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How much...?

(5 Posts)
Vi8 Fri 16-Sep-11 13:31:23

How much or how little do you think you'd need to live on per month, frugally but decently, in London, excluding the mortgage? Bills, food, car and a couple of extra school activities for the kids?

bacon Fri 16-Sep-11 13:59:00

Bit of a question as you havent supplied the family, age, distanes for car, finance, what bills, are you both working full time?

I think food you need to allow £400 - £500pm I still struggle to see how anyone can eat £40pw. There are endless extras you need to fill up the essential cupboards. It would depend on the age of your children too. We get through near enough a loaf a day of quality wholemeal and pints and pints of milk. The packed lunches are large and full of quality foods. I have tried endlessly to be more frugal but still need all the extras and no way do I buy crap.

Car - £250pm incl insurance, tax, mot but would depend on mileage wouldnt it? Bills say £600, kids extra say £40 per child pm, you havent mentioned clothes and necessry extras which has to cost £20pw. - got to be min £1500 hasnt it?

Have no idea for london - there must be a % extra on this.

Vi8 Fri 16-Sep-11 14:06:16

yes, £1500 sounds about right, unfortunately...

becstarsky Fri 16-Sep-11 14:35:54

We live in London relatively frugally but very comfortably.

I'm afraid I haven't added this up properly to give you a monthly figure, but then some of these costs might not even apply to you-
Fuel/Utility Bills - I imagine you're going to pay the same as out of London - Only good thing is that our tiny London flat it costs less to heat it, and we get heat coming up through our floorboards from our profligate downstairs neighbours! grin
Phone - I have a mobile and spend £15 per month on it. DH has one via his company so don't pay for it out of family income. We don't have a landline. Broadband is also paid by DH's company.
Travel/Car - DH pays £2,208 per year for Zone 1 and 2 travel card to get to work, I top up my Oyster with £5 per week, but mostly walk everywhere, DS is free on Tube and bus and he mostly walks everywhere with me too. We own a car but only use it about once every couple of months - insurance on it is £300 per year, tax is same as outside London, can't remember how much the MOT cost. We probably spend about £20 per month on petrol, once you average it out. If you live in central London, owning a car is more of a luxury item, but we like to go camping so... Anyway...
Food - we spend £70 per week inc. delivery charges. Eating out is pricey in London so we don't do it too often. We have picnics in the park a lot through the summer, and 'pot lucks' with friends in the winter.
After school activities - if you research you can find cheaper good options e.g. our local theatre after school drama class is £35 per term. But DS has voted to give up organised 'after school' in favour of going to the adventure playground, the library, playing football with friends in the park, or to a gallery/museum. I take DS swimming after school twice a week (£5 each time for me, free for him). DS has a school lunch - prices are similar in London to state schools in rest of country for that - we paid £68 this term.
Clothes - I splurge about £300 once a year on myself, spend about £100 a year on DSs clothes (uniform and school shoes - luckily he gets bags of outgrown clothes from friends who all seem to have older boys). DH spends about the same as me.
Basically if you have lots of time London can be very cheap - masses of parks, museums, free children's activities, good libraries, sports facilities. But if you don't have the time to research your area it can be very expensive. I started a blog about what's free/cheap for families in London and have been sorely neglecting it.... Must get back to it, I had a whole list of things to put up there

AgonyBeetle Fri 16-Sep-11 17:03:12

Bills will depend on the size of your house, obviously. But you should be able to get dual fuel on a 3-bed house for under £100pm, as long as you're not running the heating constantly.

Food: You can feed a family of 5 for £400 a month, if you put your mind to it, including household stuff. It's possibly cheaper in London than in the sticks because you have access to a greater range of supermarkets and shops, though obv you don't get the very cheap deals you get in the out of town supermarkets.

Transport: You don't need a car in London, you really don't. Not having a car is the real saving, as it will cost more to insure in London, plus you have to pay for residents' parking in most places, not to mention parking in places you drive to, and congestion charge. Much easier not to bother. If you really need a car, you can join one of the car clubs, zip car or Streetcar, or hire one for a few days. All the big supermarkets in central London have arrangements with minicabs, so if you want to do a really big shop once a month you can bring it home that way, otherwise use a delivery service or buy a little trolley for topup shops.

Public transport: depends on what your commute to work is like. Buses are quite cheap (and free for school-age kids), tube gets more expensive, train more so again. If you can walk or bike, then that's practically free.

After-school activities: depends a bit what you do, but most are in the region of £70-80 a term for eg. drama, ballet or swimming. One-to-one music lessons are more, activities organised by the school generally less. There are loads of fantastic activities you can do for free at weekends and after after school as well, plus parks, museums, etc etc.

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