Are you considering moving to the USA from the UK? Here we explore the big question of whether the cost of living is cheaper in the UK or the USA.

Are you considering a big move from the UK to the USA? You are not alone. Many people are seeking a change of scenery, but is it worth moving from the UK to the USA? Is it really a significant change? The truth is, there are a lot of questions you may be asking yourself about this move and whether or not you should do it.

When moving from the UK to USA, the cost of living in the USA and UK can be substantially different in regards to various lifestyle and leisure activities. Everyone has their own form of entertainment and your lifestyle are a direct correlation to the current economy and your personal finance allowances.

We have generated this data by researching various cost of living databases, and have shortlisted the important factors that you will need to consider. These include the cost of groceries and food, housing bills as well as popular entertainment. It’s important to compare these activities as you still want to have fun in your free time whilst balancing your bills.

If you require assistance with moving to the USA from the UK, PSS International Removals has over 40 years of experience in international removals and will be able to help you. Contact us to get started.

1. Eating out in the UK vs the USA

Restaurants (1)

You do not want to be forced to cook each and every meal consumed in your household. Even for an avid home cook, the chance to go out for a meal is a welcomed treat, but how much more or less will you pay in the USA? It actually depends on where you choose to eat and at what time.

In terms of when to eat at a restaurant, not surprisingly, lunch is among the cheapest. This meal tends to have smaller portions and offers more of a casual approach to eating. In the USA you can expect to spend, on average, £14.15 ($18.40) for a meal which is only slightly less than the average £14.25 ($18.53) in the UK.

The statistics are even lower if you choose fast food as an option for your lunch meal with the UK averaging £7.25 ($9.43) and USA coming in at £8.08 ($10.50) . Dinner in a restaurant can be a much higher amount, but the USA averaging £56,23 ($73,10) compared to £59,61 ($77,49) from the UK.

Food options UK Price USA Price


Cheaper Country


Lunch £14.25 ($18.53) £14.15 ($18.40) USA
Dinner £59.61 ($77.49) £56.23 ($73.10) USA
Fast Food Lunch/Dinner £7.25 ($9.43)


£8.08 ($10.50) UK

2. Heading to the movies – US vs UK


One of the many leisure activities people enjoy around the world is watching movies, especially the latest Hollywood blockbusters. If you would like to save some money when attending the cinema, you can bring your own snacks and drinks. However, make sure to avoid hot food as cinemas can refuse entry.

On average, a movie ticket in the USA costs about £10.69 ($13.90) , while in the UK, the price is slightly higher at £10.85 ($14.11). The experience of watching a film can vary significantly in cost depending on the location and the film. For instance, IPIC Movie Theatres in New York, often dubbed the ‘ultimate cinema experience’ will cost you a lot more due to its location, range of services, and the premium seats.

Item UK Price USA Price


Cheaper country
Movie Ticket


£10.85 ($14.11) £10.69 ($13.90) USA

3. Housing and Utilities Costs – UK vs USA

Housing and Utilities 1

Before relocating, it’s crucial to take into account the costs of housing and utilities, as homes in the USA tend to be larger than those in the UK. Many expatriates fantasise about their spacious American dream homes, complete with swimming pools. This is seen as one of the pros of living in the USA.

The average property purchase price tips the scales in favour of the USA, with homes fetching around $320,000, slightly undercutting the UK’s £250,000 (converted to $325,000). Renters too might find solace in American shores, where the average monthly lease hovers at £961,51 ($1,250) a notch below the UK’s £1,000 ($1,300). Florida in particular is known for providing affordable properties with lots of space.

Powering your home will be another major hurdle to contend with. If you are a single person, you can expect to pay £100 ($130) per person for utilities, whist the USA is cheaper at just £92,31 ($120) per month. However, if you are a three person household family, costs will naturally go up to £300 ($390) for an average in the UK and £276,93 ($240) for the USA.

Description UK Price


USA Price Cheaper country
Average property purchase price


£250,000 ($325,000)  £246,154 ($320,000) USA
Average Rental Price


£1,000 ($1,300)  £961.54 ($1,250) USA
Utilities for a Single Person £100 ($130) £92.31 ($120) USA
Utilities for a Three Person Household £300 ($390) £276.93 ($240) USA

4. How do museums in the UK compare to the USA?


Whether it’s exploring ancient artifacts, marvelling at ground-breaking art, or unravelling the mysteries of science and technology, museums offer a gateway to the past and a mirror to the present.

In terms of affordability, both countries strive to keep the doors of knowledge and history wide open to the public. In the UK, the average museum entrance fee stands at about £7.92 ($10.30). Across the pond, the USA manages to edge out a slight advantage in affordability, with an average entrance fee of £7.69 ($10) .

Museums in general is always a cost-effective day out with the family, and allows you explore the culture and the history of the area.

Item UK Price USA Price        Cheaper country
Average Museum Entrance £7.92 ($10.30)  £7.69 ($10) USA

5. Is it cheaper to attend a theatre event in the UK or USA?

Theatre Hall_1_1

Heading out to the theatre for an evening of entertainment offers a magical experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in story as it happens, live, right in front with you. It is also the perfect excuse to hang out with your friends and family, and enjoy a memorable evening.

In the United States, the price for a memorable night at the theatre can average around £159,23 ($207) . This stands in contrast to the United Kingdom, where theatre-goers can expect to pay less, with the average cost being £124.69 ($162.10). The higher cost of attending the theatre is attributed to the rising cost to run a live theatre event and the wages paid to the performers. However, it is a wonderful experience and one that many regularly attend.

Item UK Price USA Price Cheaper country
Theater Tickets £124.69 ($162.10) £159.23 ($207) UK

6. Are UK food prices higher than the US?

Food and Groceries

No matter how the economy goes, and where you live, we all have to eat and buying food and groceries for your home will be a regular occurrence. Although we cannot possibly list every item you might purchase at the grocery store, we can look at the most popular items and how they compare from one country to the next.

On average, household essentials like bread, milk, pasta, and eggs are more affordable in the USA. For cheap grocery shopping in both the USA and the UK, supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl are the best options. Aldi, for example, has over over 2,000 stores throughout the USA, as well as 1000 stores in the UK. Other stores include WinCo Foods, Trader Joe’s and Market Basket, and they are one of the cheapest supermarkets in the USA.

Grocery Item UK Price          USA Price


Cheaper Country
Coffee £2.47 ($3.21) £3.10 ($4.03) UK
Beer £1.98 ($2.57) £1.63 ($2.12) UK
Bread £2.72 ($3.54) £1.18 ($1.54) USA
Milk £1.21 ($1.57) £0.84 ($1.09) USA
Pasta £0.96 ($1.25) £0.72 ($0.94) USA
Eggs £3.12 ($4.06) £2.99 ($3.89) USA

7. Is healthcare cheaper in UK or US?

Pros and cons of living abroad healthcare

Possibly one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in our current global economy is healthcare. Both the UK and USA have their versions of government health insurance. The NHS is hugely popular in the UK, however, the main hurdle to overcome in both countries when it comes to government assistance is wait times.

For those who choose to seek a doctor’s help without waiting weeks or months for an appointment, private insurance is the way to go.

Private insurance in the UK costs an average of £90.63 ($117.82) per month while the USA is a lot more expensive at £268.21 ($337). It is important to carefully weigh your options when it comes to health insurance as you enter the USA as health insurance, medications, doctor visits, and a variety of other health related expenses are on the rise.

Description UK Price USA Price


Cheaper Country
Private Health Insurance £90.63 ($117.82) £268.21 ($337) UK

8. How does transport compare from the UK to the USA?

Transport (1)

Public transportation systems in both the USA and the UK are highly efficient. Buses represent the most common and cost-effective method for navigating these countries’ public transport networks, particularly if you use a monthly pass for additional savings.

New York City boasts the leading public transportation network in the USA, featuring 472 subway stations spread across its boroughs and 327 bus routes, making it ideal for morning commutes. Similarly, the UK’s public transportation is popular, with over 5.1 billion passenger trips recorded on its various public transport vehicles each year.

When it comes to the annual cost of purchasing a vehicle, residents in the UK find themselves in a more favourable position, facing an average outlay of £3,429,50 ($4,458.35). This is less than their American counterparts, who shell out around £4,049,68 ($5,264.58)

Expense Category


UK Price          USA Price Cheaper Country
Annual Vehicle Cost £3,429.50 ($4,458.35) £4,049.68 ($5,264.58) UK
Fuel (Per Gallon) £6.81 ($8.85) £2.58 ($3.35) USA
Insurance (Per Month) £34.88 ($45.34) £100 ($130) USA

Public Transport (Monthly Pass)


£94.90 ($119.71) £71.35 ($90.00)



9. Is education cheaper in the UK or USA?


Education is the foundation of our very existence no matter where you live, but depending on where you reside, you might have to pay more for it. If we are talking about expenses alone for primary and secondary schools, these are free of charge. However, if you looking for private schools, these prices will vary.

Financial aid is available in both countries. In the United States graduating seniors who maintain excellent grades are granted higher priority scholarships to a variety of universities and community colleges throughout the country.

In addition, grants such as the HOPE Grant in Georgia are substantiated by the local lottery and allow residents of the state to maintain a certain annual allowance for university study. Other states who have a lottery program have similar grant opportunities.

In the UK there are 3 main scholarship opportunities including the GREAT Scholarship, Chevening Scholarship, and Commonwealth Scholarships which each have their own stipulations regarding availability.

Education Level            UK Cost           USA Cost         Cheaper Country
Primary Education Free Free N/A
Secondary Education Free Free N/A
Private Schooling £12,738 ($18,989.79)


£10,086 ($12,738) USA
University (Average Annual Cost)


£9,250 ($12,025) £20,223 ($26,290) UK

Are you looking to move to the USA from the UK?

Overall, making a move from UK to USA can be a big decision and all the facts and figures can get a bit confusing. Where housing in the USA might be lower than it is in the UK, expenses such as university cost and private healthcare insurance will be cheaper in the UK.

Largely, it will depend on where you decide to live, and your lifestyle, as you may only go to restaurants or the theatre a couple of times a year, or twice a month for instance. Many expats who have decided to move to the USA have not regretted their decision though, due to the higher wages on offer and job opportunities. The houses are also much more spacious in the USA compared to the UK.

If you require assistance with international removals to the USA or shipping to the USA, our team will be able to help you. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, we will ensure that your belongings arrive in perfect condition. You will receive a dedicated move manager who will assist you with customs clearance and documentation as well as answering any questions you have during the process.