Everyone knows education is insanely cheap in the UK for indigenes, but what if you’re traveling in from another country? Can you still pay the ridiculously low tuition fees to get the best education in the English-speaking world as an international student?
These, and more are questions that we get daily from students aspiring to study in the UK. Most information about schooling in the UK is targeted at private entities and not international students.
To bridge the gap, I’ll be compiling all the typical living expenses in the UK for international students. Then, I’ll be showing you how to cut costs on these expenses to live within your budget.
Living Expenses in the UK for International Students
The UK is a lot like the United States in many ways. Students have to spend on the same set of items, only that some of these cost less in the UK than they do in the United States.
As an international student in the UK, you’ll have to spend on accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment in addition to your tuition fees if you aren’t on a scholarship.
Contrary to what the internet may have you believe, tuition isn’t free in the UK. You should expect to pay anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000 tuition fees as an international student in the UK.
In addition to that, you’ll need a monthly budget of £1,265 to study in London, at least. While your specific monthly spending may be much higher or lower, that’s the bare minimum you’ll need to get a study visa to the UK.
With a budget around that amount, you may still struggle to cover some expenses if you don’t manage your money effectively. Since students aren’t terrific money managers, here are some of what you’ll be spending on, and how you can save money on them.
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make as an international student in the UK is whether to live on the campus hall or in a rented private apartment. Both of these have their perks, although, most students prefer to rent a house away from the school campus.
Living in the campus halls puts you close to the school, so you can save on transport costs in the long run.
Also, most campus halls include the utility bills and the cost of feeding in the total cost of the apartment, saving you the stress of having to pay your bills manually.
However, even with these “convenience” features, most students deem it much better to reside outside the school campus. Firstly, private apartments are much cheaper, and you can split the bill with friends to pay even less.
Also, you can buy and cook your food if you live outside the school campus. This way, you’re not forced to pay the outrageous fees for food, while having to eat whatever the school provides.
You can also get student discounts on grocery items when you shop outside the university campus, which can only happen if you’re living in a private apartment in the first place.
If you’re living away from the campus hall, you’ll have to cover the costs of your food. While dining out may be less stressful and sometimes more delicious. However, you’ll be cutting a lot of costs if you can always cook your meals at home.
By cooking at home, you can buy your groceries in bulk, saving a great deal of money. Also, you can get student discounts on purchases from retail stores, helping you save money.
When shopping for groceries, try shopping at supermarkets, as items are usually more expensive at small shops. You can also take advice from experienced upperclassmen on how to eat nutritiously on a budget.
Contrary to what you may think, you won’t be saving a lot on food by living in the campus hall. In addition to being unable to eat exactly what you want, you can’t cut costs.
A good budget for food for international students in the UK per month is around £250. With this budget, you can buy and prepare your food, while treating yourself to dinners in a restaurant occasionally.
If you’re living far away from the school’s campus hall, you’ll have to commute daily to your university. If you don’t learn how the transport system in the UK works, you’ll be losing a lot of money that you can easily save.
For example, buying a season ticket since you’ll be traveling the same route every day. A season ticket is a lot cheaper than having to buy tickets every day and is a lot simpler.
You can also check if you can get a student discount to pay even less for commutes. A student discount, when coupled with a season’s ticket can help you save up to 30% on your transport costs.
By applying all the recommended money-saving tips, you can spend about £50 per month on transport expenses. Of course, this depends on the difference in distance between your apartment and your school.
- Entertainment and miscellaneous
While most students consider all the basic expenses when preparing their monthly budget, many leave no room for miscellaneous expenses or entertainment. However, most students end up spending more a lot on extra stuff and Netflix subscriptions.
Depending on your monthly allowance, it’s essential to keep a portion for extra expenses. These extra expenses include app subscriptions, clothes, dates, etc.
If you’re looking to travel to the UK to study, you should have an idea of how much you’ll need to be spending every month.
Fortunately, the expenses of international students in the UK are largely similar to that of students in the United States, only that the UK is generally more affordable.
When preparing your budget, you must leave room for transport, food, accommodation, and some other miscellaneous expenses that may not see coming.
To live comfortably as an international student in the UK, you must have a monthly budget that exceeds £1,000, which is usually the bare minimum to get a study visa anyway.