Cost of Living London vs. New York budget

Greetings guys and gals! I just moved to London 7 days ago. I am an American from New York city. I spent a lot of time living on the Upper East Side on 91st Street, in Brooklyn in Park Slope and Bay Ridge so i really know my way around the city. over here in London, I have to say i am quite pleased that the price of life compares favorably to the cost of living in New York City and other places in the United States. Here is my analysis of the Cost of living London vs. New York….

Wilessden, London, UK

I am a budget traveler. So just to tell you a bit more about my goals, I am actually just doing a 3 week layover in London. I want to see a few sites here and there my first time, with a plan to come back later to live in the country awhile as a tourist. Additionally I am going to tell you a few secrets for saving a few bucks in London if you don’t mind roughing it a bit on basic living expenses. Of course, London has a lot of high end expensive places to spend money and it has its share of billionaires and mansions that we see on TV.

Cost of Food London vs. New York … In London you will find that grocery stores tend to be much cheaper than restaurants with the starting prices for 1 meal about 5 GBP ($6.27), in the USA its probably $7 to $10 even for fast food, and just to compare with my previous experience in southeast Asia living in the countries of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, over there you may find 1 meal for sale for $1 to $1.40, meaning a plate of food, with rice, meat and vegetables. The quality is hit or miss but I have to get the nod to Thai food as being the tastiest, most affordable and easiest to obtain in the world I’ve seen so far.

London vs New York, discount food stores

Now here is the good news on London if you are on a seriously tight budget you can use this as your baseline. I did see meals in food stores for less than 1 GBP, or about $1.28 at todays exchange rates. A few examples, a carton of prepared noodles, packet of hot dogs, or 1 can of beans for even as low as 50 pence or 1/1 of a GBP. Sometimes you will find that the local grocery stores at the end of the day will mark down sandwiches and other prepared meals to much below there original prices. Now just to compare with NYC, prices can be much steeper for individual items, such as $3.99 or even $5.99 and its hard to find items for less than $1 or 1 GBP in the States.

Grocery stores in London.. Here are a few of the major chains and they all seem to be of the discount variety… Sainsburys, Tesco Express. Another one is Morrisons, this one is cheaper. A few others are Iceland and Pound Stretcher, as well as B & M home store. The last two are of the serious discount variety with some canned items like sardines, and beans costing as little as 30 pence. Tesco and Sainsburys, of which there are many do have discounted items below 1 GBP. Over in NYC we have places like Whole Foods (aka whole paycheck) and D’agostino, which are definitely not of the budget variety.

London discount store

Rent, hotels & hostels… I personally am not doing a long term stay at present in London, but I did take a look at rooms that were available for rental on Airbnb and Facebook. Of course, the further from the city that you go, the lower the price, and most of all London is safe. One neighborhood I took a look at is Willesden in north London, its more of a working class hood, that is not too far away from Notting Hill, about 2 miles, its also pretty rustic and cool looking with some nice bars. Around here you may be able to find a room for rent for about 400 to 600 GBP and a full studio for perhaps 600 GBP to 800 GBP, which is comparable to cities in the USA, granted this is not a full apartment.

In NYC, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, you can probably find a room for $700 to $900 or a small studio for $1000 to $1500. I was living in Brooklyn for around this price of $1500 a month, which is present exchange rates is 1200 GBP. Hostels and hotel rooms in London are noticeably cheaper with the lowest I saw advertised as $13 a night, whereas in NYC I saw something for $50. NYC definitely has the more expensive real estate.

Cost of transportation London vs. New York .. Here its just more about an equal cost when comparing London to New York. In the NYC the classic subway ride is $2.75 no matter how far you go. The buses in NYC are the same price when you swipe the yellow metro card. You are also allowed one transfer between and subway for free and bus to bus.

Over here in London, in order to save money, I use the Oyster card which is cashless card that i bought that can be used to swipe on double decker London buses and the Tube. The tube is actually a bit more expensive than the subway in NYC because here we go by zones. So for example my airport ride on the tube was zone 6 to zone 1. Zone 1 is the central zone in London.

When im in London i always take the city buses because its only 1.3 GBP per ride one way no matter how far you go. The bus lines are straightforward and i use my GPS on my cell to see where exactly we are on the map. in order to get from central London to Willesden through Notting Hill its about 45 minutes to 1 hours time, but this is also comparable to a NYC subway ride to central Brooklyn.! enjoy London, questions welcome!