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Living Costs in the UK for International Students

Bravo! You have made the decision to study in the UK, which is one of the most popular destinations for international students. However, we are aware of the one crucial question bugging you throughout the application process: how much money do you need to live in the UK?

We don’t want our international students to start their journey in the UK with a mind full of worries related to living costs. So, we’ve prepared this guide to provide you with a clear picture of the cost of living in the UK. Let’s draw the outline of your monthly budget during your stay there. And here we’ve divided our guide into six categories:

  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Connectivity
  • Miscellaneous

What are the accommodation costs in the UK for international students?

The cost of accommodation in the UK for international students depends on the type of accommodation you have chosen for yourself. The cost may also vary according to the city you are going to study. London, as the capital, is more expensive than its surrounding towns and cities.

Average cost of accommodation in the UK:

Average Monthly Costs


Other Cities

University Residence

727 £

515 £

Private Housing

848 £

505 £

Utility Bills

45 £

40 £

Accommodation options in the UK

As an international student in UK, you can Students can choose to live in dorms or university residences or opt for private flats or shared housing. Most universities in the UK give you the chance to live on-campus. These residence halls are within walking distance from the campus and can help you save on transportation. You can choose to live with a roommate or occupy a private room with an en-suite bathroom. Other incentives of living on-campus are that the cost often includes food and utility costs. This means that you are free from the troubles of grocery shopping, cooking, and paying electricity, gas, and water bills.

If you wish to enjoy independence in its true sense, private housing is the best option for you. The cost of living in the UK will vary if you go for private rentals. Renting a flat or house would come with an agreement that usually exceeds the university term. A smart way to handle this can be to rent accommodation with other students. You can split the rent, food, and utility expenses, and build friendships at the same time. There’s another factor which needs your attention: the council tax. In the UK, council tax is the cost of waste management and maintenance. Luckily, students must pay just a minimal amount as council tax. So, don’t forget to contact the local council and ask for the discounted rates.

Affordable transport costs in the UK

You’ll be spending the second-largest amount on transportation costs. The cost depends on the city and the mode of transport you are using. Apart from walking and cycling, you can choose to travel via buses and trains. Public transports usually offer discounts for students, and you should consider using a railcard to reduce the overall cost of living in the UK. Hiring cabs can mess up your budget as taxis are quite costly. We would suggest international students use travel cards when traveling across or within cities.


Average Monthly Transport Costs


56 £


47 £


45 £


45 £


43 £

What’s the cost of food in the UK?

While living on-campus saves you from food expenditures, students living in private rentals must consider the cost of food. Getting grocery store cards would help you shop in peace. It’s always great to ask around for suggestions from the locals. Make a grocery list, create a meal plan, and shop from the right items at the right places. While you can enjoy eating out once in a while, preparing your food at home is your best bet at cutting costs. Steer clear of luxury items or imported ingredients. Average estimated rates of some common grocery items are as follows:





1 pack

0.71 £


1.13 L

0.81 £


300 g

1.57 £



1.51 £


1 kg

1.51 £

Cooking Oil

1 L

1.11 £


1.5 L

0.81 £


Cost of entertainment in UK – how much do you need?

University life is certainly not just about books, tests, and exams. You’ll be building a social circle and would need money also to enjoy leisure time. Hence, we have included entertainment in our guide to the student cost of living in the UK. Depending on where and how you plan to party, we are including some common ideas and how much it will cost you in the list below:

Entertainment Item


Movie Ticket

10.12 £

Concert or Theatre Ticket

50.57 £

Restaurant Table for Two

40.46 £


How to stay socially connected in the UK at an affordable cost?

While studying abroad, the need to be in touch with family and friends is greater than ever. Also, keeping the growing demand of social media in mind, international students need to spend on a SIM card with call and data package, Wi-Fi, and television fees. Check out for the discount packages and the cheapest mobile service providers. Compare the rates before buying a Wi-Fi connection. For a better understanding, let’s look at some basic costs:


Average Monthly Cost

Pre-paid SIM package

10.12 £

TV License

156.25 £

TV + Wi-Fi package

50.54 £

Call Costs

0.15-0.46 £


8.10 £


Miscellaneous expenses – How much is enough?

You’ll be surprised to see the amount you’ll be spending on the “extra stuff” even when you strictly stick to a budget. You will surely buy some new clothes and household items during your stay in the UK. Therefore, these miscellaneous items are also important and should be included in the student cost of living in the UK. Keep the costs mentioned below in your mind when making your budget:

Miscellaneous Items

Once Off Cost


30.34 £

Household Items

30.34 £


20.23 £


20.23 £


50.57 £


Now pick up a pen, a paper, and a calculator and plan your monthly budget. Having an estimate of the cost of living in the UK on hand would make your educational experience in a foreign country all the more enjoyable!

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