Author Topic: Relocating : Reading , UK  (Read 1907 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Relocating : Reading , UK
« on: February 06, 2019, 04:26:39 PM »
I have recently accepted a new employment opportunity in the UK, specifically Reading. I am originally from the UK, but have never lived there as an adult. With the cost of living (to say nothing of the taxes) in the UK being higher than the US was wondering what everyone does to maintain a frugal lifestyle .

All suggestions welcome.



  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Relocating : Reading , UK
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 06:45:54 AM »
Hi Takara,

I just wanted to let you know that there is a UK board, under 'UK Tax Discussion', which may be helpful. Someone there may have good knowledge of Reading.

There is a UK-based money saving website called ''. It's a little bit commercial, but it may be a good place to start your research. If you're setting up home here in the UK, you may want to check out their recommendations for utilities, insurance and telephone/broadband, etc., for the best deals.

If you are making any big purchases for your new home, it may be worth seeing if you can get cashback from a website such as '' or ''. You can also search for vouchers or coupons online to get discounts from online retailers.

As for major supermarkets in the UK, I would say that Aldi and Lidl are probably the cheapest, followed by Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsburys. 

For investing/saving in the UK, you may want to check out Stocks and Shares or Cash ISAs (ISA - individual savings account); adults can currently invest or save 20,000 per tax year into these accounts, and the returns are tax-free.

If you're interested in UK retirement accounts, you may want to check out SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pensions).

With regard to property taxes, we pay something called 'Council Tax'; it is typically based on the value of your house. Houses in 'Band A' have the cheapest council tax, whereas houses in 'Band F' have the most expensive council tax. See I think your water and sewerage bill, billed by your water supplier, is also based on these bands.

See here for 'Car tax', known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED): Typically, the more environmentally friendly your car is, the less 'Car tax' you pay per year. In general, you would also pay less to insure such cars, which are typically small with small engines.

Wishing you all the very best for your move to the UK.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Relocating : Reading , UK
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 09:18:28 AM »
Hi there!

Don't despair! Living in the UK can be incredibly cheap. Seriously, my entire budget is less than some US folk spend on their health insurance.

Are you a US citizen? If so you'll need to watch out as not all of the advice will apply (because you'll still do a US tax return).

@Kwill might be able to help with questions about moving to the UK and getting set up here.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Relocating : Reading , UK
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 02:22:17 PM »
Hi Takara,

I moved to the UK from the US three years ago. Early on, I sat down with a payslip from my UK job and one from my last full-time job in the US. I found that the percentage of my salary going to deductions (various taxes, health insurance, etc.) was almost exactly the same for both. The categories were shuffled around, but the end result was about the same.

One thing that caught me by surprise was Council Tax. Welshcake described it as a property tax, but actually you have to pay it even if you don't own property. If you are renting a flat or a house, you will have to pay Council Tax on it. I didn't realise this until the day I moved into my first flat, and it raised my total monthly amount by over 10%, even after a discount for single occupancy. If you own a house or flat, the Council Tax probably works out cheaper than property taxes in most places, but it was a shock as a renter.

I've found that eating out is more expensive in the UK, but most groceries are less expensive. Meat is more expensive in the UK, but flour, pasta, bread, vegetables, and fruit are less expensive. If you usually cook for yourself and eat meat in moderation, then you may find that food is less expensive overall.

If you have a US driving licence, you can use it for a year, but after that you are supposed to get a UK licence. You can't convert it, so you need to take the same tests as the teenagers. I wish I'd started on that right away so that I could have practised a bit while I was still legal to do so. I put off driving, and I just got my provisional licence (learner's permit) a few weeks ago. If you're coming from Canada or Australia or Japan or Korea or various other countries, you can pay a fee and convert your licence to a UK one without taking any tests.


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Re: Relocating : Reading , UK
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 09:50:43 AM »
Hello, and welcome.

I'm not sure what your residency and nationality status is, or if you intend to stay long term. If you open an ISA be aware that you can keep it open if you move back to the US, but you won't be able to add any funds to it while you are a non-resident.

And as PWFUK said, you need to be really aware of is the FATCA rules from the IRS and how that impacts you for income, savings and investments over here. I'm sure there are readers who know more about it than I do, but it's a big deal that you need to understand, and possibly get specialist expat tax advice on.