Earlier this year as my contract at work reached its mid-way point, I was given two, amazing offers – to extend my contract and remain in my role for another year or take up a similar role in London for a year. After much deliberation, I chose the latter. London has always been a place I’ve loved and having visited almost yearly for a lot of my childhood, I decided long ago that I would like to live there one day. Obviously, as I got older, I understood how expensive the capital was but that didn’t seem to deter me. So there I was, presented with an opportunity to move and although on paper it would have been the easiest decision, I had to seriously think about whether I really wanted to move and if I could feasibly do so.
I had been living at home for nearly two years post-graduation and I loved it, I loved my space, being close my family and enjoyed my home city a lot. Naturally, I got very comfortable and actually the thought of moving was a lot scarier than I expected it to be. My main concerns were, whether I would enjoy the job, and whether I would enjoy London. In the end, my decision was made once I realised if I wanted to give London a proper go, my opportunity had arrived. It was definitely a case of London > job. The one condition I did have though, was that I would not leave for a job that paid any less than £25k. When it came to money it was more a case of job > London. Some people thought that was too much to ask and others thought it was completely justified if not a little modest.
I chose 25 because I had an idea of how much rent would be which is where most of my salary would go and ultimately, I wanted to try out London without having to worry too much about money. I wanted to go in the hope that I would enjoy it so much I could to stay there long term. The city has so, so much to offer and I did not plan to work 24/7. I would long to attend events, gigs, exhibitions, shows and shops that simply weren’t where I was, I stayed jealous of Londoners that had access to all these cool things. I refused to move if money was going to be an issue. I was fortunate enough to have a choice, I could have stayed in my home city and been content so if I was going to go then, for me, it didn’t make sense to go there and not be able to enjoy it.
So, it was a yes to the job and a YES to London. Then I had about 3 months to start preparing, which in hindsight was something I appreciated a lot. I wasn’t uprooted immediately, I had time to come to terms with the move and also start planning everything and that’s exactly what I did. I revisited some research via SpareRoom on London rental prices and made sure I knew roughly what my outgoing expenses were going to be. I spent some time on the TFL website looking through daily, weekly, monthly and yearly transport costs. It was an eyewateringly shocking experience, to say the least. Literally double if not triple the amount I would pay for the same things in my home city. To get my head around the insane costs, I would sit and calculate how much I would need spend each month, rent, travel, phone bill, groceries etc. etc. at least once a week. I worked out it would be roughly £800-1000 a month. Gross, I know, but it’s the capital city and I figured it is what it is and accepted it from there.
I’m in my early twenties, without any huge responsibilities and so I was prepared to move to one of the most expensive cities in the world even if that meant potentially no savings for a year. Some people may see it as a wasted year, financially, and in that sense, it would have been more sensible to stay put, but I saw it as a chance to move to a big city and see where it would take me. In short, YOLO, as the kids would say/did say(?).