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Cost of Living in UK for International Students

by Anup chowdhury
Cost of Living in UK

Cost of living in UK is one of the first things that students consider before applying to any university in the UK. All prospective students must be aware of the various costs that they might need to handle while in UK. It is always advised to be prepared with an estimated budget before going abroad. Choosing the right city for studying is as important as choosing the right university, if not more. UK is an expensive country to live in. Compared to India, the living cost in UK is 174% higher. Cities like London are among the most expensive in the world. A student needs to take into account the accommodation expenses, travel expenses, food charges, and other miscellaneous expenses. If planned well, students can easily manage their expenses. By making informed choices, prospective students can greatly reduce their financial burden and efficiently handle their cost of living in UK.

In this article, we will talk in detail about the various costs that students who wish to study in the UK might face. First, we will have a look at the average cost of living in different regions of the UK.

Cost of living in UK – Region-wise comparison of average costs

The living cost in UK increases slightly as you move to the South of UK. Similarly, the costs in the North of the UK are comparatively less. Simply put, the further up North you go, the cheaper the cost of living is.

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The table below shows the average of living cost per household in terms of annual spend in GBP.

S.No. Region Average annual cost of living (in GBP)
1. North East 20,976
2. Wales 22,018
3. West Midlands 22,666
4. Yorkshire & the Humber 23,506
5. Scotland 23,630
6. North West 23,635
7. Northern Ireland 23,861
8. East Midlands 25,478
9. South West 25,704
10. East 26,789
11. South East 30,346
12. London 30,898

*The costs mentioned here are tentative and the actual value might vary slightly based on a number of factors.

The average annual cost of living in UK is GBP 25,766.

Cost of living in UK – Expenses involved

Being an International student, you need to take care of a number of expenses in the UK. Not just the basic rent but numerous other costs are also involved. The table below talks about the different expenses that an international student has to manage in the UK.

S.No. Cost involved Average expense (in GBP)
1. Rent 650 per month (within the city)
550 per month (outside the city)
2. Council tax 25 per week
3. Other utilities 40 per week
4. Television license 150 per year
5. Travel costs 55 per month
6. Mobile phone plan 40 per month
7. Other costs 250 per month
  Total cost 1300-1500 per month

Study Abroad

Now lets take a deeper look into these costs.

  • Rent
    The rent that you may pay in UK will vary depending on the area you live in. For a one-bedroom flat, the average rent will be GBP 650 or GBP 550 if it is outside the city. The rent may go up to as much as GBP 1,800 in some cities and areas. The cost may increase even further if the energy costs are not included.
  • Council tax
    Those living in UK need to pay a council tax. The council tax is calculated based on where you live and how many people you live with. The council tax covers amenities like trash collection, street maintenance, and police forces. The average council tax is GBP 25 per week.
  • Other utilities
    Along with the rent, there are other expenses like electricity, gas, and water. These utilities cost an average of GBP 40 per week. Seasonal weather conditions may also play a role in altering these costs.
  • Television license
    The residents of UK are charged a television license for watching television in any form, whether on a TV set or a personal computer/tablet. The license usually costs around GBP 150 per year.
  • Travel costs
    It is quite expensive to own a car or a personal vehicle in the UK. However, the availability of good public transport makes it easier for students living there. Students can get a monthly pass at about GBP 55. Students are also eligible for further discounts on such passes which can reduce the costs even further.
  • Mobile phone plan
    There are plenty of mobile carriers for students to choose from. On average, students can get a decent mobile plan for GBP 40 which offers call, text, and data services.
  • Other costs
    In addition to all these, you also have to spend money on various other costs like food, internet, healthcare, entertainment, groceries, etc. On average, it might cost around GBP 250 per month.

Thus, the monthly expenditure for students in the UK might come out to be in the range of GBP 1300-1500 per month.


Cost of living in UK – Cost of items

Lets have a look at the specific costs of daily use items as well as other necessities which would help us better estimate the living cost in the UK.

  • Food items– For an average student, buying food items or eating lunch in a restaurant may cost anywhere between GBP 5 and 20.
  • Housing- The monthly rent may cost a student anywhere between GBP 500 and 2000. Home appliances can cost somewhere between GBP 100 and 500.
  • Clothes- Clothing expenses can range anywhere between GBP 30 and 100 for an average student.
  • Transportation- It’s suggested to prefer public transportation in UK. Students can benefit from buying monthly passes for about GBP 50 to 100 which in turn save a significant amount of money.
  • Personal care- Depending on personal preferences, this amount may vary from GBP 20 to 40 per month.

It must be noted that these costs may vary slightly depending on a number of factors. However, it will give all the prospective students who are looking forward to studying in UK an idea for making their budgets.


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