Is 50k gbp a good salary in London? Lifestyle you can afford on 50k in London

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Is 50k gbp a good salary in London? Well, there is no easy answer! In this article, I will share how much it costs to live in London these days and what you can really afford on 50k in London in terms of lifestyle.

So… imagine. You’ve been offered 50K gbp a year. Will you have a comfortable lifestyle in London on 50k? The answer is: depends. Whether you live alone or have a family (and, of course, what rich means to you) – you will have a completely different level of life in London.

Here’s what you can expect to find in this post:

Which jobs pay 50K and more in London?

There are plenty of jobs that pay over 50K in London – due to the cost of living crisis, there was also a small increase in salaries in the last year, hence some of the jobs, that were previously paid worse, are now paid at around 50k per year.

I composed a huge guide to the average salaries in London by profession and years of experience, so if you’re curious, feel free to check it out here! (Average salary in London in 2023 by profession)

Will you be well off on a 50k salary in London? Lifestyle you can afford on 50k in London

If you’re wondering whether the 50K salary will make you well off in London, well, unfortunately not! London is an incredibly expensive city. In fact, London is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, and its property prices are among the highest in the world.

It doesn’t help that lots of rich people from all around the world come to London to live permanently or make it their second home. When you are exposed to the kind of places these people tend to visit, you can get shocked! For the ultra-rich, it’s super easy to spend your early salary in a day!

But anyway, let’s get back to the reality and explore the 50k yearly salary in London. How much is it per month after taxes?

£50k a year ends up (after paying all the taxes and standard 3% pension contribution) being just over £3,000 per month. Which is not too bad at all! For any other city in the UK other than London. However, to understand what kind of lifestyle you can have on 50k salary in London, let’s look at 3 very different scenarios:

  • You live alone and don’t have any dependants
  • You live with a partner who also works full-time or part-time
  • You have a child, and your partner is a stay at home parent

Of course, there are many more scenarios (e.g. you have 1-10 kids); you have someone who depends on you and can’t work; you’re a single parent, or your partner works and earns more than you, however, I wanted to specifically focus on these scenarios, as they are probably the most common ones and will give you an understanding of what to expect from a life in London.

Scenario 1: You’ve been offered 50K gbp in London, and you live alone

Alright, let’s consider the first scenario. You have a salary of 50K gbp in London, and you live alone.

You make £3,069 after paying all the taxes and 3% pension contribution.

You can definitely afford a studio in a decent area of London (check my article about the best places to live in London for young professionals) or a room with an en-suite in a much more central area. You can probably afford a one-bedroom flat, but that would be around zones 4 and 5 and you will probably end up spending quite a bit on transport.

You can find a nice studio for £1,300-£1,700 depending on the area and the size of the studio. A room in a shared flat with an en-suite would cost around £1,000-1250 depending on the location. Of course, you can also find much cheaper rooms and studios if you really want to save money.

Don’t forget about the bills: electricity, gas, Internet and council tax – on average, it would be extra £150-300 per month (gas and electricity cost a lot in winter).

Most jobs follow a hybrid model, which means that you won’t need to commute to the office every day. In this case, you will probably spend £100-130 on the underground. However, if you’re lucky enough to live close to the office, you might cycle and save quite a lot of money every month.

If you work from the office, you will, most probably, eat your lunch outside. You can spend anything from £120-250 a month on lunches.

Groceries can cost you anything from £150 to £400 per month depending on what and where you buy. Some stores are more expensive than the others (e.g. Waitrose, WholeFoods are quite pricy).

Subscriptions (phone, Netflix, Spotify etc.) can cost you an additional £50 per month.

After all these spendings, you can find yourself with around £1200 in your pocket if you were using the lower figures and just £230 a month if you were using higher figures in the ranges provided – left for anything else: shopping, going out, travelling, clothes!

That shows that you can’t have a bougie lifestyle on 50k salary in London – you need to compromise on something, e.g. bring lunches from home, rent a room or a cheaper studio and buy groceries in a cheaper supermarket. However, luckily, even on 50k, you can still afford your own place (even if it’s a studio).

Scenario 2: You live with a partner who also works and earns a salary

In this scenario, you make £50K, and you live with a partner who also works. Let’s imagine your partner has an average salary – around £40K per year. That’s extra £2400 per month after all the taxes and contribution. So your combined income is now over £5,4K.

In this case, you can already afford a one-bedroom apartment in zones 2-3 for £2000-2200 in month including bills (council tax, electricity, gas).

Your grocery bill, however, will increase and so will your transport costs. However, after paying all the bills and expenses, you both will be left with around £2.2K in your accounts (combined) that you can spend on anything you want like travelling, going out, shopping or simply saving money.

Amazing & A Bit Scary Escape Room in London: Lady Chastity's Reserve Review

Scenario 3: You are the only breadwinner in a family with one kid

Finally, let’s consider a scenario where 50K is barely enough to scrape by. That’s in the case when you’re the only breadwinner in a family with 1 kid and your partner being a stay-at-home parent.

In this case, you will probably rent a very basic 2-bedroom flat in zones 3 – 6 of London or in a commuter town. You can only pay up to £1400-1500 for rent (£1750 including all the bills). However, your transport bills will increase due to the distance to the city centre unless you work nearby – make sure to budget at least £200 per month on travel costs (unless you work from home most of the time). If you add Internet, phone, Netflix and other subscriptions, that’s another £70 a month.

Your food bill will be around £350-500 a month.

That’s already £2500 per month, which leaves you with just £500 to spend on other purchases (from clothes to school charges for your kids), going out, saving and travelling.

As you can see, £50K in London is unfortunately barely enough to survive if your partner doesn’t work and takes care of the child. In this case, if you can, try to find a remote job that would allow you to live in another city and pay way less for renting a property and transport!

Some other posts you might find interesting:

We bought our house (first-time buyers in London)

Is London worth it? Pros and cons of life in London

Cost of living in London – how much do you need to live in London

Average salary in London in 2023

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