The High Cost of Living in Scotland

Scone Palace near Perth, Scotland

Scone Palace near Perth, Scotland

Back in February I posted a story spelling out our finances for living in a new country every six months. Our plan is still to live on a budget of $1,500/month. That was not a challenge in Panama or Mexico. In Scotland, however, the cost of living is greater and so is the challenge to stay within our budget.

The Tay River and downtown Perth, Scotland

The Tay River and downtown Perth, Scotland

Showing both British Pounds and U.S. dollars, our budget breaks down as follows:

• Rent £495/month – $770/month
• Utilities £60/month (electricity, internet, phone) – $95/month
• Everything else £400/month (food, clothing, entertainment, transportation) – $625/month

We are able to manage within our budget during our six months in Scotland, but it is a tight budget. We do not have much flexibility for extras, especially if anything unexpected should arise like medical expenses. In fact, the cost of living in Perth, Scotland, is close to what it would cost in similar size cities in the United States.

The City of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

The City of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

We will not have much of a budget surplus once we factor in the cost of our next move. Fortunately, our next destination of Spain is not that far to travel compared to our recent transcontinental move. The travel distance from Edinburgh to Madrid is about 1,100 miles, about the same as the distance from Vancouver, Canada, to Los Angeles. And flying is not only the fastest, but also the cheapest means to get to Spain.

Inside St. John's Kirk, the burgh church of Perth

Inside St. John’s Kirk, the burgh church of Perth

Lessons learned on this leg of our journey:
1.  Line up housing in advance. We thought we could find an apartment more easily than we did. Although we do not regret the sightseeing we did, we spent more than we wanted in order to wait to get into the apartment we found.
2.  Confirm broadband internet service in advance. We could not get a contract for internet service without setting up a direct debit account in the UK, something we were unable to do as non-residents. We would have paid the extra expense to have the landlord set this up for us if we had known. The dongles (USB plug-and-play appliances that provide internet access via T-Mobile’s cell phone system) are on a 3G network. That is not broadband, and it will not support Skype.

We have no complaints about Scotland. The water is good, the air is clean, the country is beautiful, and the people here are friendly. Plus, Florence and I are delighted that everyone here speaks English, although they do speak with quite an interesting accent.

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12 comments on “The High Cost of Living in Scotland

  1. “Quite an interesting accent” – I like it. 🙂

  2. I bet hearing the accents is wonderful!! I wonder if you and Florence are picking up an accent. Celeste 🙂

  3. You live and you learn, n’est cest pas? It certainly would have been nice if things had been a little smoother up front, but Europe is bound to be different than Sud America!

  4. skycastles says:

    My first experience with the Scottish accent was on a train from Edinburgh to Falkirk, where I was to stay with friends. I could not understand a single word that was being said in the conversations around me. I wanted to literally laugh out loud but feared they’d think I was a crazy American. Haha!

  5. reocochran says:

    I would think it would be sometimes challenging to understand, with the heavy brogues, but also would like England and Scotland on my “bucket list” of travels. So glad you did the legwork, shared openly your finances and enjoyed every minute of your posts! Take care and will read about the next one another day, library is saying I have limited time left so hard to stretch it!

    • Mike Lince says:

      Two things take time to adjust to in Scotland – driving on the left side of the road and the Scottish brogue. I have to remind myself to look to the right first when crossing the street, and also I am the one whose English sounds different. A question I frequently get is, “Where in Canada are you from?” That is funny. I think Brits are used to hearing New Yorkers and Southerners, so they think my ‘non-accent’ is Canadian. Go figure, eh?

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