costs of living in cambridge

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costs of living in cambridge


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Old 29th November 2009, 09:21 AM
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Hello Everyone,

I have been reading this forum for about 6 months now and I have seen a lot of useful information so I figured it is about time to post my own thread.

I am a dual citizen american/Italian married and with a kid.

I am currently living in Vienna and I am investigating a possible job opportunity in the UK. The salary is roughly 50k GBP + pension, health, and (maybe) life/dental ins.

It would be consulting work so I would have to travel within the UK mainly, but it also means I do not have to live in London. I do not have a car but from my understanding the main requirements is that I have to live near a main train connection to London and an airport. I hope but I have an internal recommendation within the company so I expect everything is pretty transparent and this is the case.

My wife is finishing up her PhD in Spanish so we were thinking about oxford or Cambridge if everything works out well for her career.

I am from Seattle so the weather isn't a problem.

We are thinking about the move to the UK for several reasons.

1. I have been there many times for work and the people have always been very friendly which make me and my wife feel more at home as in Vienna the people are not the most accommodating to put it nicely. The city is nice and safe but for us social interaction is a must.

2. When we lived in Italy the people and place is amazing but the economy was so terrible we were forced to move unfortunately.

3. If I am offered this job it almost seems to good to pass up and my wife has more career opportunities than here in Vienna or in Italy.

4. Most of our friends are from the England/Scotland areas and are all moving back for the same reason I mentioned above about Vienna and say that we would love it and shouldn't worry about the costs too much as long as we are smart.

So my questions are the following:

1. Which city would be better for our family and raising our daughter as this is our priority in location?

2. What are the costs of living this can be somewhat general but we eat primarily healthy so organic food, not eating out much, like to go out in the evening for movies, friends etc. So I am curious about costs of food, utilities, rent 2-3 bdr near the city center as we do not have a car, and any other hidden costs?

3. About how much is the council taxes I have tried to figure this out on the government websites but I feel like I need a book to translate everything?

4. I have also read it is hard to open a bank account so are there any tricks should I try transferring or opening an account through my current banks mother/sister companies if possible?

5. What about living registration upon arrival? Do we have to register etc and are their any tricks we should know about?

6. Let agreements should these be avoided by us in the beginning and we should stick to a more private agency?

7. Cost of daycares on average I have seen many websites etc but hearing from people who are currently making the payments is always best in my experience.

I know I have a lot of questions but this would be the 4th country for me and 3rd for my family so we want to make sure this works and we investigate the environment and people more as this was our downfall when we came to vienna and do not want to repeat it.

We have a lot of friends in the UK who are supportive and very friendly but having friends and living amongst the people are two different things.

Any advice would be highly appreciative.

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Old 29th November 2009, 04:23 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ameriItalianexpat View Post
1. Which city would be better for our family and raising our daughter as this is our priority in location?
Generally speaking, the Midlands and the North are cheaper than London and the South East, and provided you are near a major city, there should be fast connections to London and elsewhere in the country. Of air travel to continental Europe, the South East has most flights but also Manchester and Birmingham. Budget airlines fly from numerous regional airports.

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2. What are the costs of living this can be somewhat general but we eat primarily healthy so organic food, not eating out much, like to go out in the evening for movies, friends etc. So I am curious about costs of food, utilities, rent 2-3 bdr near the city center as we do not have a car, and any other hidden costs?
This is difficult, as house prices vary a lot depending on location, size, quality of interior etc. Average price for a large flat or semi-detached house near population centres but outside London is around 150k to 250k. Or you can rent from around 150 to 250 a week. For a family of three living modestly but in reasonable comfort, budget around 300 a week for regular bills, plus eating out, clothes, trips and your commuting cost. Not having a car saves you a lot, but public transport, while generally good, isn't cheap, esp at peak commuting times.

Quote:
3. About how much is the council taxes I have tried to figure this out on the government websites but I feel like I need a book to translate everything?
It depends on notional value of your property and where you live, but a typical semi or family flat would be around 1500 a year.

Quote:
4. I have also read it is hard to open a bank account so are there any tricks should I try transferring or opening an account through my current banks mother/sister companies if possible?
Perhaps best to go through your new employer. For someone with a well-paid job, it's lack of IDs to satisy anti money-laundering regulations (such as utilities bills) that can be a stumbling block at first, as is the lack of UK credit histoy. You can try with a UK subsidiary or linked bank of your existing bank. If all else fails, you can start with a basic account without overdraft or cheque book and then upgrade to a full current account once you establish a good track record.

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5. What about living registration upon arrival? Do we have to register etc and are their any tricks we should know about?
There is none for Italian citizen. Your wife, depending on her nationality, may need a visa prior to arrival and police registration after. EU citizens and some others can register as a voter with the local council, which will help with your credit scoring. There is no compulsory registration of residents as it exists in some European countries. You just register for different things, such as council tax, doctor etc.

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6. Let agreements should these be avoided by us in the beginning and we should stick to a more private agency?
Don't quite understand what you mean, but generally people rent either directly from landlord or through a letting agency, of which there are great many. You usually have to pay a fee to go on their books for potential tenants, as they need to do a credit check and examine references, or you may have to pay 6 months or more in rent in advance. Most private rental contracts (tenancy agreements) run 6 months to a year (AST), renewable by mutual agreement.

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7. Cost of daycares on average I have seen many websites etc but hearing from people who are currently making the payments is always best in my experience.
This varies greatly from area to area, and from provider to provider. You get free limited nursery education for 3 or 4 year olds. Cheapest would be state-run nurseries (but are often full with waiting list). There are many private nurseries (from 0 to 3 years, cost often subsidised by employers; most children start full-time school from 4), playgroups, child minders (who look after children in their own homes) and nannies (in client's home). All are vetted and registered with Ofsted (government agency) or local authorities (except private nannies).

Remember, even with a gross income of 50k, your after-tax (net) pay is less than 36k or 3000 a month. You will probably get child benefit (20 a week) and child tax credit. With up to 1000 in rent, 120 in council tax and 1500 in bills, this won't leave a lot of money to spare. It's possible to economise on food by buying fresh food in season or searching out special offers in shops. Oxford and Cambridge, while very desirable, are expensive places to live, esp for housing and your budget will be stretched. I'd be inclined to base myself in the Midlands or the North, like near Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds.

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Old 29th November 2009, 05:03 PM
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Oxford and Cambridge are beautiful cities but very expensive for accommodation.. huge student population pushes the rents up and of course they are a tourist must.
Have a look at Northampton, Leicester Peterborough, cheaper and on main lines into London

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Old 29th November 2009, 06:56 PM
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Joppa thanks for the rough estimates and trying to make your answers as detailed as possible.

I knew Oxford and Cambridge were expensive we will look into living somewhere nearby but it might also be a sacrifice we will be willing to make in terms of expenses. I have grown up near or in major cities for a while now so living outside of one would feel a little odd.

I didn't know about not having to register in the UK, in Austria I don't think it is required either but if you don't it could make things rather difficult later.

Honestly from what I have read the bank account is one of the more difficult issues and it worries me the most just due to the fact that it is such a necessity in order to get anything done.

Thanks a lot again

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Old 5th December 2009, 06:43 PM
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I am going to be short and sweet, if you earn 50k per year , you can live anywhere in the UK

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Old 30th December 2009, 11:36 AM
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Cambridge is a good city and its worth looking around for good deals.

You can get most things cheaper living outside the city in places like Ely.

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