The ‘B’ Word
Whichever money personality traits you have, there is one simple truth about budgeting – if you spend more than you earn then your plans are not going to be sustainable long-term. You’ve probably heard a lot of things about living in England and one of them can be true – London can be a very expensive place to live, especially if you don’t pay close attention to, and keep track of, your income and expenses. However, London isn’t all of England (there are many more affordable and nice places to live) and, even if your heart is set on London, you don’t have to be at the top of the pay scale to make it work – you just have to be a bit smart about how you spend your money and you’ll still be able to enjoy all the things that motivated you to make the move (travel probably being the biggest one – see our travel blogs for ideas and tips on how to get some great deals).
So, where should you start? Well, even before you know where you will be living and working, there are a few things you can do to start working out a budget:
- Create a simple excel spreadsheet with 2 sections (income and expenditure) or google and download a simple budget spreadsheet – there are heaps out there so choose one that suits you.
- Do everything in pounds – don’t convert back into your own currency as you’ll be earning and spending in pounds, so any conversion is irrelevant unless you’re planning to save some money to bring home at the end.
- You’re going to want to work out a monthly budget as that will be the frequency of your salary and most likely the frequency of your rent payment. This can be a bit of an adjustment in itself as you’re probably used to being paid fortnightly and paying either weekly or fortnightly rent/mortgage payments so having a little buffer when you first get there will be a BIG help until you are used to the longer wait between pays.
Obviously, you won’t yet know what your exact income is going to be but talk to your Point to Point Education Consultant about the UK pay scales and they can give you an idea of what to expect based on your experience and the location(s) in which you are thinking of teaching. Once you’ve got an idea of that, you can use this link to work out what your monthly net income is going to be.
This is the key. Getting some reasonably accurate estimates for your main living expenses so you can work out what you’ve got left to spend on enjoying your non-teaching time.
Unless you’re living with family or friends who don’t want to charge you market rent (how lucky are you?) this almost certainly will be your biggest fixed expense. You should get an idea of what sort of accommodation your £ will rent you in different areas so you can start forming an idea of what to expect. The following sites are very useful and have been used by lots of our teachers (btw – ‘PCM’ = per calendar month):
- Right Move
- Crenns Properties – specific to West London area
- Arrive Homes – specific to East London
Most places in England have very good rail and bus networks so unless you’re looking at living in the middle of nowhere, you aren’t going to need a car. Each area will have its own bus and rail information so talk to your P2P Consultant about this if you’re going to be outside London.
If you’re in London, the cost of your train travel will depend a lot on the zones you will travel through. Here are a couple of links to get you started:
Food and groceries
This is an area which should be a bit cheaper than what you’re used to if you are coming from NZ or Australia. The economy of scale makes a lot of things much more affordable and if you are smart about where you shop you can really keep your regular shopping costs down. Here are a few supermarket links – work out a rough average based on what you’ll want to have in the fridge and pantry:
This can be a tough one as some rentals (especially if you are renting a room) will build the power and water into the rental cost. Do a bit of research on the rental links to see the difference in cost between leases that are inclusive and ones that are exclusive. You can also use the index below to give you an idea of stand-alone utility costs.
General cost index
Numbeo is an online database which provides up to date average prices for lots of everyday goods and services in cities all around the world. Things such as a pint at your local, a meal out or a trip to the cinema are all things you might want to make a “spending” allowance for each month. Here’s the link to the London Numbeo page.
Unless you have children or pets, there shouldn’t be much else you’ll need to add in for your England budget; which means the surplus you’ve created can be put towards getting out and enjoying your adventure!