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Cost of living

Cost of living
© British Council

The amount of money you need to pay for accommodation, food, travel and other costs can vary considerably depending on your life-style and where you choose to study.

If you need a visa to study in the UK, the UKVI will ask for evidence that you have enough money to pay for tuition and your living costs. In 2018 it required students coming to study in London for at least 9 months to have £11,385 to cover living costs, and students studying elsewhere in the UK to have £9,135. Even if you do not need a visa, these figures are good indicators of living costs. For more details, see the section under “Maintenance requirements” on the UKCISA website.

Here are a few tips to help you save money;

  • Private accommodation, for example when you share a house with a group of other people, can be cheaper than university accommodation. However, check how much the bills for gas, electricity, internet connection are going to be – these are included in university accommodation, but not usually for private accommodation.

  • Cooking for yourself can be cheaper than eating in restaurants or university catering outlets. It can be fun to cook for your friends and a good way to socialise and relax. Buy food from big supermarkets as these tend to have much lower prices than small, local shops.

  • If you plan to travel long-distance by train, buy your tickets far in advance. Buying train tickets on the day you want to travel can be very expensive. If you plan to travel fairly regularly by train, buying a 16-25 Railcard for £30 is likely to save you money.

  • Take advantage of discounts for students available in shops, restaurants, cinemas and more! Get an NUS TOTUM card to access these offers.

Here are links to a number of webpages offering guidance on costs and budgeting;

There are several online calculators which can help you work out how much you will have to spend on living costs. However, essentially these just remind you of the different costs that you need to consider (have you thought about insurance, for example?). You need to work out how much money you will enter for each cost category. You will need to do some research to decide how much things will cost.

This Which? University student budget calculator is a good starting point.

Have you done any research into living costs for a student in the UK? What advice would you give for budgeting and controlling your costs?

© British Council
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