Surviving in London on your graduate salary
Moving to London can be daunting. Usually the capital is publicised as being busy, expensive and, of course, absolutely huge. There are so many amazing graduate jobs popping up every day in London that, despite these factors, it is still the first choice for many eager twenty-one year olds. Sometimes the starting salaries of these jobs might fall within the bracket of ‘how the hell will I be able to survive?!’. Paid internships might just about cover the rent but what about a social life? Just remember to stay calm, remain optimistic and follow our expert guidance. You're not going to make millions in your first year.
How to pay your rent
Rent is top priority. Pay your rent before paying for tickets to the latest pop-up bar in Shoreditch and you are already on the right track. For most people who have never lived in London before, the prices to rent can seem extortionate. We aren’t here to tell you that they aren’t extortionate (they are), but, as with almost everything, there are deals to be found. Choose your area wisely – living a bit further out from a tube station will push costs down instantly, as will accepting that you won’t be living in zone 1. London is enormous, and it has some fantastic communities to explore if you are happy to compromise on the length of your commute.
How to eat
Hopefully you will have figured this one out whilst still at uni. The difference with London is simply finding out where you can shop smart. This changes with every location, but there are tons of markets available for cheap fruit and veg and great local butchers willing to supply you with cheaper cuts of meat. Again, use your common sense and get to know the different parts of London – a butchers in Notting Hill, for example, will charge more than somewhere in Shepherd’s Bush.
How to have fun
We have said it before and we will say it again – London is a vibrant, eclectic city with a constant stream of events and fun things to do. Some of it is free, a lot of it costs money, but all of it can be sampled if you do your homework. Work out what you want to go to, how much it will cost, how long it is on for and then spread it out throughout the month so that you aren’t blowing your whole payslip in one weekend. Be economical on transport (but draw the line at cycling home drunk), pre-drink before nights out, buy early-bird tickets, etc. etc. This might all sound pretty similar to the student lifestyle, which is correct. How about making it feel more graduate by allowing yourself a more expensive experience once in a while? You are earning money now - treat yourself!
Living in London can be a bit crazy to begin with, but soon enough you will find your feet and get into the swing of things. And remember that this is just the beginning – everything only goes up from now on, including your salary.
BrighterBox has some amazing career opportunities for graduates wanting to work in London. Have a look at our jobs page for what’s available now, or search ‘BrighterBox jobs’.