London living costs

At the end of next month I will be moving from Liverpool to London to start my first job, and I need to find somewhere to live. The two major questions on my mind are what bits of London to look at and how much I should be prepared to pay. I’ll ask the “where” question in IMHO as it seems more appropriate. The monetary aspect seems factual enough for GQ.

The main unknown is what my cost of living will be. Most of Google’s results either give indices (for relative living costs) or are aimed at students. They have not been very useful, so I’m turning to the Teeming Millions for help. Hopefully many of you teem in central London.

I am hoping to live in Zone 1 for convenience (I will be working very centrally), but will consider Zone 2 as well, as long as I am near a tube station. I am not expecting my lifestyle to change too much overnight from what it was as a student (maybe a little less beer).

So, could anyone tell me how much I might expect to spend per week, excluding accommodation, in central London? If you can give me a specific area you are talking about and/or break it down into essentials and other costs that would be even better. Any other advice or resources would also be appreciated.

If you would prefer not to post amounts to the board but are happy to email me, please do (see me profile for the address). I will not use them except to help me choose a place to live.


Now that I’ve posted the other question I can say that it’s here.

My sister lives in a small one-bedroom apartment in a nice location in Zone 1 (Shad Thames) - £1200pcm. Until she sold it recently, she was letting a two-bed flat in Brixton for little more than half that sum. You’re going to have to factor the exorbitant cost of central living into your decision, and decide whether you really need to be so central.

i posted on the other one too!

DON’T think of London the way you would any other city. It’s just too big. Saying you want to live in central London is a bit like saying you want to live anywhere in Liverpool. Try to think of the place as a series of largish towns/small cities in their own right. Each area has it’s own history, culture and amenities which (frankly) are often a bit lacking in central London. The centre is mostly tourist/studentville and caters accordingly.

To be honest your living costs shouldn’t vary terribly. Going out will be more expensive but you can avoid some of that by knowing your way around. e.g. an £11 cinema ticket in Leicester Sq becomes £6 if you nip out to Finchley Rd which is less than half an hour away.

The only major difference is that travel will cost you much more. TfL are trying to discourage the use of paper tickets by making prices for these scarily high. So get yourself an Oyster card (you don’t even have to register) and top it up. Fares will be about half-price-ish that way. Notwithstanding that you should factor in your travel costs. Take a look at for better guidance and give them a call if you are unsure.