three months. The Chancellor has stated that this move will save an average household approximately £160. The energy price cap will continue to be enforced until April 2024.

Healthcare is also an essential expense for people living in the UK.

Non-UK citizens applying for a visa that allows them to stay in the UK for more than six months are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Introduced in 2015 by the UK government, the IHS is meant to help fund the National Health Service (NHS).

The current cost of the IHS is £624 per year for each person. For instance, for the duration of a five-year Global Talent Visa, the IHS fee would be £3,120. The IHS fee has been steadily increasing every year, with a significant increase occurring in 2018, doubling from the previous year. UK government officials attribute this increase to the country’s rising healthcare costs. It is worth mentioning that the UK’s healthcare system is one of the most efficient worldwide, and medical professionals in the UK are always available to provide quality medical care to long-term immigrants who have paid their IHS insurance fee.

The IHS fee covers the applicant’s access to the NHS (National Health Service) during their stay in the UK, including access to general practitioners (GPs), hospital treatment, and emergency services.

In conclusion, the cost of living in the UK can vary greatly depending on various factors such as location, lifestyle, and family size. While some parts of the UK have relatively high living costs, such as London and some posh boroughs, other areas such as the north and outskirts of cities can be more affordable. However, it’s worth considering that lower prices may also mean a lower standard of living, and vice versa. Overall, it’s important to budget and plan carefully when moving to the UK to ensure that you can comfortably cover your expenses and maintain a good quality of life.

If you are considering moving to the UK on a tech visa ( Global Talent, Innovator Founder Visa), we recommend taking our compliance test to learn about your eligibility. We also offer a free consultation where you can learn about all the features and details. And don’t forget that the best way to understand the peculiarities of a country, its culture, traditions, and cost of living is by moving to it.