If you’ve recently relocated to the UK or are thinking of doing so in 2018, you’ll want to maximise your pounds, especially if you are converting your South African rands into pounds and feeling the pinch of the exchange rate. Moving to the UK can be very expensive, especially if you have your heart set on London. To help you keep the costs down here are seven money-saving tips:
Money saving tips for South Africans in the UK
- Save on your flights
Rather than flying directly into the UK on BA or SAA, look at other flights that might not fly directly into the UK but stop off in Europe, Turkey or Dubai. While this may add a few hours to your flight, it will definitely save you money. You can even use the Channel Tunnel to enter the UK if you have flown into France.
- Use the public transport
If you are living in the UK, you can virtually get to any destination relying solely on public transport. London’s incredible tubes transport millions of people around London and to the outer towns every day. The UK rail network is also very extensive and joins seamlessly with the tubes as you approach London. If you have no tube or rail link, hop on a bus and make the most of not having to drive yourself – it’s far more relaxing and a lot cheaper!
- Consider your accommodation
Accommodation across the UK, especially around the larger cities, tends to be very expensive. A recent survey by ECA International revealed that an unfurnished, mid-market, three-bedroom apartment in the prime areas of London costs around £5 398, almost £4 000 more expensive than in other major UK cities on average.
Overall rent in London is £3 693 more expensive than the average monthly cost in Europe, making it the UK’s most expensive city for the third consecutive year. To avoid paying costly rentals if you are working in London, look at the outer lying suburbs and calculate your commuting costs and time versus paying an expensive rental close to work. Generally the rule of thumb is that the further you move away from a large city, the cheaper your accommodation will be.
- Eat on the cheap
The British hate throwing away fresh food and will often drastically mark down food that is approaching its sell-by date. This tends to happen later in the day, so if you time your shopping right, you can save a huge amount of money on your weekly groceries. Many restaurants also have ‘specials’ on nights when they traditionally have fewer people through the door, so look at local websites – you’re sure to find many half-price meal options.
- Take time to compare
Unlike South Africa, the UK has many independent service providers when it comes to your phone, electricity and gas rates. So before you sign up with a provider, access one of the comparison websites and find out which offers the best deal on your utilities.
- Look for free entertainment
Most of the UK’s museums and galleries are completely free! If you are looking for an entertaining day out, without having to pay a penny, visit the National History Museum, the National Gallery, the Science Museum, the Tate Modern and many, many more.
- Find out whether you qualify for double-tax relief
As a South African expat in the UK, you might qualify for double taxation relief. You may also be eligible for tax-relief on your South African pensions and annuity incomes.
At FinGlobal our tax specialists have expert knowledge of SARS and SARB regulations and are able to discover if you are eligible for a tax refund. Our investigations can require a substantial investment of time and effort, but our clients are only charged if we successfully obtain a refund.
If you are interested in finding out whether you qualify for a tax refund, at no charge to yourself unless the outcome is successful, contact us today.