Cost of Living in the UK

Know the approximate living expenses in UK on monthly basis.


Planning to study at a UK university? You must be wondering what the cost of living in the UK will be? The living expenses in the UK vary from one individual to individual and city to city, and it takes several factors into account to calculate the expenditures.


Know Monthly Living Expenses in the UK

The cost of studying and living in the UK can be an incredible experience for international students, but it comes with its financial challenges. Tuition fees, accommodation, and other living expenses can quickly add up, making it difficult to balance the financial demands of studying abroad with other responsibilities. According to a report by the UK Parliament's Commons Library, the cost of living in the UK has been steadily increasing in recent years, with inflation rising from 0.5% in March 2020 to a whopping 10.4% in February 2023. This increase in inflation has led to higher costs of living for both students and residents alike, making it more important than ever to carefully consider the cost of studying in the UK.

While scholarships, grants, and part-time jobs are all viable options to reduce your financial burden, they may not be enough to cover all of your expenses. Considering an education loan can be an effective solution to manage your finances. To make the most of this option, it's essential to check your education loan eligibility and explore the best possible loan options for your unique circumstances. By doing so, you can ensure that you have access to the funding you need to cover your expenses.


What is the Cost of Studying in the UK for International Students?

The fees for international students pursuing undergraduate courses range from £20,500 to £45,000. Tuition fees for MS in the UK for international students can range from £19,000 to £58,000.
MS in the UK can be completed in one year of full-time study. Undergraduate degree courses typically last for three years in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and four years in Scotland.
Let us look at the average annual tuition fees at some of the top universities in the UK.

University Undergraduate Postgraduate
University of Cambridge £23,697 to £32,002 £26,478 to £56,166
University of Oxford £25,987 to £36,065 £27,255 to £54,998
Imperial College London £34,000 to £37,000 £32,500 to £37,500
University College London £21,600 to £29,500 £27,900 to £58,850
The University of Edinburgh £23,650 to £41,500 £20,200 to £42,500
The University of Manchester £24,000 to £45,000 £19,000 to £34,000
King’s College London £23,700 to £35,400 £23,000 to £38,400
London School of Economics £22,608 to £34,944 £22,000 to £39,000
University of Bristol £21,900 to £25,700 £19,300 to £27,500
The University of Warwick £20,580 to £32,340 £20,100 to £37,820

Average Monthly Cost of Living in the UK

The National Union of Students (NUS) in 2022 stated that over 50% of students in the UK had encountered an increase in their weekly living expenses of more than £20. Moreover, a quarter of the students disclosed that they had less than £50 as surplus in their monthly budget after paying for rent and bills. Check out some ways to manage your finances and save money while studying abroad.

Tabulated below are some expenses you may have to bear every month:
Expense London Rest of UK
Accommodation (student halls - bills included) £840 £660
Private accommodation (without bills) £750 £550
Regular household bills (gas, electricity, water, broadband, TV license) £140 £80
Groceries £150 £110
Dining out £150 £80
Takeaway £16 for meal, £2.69 for coffee £15 for meal, £2.50 for coffee
Transport £120 £100
Mobile phone £18 £18
Gym membership £20 £15

Do you know?
Students who are enrolled in full-time courses in the UK are eligible for a 30% reduction on the regular tube and bus fares through the use of a Student Oyster Card, provided they possess a National Rail Card.


Cost of Accommodation in the UK

The cost of accommodation in the UK can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the location, type of accommodation, and whether it is on-campus or off-campus. On-campus accommodation typically includes university-owned residence halls or dormitories, while off-campus accommodation includes private rental apartments or houses.

  • list items The average weekly rent for on-campus accommodation in the UK is £146. This can vary depending on the location and type of accommodation, with London being the most expensive at an average of £202 per week.
  • list items Off-campus accommodation, on the other hand, can range from around £60 per week for a shared room in a flat or house to over £200 per week for a studio apartment in a prime location. The cost will also depend on factors such as the location, the size of the property, and whether utilities are included.
  • Check out accommodation options in the UK based on your targeted city with rental conditions, features, and images, you can even book the same at reasonable prices.

    Do you know?
    If you watch television on any device in the UK, including computers and tablets, you are required to pay for a television license. The cost of the license is £157.50 annually for a colour television and £53 annually for a black and white television. However, this cost is per household rather than per person, so if you live with roommates, you can divide the cost amongst yourselves.


    Transportation Costs in the UK

    The cost of transportation in the UK can vary depending on several factors such as the mode of transportation, the distance travelled, and the time of travel. Public transportation is usually more affordable than private transportation options in the UK.

  • list items The cost of public transportation varies depending on the city or region, but generally, a single bus or train journey can cost anywhere between £2 to £5, while a day pass or weekly pass can range from £5 to £50 depending on the area.
  • list items For private transportation, the cost of fuel is around £1.30 per litre, and car rentals can start from £20 per day.
  • list items Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft also have varying prices depending on the distance travelled, but a typical taxi ride in London can cost around £3 per mile.
  • Do you know?
    In the UK, cycling is a highly favoured means of transportation, several universities promote cycling by offering cycling clubs or cycling buddy schemes and organizing bike safety and maintenance workshops.
    Additionally, city cycle hire schemes are available in certain UK cities, including London, Liverpool, and Belfast. These schemes allow you to rent a bike from a docking station at a nominal fee and return it to a different docking station within the city limits within 24 hours.


    Cost of Food in the UK

  • list items How much you spend on food will affect the cost of living. Universities in the UK offer dining halls where students can join and eat regularly. These dining halls strive to provide a variety of menus with a wide range of meals at lower prices, giving students the freedom to choose meals that fit their budget and taste preferences. Typically, meals at these dining halls cost between £5 and £10.
  • list items Inexpensive restaurants generally charge around £15 per meal, while slightly more expensive restaurants can cost up to £100 for a meal for two people.
  • list items In other words, eating out at restaurants every day could cost at least £450 per month.
  • Items Price
    Bread (500g) £1.07
    Water (1.5litre) £0.84
    Milk (1 litre) £0.96
    Eggs (12) £2.12
    Local Cheese (1kg) £6.89
    Beef (1kg) £8.50
    Chicken Fillets (1kg) £6.12
    Tomato (1kg) £2.38
    Potato (1kg) £1.30
    Onion (1kg) £1.15
    Rice (1kg, white) £1.46
    Apples (1kg) £2.05
    Oranges (1kg) £1.97
    Banana (1kg) £1.21

    Health Expenditure of International Students in the UK

    If the duration of stay is more than 6 months, International students in the UK are required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) of £470 as part of their visa application process. This surcharge provides access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. This cost if after the 25% discount on student visa holders.

    Expenditure on Visa in the UK by International Students

    A one-time charge of £363 for a UK student visa, which allows you to live and study in the UK for the entire course duration. If one applies for a graduate route visa (which allows you to stay in the UK for 2 years after course completion) application fee of £715 is to be paid along with a £624 health surcharge for each additional year.


    Cost of Living in Different Cities in the UK

    The monthly cost of living for a single person in the top 10 best student cities in the UK according to QS is tabulated below:

    City Cost of living (without rent)
    London £966
    Manchester £752
    Edinburgh £717
    Glasgow £749
    Coventry £683
    Nottingham £747
    Birmingham £688
    Aberdeen £685
    Newcastle upon Tyne £730
    Brighton £793

    Do you know?
    According to Expatistan, one of the highest collaborative cost of living databases, the cost of living in London is 320% higher than in Delhi.


    Best Student Discounts in the UK

    If you are an international student studying in the UK, there are several ways you can take advantage of student discounts. Here are some options:

  • list items NUS (National Union of Students) Extra Card: This card costs £12 per year and provides discounts from a wide range of retailers in the UK, including restaurants, clothing stores, and electronics shops.
  • list items Unidays: This free platform offers discounts for students at various retailers, including fashion, technology, and food brands.
  • list items Student Beans: Similar to Unidays, Student Beans is a free platform that provides student discounts from a range of brands.
  • list items Transport discounts: If you are a full-time student in the UK, you may be eligible for a 16-25 Railcard, which provides discounts on train travel. You can also get discounts on bus travel by purchasing a student bus pass.
  • list items Cultural discounts: Many cultural institutions, such as museums, theatres, and galleries, offer discounted or free entry to students.
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    Tips to Reduce Cost of Living in the UK

    The cost of living in the UK can be high, especially in cities like London. Here are some strategies for managing the cost of living:

  • list items Create a budget: The first step is to create a budget and stick to it. Make a list of all your expenses, including rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, food, and entertainment.
  • list items Shop smart: Look for discounts and deals when you shop. Compare prices before making a purchase and buy in bulk when possible. Consider shopping at discount stores or using online retailers.
  • list items Cook at home: Eating out can be expensive, so try cooking at home. Plan your meals, buy in bulk, and use leftovers.
  • list items Reduce transportation costs: Consider using public transportation or cycling instead of driving.
  • list items Save on utilities: Use energy-efficient appliances and turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Consider switching to a cheaper energy supplier or negotiating a better deal with your current supplier.
  • list items Find cheaper accommodation: If you are renting, consider sharing a flat with someone else to reduce your rent costs.
  • list items Look for free entertainment: There are many free or low-cost entertainment options available, such as visiting museums, parks, and art galleries. Check out local events and festivals that are free to attend.
  • By implementing these strategies, you can manage the cost of living in the UK while being there. If you're looking for more personalized guidance on funding your studies in the UK, book a 30-minute free consultation call and get in touch with financial experts who can assist you in understanding your options and providing useful tips on managing the cost of studying in the UK.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can international students work part-time while studying in the UK to cover their expenses?

    Yes, international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during holidays part-time while studying in the UK to cover their expenses.

    What are some cheapest universities to study bachelors in the UK?

    Some of the cheapest universities in the UK for international students to study undergraduate courses with annual tuition fees:
    • University of Bolton - £9,250
    • University of Suffolk - £10,080
    • Leeds Trinity University - £11,500
    • University of Cumbria - £11,500
    • The University of Central Lancashire - £12,700

    What are some cheapest universities in the UK to study masters in the UK?

    Here are some of the cheapest universities in the UK for international students to study master's, with annual tuition fees:
    • The University of Bolton - £9,500
    • Leeds Beckett University - £12,000 to £13,500
    • The University of Cumbria - £11,500 to £12,500
    • Edinburgh Napier University - £12,100 to £14,500
    • The University of Sunderland - £12,500 to £14,000

    What is Council Tax in the UK and how is it calculated?

    Council Tax is a mandatory tax paid by residents in the UK, which is determined by the local council based on the location of your property and the number of occupants living there. The tax is used to fund important services such as police, waste collection, and street maintenance. If you live alone, your Council Tax rate will be lower than those living with others. On average, the weekly payment for Council Tax in the UK is around £25.

    What are the best mobile phone plans for international students in the UK?

    Some of the best mobile plan options include plans with unlimited data, international calling minutes, and discounted rates for students. Popular providers for international students include EE, Vodafone, and O2. It's important to compare plans, prices, network coverage, and customer service to find the best option for your needs and budget.


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