It is often assumed that the cost of living typically consists of the accommodation, food and travel expenses. We tend to forget that the so called smaller expenses also add up to become another major part of our expenditure.
There are so many things that we forget to take into account. To start with, apart from personal expenditure, there are also the utility bills like gas, electricity, water, etc. They add up to the overall cost of living and it is very important that these expenses are taken into consideration when deciding the total amount of money that you can afford to spend on your new home.
Here are some average monthly figures on the utility bills to give you a fair idea of what all expenses should you expect to fall under your cost of living. For instance, a 1-2 bedroom flat would cost around £45 for gas, electricity would cost £55 and water £35. These would rise to £70, £65 and £40 to 3-4 bed flat and further to £80, £85 and £45 for 4-5 bed house, respectively for gas, electricity and water. These monthly costs are based on average properties. Hence, fuel bills can differ significantly based on the energy efficiency and individual usage.
Now we come to the bigger chunk of living costs - the Council Tax. It's an annual charge to be paid on every property, depending on the size and value of the property. This comprises of the local service charges for things like rubbish collection, street lighting, maintenance of gardens, public leisure centres, local police, fire and rescue services, etc. This amount, to be paid either in a lump sum or spread over ten payments throughout the year, varies from council to council within the UK. The average cost for a 1-2 bed flat would be between £1000 and £1700, 3-4 bed flat between £1300 and £2300 and the council tax for 4-5 bed house is between £1400 and £2650 approximately.
Another additional but optional cost would be a TV license which is currently priced at £145.50 for one year. In case you fail to produce a TV licence when requested by the licensing authority, this will incur a penalty of up to £1,000. Extra charges like broadband, telephone, satellite TV, etc. may also have to be incurred if you use these facilities.
Also, if you have a vehicle of your own and reside in an urban area, you may need to purchase a 'resident's parking permit'. The cost of these permits also depends on the locality but it can be approximately £150 per year. This charge guarantees that you have a parking space, although it only allows you to park in the 'resident parking bays' that are within close proximity of your home.
Cost of living varies from area to area so, for instance, a chic area like Chelsea and Notting Hill would most likely involve a higher cost of living, as compared to Highgate, Hyde Park, etc., even though all these areas offer good accommodations and locations.