I'm a portuguese software developer and I have the opportunity to work in the UK, more specifically in the south, around Southampton. Here's some info:

I have a wife and kid (18 months old) and my idea is a move with the whole family there. She's unemployed and has a licentiate degree in Child Education but no perspective of work in her area here. She can do any kind of work though and is willing to, even here, so in England even more. She can speak English pretty well and make herself understood, I'm sure daily practice would get her to speak fluently in a couple of months.

My question is, with a single salary (mine) of £40K gross per year (£30K net), is life with my family sustainable there?

My concerns are with the house rents and mostly, the childcare. I hear the prices in England for nurseries / pre-schools is pretty high (even the highest in Europe!). Here in Portugal, our kid attends a nursery for around 60€ (+/- £45) per month and we can leave him at the grandparents, when we have that need, for brief periods of time. In England, we won't have relatives to do that, so nurseries / kindergardens / pre-schools / whatever are a major concern for us now.

In a short list:

  • is £40K per year enough for a family of three?
  • will my wife have trouble finding a job?

1 Answer 1


To answer the two questions you ask:

  1. There are families that live on less than 40K per year (although you did not specify a currency, I will assume GBP). But the cost of living in London is very different to North Wales or the Highlands of Scotland, or the Midlands or North of England. Living in the South-East of England is much more expensive than the North or West. I would say you could live in Southampton, but life would probably be tough on one salary.

  2. Unemployment is always present in the UK, but once you settle in a community and get to know people, it's quite possible that she could find some kind of employment.

  • Thank you for your answer. The currency is GBP, yes. My question regards life in the South, more specifically, around Southampton / Portsmouth. Anyway, you say that "life would be tough on one salary": are you referring to a 40K salary or just generally speaking?
    – chiapa
    Sep 4, 2015 at 8:39
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    I mean life would be tough on that one salary that you mentioned. Allowing for rent and living costs generally, factoring in the cost of getting to work and back every day, you might find it difficult until your wife was able to find a job too. It should be possible, but might not be a lot of fun for the first year or two.
    – Scott Earle
    Sep 4, 2015 at 8:41
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    I last lived in the UK in 2003, when my salary was slightly more than the one you mentioned. I lived near Oxford, which is a bit more expensive than Southampton - but not outrageously. I had a mortgage, two cars, and one income. But things have changed in the last 12 years, and I don't imagine that the cost of living has gone down in that time. (Also - a mortgage tends to be cheaper than rent, but difficult/impossible to get without a credit history). As I said above, it should be doable, but I would expect it to be tough on just the one salary. It all depends on things like the cost of rent.
    – Scott Earle
    Sep 4, 2015 at 8:59
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    Thank you Scott for you great insight. I'll be waiting for more contributors
    – chiapa
    Sep 4, 2015 at 10:03
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    rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/Southampton.html should give you an impression what you can rent in Southampton. £1,000 won't get you something that is "very good", but you should get a house with a garden for that money.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 7, 2015 at 21:32

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