Life with a VIE Allowance
Ah. The expected question. The one that burns all VIEs’ lips and livens up all main debates about this contract.
Yes, you can easily live with the VIE allowance in Wales, even if I was in the capital (rents were more expensive). For the record, I was covered by the allowance “UK Other Cities” (1603.44€ on the 01/07/2018). I don’t talk about the other cities in the UK where I don’t know the cost of life, or London were the allowance and the cost of life are very different. Plus, as you read the section about the “Expatriation Contract”, I remind you that it depends on your way of life of course. It is possible you will save more money than me or you’ll meet more difficulties (and this is not a challenge).
However, indeed, you won’t live like a lord. The UK is a very popular destination within the VIE community and very close to France as well (most of candidates are French), so the allowance is quite low (basic law of supply and demand). But above all…
Don’t forget you are paid in Euros and you will live with Pounds. The Pound is more powerful than the Euro, so it will cost you currency fees… Double sentence!
To give you concrete examples about my way of life and to give you an idea if you would like to come to Cardiff (come on it’s awesome!).
My allowance is approximatively £1400 per month. There is around 5€ of exchange fee, if you use Transferwise and you make sure you do only one transfer per month to your British account.
My rent when I started was £433 per month, bills included (I was living with a colleague). But I am now in a bigger bedroom, bigger house (with water view!), so the rent is £423 and the bills are around £100 per month.
I commuted by car. It costs me £55 for the insurance and around £100 for the petrol each month.
For the groceries, I would say £100-120 each month (I don’t want to eat only pasta, with this total, it’s quite obvious…).
My costs will have a total of £800 so a little more than half my allowance. The rest allows me to pays in advance my business trips (I claim them back but I need the cash flow first) and it allows me to get out with my friends. I don’t go to the restaurant very often (once a month maybe) and the beer budget… will stay confidential!
With these maths, you will notice that you can make savings to pay some weekends with your friends, or to come back to your home country. Or do sport, shopping, etc. You also can take an entire flat, but the budget will be more important. Count £700-800 for a flat with a certain standard (but not new or luxurious), and the bills are not included. If you want any detail, go to the Cardiff section (online soon).
In return, I also be careful with my expenses. At the supermarket, I don’t always take what I want but more things I really need. So farewell to the chocolate, cakes and sweats (greed… But I can’t resist sometimes). No pudding neither.
I always go to pubs where the beers are cheaper rather than the fashion place that will serve you the same pint for £3 more.
I don’t have lunch at the canteen neither but I cooked my meals at home instead.
And it would have been also possible to make more savings if I had moved in the city next door, cheaper. However, I wanted to enjoy the dynamic of the capital without commuting during an hour when I wanted to see my friends or to participate to an event…
With all this, I am able to pay my essential monthly bills, to agree parties with my friends and to save just a little bit each month.