How to survive in London on £7,000 a year:
February 6, 2002 4:47 PM   Subscribe

How to survive in London on £7,000 a year: I'd love to be rich, but it is so expensive. Only joking. Spending big money and accumulating material possessions has never interested me. I don't need retail therapy to cheer me up: my desires are focused elsewhere - in social justice and human rights. Via Nutlog.
posted by ryanshepard (16 comments total)
£4.48 per hour for freelance journalism? That's around $6.31 in US dollars. Crimony.

He still has a more expensive suit than I do.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:56 PM on February 6, 2002

It helps to be single with no dependants.

No shit. Try living off £14,000 for a year with a kid.

Not going to happen.
posted by Neale at 5:01 PM on February 6, 2002

Seattle's weekly The Stranger has a similar article about surviving in Seattle on $800 a month. Just for comparison.
posted by argybarg at 5:12 PM on February 6, 2002

Very practical! Good tips on overcoming the usual health care/car/ rent barriers to voluntary simplicity.

Could somebody post links &/or write a version of these two articles for other cities? This would be really helpful for people without much money who need to relocate.
posted by sheauga at 5:43 PM on February 6, 2002

It is also easier if you live in local authority or housing association property. My one-bedroom council flat in Elephant and Castle, south London, costs £52 a week, which is one-third of the rent payable for equivalent accommodation in the private sector.

Which means that he's not living on £7,000 a year -- he's living on £7,000 a year plus over £5,000 in the form of housing subsidies from the taxes of people who are working, instead of "arrest[ing] presidents and chastis[ing] archbishops."

I used to live on about $2000 a year. How? It is easier if you have a good relationship with your parents. My car, flat, appliances, computer, and so forth cost me $0, which is infinitely less than what those things cost in the private sector. So I suppose that I am even more frugal than Mr Tatchell.
posted by tino at 5:44 PM on February 6, 2002

This article seems to be less about living frugally, and more about the author exuding smug self-righteousness in his chosen political pursuits.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:53 PM on February 6, 2002

I can't say that I live so austerely, but I certainly don't spend a lot of money, even though I live in the middle of the Silicon Valley.

My secrets:
- my wife and I only have one car between us.
- no dependents.
- I don't use credit cards... I only use an ATM credit card.
- I avoid writing checks. Cash can't bounce.
- I buy a disproportionate amount of 2 for 1 deals at supermarkets.
- When I go out to restaurants, I tend to go to Vietnamese dives. (I know all the good dives...)
- I usually wear sturdy, comfortable clothing and old, reliable Doc Martins.
- I rent videos and DVDs from the local library - it's free and you can rent them for longer.
- I save all the money I can, when I can, and have built up a healthy stock portfolio, buying low, selling high...
- I buy quality merchandise that lasts a long time and I take good care of it.

When I was in college, I was dirt poor. All my money went to rent, so I had to really scrape by. My secrets then?:
- I volunteered for college radio and received lots of free tickets for cheap entertainment.
- I ate lots of potatoes, oatmeal, and low-priced produce.
- I shopped for food at discount outlets and bought their best deals.
- I washed my clothes by hand.
- I shopped at thrift stores.
- I went to Vietnamese delis and ate lots of $1 sandwiches.
- I'd go to free parties and art receptions rather than going out and spending money.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:50 PM on February 6, 2002

to each his own...

the article just makes me think... what exactly DO i spend my money on.....
posted by doodlebug at 8:58 PM on February 6, 2002

By the way, here's an updated link to the Stranger article.
posted by argybarg at 10:13 PM on February 6, 2002

I did my taxes this week. 8K for the year. $500 rebate coming. My secrets and tips:
  • avoid loans and debt at all costs [this is more luck than skill for sure]
  • buy no clothing new, except shoes. buy good shoes and take care of them.
  • cook at home
  • avoid expensive drug, smoking, computer, and drinking habits
  • craigslist is the place to go for rideshares and local deals
  • do not own a cell phone, eschew cable
  • avoid the urge to buy something just because you are in a store or restaurant with friends
  • barter for as much as you can, swap services for meals or rides
  • make minimizing rent costs your #1 goal
  • do volunteer jobs that pay off in food, haircuts, free books, etc.
  • visit the library, take the bus, learn to like them both
I was sure the Stranger article was going to bother me [tips on getting the cheapest margeritas instead of skipping the bar altogether] but it was surprisingly even-handed, not like some alleged simple living advice rags.
posted by jessamyn at 11:23 PM on February 6, 2002

'Cruising Russel Square'

I'm sure he's very healthy.
posted by Frasermoo at 12:51 AM on February 7, 2002

The Guardian recently published an interesting two part article on surviving in London on £4 an hour.
posted by jedro at 2:48 AM on February 7, 2002

this reminds me of the new york couple who saved on non-essentials for two years (or maybe four) whilst working at 'normal' (read average waged) jobs. they saved enough to buy the farm in the country that they had always wanted, and sold the story and frugal survival tips as a book, becoming millionaires. sorry no links, as i don't know their names.

tino - i for one am glad to know that some of my taxes are giong to a decent cause. peter tatchell lives below the poverty line (50% of the uk population live below or near the poverty line) and is therefore eligable for housing benefit.
posted by asok at 7:06 AM on February 7, 2002

Stories like this are inspiring. I reorganized my life, about a year and a half ago, trying to simplify everything and get out from under the pile of monthly bills. I moved from a two-bedroom apartment to a studio, got rid of nearly all furniture, left the TV behind, gave my computer gear to the Real Change office down the street... it was satisfying, and I enjoyed the lightweight feeling.

It's tricky to sustain, though, and trickier when another person is involved. I'm still living in the studio, but it's filled up with possessions now. Somehow I collected two computers, a cell phone, and a DSL connection over the course of last year. I earned plenty of money but it's all gone. I'm starting to feel that another reorganization may be in order, but it's hard to imagine what can be cut out, and hard to see how to go smaller and lighter when the other party to my life is thinking "someplace a little bigger would be nice"...

posted by Mars Saxman at 9:26 AM on February 7, 2002

I can't read this crap any more. Not that it isn't inspiring, but I have three small kids so it's a completely different ball game. I can't imagine getting by on less than $25k a year.
posted by mecran01 at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2002

It must be nice not to be a materialist.
posted by luriete at 12:17 PM on February 7, 2002

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