Expense management as an expat in the UK

Expense management as an expat in the UK

Expense management as an expat in the UK

From understanding currency nuances to optimizing your budget, gain practical insights and tips for navigating cost-of-living factors in your new life abroad

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Expense management as an expat in the UK

This blog aims to guide you on how to budget, save, and plan for your future. It's handy for newbies or long-term expats in the UK, offering easy-to-follow financial advice. Ready to find out more about taking care of your finances as an expat? Let's get started!

  • Average prices in the UK 

  • Loyalty programs in the UK

  • Transportation costs and how to align your budget with it

  • Tips and tricks for managing your expenses effectively while living abroad

Average prices in the UK

To give you an idea of what your budget should look like, Relocately has set up a list of average prices in the UK so you can anticipate on it: 

Supermarket Prices:

  • Milk (1 liter): £1.00

  • Loaf of bread: £0.90 - £1.20

  • Rice (1kg): £1.00 - £2.00

  • Eggs (12): £1.50 - £2.50

  • Chicken breast (1kg): £5.00 - £7.00

  • Apples (1kg): £1.50 - £2.50

Gasoline (Petrol):

  • Average petrol price per liter: £1.35 - £1.50

Public Transportation:

  • Single bus fare: £1.50 - £2.50

  • Zone 1-2 London Underground ticket: £4.90

Dining Out:

  • Average cost of a meal at a mid-range restaurant: £15.00 - £30.00 per person

Utilities (Monthly for 85m2 Apartment):

  • Basic utilities (including heating, cooling, electricity, and garbage): £100 - £150

Internet and Mobile Services:

  • Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL): £20 - £30 per month

  • Mobile phone plan (1GB data, unlimited calls and texts): £10 - £20 per month

Fitness Club Membership:

  • Monthly membership: £20 - £40

Cinema Ticket:

  • Average price for one adult ticket: £8.00 - £12.00

Loyalty programs in the UK

The United Kingdom has several loyalty programs that offer discounts, rewards, and various benefits to consumers. Here are some notable loyalty programs in the UK:

Tesco Clubcard:

Tesco, one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK, offers the Tesco Clubcard. Shoppers earn points for every purchase, which can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases or exchanged for vouchers with partner businesses.


Nectar is a widely used loyalty program in the UK, with partner companies including Sainsbury's, eBay, and BP. Members earn points on purchases that can be redeemed for discounts on a range of products and services.

Boots Advantage Card:

Boots, a popular health and beauty retailer, offers the Advantage Card. Shoppers earn points for every pound spent, and these points can be used for discounts on future purchases.

Morrisons More:

Morrisons, another major supermarket chain, has the Morrisons More loyalty program. Members can earn points on purchases and receive discounts and personalized offers.

Besides the loyalty programs, there are also stores which already offer great discounts such as the Online Pound Store.

Transportation costs and how to align your budget with it

Subscriptions and Discount Cards:

  • Oyster Card (London): In London, the Oyster card is a popular smart card used for pay-as-you-go travel on public transport, including buses, the Tube, trams, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, and some National Rail services. It offers discounted fares compared to cash payments.

  • Railcards: Various railcards are available, offering discounts on train travel. Examples include the 16-25 Railcard, Senior Railcard, and Family & Friends Railcard. These typically provide a percentage discount on fares.

  • Bus Passes: Local authorities often offer bus passes or travelcards for unlimited bus travel within a specific area or period.

Season Tickets:

  • Train Season Tickets: Commuters who travel regularly on the same route can save money with season tickets, offering unlimited travel between two specific stations for a set period, usually a week, month, or year.

  • Travelcards: In London and some other cities, Travelcards provide unlimited travel on public transportation within specific zones and periods.

Student and Senior Discounts:

  • Student Cards: Full-time students often qualify for discounted travel on public transportation. Many universities also offer student discount cards that provide additional benefits.

  • Senior Passes: Seniors may be eligible for discounted or free travel on buses, trams, and local trains.

Employer-Sponsored Schemes:

  • Some employers offer transportation benefits, including discounted or subsidized travel passes as part of salary packages.

Bike Sharing:

  • Many cities in the UK have introduced bike-sharing schemes, allowing users to rent bicycles for short journeys.

Tips and tricks for managing your expenses effectively while living abroad

  • Understand the cost of living: Familiarize yourself with the local cost of living in the UK, considering expenses like housing, groceries, transportation, and utilities.

  • Create a detailed budget: Develop a comprehensive budget that outlines your income and all anticipated expenses. This will help you allocate funds appropriately. You can also use app or platforms like PocketGuard, this app is linked to your bank account and credit cards. Which easily gives you insights into your expenses, and helps you budget your income.

  • Stay informed on currency exchange rates: Keep an eye on currency exchange rates, especially if you have income or expenses in a currency different from the British Pound.

  • Review and adjust your budget regularly: Periodically review your budget to ensure it aligns with your current financial situation. Adjust as needed to accommodate any changes in income or expenses.

  • Emergency fund: Establish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Having a financial safety net provides peace of mind and financial security.

  • Seek financial advice: Consider seeking advice from financial professionals who specialize in expatriate finance. They can provide tailored guidance based on your unique circumstances.

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