The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (2023)

There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. As ever, all opinions are my own.

If you’ve arrived on this page, chances are you’re considering moving to London. Yay! However, you’ve probably heard the rumours about how darn expensive London can be, and you’re wondering – how much does it cost to live in London?

Every year, the cost of living in London just gets crazier and crazier. Every potential Londoner has one question on their mind: How much money will I need to live in London? Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to live in London without being a millionaire!

I moved to London back in September 2019, and I really struggled to work out how much living in London would cost me before I got here. For this reason, after living here for 3.5 years, I have put together this guide to how much living in London really costs.

This is your no-BS, completely honest guide to the cost of living in London per month.

Table of Contents

Things to Consider Before You Move to London

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (1)

If you already have a job lined up before you move to London, this will help massively.

If you already know your salary, you’ll have a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend each month. This makes creating your monthly living in London budget so much easier!

If you’re moving to London without a job, it can be tricky knowing whether or not you’ll be able to afford to live in London before you arrive. You’ll need some savings to tide you over.

To be on the safe side, I recommend finding the lowest realistic salary someone in your industry in London would get paid and use that as a starting point. If it turns out you get paid more once you land a job, great! But this approach means you won’t end up committed to paying rent on a place to later realise you can’t afford it.

How Much Should I Have in Savings Before Moving to London?

It’s hard to say what the right amount you’ll need in savings before you move to London without a job is. As a bare minimum, you should arrive with 6 months’ rent saved up.

This will allow you to pay a deposit for a flat (1 months’ rent), cover 3 months of rent whilst you find a job, and use the amount equal to two months’ rent to cover your living costs.

I was extremely fortunate to be able to transfer to London with the company I worked at in Leeds, which made everything so much easier for me. I’m also extremely lucky that my job is well paid, and I don’t have any dependents to support financially.

Everybody’s situation is different, so although I’ll make recommendations in this post, at the end of the day, I recognise that I have been very fortunate. I don’t want to sugar coat how expensive the cost of living in London is, though.

I have lived in terrible, freezing, falling-apart houses, and unless you have no other choice, that’s no way to live just to save a couple of £££. So this post is more “how much money you need to live comfortably in London” rather than just getting by.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (2)

What is the Average Cost of Living in London per Month?

Based off my own experience and those of the people I know, as well as data from all corners of the internet, the average cost of living in London per month (with rent) is around £1,500-£2,300 per month. This figure includes housing costs, which is why there’s such a wide range here.

If you’re a student, for example, your accommodation and cost of living in London will be far lower than somebody who rents a one bedroom apartment by themselves. It’s sad, but the cost of living in London for a couple is always lower than that of a single person living alone.

Curious how I came to these figures? Then read on! Below, I’ve crunched the numbers on the cost of housing, bills, food and activities in London so that you can work out a more precise monthly budget for yourself.

Let’s go!

Housing Costs in London

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (3)

Your accommodation will undoubtedly be your biggest monthly expense when living in London. Housing costs in London are reaaallly overpriced, and the city has a huge affordable housing shortage.

In fact, some of the properties available to rent in London are so bad that VICE runs a hilarious column called London Rental Opportunity Of The Week, showcasing the latest nightmare properties.

(Video) London Travel Guide for 2023 - All You Need To Know

There are many factors to consider when working out how much you’ll need to pay on rent every month in London, so let’s get started:

Which Zone Can I Afford to Live In?

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (4)

London is split into zones for public transport, but the zones are also used to describe how close you live to the city centre. For example, Zone 1 is central London and the best place to live to be close to all the action. Then it goes Zone 2, 3, 4, etc…

The zones go all the way to zone 9, but by that point you’re absolutely not in London any more!

If you want to actually live in London, and experience all it has to offer, you should find a place in either Zones 1, 2 or 3. Zones 1 or 2 are prime areas for living in London, and renting there will cost more, but it means your commute to work will be cheaper, and you’ll be closer to everything. In Zone 3 you’ll get cheaper rent than in Zones 1 and 2, and you’ll still be within a short commute of central London.

This is just a general guide, though. Some notoriously fancy areas, such as Hampstead, are in Zone 3 but still super expensive, so that’s something to bear in mind.

A good rule of thumb is if you can’t afford the rent in a certain area go a zone further out.

There’s nothing wrong with living in Zone 5 if that’s all you can afford, but you will be quite far away from all the action and will spend a lot of your time on buses and trains.

Living Alone vs House Sharing

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (5)

Unless you’ve landed a job with some serious moolah (and if so, go you!), you’re gonna be sharing a house with housemates.

The only exception to this is if you have a partner and you both have fairly well-paying jobs. If this is the case, you’ll be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment in a decent area between you both.

The average amount you’ll pay in rent in London for a shared apartment depends on a few things, like:

  • Which zone your apartment is in
  • How recently the apartment was renovated
  • How many housemates you’re sharing with
  • Whether or not your apartment has a living room

Cost of House Sharing in London

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (6)

If you’re looking to have housemates whilst living in London, the cost varies a lot depending on what state of repair the flat is in and whether or not it has a living room.

It’s super common for landlords in London to turn the ‘living room’ space into an extra bedroom so they can charge more rent. If you have a living room it’s somewhat of a luxury!

For a double room in a nice 4-person house share in Zones 1 to 3, you’re looking at housing costs of at least £800 per month before bills for a half-decent place.

Of course, there are ways to make this cheaper. When I first moved to London I stayed in a 3-person house share with no living room for £680 per month. This is SUPER cheap for Zone 2 in London.

The thing is though, it was cheap because the property was in really bad shape. Our bathroom had pretty much no ventilation so the walls were covered in black mould, and all the windows were single-glazed (I didn’t even realise that was still a thing…). I spent 6 months wearing mittens indoors. It was that cold!

I was living cheaply in London, but I was so miserable that it wasn’t even worth it.

Because the house was so bad at keeping in heat, and the electricity we used was from a top-up meter which is really overpriced (I thought these died out in the 90s) we spent a TON on energy over winter.

Like, we spent £190 on electricity between the three of us in one month…

So, the moral of the story is: if the rent is cheap, check how much the bills are!

How Much Does it Cost to Live Without House Mates in London?

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (7)

A one-bedroom apartment in decent shape in Zones 1 or 2 (not including bills) will cost around £1,750+ per month in rent. And yes, that’s before bills.

Yikes! In Zone 3 you’re looking at around £1,500+ per month.

For a studio apartment in Zones 1-2 expect rent costs of around £1,300 a month.

(Video) 15 biggest mistakes London tourists ALWAYS make 🤦🏽‍♀️

Like any big city, London has its fair share of hovels. If you’re desperate to live alone in a central area of London you’ll probably manage to find a (really, really bleak) studio for around £900 a month, but the living standard would be very poor, and it would be much better to just live further out and get a nicer place.

If you don’t want to live with house mates in London, it’s worth remembering that sharing your space with someone means that your rent and bills are pretty much halved! That’s why the cost of living in London is far lower for a couple.

Summary of Average Rents in Central London:

  • Zones 1-2 rent for a 1 bedroom flat: around £1,750 per month
  • Zone 3 rent for a 1 bedroom flat: £1,500
  • Zones 1-2 rent for a flatshare: around £1,000 per month
  • Zone 3 rent for a flatshare: around £800 per month
The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (8)

Cost of Bills and Utilities in London

How much are bills in London? Well, how long is a piece of string…

Everybody’s bills in London vary a lot, but you can expect to pay between £150-250 per month for all of your home bills. The big variable here is energy costs, and that depends on your usage and whether or not you live alone.

Council Tax

The first of many bills you’ll have to pay in London is council tax, which varies depending on where you live. The easiest way to work out how much your council tax in London will cost is to ask the landlord or current tenants.

You can also check using the property’s postcode here. It’s worth remembering that students don’t have to pay council tax, and if you live alone you get a 25% discount.

In some rental agreements your council tax may even be included in your rent so always check! It is common that you’ll have to pay this yourself, though.

Me and my housemates paid £29 each per month when we lived in a 3-bed flatshare in Zone 2 of East London. As I said, the rates vary massively from area to area, so take this with a pinch of salt.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (9)

Cost of TV and Internet in London

The cost of Internet in London depends on which provider you choose. It will typically cost between £20 and £40 per month per household. If you’re sharing with flatmates that makes it pretty affordable!

If you have a TV, you’ll also have to pay a TV licence fee, which costs £159 per year. It’s annoying, but this rule applies to everybody in the UK.

Cost of Utilities in London

Water, gas and electricity all vary a lot depending on how much you use (and how energy efficient your house is). Some old houses seem to drink electricity like there’s no tomorrow and will cost you a fortune in bills. Yup, I’m talking about my old house here.

If you can, check with your landlord that your bills can be paid online – if there’s a pre-paid meter in the house for your electricity it’s ALWAYS gonna cost more.

As you may know, prices for gas have shot up across Europe recently, with the prices consistently rising throughout 2022 and into 2023. There’s a government price cap on the amount you can pay for energy per year, which is due to rise to £4,279, which I think we can all agree is freaking extortionate!

If you’re renting a place alone, the average monthly energy bill (gas and electricity) is £142, according to energy provider EDF. The good news, though, is that energy costs pretty much the same in London as it does elsewhere in the UK.

In terms of water, you’re looking at around £35 per month per household, but obviously this varies depending on how much water you use and what provider you’re with.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (10)

How Much Does Food Cost in London?

A huge relief for me on arrival in London was grocery prices in London are the same as everywhere else in the UK. Yes, that’s right – you can get a £3.40 Tesco meal deal whether you’re in London or Liverpool!

For this reason, the price of groceries is very reasonable in London as long as you stick to the big established supermarket brands. If you need to stop by an off-licence it’s much more expensive.

I live with my boyfriend, and as we’re currently working from home we get takeaway once a week and cook all of our other meals. Our grocery bill, which includes loads of fresh fruit, veggies, Quorn, fish, soup, and everything else you could need, normally comes in at £70 a week between us, so £35 each. If you’re buying groceries for one, this will cost you slightly more.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (11)

An easy trap to fall into with groceries in London (if you’re not working from home) is to do loads of little shops based on what you’ll eat that day, or buying lunch at work.

I highly recommend buying your groceries in bulk once a week because all those small shopping trips really add up! This is one of the most essential things to do if you’re living in London on a budget.

In London, the cheapest grocery stores are Asda and Tesco, and you should shop at these to keep your food expenses as low as you can. Sainsbury’s and Co-Op are slightly more expensive, and Waitrose and Marks & Spencer’s are the most expensive (but the best quality).

My estimated average cost of food and groceries in London is £150 per month per person. This can be a bit cheaper though (you could probably do it for £110 each if you need to – but that would take some sacrifices).

(Video) BBC Panorama - Surviving the Cost of Living Crisis

If you buy lunch at work, expect to pay around £5.50+ for a coffee shop sandwich, and £3.50 for a coffee. The cost of lunch in London and other daily expenses like coffees can really add up if you don’t bring your own to work with you!

Cost of Transport in London

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (12)

One thing you absolutely will not need in London is a car, which saves you money straight away! Our public transport system is comprehensive, and driving in London is notoriously slow and complicated.

Depending on how far away you live from work, you may need a monthly (or annual) travel pass for public transport. This is another factor to consider when choosing where to live. A flat in Zone 3 may be cheaper, but if you’re spending an extra £150 a month on transport, it could be cheaper overall to get a flat in Zone 1 and walk to work.

If you don’t need to use public transport for work, you probably won’t need to buy a London travelcard. If you can’t walk to work though, this is an extra substantial expense to add to your monthly budget.

A monthly travelcard covering Zones 1-2 costs £147.50 per month. For one covering Zones 1-3 you’re looking at £173.60! Per month!!


You can also buy your travelcards annually, which gets you 2 months free.

If you don’t need to use public transport every day, and instead just use public transport for socialising and at the weekends, I recommend budgeting £30-45 per month for this.

Hopping on a bus in London costs you £1.65, and an off-peak single tube journey costs around £3, but it depends on how far you travel.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (13)

Cost of Entertainment in London

Entertainment in London is another category which can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. Every person’s budget for entertainment in London will be completely different.

Instead, I thought it would be best to talk through how much some common leisure activities in London cost so you can plan your own monthly budget.

Gyms & Sport

Something I bet you’ll have never heard about is just how expensive gyms are in London!

Don’t get me wrong – if all you want to do is lift weights and go on the treadmill, you’ll still find a budget gym. That said, if you want a gym with classes and a swimming pool, you better be earning a lot of money!

Probably the cheapest gym chain in London is PureGym, which I have been a member of before. Their branches in central London cost around £35 per month, which is amazing for London!

For more of a full-service gym in the city centre, though, you’re gonna cringe when you hear this – memberships start at around £110 per month.I put off doing any classes for ages because I just couldn’t justify spending that much money!

Almost all sports in London are expensive. Joining an outdoor netball league for 8 weeks will cost you £65. A yoga or dance class will cost at least £15 per session.

I have a workaround, though.

About 4 months into living in London I discovered ClassPass, which changed everything for me! Suddenly, I could join all those expensive gym classes I had been putting off!

You pay £65 for 50 credits per month in London (although there are options for less or more credits). With these credits, you can book gym classes, gym time, or a swim session. I can usually do 2 classes per week with my 50 credits.

What’s so amazing about ClassPass is that the classes are SO much cheaper than if you’d just booked them directly. For example, my regular boxing gym charges £15 per class. But on ClassPass? It costs between 4 and 8 credits. That works out to cost between £5.20 and £10.40! Score!

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (14)

Cost of Alcohol in London

There’s no doubt about it, drinking and going out in London is expensive. Especially compared to the rest of the UK!

It really does depend on how you do it though. A pint of beer in the City of London or in Zone 1 will cost around £6.50, but head out to Peckham and you’ll get a pint of beer for £4.75. It’s all about going out in cheaper areas of London to save money.

(Video) 5 things to avoid in London (and what to do instead) ad

If you drink wine and cocktails it’ll cost much more than drinking beer (£12 for a cocktail, on average). London turns us all into beer drinkers!

In the supermarket, the average cost of alcohol is far cheaper than going out drinking in London. You can get a pack of four beers for around £4, and a decent bottle of red wine will set you back around £7.

Dining Out & Takeaway

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (15)

Eating out in London is also pricey, but you just have to do it because, despite the cost, it’s one of the best things about living in London! It’s really difficult putting a price on this since it totally depends on which restaurants you go to. On average, Rob and I spend £40 each for a meal at a restaurant with drinks.

There’s a huge range of takeaway food options in London, and you can eat food from anywhere in the world! It’s always cheaper than eating at a restaurant, and you can usually get restaurant food delivered to your door.

If you’re ordering for one, just like anywhere else in the world, takeaway will cost more since you’ll have to front the whole of the delivery and service fees yourself. These can sometimes be quite expensive. For this reason, the average cost of a takeaway for one in London will cost around £15-20. If you’re ordering for two it’ll be slightly cheaper per person.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (16)

Cost of Sightseeing in London

It’s super easy to forget to go sightseeing when you live in London. I know that life can get in the way, but it’s really important to. You’ve got to make the most of living in one of the best cities in the world!

Luckily, there are soooo many free attractions in London so this won’t massively impact the cost of your life in London. From the Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, to the Natural History Museum and Hyde Park, if you’re on a budget you can get away with not setting aside any money for sightseeing!

If you want to see certain iconic attractions, such as the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, you will have to pay though. For a mixture of free and paid attractions, I recommend budgeting £20 a month for touristy sightseeing.

Looking for some London sightseeing ideas? Check out my other posts:
Day Trip From London To Hampton Court Palace
Visitors Guide to the Charles Dickens House in London
I Visited London’s Weirdest Tourist Attraction So You Don’t Have To

The Total Cost of Living in London per Month

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (17)

Phew, that was a lot of information!

I’ve pulled together the rough averages into the table below to make things easier, and then underneath that I’ve set out a more comprehensive list of the average living in London prices mentioned in this post.

Is it expensive to live in London? Absolutely, but in my opinion it’s worth it!

OBVIOUSLY not all of the average prices below will apply to you – rent and energy bills, in particular, vary a lot.

It’s also worth mentioning that I recommend adding an extra £150 or so to whatever you think you need for incidental spending – like needing a new pair of shoes for work, extra shampoo, and so on.

ExpenseAverage Monthly Cost
Rent (1 Bedroom apartment, shared)£875
TV License£13.12
Dining out/Takeaway£120
Going Out/Activities£60


  • A one-bedroom flat in decent shape in Zones 1 or 2 (not including bills): £1,750+ per month.
  • A one-bedroom flat in decent shape in Zone 3 (not including bills): £1,500+ per month.
  • One bedroom in a decent flatshare in Zones 1 or 2 (not including bills): £1,000 per month.
  • One bedroom in a decent flatshare in Zone 3 (not including bills): around £800 per month


  • WiFi per month: £20-40 (split between the number of housemates)
  • Council tax: £30 each for a flatshare, £90 if you live alone
  • Electricity and Gas: £142 on average if you live alone, if you have housemates it’ll be around £62 split between you.
  • Water: £35 per house (usually this is a flat rate regardless of how much you use)
  • TV Licence Fee: £157.50 per house per year.


  • £35 per person per week.


  • £173.60 for a Zone 1-3 monthly travel pass
  • £1.65 per bus journey
  • £3 per off-peak tube journey (Zones 1-2)
  • If you don’t need a travel pass, budget around £30-45 per month for transportation


  • £35 for a basic gym membership
  • £110+ for a full-service gym membership
  • £65 for Class Pass
  • £40 per person for a meal with drinks in a restaurant
  • £10-12 for a cocktail at a standard bar
  • £4.50-6.50 for a pint of beer depending on which area you’re in
  • £15-20 per person for takeaway food


  • Most attractions are free
  • £20 per month should cover a mixture of a few paid and a few free attractions

As you can see, the average cost of living in London per month varies massively depending on so many different things! For this reason, it’s impossible for me to say how much living in London will cost you.

The Realistic Cost Of Living In London In 2023 - By A Local! – Many More Maps (18)

How Much Do I Spend Living in London?

In an average month, I’d say I spend around £1,750 per month, which allows me to live comfortably in a flat with my boyfriend, go out for meals, concerts and drinks, do plenty of sport and see some tourist attractions.

(Video) The Secret City inside of London Revealed

London is a city so big that you can probably find somewhere to live on any budget. I really do recommend trying to come here with enough money to live comfortably though. London is absolutely NO fun if you’re always broke, constantly worried about money and can’t enjoy any of the benefits to living here!

I hope this post helped you get a better understanding of the cost of living in London. I absolutely adore living here and it’s so exciting that you’re considering the move, too!

Feel free to drop any questions you have in the comments!


What is the average living cost in London? ›

The approximate cost of living in London for students is £ 2315, for a couple and family of four is £ 4673 and for a bachelor is £ 1527.

What is the cost of living index for 2023? ›

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 8.7 percent in 2023.

How expensive is London compared to other cities? ›

Ranked in 207th place, Ankara, Turkey is now the cheapest city in the world for expats and tourists, after falling 5 places from 2021.
City Comparison: Cost of petrol per 1l.
CountryCity2022 Price (GBP)
United KingdomLondon1.69
Republic of IrelandDublin1.50
USANew York0.93
4 more rows
Jun 7, 2022

What is the monthly cost of living in London? ›

Summary about cost of living in London, United Kingdom: Family of four estimated monthly costs are 3,926.9$ (3,262.9£) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 1,150.4$ (955.8£) without rent.

Is it cheaper to live in London than the US? ›

Although the latest statistics from the World Population Review rank the United States as a slightly more expensive country to live in than the UK, it is important to note that this is on average, and the cost of living varies widely across the USA.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in London UK? ›

General living expenses

It's thought that a single person living in London will need around £1,500 per month to cover their living expenses and just over £1,200 in Manchester. However, with the pandemic pushing inflation to a 10-year high, the cost of general living expenses is rising sharply.

How much will my Social Security check increase in 2023? ›

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will increase by 8.7% in 2023. This is the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) required by law.

How much will SSI disability checks be in 2023? ›

SSI amounts for 2023
RecipientUnrounded annual amounts for—Monthly amounts for 2023
Eligible individual$10,092.40$914
Eligible couple15,136.931,371
Essential person5,057.77458
1 more row

What is the maximum Social Security benefit for 2023? ›

The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $3,627. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $2,572. If you retire at age 70 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $4,555.

What is a good salary for living in London? ›

Those earning a gross salary of £3,300 to £4,000 per month, are on a good salary by UK standards.

Is 50k a year enough to live in London? ›

50k a year would see you as middle class in all areas of the UK, and it is an above-average wage that allows you to live comfortably. No official amount makes you into a class, but £50,000 a year is an excellent wage.

Can I live in London on 30k? ›

£30k is very low for London so I don't think it would be easy. Definitely no way you could afford that or expect to. I used to earn significantly more than that in London and never lived on my own because I couldn't afford to.

What is a good salary in London? ›

What is a very good salary in London? Or if you want to have the flat on your own without another one paying half the rent, it's a challenge too. Anything above £24500 is a decent good salary to start off in London, then aim higher based on what promotion you can achieve in your role going forward.


1. I Visit The Worst Place To Live In The UK? - I Was Shocked!
(Walk With Me Tim)
2. How a Man Built a Secret Home Inside a Mall
3. 8 Reasons Why Americans LEAVE Costa Rica [Why I Left]
(Traveling with Kristin)
4. Proving The World is Flat!
(74 Gear)
5. Talking With Jeremy Gay From Reef Builders | The Prestige Reef Dork Show
(Reef Dork)
6. A city in crisis: How fentanyl devastated San Francisco - BBC Newsnight
(BBC News)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated: 03/07/2023

Views: 5337

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.