Londoners disagree on whether you can survive in the capital on £20.5k

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In a recent study conducted by Global mobility company, ECA International London was found to be the 4th most expensive city in the world. Now, sure this might upset some Londoners, who believe that London should be number one in every metric – but what does it actually mean for ordinary people.

This was a quandary that has been tussled with by many, does London, especially with the cost of living crisis raging in the background, have a salary cap? Is there a minimum amount of money you need to earn in order to live in the capital, and if so, what is it?

These questions were recently grappled by the users of r/London on Reddit when a poster asked if the subreddit thought that £20.5k was enough money to survive in the Big Smoke. The common amount bandied around in order to ‘live comfortably’ in London is £50,000. This seems like an incredible sum for some and pocket change for others, such is the disparity between London residents. So do the Londoners believe that someone can live in the capital on much less than half that amount?

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London has the highest cost of living score in the top 10
London has the highest cost of living score in the top 10

The original post on the forum reads: “Hiya. So in my job, I make £20.5k a year but I also work from home and so therefore would have no commute. Do you think I could reasonably survive in London? Obv in a studio or flatshare I mean. Anyone have any tips? What’s the minimum amount I can aim to save before going?”

The answer is a mixed one, some say that they wouldn’t attempt to move to London on that amount, while others who they would consider it has caveats and advice.

People who believe it’s not a good idea to come to the capital explained their reasons: “I wouldn’t come here on £20k personally. After food, bills, rent (and you’ll likely need the upper level of room cost because WFH generally needs a decent amount of space unless you want to go mad) the amount you’re left with every month won’t give you that much to even enjoy living here and doing stuff.” Another put: “You could survive, but you couldn’t really live.”

A third added: “When I started my grad job I was on £30-32k and I still struggled quite a bit. I think on £20k you will be budgeting A LOT and won’t be able to enjoy yourself, especially with the cost of living going up. Your rent and bills (especially if you’re WFH) will eat into most of your salary and you’ll be forced to cook everyday so even going out to eat will be quite difficult.

“In my honest opinion, I would avoid unless you can move on about £28k-30k. Of course, I do like going out/doing a lot of things in London and have my expenses like gym membership to go swimming etc, so if you’re ultra conservative about living and spending money then you might just about survive .

“My opinion above is still the same though, even if you live a minimalist lifestyle and don’t go out often, I still think £20k isn’t enough to not have to ‘worry’, especially with the current economic climate.”

Others reckon its possible but with some serious consideration needing to be made on behalf of the original poster: “You could do, in a house share. Studio won’t be an option. £20k is £17k after tax, that’s £1400 a month.

“If you’re happy to have no savings at all then you could live in London, maybe a few things a week, a night out every two weeks, 1/2 meals out a month etc. But you will have literally nothing left over at the end of the month. If you work from home seriously consider if you could live somewhere else.”

Another slightly more positive comment said: “Very doable. Just cap your rent at £500/550 with bills. Don’t spend mindlessly on silly things like expensive dinners or clothes. Plan your holidays around cheap flights/accommodation. Find a local group of friends in a similar financial situation so you can go to the regular cheap place and don’t feel pressured to spend more + cheaper commute. Cook your own meals. £20.5k after tax is £1450.

“If you pay £500 rent, that’s £950 left. If someone says that you will be living a peasant life with £950 after rent, then they have a problem budgeting, but if you are reasonable you will be fine.”

However, the majority of comments seemed to think that living in London would be incredibly difficult on £20k. Most seem to put the figure for living an ok lifestyle at around the £30-32k mark.

Have a story you think we should be covering? Email rory.bennett@reachplc.com.



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Read More:Londoners disagree on whether you can survive in the capital on £20.5k