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Estimate of wage to survive in London

(20 Posts)
dollydoodledo Tue 11-Oct-11 09:49:36

I am just writing as we are aiming to relocate from Sydney to London. It is hard to ask people about money, but hard to do the sums without a bit of knowledge, so I'm wondering if anyone could share their opinions on how much yearly income you would have to have to survive in London.

We have 3 little children, and I have been a SAHM for the past 2 years due to high cost of childcare in Sydney but have recently started working part-time, DP has now been offered a job in London but it is for significantly less than he gets here. He gets a reasonable wage now, but even so we struggle and have to budget to get through the month with just the basics (rent, food, bills, and daycare). We would like to come 'home' and this may be the only chance of getting relocation fees paid.

I know it's difficult to judge what a person needs to live but could we live on, say, £40k? I'd also be looking for work, but would probably not be immediately while we get sorted in the beginning. I'm happy to live in a flat, but if it could be reasonably nice, that would be a bonus smile

Also, does anyone know about the cut off for receiving child benefit and tax credits for childcare? I know very little about the system so if anyone has any tips they would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

mumblechum1 Tue 11-Oct-11 09:53:25

tbh I think it would be extremely hard for £40k gross to cover five people in London.

After tax and NI, you'd have about £2,500 per month. Rent would be about £1400 even for somewhere very modest. Food and clothes for five people would be another £500 to £600 per month, utilities another £300 to £400 per month, not counting any entertainment, holidays, birthdays, Christmas, covering for thing breaking down, transport or anything else.

You can find out about tax credits on the Entitled To.Com website.

frenchfancy Tue 11-Oct-11 11:26:37

I have friends that live in central London that live off not much more than that, but their budget is tight.

I have other friends who claim it is "impossible" to survive in London on less than 100k, but I suspect their idea of surviving and mine are radically different.

Much depends on which area you coose to live in. Find a property shows that 3 bed flats in NW2 are average £1712 whereas in NW6 they are £2447

FreckledLeopard Tue 11-Oct-11 11:30:12

Would you want to rent or buy? If the latter, do you have a sizeable deposit?
Also, London is pretty vast! Do you have any ideas of areas that you might like? Obviously, certain areas are very expensive and if your children are starting school, the prices of houses within the catchment area of good schools is at a premium.

I'd say £40,000 per annum would be difficult. But, if you lived in Zone 5 or Zone 6, it might be possible to manage and I believe you would in theory be entitled to tax credits to help you.

Can you give a few more details?

dollydoodledo Tue 11-Oct-11 12:42:32

Thanks so much for all the replies. It's all vague at the moment as just in the early planning stages, DP been made an offer, now we need to see if we could make it work. We're in Sydney at the moment where cost of living is very high, on a par with London, so the drop in wage seems very daunting, as we have a tight budget at the moment. Partners job in London would be in Ealing, so we would have to live somewhere with that in mind, I guess we have to calculate cost of renting close to there, versus further away which could be cheaper, but extra travel costs versus the time we actually would get to see each other. I would have 2 children at primary school (and I'm just starting to research the primary admission system!) plus daycare for one (our dear bonus baby!).
It's very daunting, I want to come home and make the right decisions for the future. I will aim to work part time too, but can't add that to the equation yet as I know I need to settle everyone in and find daycare etc first.

xmyboys Tue 11-Oct-11 13:56:56

I think you could do it. If his job is in Ealing then you have lots of options for living close to his work within your budget. As an Aussie, I say you can livecheaper in London. I was shocked when back in sydney earlier this year and how expensive it was. My big shop here much much cheaper!
School is free and good options around Ealing. Free healthcare, no Medicare fees.
If it gets you home and paid for would this not add a good ten grand?

I think trains come into Ealing so worth investigating this if you want to live further out. Good pockets of housing in Little Eaking, Acton and chiswick (more expensive)

LapsedPacifist Tue 11-Oct-11 14:29:39

If your DH is willing to commute into Ealing, then you could live as far out of London as Reading, which would make living on £40K quite manageable. We moved out of London 2 years ago and I think you would struggle to find affordable accommodation within reach of OK-ish schools on £40k. We were paying £1400 per month rent for a 3 bed house right on the outskirts of North London, with a 40 minute commute into the city.

FreckledLeopard Tue 11-Oct-11 16:48:46

Well, we're in Ealing and it's pretty expensive. We're currently renting as there's no way we can currently afford to buy a place there. Our rent is £2080 per month, for a nice, four-bedroomed house with garden in nice area. Houses go for upwards of £700,000. Yes it's a nice place, with nice schools, but I do think it's awfully expensive, hence why we're hopefully going to move further out of London next year.

I second what other posters have said about moving outside of London and your DH commuting into Ealing from the West.

dikkertjedap Wed 12-Oct-11 17:03:05

I think that it would be a struggle. Don't forget if you go and live further out, you are going to have transport costs, which are guaranteed to go up each year, sometimes by mindblowing amounts (e.g 10-25 per cent per annum) over which you have no control at all. Ealing has good schools but further out may be an entire different story. Many rental houses are not that well insulated so for a large family you could face very high utility bills on top. I would be very cautious before accepting this offer.

dollydoodledo Thu 13-Oct-11 02:49:50

Thanks so much for the replies. I'm getting the feeling that this wouldn't be a good move for us, but this was our one chance to get us to England (I'm British, DP is not) as it's the same company he works for now. My gut feeling is to stay put for now as I've just got a job after 2 years as a SAHM so we could at least try and get back on track, then see what options we have next year. It just means that I have to be more open minded about going to my partners country, when I have the dream of having my family 'at home' in the UK.

It's been really helpful reading, as it's hard to judge various costs, and also not the done thing to ask people face-to-face. Thank you!

Bubbaluv Thu 13-Oct-11 07:40:53

I would need a third figure on that salary.

I mean I'm sure you can survive, but I'd be miserable in London on that income.

Fishpants Wed 19-Oct-11 15:17:09

I agree with most others - I previously lived in Outer London on an income of about 40k with just myself and ex-p, and we struggled. I couldn't imagine adding 3 little ones to that mix, would have been nigh on impossible for us.

goodasgold Thu 20-Oct-11 21:38:53

Not enough.

QuintessentialShadyHallows Thu 20-Oct-11 21:44:02

But once IN the uk, your dp could easily start looking for other jobs, and soon after so can you. If you decide to live really modestly to start with, use a childminder rather than a nursery, etc.

Your partner need to ask about relocation package, help with rent the first few months while you settle, pension and other benefits. Any chance he can counter offer their salary offer and ask for 45K, or 50K pa?

Fishpants Thu 20-Oct-11 23:18:24

But Quint wouldn't his visa be dependent on that particular job?

QuintessentialShadyHallows Fri 21-Oct-11 09:02:19

I dont know about work visas, but he is married to a British woman, isnt he? He would get a visa on those grounds, I would assume?

dollydoodledo Fri 21-Oct-11 10:10:45

Qunint aren't you in Norway? It looks like we'll be heading there instead. We said no to the London job, we've been struggling in Sydney on more money so I think the very helpful responses confirmed what I had suspected, that it would not be a good move for us. They actually quoted £35-40k, so I think we wouldn't have been able to push them higher than 40. If we had no disposable income we wouldn't be able to afford to travel and see grandparents anyway (who are in 2 different countries) which would be the main reason for the move. Now for plan B, just need to figure out what that is ...

QuintessentialShadyHallows Fri 21-Oct-11 10:26:16

I was in Norway until the beginning of September!
Norway is a different pot of noodles to both Australia and Britain, how come you are headed there?

dollydoodledo Sat 22-Oct-11 04:50:25

My partner is from Norway and I lived there for 7 years before Sydney (been here 3 years), 2 of my children were born there so I actually know more about how things work there than in England (moved away 10 years ago). I just always had the dream of us having some time in 'my' home, i.e UK. Partners parents are pressuring us into returning there and I want them to realise that this shouldn't be the only choice, i.e. I am English and want to come home, guess that the stubborn part of me! I can see all the great things about Norway, but at the same time I was not 'at home' there and that was why I had the great wish to try and find my 'home' somewhere in England. I think the things that annoyed me about Norway will still be there, and the language and culture means that I become a different person in a way, it was nice to come to Sydney and rediscover the 'chatty' me, as I hate chatting in Norwegian and always analyse all the mistakes I made afterwards!

Also, due to prior bad experiences I had in Bergen, where I was made aware of racism (not directly to my face but by the difficulties getting my education recognised, in public offices etc), I notice all the articles in the paper when they write negatively of foreigners, I feel so sad for all the people who do not have a partner who knows the system and who's girlfriend can send him to the police station to sort visas cos she can't face the day long wait and rude staff. I think my initial bad experiences may have ruined Norway for me for always, which is a shame because it would be the sensible choice for us to move back, it's just me digging my heels in!

QuintessentialShadyHallows Sat 22-Oct-11 10:49:46

I am sorry you had such a negative experience. Norway is not an easy country to settle in! In my experience Norway is very different from the uk, and the system very different. I find the UK a lot easier.

My dh spent a year studying Norwegian at voksenopplaeringa, and met people from all over the planet. We were in the far north, were general ambition is a bit lax, and most of his fellow students found the "northeners" far more accepting of different cultures. People are easy going and people are more "equal" if that makes sense. You can really see lack of class at work, where the socio economic differences are very small. Many of them had been in different parts of the country, and found racism to be rife (especially Oslo and Bergen - sorry), and said this was not the case in Tromso. My husband used to joke it was the first place he lived where a postman, a funeral director, a car mechanic, a university professor and a couple of accountants lived in the same street in similar houses, two of them foreigners, and were great friends spending hours chatting while shoveling snow. grin

But I am sure my dh would sympathize with you over the language. He said he felt his IQ dropped significantly when speaking Norwegian, it was a case of saying what he could say, not what he wanted to communicate, and that was very restricting.

I can see why you want to live in England. It is nice here, so you should try and follow your dream!

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