London is an expensive city to live in. It is also a lot of fun and it can be very tempting (and easy) to overspend when you first arrive. You need to be careful not to run out of funds after the first few months. This means planning your money carefully and budgeting to make sure you don’t spend beyond your means. You will probably need at least £800 a month as a minimum. You might want to think about the costs below:
Rent: £100-£200 per week
This is going to vary depending on whether you choose halls of residence or private accommodation. You can expect to pay between £105 and £250 a week for University halls. Private halls tend to start at around £170 per week and can exceed £350 for high-end specs and central London locations.
If you’re in University halls, remember that you’ll have to pay a £250 deposit in advance.
If you choose to stay in private accommodation, the cost of rent will depend on the area of London, the type of accommodation and the number of people sharing. Most students travel in to our central London campuses from London Transport Travel Zones 2 and 3. For a room in a shared house you can expect to pay between £100 and £200 per week, excluding bills.
You’ll usually need to pay one month’s rent and a damage deposit (four to six weeks’ rent) in advance – make sure you have enough money to cover it (we recommend that you set aside about £1,500 for this).
Bills: £15–£30 per week
If you’re a full-time student and live in University halls or in accommodation where everyone is a student, you won’t have to pay council tax. You will need to ask your Faculty Registry Office for a Council Tax Exemption Certificate and send it to your local council. Research students should contact the Research Office for a certificate.
The fees for halls include utility bills, such as heating and electricity. Basic possessions insurance is also included in the rent, and is provided by Endsleigh. The insurance covers basic items such as PCs and laptops in your room. You can visit the Endsleigh website to see what is covered in the insurance and to add any additional items to your insurance.
International students please note that private health insurance is not included in your tuition fees or halls fees, but as long as you are undertaking a course that is more than six months long you can use the UK’s free National Health Service.
If you live in private rented accommodation you’ll need to pay for electricity, heating, hot water and internet on top of your rent too so you will need to factor this in to your weekly or monthly costs.
Food: £30-£40 per week
If your food isn’t part of your halls of residence deal, this will probably be one of your biggest expenses. Club together with your flatmates and do a big weekly shop at a local market to make your money go further. Use tap water instead of bottled, and bring a packed lunch with you to University instead of buying lunch – this can save you up to £840 a year.
Travel: £15-£30 per week
Very few students can afford to live in Zone 1, so it’s more than likely you will have to pay up for travel costs. Make sure you enquire about the TfL Student Oyster card, which will give you a third off weekly, monthly, and annual travel cards. You could instead cycle or use the bus wherever possible – a single journey costs from just £1.45 if you have an Oystercard.
Course essentials: £10 per week
You’ll need to put aside cash for books, photocopying and stationery. Make good use of the library and research the option of buying books second-hand to keep the costs down. You might need to factor in buying a laptop at the start of your course, as well. Lots of companies do student discounts.
Telephone: £10 minimum per week
Get the best tariff for the way you prefer to communicate and shop around before you splash out on that 24-month smartphone contract. Try comparisons websites such as moneysavingexpert.com.
Laundry: £5 per week
You’ll need cash for washing your clothes every week, unless you’re in private rented accommodation with the luxury of a washing machine.
Clothes and going out: £20-£100 per week
Or maybe even more! For many, the student experience is as much about the social life as it is about learning. Plan how much spare cash you’ve got to play with very carefully – this is a serious lifestyle decision. There are plenty of student discounts in London – take advantage of them once you have your NUS extra card.