Living in the UK

It took me four semesters, two years to actually write this down. Because I don’t think my life in the UK is any interesting. And of course, most common reaction when I said this, people would believe that I’m not grateful that I am able to pursue study abroad. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for £880/month allowance and paid tuition fees, and it just that. Nothing in the UK actually captivated my heart to call it home. Anyways, in this post, I’d talk about the cost of living, because that’s what people are most interested in; money.

£880/month is actually more than enough for us in Manchester (MARA, please don’t read this). My rent is around market price, £260 for a decent room (including TV license, the internet, and water) and £50 for electric and gas, total up to £310/month. Now that I have £570 left, what do I do with the rest of the money? Well, up to me.

I walk to class, I hate crowds, so I don’t go to the city centre that often (probably less than 10 times a semester), and even if I feel like it, bus tickets cost me £2 (now £3) for a return journey.

I like neither eat out nor take away, so I cook. Because that’s how I was brought up. Mum cooks, we eat. So in the UK, I cook, and I eat. And that way I keep my shape in control because cooking disturbs my appetite. I’d like to think my cooking is not that bad, it is just I always think eating my own cooking, and believe that it tastes splendid is sort of narcissistic. So I usually cook for two or three days meal at once and eat the same meal until it doesn’t feel right anymore. And I spent about £40/month for groceries.

Tax in the UK has a very systematic and clear exemption. Necessities like food and transportation are exempted from VAT (Value-Added Tax). VAT is imposed mainly on luxury goods such as gadgets and branded apparels and the percentage is high, about 25%. So it’s not the best thing if your phone decides to end its lifespan while you’re in the UK. Because phones there are more expensive.

I can’t really tell about entertainment because I hardly leave my room (note that I said room, not house). I watched movies in cinema three times in two years I live in the UK. I don’t hang out at bars or clubs, I don’t travel to other parts of the UK, not even London because I think it’s overrated.

See, now that I put in words, my life there is not interesting but I can assure you remaining allowances really made me a rich kid while in Malaysia. Because I barely touch them. But I have to stress here, living cost in the UK differs according to regions. MABECS (UK university agent) once told me, the nearer you’re to London, the more expensive your living cost. So if you’re coming, choose wisely. Do you want luxurious and fun life in London but sucking your blood, or calm and cheap as mine?

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