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Living Costs

In general

Life in the UK isn’t particularly cheap and the cost of going to university doesn’t stop with the course and exam fees. There are a lot of other expenses to take into account. You could build up an estimate before going to university by looking on the relevant sections on this and other websites. You could make a list of what your living costs are likely going to be on a spreadsheet, and add to it when you discover new things you will need. If you don’t have MS Office on your computer, you can download a copy of Libre Office or Open Office (free and completely legal).


You can compare the cost of different products in the main supermarkets on Trolley.co.uk. You need to register to use this website but it’s free.

There are also a number of supermarkets which may work out cheaper for your food shopping: IcelandLidlAldiSpar and Co-op; there may be others locally where you are going to live and study. 


Housing is relatively speaking not cheap and could make up the bulk of your living costs every month. Cost depends very largely on where you are going to study. However, if you are an undergraduate student you will almost certainly spend the first year at university living in university accommodation. You will be confirming this the summer before the start of your studies after which you will be expected to pay a reservation deposit. This is possibly about £300. In September you will have to pay your first contribution. If this is difficult, some universities offer some flexibility, but it is best to discuss them.

London is generally very expensive, with other major cities such as Edinburgh sometimes not too far behind. I know someone who for the same money for which I rented a house in another region, was only able to rent a double bedroom in a shared house in the outskirts of London. The north east of England is generally the cheapest. In Scotland, Edinburgh is expensive, and so too is Glasgow, but to a slightly lesser extent. Stirling is slightly cheaper.

In general, the more touristy and the closer to the capital city (especially London), the more expensive. Have a look on the Numbeo website to compare, if you like.


It’s best if you try to register with both a local medical practice and a dentist.

For an emergency or short term appointment you have three options, depending on where you live, a ‘walk in surgery’ (increasingly rare!), or you can walk into the emergency ward of a hospital (A & E) or call the NHS helpline dialling 111.

Dentist: you have to make sure that you will be treated under the NHS, or it can become very expensive! Ne aware that only certain treatments are reimbursed by the NHS, and even for these you need to pay a certain amount. Make sure you get what you are entitled to, especially if it’s a mixed private/NHS practice. There is always the option of going private of course. For this you can buy (relatively expensive) health insurance.


Travelling by train can be very expensive. There is however a very good long distance bus service, National Express, which cost a fraction of the train. It is also a bit of an adventure and you may get to know both the country and the people more easily. Who knows, you may even make new friends. If you can get around the carbon footpring, you can always fly, and Ryanair and Easyjet and others are very active here, with numerous international and domestic destinations.