We’ve only been here a little over a week now,  but there are some pretty obvious differences between living in the US and living in the UK, not the least of which is the cost of things.

 Right now the US dollar is worth about 1/2 of what a Great Britain Pound is worth. So, in theory I should be able to buy twice as much with my pound as I could with a dollar. Nope, not so much. In fact if you buy a book at the local Borders it’s the same cost here as in the US. Only in Pounds instead of Dollars. Say a book in the US cost $7.50, here in the UK it would cost 7.50 pounds. A LOT of things here are like that. The same cost if you ignore the pound to dollar exchange.

My base pay is roughly 1/2 of what I would be making in the US (actually less, but we won’t go there) so it should be equivelant to what I would make in the US. That means my expenses overall should be 1/2 of what they were in the states. A quick breakdown.

  • Rent: 900 Pounds a month. (basic 4 bedroom house in a decent neighborhood)
  • Council tax: 150 pounds a month.
  • Gas: 1.04 pounds a Litre.
  • Car lease 400 pounds a month (with insurance).
  • Phone and internet 35 Pounds a month.
  • Home heating and Electric costs: Unknown. Guessing 200 pounds a month
  • UK tax rate 40% (graduated up to 40% at my pay rate)

Total basic expenses roughly 1700 pounds without knowing the exact heating costs of the house. Or roughly $3400 a month for basic house and car. Plus the equivelant of $10.50 a gallon for gas.

So, for a basic house in an okay neighborhood, a leased car (Ford Focus), and basic bills, you would have to make 20,400 a year after taxes. So, that equates out to roughly 26,500 Pounds a year (rough guess of 30% taxes overall). The current average UK wage is 18,000 pounds  year. Hmmmm…. Doesn’t add up very well.  And this does not include food, entertainment, etc. You’re talking 26k a year for just the house and car and nothing else.

Some things that make it easier.

  • 2 freshly made Apple Fritters at the local bakery. 96 pence for both, and oh so good.
  • Groceries for the week for a family of 5, roughly 100 pounds. Not too shabby.
  • Medical, pretty much free, slow as crap, but free.
  • Medicine, cheap. Bottle of Tylenol equivalant is less than a pound.

It will be interesting to see how things work out over the next few months. I’ll know more as the actual bills start coming in.