How much money should you save before moving to London?

How much should you save before moving to London

Money is a touchy subject, but I know how much of a constant brain freeze this was when I moved over so I am going to put it all out there for you guys. As I said in my previous money post, what I write below is just my opinion and of course everyone does London in their own way; if you have your own thoughts and suggestions please leave them in the comments below for everyone to read.

Well, you want to move to London because you saw that Amanda Bynes movie and you have had The Clash stuck in your head each day as you trudge to work. But what do you actually need to save before you come over? Of course it is easier if you have friends over here, because crashing on their couch when you first arrive will save you some serious cash – but as long as you are prepared it will all be ok. I mean, cold and full of people who laugh at you when you say deck, but ok nonetheless.

When you are saving for London the temptation is to go for the best case scenario. Get a job in the first month, start earning pounds and then you can spend your remaining ‘move over’ savings on travel. Well I did the first part of that, but then managed to burn through my savings just surviving. What I hadn’t taken into account is that even if you manage to get the job in the first month (not guaranteed), then a lot of the time the person currently in the role still has a months’ notice to work out. So you don’t even start working for two months. And most annoyingly even once you have started work in most places it will take another month before you get paid. That is best case scenario three months without income.

To add to that shitstorm of no income, if you plan on getting a flat during that first three months you also need to take the bond into account (around 6 weeks rent) plus rent in advance. As well as feeding yourself, buying interview clothes if you didn’t bring any over, losing money when you transfer it from NZ to the UK and having enough money to sightsee a little to stop yourself falling into a vat of depression and anxiety during the job search.

The impossible figure I would recommend is $10,000, which at the current exchange rate works out to be £5,795. You can thank Brexit for that exchange rate, when I moved over I only got £4,900 for the pleasure. That is $10,000 when you leave NZ, so you will need to add your visa ($300-$800 at the moment), flights and leaving party costs on top.

How far will that £5,500ish get you? Let’s break it down like a bad 90’s rapper. The numbers below were my situation, so five years old and completely different to what you may end up doing.

Moving to London budget

*I was meant to stay with my sister for a full month, but we nearly killed each other after a few days so I did the next best thing. I found a short term let (the girl was going traveling for two months) so I could at least be stable while I tried to find a job. I seriously recommend short term lets, they help you get used to London life before you commit to a lease.

**Food is very expensive when you first arrive, you might not have a kitchen to cook from scratch and even if you do you get stuck shopping at the closest shop rather than the cheap ones.

***come on, you just arrived in London. You have to go to a show or a museum or something to prove that you are here, that you did it.

Just with the above you have chewed through half your savings. Want to do a trip or job search takes longer then it gets quite hard. Not impossible, just hard.

Should anything I have written in this post stop you from achieving you dream of living in London? Shiny fucktrumpets no. You just need to be more prepared or have a backup plan. If you can’t even dream of saving $10,000 then just make sure you find a job (even a temporary one) before you come over, or find a cheap form of accommodation for the first month or so. Don’t have a friends couch to crash on? Scour the Kiwis in London Facebook page to find a short term let from day 1. Nothing is impossible, it just pays to be realistic and prepared in case it doesn’t go your way.

How much did you save before moving to London?

5 Comments

  1. Chloe
    February 2, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    Yep! My husband and I saved about $12,000 I think between us which broke my heart when we converted it. We, thankfully, still left some money back in NZ so we have a cushion for when we return!
    Anyway we struggled from August til October then we were super broke all October until I got my first paycheck (celebration!) and then tight ship until he landed a job too and then 2016 started off well and a year later we are loving London life.
    Definitely recommend saving, saving, saving before coming over. The more the better.

  2. February 2, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    I had equilivant of £4,500 when I moved here (and a back up credit card if it all went terribly wrong). Think I had used around £3,800 including rent in advance and deposits by the time I got my first job (in saying this, I had use of an air bed for my first 5 weeks and that was invaluable. I was a bit selective with the job hunt and got a job around week 5 but couldn’t start till week 8 or 9. It is definitely not a cheap move but well worth it when you arrive. Your advice was very similar to my experience of arriving here a year ago!

  3. February 8, 2017 / 7:17 am

    My partner and I saved about $30k, which included a Busabout trip on our way over there, but after 2 months in Europe, getting a flat was very expensive! Luckily I had a job lined up before I got to England.
    £900 bond + £900 rent in advance + £180 x 2 persons for a letting fee (ripoff!) at a 2:1 exchange rate made that savings disappear rapidly!
    A friend of mine had to pay SIX MONTHS rent (~£6000) in advance because he didn’t have a job yet. That is probably a worst case scenario and personally I would have said no and found something else, but when you’re in need of a roof…

  4. Julie
    February 9, 2017 / 1:41 am

    I’m moving over in four weeks, your blog is amazing. Thank you!

  5. Charlotte
    February 10, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    I had roughly 10k NZD saved, but I (perhaps stupidly) did a 2 week holiday in California (including going to Coachella) on my way over which halved that, the whole thing ended up being much more than I anticipated and had only about 4-5 GBP once i arrived, and the majority went on bond and first month’s rent as soon as I got there, so I was basically instantly broke and my lovely parents had to save my ass for the first 2 or 3 months, which were ridiculously hard. I cried more than I laughed.

    Basically: Save as much as you can and then save some more on top. Money goes stupidly fast here. It’s all worth it though once you start earning.