Average Cost of Living in London on a Graduate Salary

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Graduates who relocate to London for work post-university, are often concerned about the living expenses associated with London. Unfortunately there is no definitive answer to the question ‘how much money will I need to earn in order to live comfortably in London?’. As you can imagine, every graduate who moves to London has a different set of circumstances and criteria as to how they’d like to live their life in London. However, we’ll use this article to breakdown some average costs for you.

By using Salary Track’s November 2009 report, the average gross salary for graduates working in London was £25,000 per annum. This is £2000 more per year than the average graduate salary in the remainder of the country. A person earning £25,000 would take home £18,273.65 (depending on their tax code) after tax and student loan deductions. The Student Loan Company take 9% of everything you earn over £15,000 from your earnings, so in this case, you would pay £900 per year back to the SLC.

Rental costs in London are extremely variable, but there are some key factors that are a fairly good indicator of how much you’ll have to pay per month in rent. If you wish to live by yourself, then this is probably going to be the most expensive option available to you. If you’re a couple sharing a 1 bed flat, then this would put you at an advantage to the solo dweller, as you’ll be able to split the cost of the bills and rent straight down the middle. Next if you’re willing to live in a shared house, then you could save loads of money, as there could potentially be 4 or 5 of you to split the bills with. Finally, the icing on the cake for cheap rent, would be if you’re a couple sharing a bedroom in a house with other people living there. If you budget around £500 per month (or £6000 per year) for your rent, then generally this should buy you some reasonably comfortable accommodation in a decent area. However, this changes if you’re planning to live by yourself, in which case you’ll need to set aside at least £650 and even then you’re likely to live in an extremely pokey space.

The bills that you’re required to pay in London aren’t any different to ones that you’ll have to fork out for in the rest of the UK. They include council tax, utilities such as electricity, gas and water and optional bills such as for a mobile phone, landline telephone, television licence, satellite packages, broadband etc. When it comes to council tax though, it’s worth knowing that there are 33 different council boroughs covering Greater London and they each have quite different council tax rates. Wandsworth and Westminster Council charge the cheapest tax rates in London. Whilst Westminster Council covers some pretty expensive areas of Central London, Wandsworth Council includes desirable, yet affordable areas of South London, such as Clapham, Balham, Streatham and Earlsfield. So if you’re looking to move to an area with affordable council tax you should definitely consider South London. In general though, try and budget an average of £2000-2500 per year for council tax and utility bills and you should find yourself well covered.

Travel costs in London largely depend on what transport zone you live in and what transport zone you work in. Let’s take an average example of someone who lives in transport zone 3 and who works in Central London which is transport zone 1. If you purchase an annual season ticket for zones 1-3, this will cost you £1208 per year. If you’re unwilling or unable to purchase an annual season ticket, then you might be more interested in a monthly season ticket costing £116 per month (or £1392) for the same zones. If you want to travel from zone 2 to zone 1, it will cost you less than this example, but if you want to travel into London from further out than zone 3, then it will cost you more.

Supermarket shopping in London is a little more expensive than the rest of the country, but if you budget £40 per week (or £2080 per year) then you should be able to easily eat breakfast and dinner at home and make yourself a packed lunch to take to work. However tempting it might be to buy a sandwich every day, this does eat through your spending money quite quickly.

So based on all these figures, the average graduate earning £25,000 per year who is paying off their student loan, paying £500 per month on rent, £2500 per year on council tax and bills, £1208 per year on travel costs because they live in zone 3 and work in zone 1 and spending £40 a week at the supermarket, should have £6485.65 per year or £540.47 per month left to spend on entertainment and savings. This is really quite a comfortable amount of money to live on if you’re sensible with it. Don’t expect to be able to go to London’s top restaurants 7 nights a week or you’ll be flat broke within days, but it’s a reasonable amount of money to spend having a good time with your friends on the weekend. Millions of Londoners earn a lot less than this in London and still manage to maintain a good quality of life.

by Rebecca Noori

Celebrating New Year’s Eve In London

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2016 is about to end in a few days, even though it feels like it’s just started yesterday. This year has been filled with many many ups and downs. Many good things happened but at the same time bad things happened as well. But now that it is about to end, it is time to give it a great farewell. You can do that in class too if make plans to go to London. The heart of United Kingdom, London hosts some of the most amazing events throughout but it’s the end of the year event where they go all in. After all the most beautiful capital city of the world needs to hold up to the title. So if you live in London, or are planning to go there around New Year’s Eve, these are the places and events that you should not miss out on! Celebrate New Year’s Eve in London this year with a BAM!

1. NYE Cruise and Dinner:

Throughout London, tickets are available to go on a cruise of the Thames on the last night of the year. This is literally the best thing because it ends near the final firework show that happens near the Buckingham Palace and the Big Ben. So the cruise ride gives you a brilliant ride and dinner experience along with the best seat in the house for the firework show. And if you want, take your partner with you because this truly is the most romantic getaway!

2. Take a ride on the London Eye:

Even though this ride closes well before the start of the New Year celebrations, you can still take a ride near the evening before nightfall. Catch the glimpse of London in all its hustling bustling glory on the last day of the year.

3. Visit Madam Tussauds:

Madam Tussauds, the world famous wax museum, is where you can meet the stars and personalities of your dreams. Or at least their wax figures! So why not end the year by meeting and taking pictures with wax models of your life ideals! If you want to make your dream of meeting them true, then Madam Tussaud’s is the place to start it.

4. Attend a NYE party in London:

With a little help of the internet, you will be able to find to find the type of party that you’re looking for because London has it all. You will find classy parties with a touch of royalty as well the real booze and dance parties that most of us lose ourselves in. It all depends on what you want to do with your time and how much money are you willing to spend to do it.

Now that you know what you can do in London for the end of the year, we suggest you start packing your bags and make your reservations. After all New Year’s Eve in London will be a blast for you!

by Abuzar Mir

What Makes London a Lively and Appealing City for Travellers?

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It is petrifying to move to a new town especially when you do not know anyone. However, there is a different story to London because it is always busting with travellers and this makes it easy for those visiting to feel at home quickly.

London has a traveller’s community that comprises of individuals from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. There is also special consideration for Europeans, Canadians and Australians citizens who wish to travel to London.

Most people come to London for fun or work. It is easy to get to London. You can apply through the British Embassy through several Visas. Most individuals who travel to London on a two year working holiday visa end up staying for the full two years. That way, they get a chance to know people, create relationships and have lasting memories.

Although London is busy, it is rich with all the remarkable sceneries that you could hope for. There are amazing places to visit. Any activity you want is available and you can enjoy art, education and sports, just to mention a few. Each and every day of your stay can be filled with so much entertainment.

If you treasure some quiet time, you can go to the local pubs for a drink or to watch football. The activities do not necessarily have to be costly. There will always be something to keep you entertained.

In addition, London is easy to adjust to. It is a large city with a huge number of people. Despite this, it is a quiet and pleasant place. You get to enjoy the scenery and the outdoor experience more.

London has magnificent buildings. The buildings are unique and have fine architecture. The grandeur is pleasing enough to those in creative design and adds to their artistry. It is simply an inspiring town.

It is also amazing that you get to go to the museum for free. London has beautiful museums. They are also public and allow everyone to appreciate history and culture. Additionally, they hold art that has existed for centuries and do not restrict visitors.

Travelling to London is therefore an experience worth taking. Another one of its appealing, notable and relaxing features are its green areas. The city is well planned and includes parks such as the hike parks and wild parks. As much as this may come as a surprise, there are also wild animals within some of these parks. The variety of parks is breath-taking. In addition, they are very accessible and are situated at the heart of London.

This city is convenient and it is easy to get housing that is close to important amenities. That way, you can walk to work, the grocery store, bank, social joints and many other locations. The public transport system is also convenient and even if you do not have a car, getting around is not going to be a problem. You can also use your bicycle around the city. They have double buses that are like a free tour of London. You are further not limited on the taxis and will find a range of affordable ones.

Travel to London to also experience the abundance of culture. It is the city that attracts diverse nationalities and people. It is a great city for studies, work or business. It provides the opportunity to interact with interesting people from around the world.

The people are friendly and it is easier to form bonding relationships. The people are also more fun and outgoing.

What is a city without a cuisine? London is not left behind when it comes to amazing dishes. You will find a variety of quality meals. The food is fresh and delicious. Furthermore, you will easily find organic food in the stores.

London easily connects you to other towns and countries in Europe. It is convenient to travel. Moreover, regulation allows all workers to have at least 20 days of leave. It is made much more convenient with affordable flights.

Communication will not be an issue because internet and phone services are affordable. The plan is not only cheaper in London but also in other parts of Europe and America while roaming.

After all the good is spelt out, there is a compromise to make. London is an expensive town. So many people are moving to London and this is making it expensive in terms of rent and other amenities. Demand is increasing day by day.

All in all, London feels more like home and is a great place to tip travel to. It further makes you more of who you are and is an inclusive city.

by Nguyen Kinh Luan

The Top 10 Football Teams in London

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There is much to see for those who are interested in football in London. Just to clarify for any readers of this article from outside the UK, football means the ‘beautiful game’, what is commonly referred to as Soccer around the world.

London has a proud tradition of famous football teams with much competition between them to be the top club. There are generally four or five London teams in the Premier League and there are many commentators who believe that this is one of the biggest obstacles to any one of them winning the league. A ‘local derby’ between two London football teams could produce an electric atmosphere and turn current form on its head they are so well contested.

Premier League tickets are sometimes difficult to obtain, but a bit of persistence often gets results. There are a number of ticket agencies that can get them for a price.

In the last decade, both Arsenal and Chelsea have each won the illustrious Premier League title twice and reached the final of the European Cup.

Here are some details about the top 10 football clubs in London and to avoid any accusations of being partisan, they are listed in alphabetical order:-

Arsenal

The Gunners, Arsenal have played in the top division of English football in consecutive seasons since the 1919-20 season. They have been champions on 13 occasions and achieved a unique record for modern times in 2003-04 season when they went the whole season without being beaten.

Arsenal have won the much coveted ‘double’ (league and cup winners in the same season) three times, in 1971, 1998 and 2002

In recent years they have moved to a new venue, The Emirates Stadium, with a 60,000 capacity. The Arsenal Museum is well worth a visit and is open every day.

Brentford

The Bees, Brentford Football Club are currently playing in Football League I. They were founded in 1889 and play their home games at Griffin Park their home stadium since 1904. Brentford’s most successful spell came during the 1930s, when they achieved consecutive top six finishes in the First Division.

Since the War, they have spent most of their time in the third and fourth tiers of English football. Brentford have been FA Cup quarter-finalists on four occasions, and have twice been Football League Trophy runners-up.

Charlton Athletic

The Addicks, Charlton Athletic have seen better days. There halcyon days were in the 1930s and 40s. In recent years they have struggled after being relegated from the Premier League in 2005 and then from the Championship in 2008.

They play at The Valley just south of the River Thames in Greenwich. The club was founded in 1905.

Historically, Charlton’s most successful period was the 1930s, when the club’s highest league finishes were recorded, including runners-up of the league in 1937, and after World War II, when the club reached the FA Cup final twice, winning in 1947.

Chelsea

The Pensioners or the Blues, Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905, and play in the Premier League. Chelsea have been champions three times (1955, 2005, 2006), and have won the FA Cup five times, the League Cup four times and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup twice. They reached the UEFA Champions League Final in 2008

Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge in West London and their ground capacity is 42,000.The Chelsea Museum is open most days and is well worth a visit for those interested in museums and football history.

Crystal Palace

The Eagles, Crystal Palace Football Club was formed in 1905. The team plays its home matches at Selhurst Park, where it has been based since 1924. The club is currently competing in the second tier, The Championship.

Crystal Palace’s most recent successful period began in 1988-89, when the club finished third in the Second Division and were promoted to the First Division. Reaching the 1990 FA Cup Final only to lose the replay against Manchester United and finishing 3rd in the First Division in 1990-91.

Since then Palace have been relegated from and promoted to the FA Premier League on a number of occasions, their most recent relegation from the top flight was in the 2004-05 season. This is all despite the club being almost bankrupt in July 2000.

Fulham

The Cottagers, Fulham Football Club was founded in 1879, they celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2004, and are in the top tier of English football, the Premier League. Fulham are the oldest professional football team in London.

In 2009, Fulham had their highest-ever finish in the Premier League, coming 7th to qualify for Europe.

The club has produced many great British footballers including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and Alan Mullery and Jim Langley. They play at the historic Craven Cottage, their home since 1896, a riverside ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham.

Queens Park Rangers

The Hoops or just QPR, Queens Park Rangers Football Club based in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. They currently play in the Football League Championship, and their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, and being runners-up in the old First Division in 1975-76 and FA Cup in 1982.

Queens Park Rangers Football Club was founded in 1882, and its traditional colours are blue and white. Owing to its proximity to other West London clubs, QPR maintains long-standing rivalries with several other clubs in the area, the most notable of these being Chelsea, Brentford and Fulham with whom they contest what are known as West London derbies.

In 2007 QPR was taken over by Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore and rank among the top 10 richest sporting clubs in the world. Other major shareholders include Lakshmi Mittal & F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. So watch this space!

Tottenham Hotspurs

The famous ‘Spurs’ side of 1961, is still reckoned by many football enthusiasts, to be one of the best football teams in English football history. They achieved the ‘double’ which had not been achieved at that time since Aston Villa won it in 1897.

This has given recent Spurs’ teams a lot to live up to. But Spurs have a long tradition of playing good football so there are many exciting matches at White Hart Lane especially with their close North London rivals, Arsenal.

In 1963, Spurs became the first British club to win a major European trophy – the European Cup Winners’ Cup. In the 1970s, they won the Football League Cup on two occasions and were the inaugural winners of the UEFA Cup in 1972. In the 1980s, Spurs won several trophies: the FA Cup twice, FA Community Shield and the UEFA Cup 1983-84. In the 1990s, they won the FA Cup and the Football League Cup and in 2008, they beat Chelsea in the final of the Football League Cup. This victory means that Tottenham have won a trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United.

Spurs have planned a new stadium to be completed by 2012 and it is expected to be one of the best stadiums in the UK.

Watford

The Hornets, Watford Football Club based in Watford, Hertfordshire. They play in the Championship. The club was founded in 1881, and played at several grounds before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922, where they remain to this day. Since 1997, they have shared the stadium with Saracens Rugby Club. Watford have a long-standing rivalry with Luton Town.

The club is best known for two spells under the management of former England manager Graham Taylor. The first lasted from 1977 to 1987, when the club rose to the old First Division from the Fourth Division. Once in the highest division of English football, Watford finished second in the league in 1983, reached the FA Cup final in 1984 and competed in the UEFA Cup in the 1984-85 season.

The second period spanned from 1997 to 2001, when Taylor took the club from the renamed Second Division to the Premier League in successive seasons. Taylor is currently a non-executive director of the club, and honorary life president alongside Sir Elton John who owned the club during both of these eras and has continued a long association with the club.

West Ham United

The Hammers, West Ham United Football Club have play at Upton Park (Boleyn Ground), in East London since 1904 having been formed in 1895.

They featured in the first FA Cup Final to be held at Wembley in 1923 against Bolton Wanderers. The club have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980. They have also been runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006.

In 1965, they won the European Cup Winners Cup, and in 1999 they won the InterToto Cup.

Their players are considered an important factor behind England’s triumph in the 1966 World Cup, as England’s captain at the time was West Ham’s Bobby Moore, and both goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were West Ham players.

West Ham currently compete in the Premier League, their highest finish in the Premier League was 5th in 1998-99.

by Alan Rivers

How to keep your Company’s Branding Consistent

When it comes to creating a recognisable, interesting and inviting brand identity, you’ll need to start with thinking about your core values and how you can translate them into something eye-catching, memorable and relevant.

When you’ve established how you want your brand to look, feel and come across to your audience, a key thing you’ll need to bear in mind is consistency – it will need to remain the same to fulfil its purpose of making your company recognisable. Here are some top tips for doing just that.

Creating your logo

One of the first actual design steps in branding is to create your logo, and you’ll need to work with a designer to ensure you’ve got the strongest, most creative one possible for your company. To use your logo effectively and consistently, you’ll need to ensure that it will look as effective on a massive billboard as it would on a tiny mobile phone screen, and everything in between. Discuss with your designer what fonts and colours would work best to suit all purposes and formats so that you can use it across all of your marketing platforms.

Creating and running your website

Likewise, another major step in establishing your branding is your company website. The design and user experience of it, like your logo, will need to represent and stay true to your brand’s values, concept and personality. It will need to be aesthetically in line with your brand logo, colours, themes and content so that it works in harmony with your branding.

Developing your social media channels

Your social media channels are a great, free way to establish your branding, and to reach out to your customers on a more informal, global and frequent basis. Start with one or two of the most relevant channels to your industry and/or audience and go from there as you get more confident with using it. This will help to grow your brand awareness as well as establishing your branding, and the same rules apply in terms of consistency as the points above; i.e. you’ll need to ensure you’re using the same logos, fonts, colours and formats across all of your channels as you do on your website and blog, etc.

Other merchandise associated with your business

Your branding should basically be consistent on anything to do with your business, whether it’s the envelopes you send out to clients, employee business cards or personalised mugs you serve your clients’ coffees in when they visit you at your office! Regard everything that is associated with your business as a representation of who you are and what you do to help make sure they’re getting the right message across, and that that message is consistent.