28 February 2020
One of the biggest challenges of studying abroad is managing your budget, a life skill you will be glad to develop sooner rather than later. Although the cost of living varies depending on where in the UK you are, you should get a feel for the average cost of items in your first month or so.
Student accommodation in the UK
Rent will make up the bulk of your monthly budget, so it’s important to consider the type of accommodation you want to live in. Single-study bedrooms are the most popular and common option, where shared room options are typically very limited.
Most students stay in university accommodation for their first year as it allows for easy socialisation and a hassle-free experience. While generally more expensive than private accommodation, perks of renting from university include all-inclusive bills, cleaning services and security presence. Rent starts from around £90 (USD 117) per week for shared bathrooms, £120 (USD 156) for en-suites, and £150 (USD 195) for studios. Of course, this will increase accordingly in bigger cities.
House shares are the most popular option in subsequent years. Groups of 3—6 students usually rent a house with the corresponding number of rooms. Rent can start from as low as £60 (USD 78) per week for houses slightly out of town, but utilities are typically not included. Costing an average of £90-100 per week, be prepared to pay up to £120 for quality. With this option however, you will have to coordinate chores and bill payments with your housemates.
Food-related expenses - groceries and eating out
The good news: groceries are cheap in the UK. On the flip side? Eating out is expensive. If you don’t know how to cook, what better time to learn?
A weekly food shop for one person will only set you back about £25 (USD 33), inclusive of comfort items like snacks and ice cream. If you can stick with the bare necessities, you can easily make do with less than £20 (USD 26) per week. Items you can find for £1 (USD 1.30) or less include: a bottle of shampoo, 2 pints of milk, a bag of apples, a loaf of bread and a can of pasta sauce.
Eating out, however, can put more strain on the pocket. Takeaways start from around £5 (USD 6.50) for a burger and chips, or some oyster chicken. Pub meals are slightly more expensive, with restaurant meals starting from around £10 (USD 13) per person.
Transport expenses in the UK
Depending on where you are located, you may not even utilise public transport daily. If you can get everywhere you need to on foot, that’s one less expense to think about! If you are based in a town or city where services run regularly, investing in a bus pass may be a good idea – universities will run information sessions on this in the first week.
If you are planning to travel within the UK, a 16-25 railcard is a must-have – even if you are above 25, you are eligible to purchase this card with proof of your student status! Priced at just £30 (USD 39) for a year or £70 (USD 91) for 3 years, the 16-25 railcard entitles its holder to 1/3 off train fares. You will easily save this amount and more in a year – train travel is not cheap in the UK!
Entertainment on a budget
Fancy watching a live play? Depending on the seat you choose, tickets can range from £10 (USD 13) to £50 (USD 65) and above. Do take note that the view from the cheapest seats is often obstructed by props, but nevertheless a great deal!
On the other hand, movie tickets will only set you back about £5-7. If you are on a budget, parks are always free and very popular amongst the British during bouts of warm weather – simply grab some food and friends and soak in the sunshine for free!
Although the UK offers a number of free museums, these are mostly based in its capital cities such as London and Edinburgh. Take advantage of student prices to visit historically important sites such as Hampton Court and Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon!
Need advice before embarking on your studies abroad? Here at Flying Chalks, we offer free consultations, and applications on your behalf to universities of your choice! A personal statement can make or break your application – do not take the risk and let our experienced team assist you in crafting one! Let us address your concerns regarding accommodation, cost of living, teaching methods, and more! Sign up now for a free consultation by filling in the form below!