Me 30 earning 40k as Project/Transition Manager (Telecoms), partner 30 earning 40k as Program Manager in Environmental Organisation. Just moved to Walton-on-Thames and renting 3 bed-house for £1250/month. 1 hour commute door-to-door to Central London offices.
Have lived in South London 2003-2010, first in shared houses at approx £500/month and then in 1-bed 2nd floor flat (no lift!) with the Mrs for £1000/month in Zone 3. i earned £40k/year as a Salesman aged 24 but hated it and its taken me this long to carve out a career in another field to match my salary 1 year after leaving uni.
Just before proposing in early 2009 we had approx £20k in savings between us. We did like meals out and holidays (camping often) but no other real vices. Cut back somewhat and took the hard decision to get married rather than buy a house. Probably still the right choice but a Super-Happy-Princess-Day still ends up costing nearly £15k. Cutting back meant we saved the full value of the wedding over 16 months so in May this year we were back where we started with £20k savings.
We're striving for a decent work/life balance, cannot afford to buy or event rent in a nice area in London but wanted to get out of such a hectic environment to somewhere a bit more tranquil. Walton-on-thames was far enough out for the property to be affordable without the travel costs/time killing us. Moving has cost us an additional £6k/year without one-off costs (i.e furnishing an unfurnished house, buying a 9 year old car @£3k) but thats the difference between a 1 bed flat and a 3 bed house with a garden. Saving for the wedding proved we could save about £900-£1k/month if we tried, so we're now down to about £450 savings a month (currently being eaten up by trips to Homebase!). Have projected income/expenditures based on my wife on Maternity Leave and then my wife working full-time with 1 kid in child-care 3 days a week (we can both work from home) and we can afford it. 2 kids would probably destroy this model though.
I think the decision will shortly come down to kids or house. The house we rent is 'worth' £300k which means a 25% deposit is £75k or £55k more than we currently have. Thats nearly 10 years saving at our current rate and maintaining our current lifestyle without even considering the risk that mortgage repayments are higher than rent. Our new house is really nice and we could live in it indefinitely - i don't aspire to anything bigger or better as I'd prefer to grow my disposable income! Our big hope is salary rises - we gained a cumulative £8k in payrises this year (staying in same companies) but realistically we both need our careers to take off shortly to even hope of owning property this decade.