Cost of living in Scotland

Hi everybody,

It would be very interesting and useful to exchange informations about the cost of living in Scotland.

The idea is to help those who would like to live in Scotland.

Don't forget to mention where you are living

Let's compare the:

> accommodation prices (how much does it cost to rent or to buy an accommodation in Scotland?)

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)

> energy prices (oil, electricity)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

> prices of a beer or a coffee in a regular pub

Thanks in advance for your participation!

Sent by EEG in May 2005

Living in St. Andrews, Scotland (comparable to nearby Edinburgh)

accommodation prices: between 150-700 GBP/person/month, running the gamut from rundown, limited-space University halls to luxury flats with satellite TV and cleaning service.  2-BR flat runs about 300-400 per person.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...): about 3 GBP between towns

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?): about 15 GBP/week

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance): NHS is free!  But no dentists.  Pay per visit for private dental care, but it's still cheaper than in the States!

> eduction prices (if you need to pay): between $15,000-$20,000 in fees

> energy prices (oil, electricity)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone): about 20 GBP/month for broadband.  Anywhere from 10-40 GBP/month for mobile.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant: 8-20 GBP

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub: 3 GBP

Sent by caledonia in May 2007

I live in Edinburgh which is a very expensive city, but so beautiful and people are really nice.

> accommodation prices
We're renting a big 1 bedroom flat with my partner (big kitchen, living room and study room) for £650 in a really nice area. If we wanted to buy this flat it would cost us about £210.000, which means no way, far to expensive! (I know because a similar flat upstairs went for that price a month ago).

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
A single bus ticket costs £1, a day saver costs £2.50 and a monthly card is £37.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
We are "foodies" so we eat well all the time, I'd say about £60 a week, and that's not including wine (which we only drink a the weekend).  We prefer to shop in local shops if we can as we like to source our food locally (why buy lamb from New-Zealand when there's a beautiful sheep farm 2 miles away! And it's also better for the environment!)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
My partner has a private medical insurance with his work and my name's also on it.  Otherwise, as everywhere else in the UK, GP is free and a prescription is about £6.70.
I was lucky enough to find an NHS dentist, so it's now dead cheap to go to the dentist's!

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)
Not a student but I work in a university so I know.  Fees are about £3000 if you're a UK or EU citizen and £8000 if you're from overseas (and believe me the place is packed with Chinese, Japanese and Indian students!).

> energy prices (oil, electricity)
A litre of petrol is about 98 pence.
Not sure about gas/electricity but I reckon it's about £500 per year (we have gas central heating and it's not rare to put the heating on in the middle of summer)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
Don't have a phone landline at home but my mobile (contracts) is £30 per month and we have cable/internet, which is about £55 per month.
TV licence is £27 per month.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
Depends if if go for lunch or dinner.  Lunch is much cheaper and you can easely find a good restaurant for £10-13 for a 2 courses meal.  For dinner count about £25 per head.  And that's not including wine of course!

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub
In my local boozer, where we go far too often (but hey, it's the heart of the community!) it's about £2.50 for a pint, same for a gin & tonic.
In the middle of town (i.e. posh streets like George Street if some of you know the city), it's not rare to pay up to £4 for a pint.
A coffee at Starbuck is about £2 (although I prefer the Italian coffee from Cafe Nero and not that crap they dare selling us at the kiosk at work).
Ciggies are expensive, about £5.50 a pack, and it's been a year you're no longer allowed to smoke in any indoor places.

I almost forgot the Council Tax, which is a total rip off, £150 per month!

Apart from that, I love living here!

Hi, I would love to know which is the least expensive city in Scotland. How do poor people live in Scotland? Is there anyplace with cheap rent? The cost of food is never a problem.:)

Oh I am such a virgin here. I am ANOTHER :-) writer and I so need a change. I think I will just dry up and wither away inside, if I don not get a change of venue. So thanks for all the good practical information. And here's hoping

Hello how are you?

I like Ask you many questions but first I will wait you answer me samll Email just to make sure you still there .
my Email   scotlandinfo[at]
thanks for your time

i've often been curious about the cost of living in scotland... thanks to everyone for the very useful info. :)

how are salaries there on average?

canadian_girlie> it always depends on your qualifications and professional experience ;)

The cost of living in Scotland is naturally a big concern to anybody wishing to live and work in Scotland. It would take hours to detail every kind of expense and so much depends on personal circumstances, but hopefully this general Scottish overview, as of November, 2010, will help some people:-

Average Salaries Scotland (Payscale Index 16 Nov 2010)

Sr. Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer     £37,055     
Office Administrator     £15,877     
Software Developer     £25,235     
Information Technology (IT) Manager     £37,636     
Personal Assistant     £23,077     
Marketing Manager     £25,466     
Office Manager     £21,720

Mechanical Engineer     £25,167     
Administrative / Office Manager     £21,709     
Sr. Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer     £36,047     
Operations Manager     £31,862     
Office Administrator     £15,735     
Retail Store Manager     £22,301     
Team Leader, General     £21,161

The Careers Scotland Website is well worth a look to find out more about working in Scotland.

National Minimum Wage

Everyone in Scotland (and UK) is legally entitled to a minimum rate of pay: £3.64 per hour for ages 16-17; £4.92 per hour for ages 18-20 & £5.93 for workers aged 21 and over. (As of Oct 2010).

Health Costs
The UK has a national health service (NHS) run by the government which is free for those living permanently in Scotland or who (I believe) have a visa which allows you to stay for at least a year (please confirm this). However, not everything is free on the NHS and generally you must pay for medicinal prescriptions, dentists, opticians & chiropody, although there are some exemptions e.g. children, expectant mothers, the elderly & low income families (dependent on circumstances, please check). Eye tests in Scotland are currently free.

You can choose to opt into private health care services like BUPA, but these can be expensive for those on lower salaries. Visit the NHS Scotland website to find out more about the NHS in Scotland & overseas visitors.

If you are working for an employer in Scotland you must pay "Income Tax" and "National Insurance" on your salary which will be automatically deducted from your weekly or monthly salary by your employer. If you are new to Scotland you must apply to Her Majestys Revenues & Customs (HMRC) for a National Insurance number right away and give this to your new employer. For earnings between £0 - £37,400 you pay 20% Income Tax; earnings between £37,401 to £150,000 you pay 40% and for earnings over £150,000 it's 50%.

In respect of National Insurance, if you're employed you pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions. The rates are:

    * if you earn more than £110 a week and up to £844 a week, you pay 11 per cent of the amount you earn between £110 and £844
    * if you earn more than £844 a week, you also pay an extra 1 per cent of all your earnings over £844

You pay a lower rate if you're a member of your employer's contracted-out pension scheme.

Visit HMRC here to find out more about tax in Scotland. There's also a good guide at

Accommodation & Housing
In Edinburgh, the cost of a basic 1 bedroom flat in a traditional Edinburgh tenement varies from around £450 to £550 depending on the quality of the accommodation and the location. Flats are cheapest in Gorgie and Leith and more expensive in more upmarket locations such as Morningside, Bruntsfield, Stockbridge, Comely Bank and the City Centre.

Aberdeen is the most expensive city to rent in and Dundee is the cheapest. Glasgow is a little cheaper than Edinburgh. Landlords will ask for a deposit and the 1st months rent in advance, so you will generally need around £1000 plus to secure a decent 1 bedroom rented property. Leases are generally "Short Assured Tenancies" which usually give you security of tenure for 6 months and most roll over, after the initial 6 month period, on a month to month basis thereafter. (Although a short assured tenancy can be for longer). Under a Short Assured Tenancy, you will be responsible for paying "council tax" which is around £110 a month for an average 1 bedroom flat, depending on area. You will also have to pay for gas and electricity which will be around £60 a month for a 1 bedroom flat, but could be less or more, depending on how many there are of you and how frugal you are!

Landlords in Scotland are generally responsible for all repairs to a property - so you will be saved that cost (except for any 'unreasonable' damage you've caused). To find out more about renting in Scotland visit Citylets. If you want to find out more about leases in Scotland visit the Edinburgh Property Consultancy.

Sharing a flat or house is very popular in Scotland and generally costs in the region of £300 to £400, but can be more. Anything cheaper is not going to be great. Sharing does allow you to share the payment of council tax and the utility bills. To find a flat share visit Easy Roommate.

Buying a property in Scotland is fairly straightforward, although it is more difficult to qualify for a mortgage at the moment and you will need a fairly hefty deposit although better deals are creeping back into the market. Best advice if you're thinking of buying is to visit the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) in George Street, Edinburgh, who provide free solicitor and mortgage advisor drop in sessions. Visit ESPC here.

The average cost of a decent 1 bedroom flat in Edinburgh is around £100,000 to £150,000 dependent on the area. Really good family homes tend to be sought after and can command good prices. At the moment, the property market in Scotland is very sluggish, so it's very much a buyers market. 

Food Prices
This is hard to quantify as it really depends on the individual, but here's a few prices of basic food items:

Sliced White Sandwich Loaf £1.10
6 Pack Golden Delicious Apples £1.50
1 pint Whole Milk £0.45
Box of 6 Medium Free Range Eggs £1.46
500g Fresh British Beef Mince £1.64
500g Fresh Beef Fillet Steak £11.49
1.5kg Fresh Whole Chicken £4.00

Obviously the list is endless, but if you want to check out Scottish food prices further visit My

Transport in Scotland

Scotland has excellent public transport, which is generally very affordable, especially if you book in advance. The cost of buying a new car is relatively comparable to the rest of Europe, although maybe a little more expensive. Second hand cars are abundant and by shopping around there are some bargains to be had. The cost of petrol in the UK is around the £1.20 per litre mark as of 18 Nov 2010. Check out www.petrol prices for more info. For more information on Transport services and costs in Scotlands 6 cities visit the Scotland city guide.

I'm afraid that's all I've got time for. Please forgive me for any errors. I hope some people will find my ramblings useful!


Thank you so much, lots of details

Hi Caro,

Scotland is an amazing country and I love spreading the word. Always glad to help.
All the best,


Great info here.

Thanks David.

What an amazing reference page. I don;t know why I feel that I'd like to live in Scotland, but I just have that gut urge. This page has been a great help. Anyone pls feel free to contact me with any further info xx Beck

what is Gbp? forgive me for asking, I plan on moving there soon.

GBP is £ ;)

Hi All,
I'm looking into moving to Edinburgh from Brooklyn NY.  I'm trying to budget stuff etc to figure out cost of living what have you.  Thanks for all the info.  Although if someone could explain the council tax and the National Health Number that would be great because it appears that all standard living (ie transportation, flat rental etc. are all lower there then my current location) Thanks.

Hi pdm,

Council Tax in Scotland is levied on domestic, residential houses/flats to help pay for local public services such as schools, street lighting, rubbish collection and leisure facilities etc (it also includes a charge for water and sewerage.) If you own or rent a residential property in Scotland (subject to some exemptions/discounts e.g. students) you will normally be responsible for paying council tax. You can pay monthly (over a period of ten months) to help spread the cost.

I live in a 3 bed property just outside Edinburgh and I currently pay £2100 per year. It's quite a lot of money and therefore very important to factor into your Scottish budget!

For more information check out the City of Edinburgh Council Website: (Bear in mind that each council sets it's own rates)

Your National Insurance Number is essentially your own personal account number with the state. Its a unique number which allows you to be identified for Social Security Purposes. The number ensures that all your National Insurance Contributions are correctly accounted for and credited to you.

For a better explanation than i can give check out this page from the Direct Gov website: … /DG_190048

Hope this has helped.


thank you so very much, your answer was very explainable and thorough. I hope you read this so that you can answer one more question for me, the question is I am moving there for one year only, I'm american, so I don't have a nih number, will landlords still rent to me? I have no problem paying council tax.

Hi loveedinburgh,

It shouldn't necessarily be a problem for a landlord that you don't (initially) have a national insurance number. Most reputable landlords and letting agencies in Scotland will normally be looking for at least the following:

1. Ability to pay - hence proof of your income e.g. pay-slips or your annual accounts and/or tax return. If you are relying on savings then you should have a bank statement ready to prove you have sufficient funds.

2. An employers reference if you are in work. An Academic reference if you are studying.

3. A previous landlords reference. (This carries great weight).

4. A copy of your passport/ driving licence in order to prove your identity.

5. Two utility bills to confirm where you have been living previously.

6. Some landlords and agencies may insist on carrying out a credit check to ensure you are solvent.

Requirements do vary from agency to agency, but the above documents are worthwhile having to hand before you start looking.

Hope this helps,

All the best, David


i live in fife, on the very edge of edinburgh's commuter belt: this is my analysis of the costs where i am:

> accommodation prices (how much does it cost to rent or to buy an accommodation in Scotland?)

- about £420 for a 3 bed house with a driveway

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)

- far too expensive, average about 2-3 times the price of driving. scotrail has a monopoly in our area and is totally exploiting it. buses are cheaper if you hold 'travelcards' but usually still cheaper to drive. (it costs me abt £0.12 a mile to drive, and £2.70 to catch a train three miles or 1.50 to catch a bus three miles)

> energy prices (gas & electricity)

- its abt £1600 a year for us

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

- abt £20 a months per phone (mobile or landline)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

- £15-£25

> council tax:

abt £90 a month

Very active blog with lots of great information!  How is living in Scotland in terms of family life?  What are the schools like for the kids? Activities?

That National Insurance cost seems like a lot.  I assume it's similar to Social Security here in the states.  Is that money kept for the individual until retirement or is it thrown into a pool and divied out to everyone (like it is here :( )?

See you soon!

hello everyone,
my husband has an offer in Turnburry for 30 000 per year, we have 1 child (15months), and we would like to have more informations. i read your posts but all are for Edinburg or big cities. i know it`s impossible to live in turnburry, so we`re looking for Ayr. could you, please explain me for the taxes, an appartment with 2 bedrooms, if there is occupations for my baby, and us, if french people are appreciate, i mean it`s a small city and sometimes foreigners are not really accepted... anyway, please, tell me everything asap.
thank you.

Hi and welcome on board Helene!

I would suggest you to start a new thread on the Scotland forum for better visibility ;)


David Your answers are very much helpful and I do  appreciate very much.

Have a great time!

im from edinburgh,
I rent from a housing association £390 month
Food... I go to asda and iceland or farmfoods {freezer food}
Im muslim so i buy my meat from the local halal shops, one behind the central moaque and 2 in the square outside mosque.
Transport.... lothian buses are good £3.30 day saver and £45 a month, which means you can jump on and off there buses all day.
Taxis from the airport are expencive as black cabs can't pick up passengers only drop off, there are airport taxis, better to get the airport bus {Airlink} into town center £3.50 single ticket, then either a bus or black cab.

Generally speaking, is it possible, for 1 person, to live on USD2,000.00 per month?  Thanks Jim

Where i live you can get a 2 bed flat from £100,000 +

I am currently residing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I have got an offer from a company named WINSTON ENERGY LIMITED, UNITED KINGDOM, SCOTLAND. It has given its address as follows:

Winston Energy

385 Girt's Bridge Rd 

NC 28353,

Laurinburg, Scotland

United Kingdom

Firstly, I want to ask you if there is such an address that exists in your great country, Scotland. Because when I searched for it on net, it showed me that such an address is not in United kingdom but it is in United states in Scotland County.
Please help me out with this.

Secondly, going by the company's information given on its site, it turns out to be a good company and one of my dream companies. Also, it is offering me good package. But I want to confirm whether there is such a company with the above name in Scotland.?? If yes, then hows the company..??

Thank you very much,
Hoping to get a satisfactory reply as soon as possible.

that looks like north carolina america

what is there company e mail address.

Just had a friend in america check the address.
It is a real company but DONT give them your bank details till you are there and working for them.
It is in north carolina USa

I dont mean to be anylytical. I have to know if the teachers are clued up when it comes to Microsoft education. In South-Africa as all south- africans know, we have the problem of unexperienced lecturers and colleges that over charge.Our teachers are simply not adept enough to live up to what you pay for those coarses. Are Scotlands lecturers something to brag about?

canadian_girlie :

i've often been curious about the cost of living in scotland... thanks to everyone for the very useful info. :)

how are salaries there on average?

I think in retail about £6.00 (plus) an hour.

WHat field do you work? Nurse? Teacher? all depends.

I am wondering, if I get a position there in St Andrew's, if I could live off of 20.000 pounds comfortably?


I can't really work out how the standard of living in Scotland compares to Australia. In Aus I can live comfortably on $55k per year, in a medium sized city. In Scotland I will only make €20k for the same role. Looking at the sums, it seems that life might be a lot tighter in Scotland, city or not. I've been told though that it works about to be about the same standard of living. Do any Aussies out there have a general impression?

Cheers in advance! :)

Hi J3sso and welcome to!

Do not hesitate to start a new thread on Scotland forum with all your questions for better visibility.;)


Hi everybody!!

I am thinking in moving to Edinburgh next year. Do you believe that it is possible to live there with about 1000-1200 pounds/month?? Renting a room, food, transport,...

Thanks in advance :)


What is the imcome taxation  rate in Scotland?

Living in Paisley (about 15 mins commute to Glasgow)

Accommodation – We stay in a 2 bedroom flat in the centre of town and costs £450pm fully furnished. I’ve seen 1 beds go for about £300pm in our area, and you can get luxury 2 bedroom flats for about £600-650. Rightmove is a good site to see what you get for your money.

Public transport – I commute to Glasgow by train, which is about £9 a day for a return ticket. The Scotrail site should tell you how much it costs for train travel. Several bus companies offer an all-day ticket for under £3

Food prices – It varies, but if we’re eating in it costs about £20-30 per person for us

Health prices – My employer provides private healthcare through AXA PPP, which has been great on the few occasions we’ve had to claim. Routine stuff is done through the NHS, which has also been excellent for us. Any dental work has been private, NHS dentists are pretty booked up where we are so it has been a little expensive.

Education – Totally depends on what you’re studying and where. Undergraduate courses vary from £1800 for Scottish residents up to £13,000 for overseas students (source)

Energy Prices – We’re on a PAYG system through Scottish Hydro for both gas and electricity, and what we pay varies a lot depending on the time of year. In the summer it can be as low as £60-70 a month, while in the winter it’s closer to £150 a month

Other Common bills – Internet and phone combined is £45pm with BT, although we’re probably paying too much at the moment. TV licence is about £150 a year, and we just have PAYG mobiles.

Food and drink – You can get a decent meal for £15-20 most places, and a beer will cost you £3-4. A good cup of coffee will be about £2-3.

is it that hard?

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