Countries » Living Costs

Living Costs United Kingdom


If you want to study in the UK, the cost of living can also be high, especially with additional expenses to consider, such as course materials and utility bills. The British Council's article Budget planning in the UK provides a realistic account of the average cost of living as an overseas student in Britain.


Food and Drinks in UK

The cost of food and drinks in the United Kingdom is quite expensive compared to other European nations. You can all varieties of food here, along with the traditional food you can also find the Chinese, Indian, French.. Though the cost is bit high, you can cook food in home, can prepare a home country food if you are not adjusted with the UK food. Also, try not to use the big brands when there are cheaper alternatives.

Average cost of food in London

  • Average price of a sandwich is probably £1.50 - £4.00
  • Average price of an Indian and Chinese buffet lunch per person(eat as much as you can) is £5-00 to £7-00.
  • Average price of dinner (with drinks) per person in an Indian or Chinese restaurant is £8-00 to £25-00.
  • Average price of dinner (with drinks) per person in an Italian restaurant is £10-00 to £50-00.


Food and drinks

Approximate cost

Average weekly grocery bill


McDonalds meal


Pub meal

£8 - £10

Restaurant meal

£15 - £25

Pint of beer


Average bottle of wine


Foods and Drinks


The following list gives information about cost of supermarket food in UK

Supermarket food

Approximate cost (GBP)

loaf of bread


1 kg rice


500g pasta


packet of sausages


1kg apples


packet of instant noodles


1kg potatoes


tin of tuna


500g minced beef


6 eggs


1 kg bananas


cheese (non-specialist) 200g


1 pint of milk


1 packet biscuits


1 litre orange juice


1 packet teabags


1 jar instant coffee


NOTE : Prices are in British Pound Sterling (GBP) 
Utility bills for international students 

If you share accommodation with other students in the UK, you will probably have to split the cost of utility bills. UK prices for gas, electricity and water will vary depending on your provider and the UK region you live in. As a rough guide, these were the average prices per house in 2008, but remember that you will be sharing these utility costs with your housemates: 

  • Gas - £857
  • Electricity - £514
  • Water - £320

Source: What Price website 
The best way to manage your money is to set up Direct Debits to pay your bills, as you will usually be offered a discounted rate. Money will be taken out of your bank account automatically on a fixed date each month. The amount and date are usually decided by your utility provider,  although some will allow you to choose yourself. 

As an international student in the UK, you have the same options as anyone else to pay your utility bills. These include setting up payment plans with utility providers, or purchasing pre-payment cards that you insert into your gas and electricity meters. It can be easier to budget plan with these cards, but you will often pay a higher rate. 

You can compare utility prices from different UK providers on the Uswitch website

International student household costs in the UK
If you are over 18 and come to live and study in the UK, you may have to pay Council Tax. This is a charge for local community services such as police, fire brigade, refuse collection, street lighting and leisure facilities. The exact amount varies depending on the UK region you live in.
If you share UK accommodation with other students or live in halls of residence you should not have to pay. To find out more about Council Tax visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website

If you own a TV in the UK you must pay an annual TV Licence of around £140. One licence will cover all televisions in a private shared student house or flat, so you can split the cost with your housemates. More information is available on the TV Licensing website

Buying equipment for your UK education 

When you begin your UK education, your place of study will provide a list of recommended books and equipment. Check what is essential for your course or degree, as study materials can be expensive. Many will be available second-hand, so look on campus notice boards or check out auction websites such as Ebay

Students in later years of your course may be happy to sell you their books if they no longer need them, so you could put up a notice yourself. 



Before you travel to the UK, visit UK supermarket and department stores online to find out what goods are available in the UK and how much they cost. You can also use these websites for online shopping when you begin studying in the UK.

It is usually cheaper to buy food in bulk at large supermarkets in the UK. Many also sell high quality clothing, household goods and electrical equipment. However, you should also try the local shops near your place of study to get a taste of traditional UK culture. 

Most UK towns and cities have outdoor markets, which are good for fresh food and cut-price clothing. Cheap clothes, books and music can also be found in the UK’s many charity shops. Sales take place at many different times of the year in the UK, and some places such as coffee shops offer loyalty cards for regular customers which can – over time – save you money. 



In United KIngdom, people wear clothes as very much the same as any other modern western society. UK offers a huge range of ladies fashion and menswear items for all styles. Rain clothing will get in a cheap price and all items can buy online. People will not feel much difficulty to purchase clothes.

The following list gives information about cost of clothing in the UK


Approximate cost (GBP)


40.00 upwards


4.00 upwards


3.50 upwards


30.00 upwards


25.00 upwards

T shirt

10.00 upwards

NOTE : Prices are in British Pound Sterling (GBP)


Health insurance

Britain has a subsidized health service which provides free health care and treatment for people who are resident in Britain.  
Students who are enrolled on a programme which will last for more than six months are also entitled to NHS treatment. 
If a doctor prescribes any medicines these are subsidized but there will be a charge made for each prescription - currently 5.75 UK Pounds per item. 
Dental treatment is subsidized by NHS but everyone has to pay something towards the cost of their treatment.