I guess it’s taken until now, about a month since I moved to London from Stockholm, to really start settling in.
I’m starting to get a bit of a routine, feel comfortable at work and at home, starting to get to know the people around me, get my training-program back on track and find favorite spots. As I recall, it took about the same time – quite exactly a month to settle in – when I moved to Leiden for the 3rd semester exchange.
If my horrifying calculations are correct, I’ve somehow managed to spend approximately 23 000 kr (about 2100£ /2900€ /3600$ ) this first month!! When I first realized, my first thought was – HOW? Because I didn’t feel I had been doing that many expensive things.
Second I thought – I don’t have that much to spend /month, so how am I going to manage this semester??
However, one thing to remember is that the first month at a brand new place will always be very expensive. That money includes two months rent, the public transport card (which is so expensive in London it blows my mind), new gym membership, a bike, new SIM-card with money on it, and stock merchandise such as soap, towels, detergent, pepper, salt etc. My gym-membership in Sweden and my phone bill also both were drawn because I didn’t remember to freeze them in time (that sort of stuff is very useful to do BEFORE you move away from your home country…)
But I will say that contrary of what I thought, London is much more expensive than Stockholm.
For accommodation in a student dorm (own room and bathroom, shared kitchen), I payed 3400 kr/ month in Stockholm. I would personally not pay more than about 4000 kr/month for accommodation in Stockholm, but that might mean a room in somebodies house or living a bit outside the city.
Here, sharing an apartment a bit outside the city of London, is costing me twice what I payed in Stockholm – and according to everyone who knows the London market at all, that’s a really good deal!
Public transport as a student costs less the longer you buy for. Three months cost 1595 kr in Stockholm and that includes all of the city and far outside. I didn’t have a student card here for the first three weeks due to some confusion, which cost me about 1200 kr. Now I’ve bought one month for 1000kr (that’s WITH student discount!!), so all in all that’s one and a half month for 2200 kr, which covers zone 1-3 and no more.
I do get free access to the university gym and pool here which is a good deal. But I had to pay for an introductory course in order to use it, which was around 400 kronor. The gym does however not have quite as much to offer as my non-university gym home in Stockholm, were I payed about the same per month, but had access to facilities all over Stockholm, all the classes, sauna in the dressing rooms and a wide variety of machines.
The alcohol in the stores here cost about the same as they do in Systembolaget, the only place where you can buy alcohol for your home in Sweden. Buying in a pub is however cheaper here than in Stockholm (not too much though) and also restaurants are somewhat cheaper.
I know everyone complains about Stockholm being expensive, but then they’ve clearly never experienced London!!