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Blog entry by Lanka Academy

Cost of Living in the United Kingdom

Cost of Living in the United Kingdom

If you plan on studying abroad in the United Kingdom, you’ve made a fantastic choice. The UK is home to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world. If you’re set on studying abroad, you need a plan to cover the costs (and proving you can cover those costs is part of applying for your student visa). That’s why we’re breaking down the cost of living in the United Kingdom to help you build your budget. 

Living Expenses

When calculating your monthly living expenses, consider these variables:

  • Rural living is often more affordable than living in a city.
  • Homestay is a good option if you’re looking to pay a reasonable monthly fee. Plus, you can practice English while surrounding yourself with different people and cultures.
  • The cost of personal hygiene products, food, and laundry is roughly the same regardless of where you live in the UK (though it may be a little pricier in London).

To help you understand the average cost of living expenses in the UK, we’ve highlighted current estimates below (as of April 2022).


Utilities include monthly expenses like gas, water, and electricity. These need to be paid to keep your living space habitable and cozy. In the UK, it’s common for your monthly rent to include some or all of these utilities. But this isn’t always the case. If you must pay for your utilities separately, they can increase your budget as an international student. 

Your payments can vary depending on factors like:

  • Local climate
  • Your lifestyle
  • City and regional regulations
  • Location

Other utility bills that you should account for include:

  • Internet
  • Mobile phone
  • Television

Here are some tips if you’re looking to save money on your monthly bills. Paying off your phone as soon as possible or buying it outright can significantly lower your monthly payments, as you’ll only have to worry about paying for your phone bill and not the phone itself. Remember, if you’re bringing your current phone to the UK, you’ll need to buy a SIM card and sign up for a UK phone plan once you land. So, do your research beforehand to find a carrier and plan you like with a price that makes sense for your budget.


If you’re not a fan of the numbers staring back at you while adding up your monthly expenses, the cost of leisure activities can be a solid place to cut back. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have any fun while staying in the UK. Treating yourself to new experiences is a key part of studying abroad. Just remember that balance is crucial.

Every person has a different opinion on what they consider a leisure activity, which is why we’ve listed a few options below. If you love to hit the dance floor, you should budget for a night out at a dance club. Or, maybe you’re more of a retail therapy type of person. If that’s the case, you can wander around the mall on the weekends hunting for a new pair of “trainers” (UK slang that refers to running shoes). Wherever you find your joy, prioritize setting and sticking to your budget. 

Transportation and Academic Supplies

Your housing choices will also impact your monthly transportation costs. Expect to spend more on transportation if you live off-campus, as you’ll have to travel from your home to campus, classes, and libraries. Fortunately, most academic institutions offer their students a discounted transit pass. If you choose to live on-campus, you’ll save a few pounds by living close to the places mentioned above. Check in with your institution to learn about the deals on transportation they offer their students.

The estimate above for “books and supplies” is an average monthly cost, and covers a variety of academic supplies, including binders, paper, pens, and textbooks. The cost of supplies can vary depending on your:

  • Ability to find discounts on textbooks
  • Level of study
  • Course requirements

To help reduce the cost of textbooks, head over to your institution’s library or bookstore. If you can’t find any second-hand books there, check out Amazon, where some students can find and rent their textbooks for a better price.

Now that you have an idea of the cost of living in the United Kingdom, use these estimates to start budgeting for your time abroad.

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