Paying your own way

We all know that moving out of home and living independently means taking responsibility for the costs of everyday living, but what exactly are those costs? We take a look at how much it costs to pay your own way.

Yearly cost of living

Living expense Yearly average household cost
Accommodation £8,028
Food £3,072
Gas £804
Electricity £540
Water £384
Running a car £5,112
Phone and broadband £240
Total £18,180

(Source: Uswitch, 2013)

Don’t Panic: The figures above represent average yearly household figures. For most young people moving into their first place, these costs will be far less.


We all need a safe and secure place to live. How much that costs depends on many things, such as the type of housing, where in the country it is, whether you’re renting or paying a mortgage, and if you’re sharing the cost or not. In places where many people want to live, such as big cities, the cost of accommodation can be far higher than just a few miles further away. For your first home you may want to consider sharing with others to try and spread the costs.


It’s all too easy to buy the food you need when you need it, often every day. Although it may seem more expensive at the time, it often works out cheaper to do a weekly shop. This way you can set yourself a weekly budget and stick to it.

While all the major supermarkets have offers and discounts, make sure you actually need the things you buy before you end up spending more than you need, or wasting food. You could also try buying supermarket own brand or basic ranges which can be far cheaper than branded products.


Utilities are made up of gas, electric and water. The cost of your water services doesn’t change much from one company to the next, but gas and electricity prices do, so make sure you shop around for the best deals. Each gas and electricity company offers a range of tariffs, just like with mobile phones, so spend some time to make sure you are on the best tariff for you. Switching supplier is easy and can help you make some big savings.

Running a car

This can be far more than you expect after taking petrol, insurance, and repair bills into account.

TV licence

This costs £145.50 a year. You can pay for it yearly, but if you choose to pay quarterly, it will cost an additional £5. If you pay weekly or monthly, you pay for the first year’s licence in six months. You’d then continue paying for your next licence over 12 months, thus you’ll be six months ahead.

For more information on the ways to pay, go to TV Licensing.

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to:

  • Watch or record live TV programmes on any channel
  • Download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

You can find more information from TV Licensing.

You could face prosecution plus a fine of up to £1,000 if you’re caught watching without a licence.

Help with living costs

If you’re struggling to pay for your everyday living costs, you might be entitled to certain benefits.