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Cost of Living in the UK

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Cost of Living in the UK

  Posted On: 29 April 2024

Cost of Living in the UK

The United Kingdom (U.K.) is one of the most preferred destinations for international students to go for higher studies. Studying in the UK has been a dream for students aspiring to pursue a global career. Many students are concerned about the cost of living in the UK, as they want to factor that in along with the tuition fees for their college. There are things to consider like the cost of utilities, housing, food and recreation. This blog provides a compilation of the average cost of living in the UK. 

What are the factors that affect the cost of living in the UK?

The cost of living in any country depends on various factors. If you are an international student looking to move to the UK, then there are a few factors that can affect your living costs. Here are some of the major factors that can decide how much it will cost for you to live in the UK:

  • Location

The UK is an expensive country to live in for a lot of international students. However, the major reason for high living expenses is based on the city in which they reside. There are certain cities in the UK which are more expensive to live in than others. Places like London, Cambridge or Oxford in England are considerably expensive for international students and locals alike. However, there are more affordable places to stay in the UK like Edinburgh, Birmingham, Belfast, and Glasgow. The southern and south-eastern part of the UK is more expensive for students since there are very few affordable housing options as compared to the northern part of the UK.

  • University

Living cost in the UK for international students includes tuition fees and visa fees too. Tuition fees for colleges form the major expense that depends on the place where you are studying. Private colleges tend to charge local and international students with similar tuition fees while public universities in the UK may charge up to 3 times the tuition fee they charge local students.

  • Country of residence

This might seem improbable but the country where you originally reside can also decide how costly it is for you to live in the UK. If you reside in a country whose exchange rates with respect to the UK are not of a considerable amount, then it will seem cheaper to stay there.

However, for international students whose currency is valued considerably lesser than that in the UK, the living expenses seem even higher with respect to their country of residence.

  • Type of accommodation

The type of accommodation you choose can be a major factor in deciding the cost of living in the UK per month. If you are residing in a campus accommodation then the cost of living becomes lower due to lower rent in campus accommodations. However, if you decide to live in accommodations out of campus, then your cost of living will increase.

  • The average cost of accommodation in the UK

The cost of accommodation is a huge concern for any student travelling to the UK. Accommodation costs not only include house rent but also consist of costs for utilities especially if you are residing in an accommodation that is out of campus.

  • University Housing

The living cost in the UK for international students depends on the university where they will be studying. Most universities in the country, either private or public, offer accommodation to international students at discounted rates. University residences are generally on the campus. University accommodation costs also vary according to the type of university accommodation you opt for. Contact your university or visit its website to get the exact details of accommodation costs.

  • Private Housing

If you opt to live in a private accommodation then the cost of living will also include utility expenses like electricity, housekeeping, water and gas. The average cost of private accommodation in the UK is approximately £547 to £1500 per month. The utility expenses can range from £50 to £120 per month. As a student, you should also remember to include internet connection costs as part of your utility expenses. The cost for an internet connection in the UK is £20 per month.

  • Travel costs in the UK

The UK has a great network of public transportation that makes travelling accessible for students. The average monthly cost for travelling in the UK comes up to around £140 a month.  The most extensive network of public transportation in the UK is the tube (underground rail network). Travelling by tube can help save a lot on travel costs. However, the tube is not present in a lot of cities across the country. You can also access trains to travel both short and long distances. You can even purchase a ‘Young Persons Railcard’ for £30 if you are a student at any university in the UK. The rail-card lets you avail a 30% discount on train travel across the UK, lowering your living expenses. Buses are the next best option for travel across the UK.

If you wish to travel long distances, then you will need to avail flights or long-distance trains.  Keep a lookout for flight prices if you are travelling long distances. Sometimes, flight tickets can be cheaper than train tickets.

Read more on: Part-time jobs in UK for international students

  • Food and recreation costs in the UK

Food accounts for an important portion of your living expenses in the UK. On average, you might end up spending close to £250 on food if you are predominantly eating outside or ordering in. You can try to save living expenses by cooking food at home. You will still end up spending approximately £100 on food even if you spend the bare minimum and cook at home.

As an international student, it is very likely that you will want to experience the lifestyle in the UK and visit places in and around your area of residence. The nightlife in the UK is also very vibrant and attractive to international students. Depending on the recreational activities of your interest, you can expect to spend approximately £50-£250 per month. Typically, a meal at a restaurant or a pub in the UK costs approximately £8 to £25. A night out can cost you approximately £30 to £45.

Additional Expenses

  • Visa

A UK visa cost is approximately £348. An international student requires a tier 4 visa to study in the UK. This requires you to show that you have £1015 to pay as monthly expenses each month. This cost increases to £1265 if you are living in London.  

  • Insurance

It is mandatory for students to be insured medically. You will need to pay a premium of £15-25 per month against insurance. If you work part-time and earn more than £166 a week, then you will also be liable to pay for national insurance.

  • Council Tax

If you will be living in private accommodation, then your expenses will also include a council tax. This is a tax that is calculated based on your area of residence and also depends on how many people you live with. This tax is used to aid you with public services in your areas like garbage collection, street maintenance and police. The average council tax across the UK is £25.

  • Miscellaneous costs

It is important to account for miscellaneous costs. This can include emergency funds, a splurging fund and funds for emergency medical services.

Read more on: The UK and its helping hands for Indian students

Key Takeaway

The cost of living in the UK has been summarized for your convenience:


Approximate Price (Per Month) approx.









Council Tax






Miscellaneous expenses



Total:  £1647


This pricing for the average cost of living in the UK has been formulated keeping the higher spectrum of costs in mind. Your actual cost of living can be lesser than what is mentioned.

Reach out to SIEC for Application inquiries and assistance.

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