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6 Hacks For Saving Money When Relocating to the UK

Are you moving to the UK for work or study? You will find the UK has better wages and higher educational standards than many other countries, and the history, culture and liberal attitudes make it a desirable place to live.

However, I am sure you have found that moving here was expensive,and living here will unfortunately also be expensive.  But there is a silver lining: since the value of the pound has been plummeting following Brexit, you will probably get more sterling in exchange for your currency at home. The UK is ranked as the 12th most expensive country in the world, and London is the 6th most expensive city globally.

The good news is that, when you have a bit of inside knowledge, there are a number of ways to spend money. Here are some top tips that I and other Brits are fond of.

1. Bank On Us: Get A UK Bank Account ASAP

You will find life easier and cheaper with a local bank account, and it is not difficult to set one up. All you need is two documents as proof of ID: one to prove who you are (with a photo, usually) and one to prove your address. So once you have found somewhere to live, head on down to the bank of your choice. You need to watch out for hidden charges on your accounts if you send or receive money from abroad.

2. Split the Rent and Bills

You will probably need to share a house or flat (apartment) with others in order to pay your accommodation costs, since there is no dispute that rents are very expensive in the UK, the highest in Europe in fact.  Not only can you share the rent and bills with others to keep costs down, but it is a great way to make new friends and have support when you need it.  The most popular and efficient websites for housing needs in the UK are Gumtree , Spare Room and Zoosk.

3. Reduce Your Domestic Bills

Your household bills may seem high over here, and it might be better on some occasions to put on more warm clothing than to turn up the heating in winter, for example.  However, it is possible to save quite a lot of money by simply switching the supplier for your utilities.  Many Brits are reluctant to switch, so the new customers ar offered the best deals.  The average household can save up to £337 per year by switching energy supplier. A price comparison website such as uSwitch will tell you who is likely to have the lowest rates for you.

4. Communications Bargains

You can also take advantage of uSwitch to get the best deals for broadband and mobile phone contracts.  Also, apropos your mobile phone, look out for “SIM only” deals if you already have a phone and just want to change over to a UK network.  Some of the cheapest “SIM only” plans can be found at GiffGaff. If you are planning to travel back home frequently too, look out for roaming deals: Three lets you use your phone in a lot of countries for no extra charge.

5. Travel for Less

Transport is another very expensive thing in Britain, so you will find that the cost of commuting is one of the main topics of conversation among Brits (after the weather, that is). If you live in London, you will find that a car is not necessary, and can even be a liability.  You can travel on buses and trains by swiping your contactless credit or debit card.  The cost is capped, so that you don’t pay more than a daily or weekly pass.  If you don’t have a contactless card, get an Oyster card from a ticket office instead, which works along the same lines as a contactless card (i.e. it is the cheapest way to travel, as fares are capped according to the journey).

For travelling by train elsewhere, the cheapest way to get tickets is to book them as far in advance as possible. Check out the Trainline website for deals. The cheapest way to travel long-distance in the UK is generally by coach, so look at National Express and Megabus for ticket deals. For short trips, booking a cab through Uber is cheaper than hiring a local taxi firm in most cities.

6. How and When To Haggle 

When travelling abroad, Brits enjoy haggling, but less so at home, owing to the very British fear of “causing a scene.” However, there are still plenty of opportunities where you can pay less than full price for an item, if you have the guts to ask.  Market traders are generally the most receptive to haggling, and it is standard practice when buying a car.   You can also quite often find cheaper deals on contracts such as mobile phones and gym membership, if you have shopped around and checked out the other offers available.  Additionally, it is always worth negotiating with a prospective landlord for a lower rent, if you can convince them you will be a reliable tenant.

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Written by Maggie Bailey

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