When choosing where to study abroad for your undergraduate or post-graduate degree programme, the United Kingdom is the first choice for many. The United Kingdom has been considered one of the most popular destinations for international students for several decades. The first question that crosses your mind when considering studying in the UK is, ‘How to Manage the Cost of Studying in the UK?’

The cost of living in studying in the UK is one of the most crucial factors for international students to give special attention to. Managing living costs could be a daunting task for various international students; that’s why we have prepared this guide to help them in their journey and give them a clear sense of direction to start ahead.

First things first, all international students should start out by mapping out an outline of what costs they will have to bear during their study programme. This will give an idea of what their monthly budget will look like. Divide and conquer! To give proper structure to your monthly budget, start off with categorizing all your costs and expenses. We have laid it all out in six broad categories. Let’s take a look at each one of them and see what costs will be incurred by international students in the UK.

1. Accommodation Costs in the UK

Accommodation costs for international students are subjective to the type of accommodation they go for and the city they will live in.  Major metropolitans like London, are costlier than smaller cities and towns.

Average accommodation costs in the UK:

Average Monthly CostsLondonOther Cities
University Residence£700-800£500-550
Private Housing£800-900£500-600
Utility Bills£45-50£40-50

International students in the UK can live either in their university dorms or residences or go for private or shared apartments. Most UK universities offer on-campus accommodation for all international students. This has to be the most preferred and economically feasible option for international students

Moreover, going for on-campus residency adds convenience for students as their universities are just a walking distance away, and they get to save on transportation costs too. You will primarily be given the option to live with a roommate, or if you get lucky, you might even get a private room with a bathroom attached. Various universities include food and utility costs within accommodation only, which saves you a lot of time, money and the constant hassle of chasing after bills.

For students who can afford to live independently, private or shared apartments are best suited to fit their needs. If you opt for a shared private rental, it will still be very cost-effective compared to living alone and enjoying privacy. When you rent a room or apartment with a friend/university mate, it will save you tonnes of money and allow you to socialize and bond with other people.

International students should also consider council tax in their monthly budget planning. Council Tax in the UK is the cost associated with waste management and maintenance. International students are supposed to pay critical attention to council tax and other tax-related expenses. You can also request your local council to offer your discounted rates.

2. Transport Costs in the UK

After accommodation, transport costs are the second most important costs to consider in the monthly budget for international students. Similar to accommodation, transport cost also varies from city to city and the mode of transport that you prefer to use. Walking and cycling is the most feasible way to go for transport, but this only applies to students living on campus or nearby to the university’s vicinity.

Buses and trains are the most common mode of transport for most international students. Public transport is easily affordable, and students are often given additional discounts. A smart way to go about this is to get your rail card made if you wish to reduce the overall transport cost. It will be best advised to avoid frequent use of taxis or cabs as they tend to be more expensive and unaffordable for many international students. Using travel cards for intercity is also something students should definitely take advantage of if they wish to save money in the longer run.

Here is an overview of the average transport costs based on each city:

CityAverage Monthly Transport Costs
London55-60 £
Manchester45-50 £
Birmingham45-50 £
Liverpool45-50 £
Leeds40-45 £

3. Food Costs in the UK

There are no food costs involved for international students who opt for on-campus accommodation or it’s a very minimal amount. On the other hand, students going for private rentals have to bear all food-related expenses themselves. To better manage your food expenses, grocery cards are highly beneficial. We will advise all international students to do their own research from locals nearby to get useful insights related to grocery items, daily or weekly meal plans, etc.

Dining out on a regular basis is not very economical for students, so it’s better to do it once in a while only. The best and most cost-effective option is to prepare food at home. To give you an overview of what your average meal plan would cost, here is a list of staple grocery items with their cost and other details.

ItemQuantityPrice
Bread1 pack0.71 £
Milk1.13 L0.81 £
Chicken300 g1.57 £
Eggs61.51 £
Rice1 kg1.51 £
Cooking Oil1 L1.11 £
Water1.5 L0.81 £

4. Cost of Entertainment in the UK

International students need to include entertainment costs in their monthly budget plan as it is impossible for them to survive without it. Being away from family and friends, you need an outlet other than studies to keep yourself busy. Other than that, Wi-Fi, Sim, and TV-related costs will also fall under the entertainment category in your monthly budget. There are various discount offers and mobile service providers to choose from, so do thorough research before investing in a SIM or mobile data plan. You can apply the same strategy when picking a Wi-Fi connection. Here is a list of the average costs of entertainment sources:

ConnectivityAverage Monthly Cost
Pre-paid SIM package10-15 £
TV License156-160 £
TV + Wi-Fi package50-55 £
Call Costs0.15-0.5 £
Netflix5-14 £

5. Miscellaneous Costs and Expenses

Even though some people do not consider it in their monthly budgets, for international student living in the UK, miscellaneous expenses are really important. There will always be some extra expenses apart from food, accommodation and transport. A major chunk of these expenses will be related to clothes, household items, toiletries, stationery and other day-to-day expenditure. Review the costs mentioned below carefully and include them in your monthly budget as per requirement:

Miscellaneous ItemsOnce Off Cost
Clothes30-35 £
Household Items30-35 £
Toiletries20-25 £
Stationery20-25 £
Insurance50-55 £

Closing Thoughts

Now that you have an idea of the costs of living and studying in the UK for international students, start making your monthly budget plan. This will give you a clear picture of what to expect and where to draw a line if you go over your budget. Keep this monthly plan as your benchmark for all costs and expenses to ensure that you steer away from getting yourself into any sorts of loans or other liabilities.

If you are still struggling with managing the costs of studying in the UK, we will be glad to assist you. Get in touch with our experts for professional advice and consultation.

January / february intake