Living Expenses

Working out what living expenses you will need to consider and how much they will cost you will depend on so many factors.

As a rough guide we have calculated what it could cost you for the major items you will need when you are in the UK:

  • Food
    If you buy your own food, try and budget in about £25 to £30 per week to purchase food supplies. You can of course be smart and savvy about this and save much more.
  • Telephone (Landline)
    BT has a base rate of £10/ month for just line rental so calls are charged on top of this so that would be £2.50 per week.
  • Telephone (Mobile)
    The cost of mobiles varies depending on the provider and tariff you are on. Prepaid is generally cheaper to control costs, but if you make a lot of calls a contract will start at £5/ week.
  • DSL/ Internet
    Most companies charge a base of £5 / week for standard DSL in the UK.
  • Bills
    If you live in a house or apartment you will need to calculate water, heating and electricity into your budget - this can be anything from £10/week for all bills depending on the time of year.
  • Travel
    If you live away from University you will need to include travel expenses in your budget. This can be anything from £10/ week.
  • Study Materials
    Books, notepads, paper, printer cartridges are all things you will need and you should budget about £7/ week for this.
  • Police Registration
    If you are required to register with the Police on arrival in the UK it will be clearly indicated in your passport. The current cost for registration is £34 per person.
  • Television Licence
    Licences cost £145.50 per year. They are required in all accommodation if you have a TV in your room/flat.
  • Fun
    It’s not all study when you come to the UK, there will be time for some fun so you need to think about the cost of this. A cinema ticket in the UK costs around £8, a pint of beer £3, a DVD rental around £3. These are all costs you will need to budget so set aside what you’ll need for fun.
  • Social Costs
    Cinema ticket 3.50-8
    Haircut 8 - 30
    Meal (for two) 5 - 9
    Clothes 3 (per week)

    This list is not comprehensive, but will give you a starting point to work out what things will cost and the cost of living for the UK.
  • Initial Costs
    There are also some initial costs that you should budget for the following:
    1. Accommodation when you arrive: If you haven’t already organized accommodation for yourself when you first arrive make sure you have enough money for hostel or hotel accommodation (from £11 upwards per night) or to give to mates who let you doss.
    2. Bond and first month’s rent: This will be your most significant outlay. When leasing a flat or room in a flat-share bond can be up to 6 weeks rent and on top of that you will probably have to pay up to a month’s rent in advance. This could be as much as £1000 depending on the price of your rent.
    3. Transport: Public transport is an essential requirement when you have no private vehicle. Make sure you have some cash for public transport or to purchase an Oyster card.
    4. Mobile phone: If you’ve brought your mobile phone from home you still may need to buy a SIM card. Avoid phone contracts if possible and opt for pre-pay calling.
    5. Internet access: You’ll probably be using the Internet for searching for accommodation and staying in touch with family and friends back home. Internet cafes charge from £1 an hour, but allow plenty of cash for this as you’d be surprised how many hours you can rack up in these places.
    6. Eating and drinking: Your first few weeks are sure to be a blur of eating, drinking and socializing. Eating out in London isn’t cheap so try not to have breakfast, lunch and dinner while out and about as it will be more economical to buy groceries and prepare your own meals if u choose to have accommodation in self catered halls or flats or houses.
    There are also some things you can do to lower your living expenses and here are few tips:
    1. Student NUS Card: when you enroll as a student in the UK you will get an NUS card which is a student ID card from the National Union of Students. With this card you will be able to get discounts at many national stores - so always make sure you ask if you can get a discount.
    2. Choose where you shop: supermarkets such as Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose are more expensive than Tesco and Asda. Save money and shop at Asda or Tesco.
    3. Cut your calling costs: Your international calling costs will probably be high as you will want to call home often. If you have DSL you can take advantage of Skype to call around the world.
    4. Join the local library: Once you’re settled in a suburb one of the first things you should do is join your local library. Many have free computers and Internet access and cheap (£1 - £3) CDs and DVDs for hire, not to mention guide books to borrow for all of your adventures abroad.
    5. Keep a record of daily spending: This will help you to get a glimpse of your spending habits and to minimize expenses.
    6. Get a part - time job: Most students work while studying in the UK. A part-time job will help with your expenses whilst in the UK.
  • Budgeting
    When planning to study in the UK it is essential that you are aware of the costs involved and that you ensure you will be able to finance your studies.

    The International Student Calculator is an online tool which will help you calculate your budget and understand how you will spend your time as well as your money in the UK. It also gives you information on insurance and banking as well as a guide to the cost of living.