Cost of Living in UK 2024

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Arivarasi

Updated on

15-02-2024

Cost of Living in UK 2024

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The United Kingdom (UK) is a popular education and career destination for international students due to its prestigious institutions and strong economy. However, the cost of living in the UK can be notably higher than in many other countries, varying by location and individual circumstances. The average monthly cost of living for a family of four in UK is $3,135 (£2,268) without rent. The average monthly living expense for a single person or student in UK is $900 (£651) without rent. According to the data from 'Office for National Statistics', in October 2023, the annual inflation rate was 4.7% down from 6.3% in September. 

London, being an expensive city, tends to have higher living costs than other UK regions. Other than England, there are many affordable places such as Cardiff in Wales, Glasgow or Edinburgh in Scotland, or Belfast in Northern Ireland you can live at. International students who want to study in UK need to track their spending habits, taking into account all the costs involved. Alongside tuition fees, everyday expenses like rent, utilities, food, recreation activities, and transportation costs contribute to the overall financial budget. That’s why it’s essential to understand the estimated cost of living in UK to plan and budget effectively for a comfortable life during your stay in the UK. Read further to know the complete information about the living expenses in UK.

Table of content

What is the cost of living in UK per month?

The cost of living in UK per month for a family of four in UK is $3,135 (£2,268) without rent and for students in UK is $900 (£651) without rent.

Check the table below to know about the monthly cost given in Great Britain Pound and Indian Rupees to estimate and manage your finances.

Particulars Monthly Cost (GBP) Monthly Cost (INR)
Accommodation £500 - £700 ₹50,000 - ₹70,000
Food £100 - £200 ₹10,000 - ₹20,000
Gas and electricity £60 ₹6,000
Internet £40 ₹4,000
Mobile phone £50 ₹5,000
Laundry £25 ₹2,500
Stationery and textbooks £20 - £40 ₹2,000 - ₹4,000
Clothing £50 - £75 ₹5,000 - ₹7,500
Travel £30 - £40 ₹3,000 - ₹4,000
Movie ticket £9 ₹900
Dinner at restaurant £15 ₹1,500

Cost of Living in UK based on family members/student

1. Cost of living in UK for family of four

In the United Kingdom, the estimated average cost of living for a family of four typically ranges from £4,000 to £4,500 including rent. The cost like rent, food, transportation, and taxes are also taken into account. The cost may vary if you chose to reside outside major cities. In the end, your ability to effectively manage your finances will influence your actual living expenses.

2. Cost of living in UK for family of two

The average living expenses in the UK range from £2,500 to £3,000 for a family of two/couples, including the cost of housing. Sharing a household can be an advantage as it allows for the division of rent and other utility expenses.

3. Cost of living in UK as student

For students, the average cost of living in the UK falls between £1,000 and £1,600, including accommodation costs. This can vary based on your location and housing type, whether it's a private studio, single flat, or shared living space with a roommate.

Cost of Accommodation in UK

Housing rent constitutes a significant part of the budget for many individuals, about half of their income. As per the data from ONS, the UK annual private rental price growth rose to 6.1% in the 12 months to October 2023. Rental prices in the UK vary based on location, requirements, household size, and accommodation type. Accommodation expenses fluctuate according to factors such as household type, with the average monthly cost around £725 for a single person, £870 for a couple without children, and £941 for couples with children.

There are two types of student accommodation in the UK:

  • On-campus housing: In the UK, the average weekly cost of on-campus accommodation is £146, this can differ based on where you are and the type of housing you choose. London is expensive to live in, with an average weekly cost of around £202.
  • Off-campus housing: Off-campus accommodation in the UK costs around £60 weekly for shared spaces in flats or houses to over £200 weekly for studio apartments in desirable areas. The expenses include factors like the property's size, location, and utilities.

Check the below table to know the monthly rental costs for various cities.

City Apartment Type Average Monthly Cost (£) Average Monthly Cost (INR)
London
1 bedroom apartment (city centre) £1,799 ₹179,900
1 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £1,309 ₹130,900
3 bedroom apartment (city centre) £3,309 ₹330,900
3 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £2,183 ₹218,300
Manchester
1 bedroom apartment (city centre) £925 ₹92,500
1 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £650 ₹65,000
3 bedroom apartment (city centre) £1,738 ₹173,800
3 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £1.050 ₹105,000
Edinburg
1 bedroom apartment (city centre) £926 ₹92,600
1 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £717 ₹71,700
3 bedroom apartment (city centre) £1,845 ₹184,500
3 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £1,110 ₹111,000
Cardiff
1 bedroom apartment (city centre) £763 ₹76,300
1 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £613 ₹61,300
3 bedroom apartment (city centre) £1,717 ₹171,700
3 bedroom apartment (outside of city centre) £1,008 ₹100,800

Average rent in UK based on region

In the UK, where you live greatly affects how much you pay for rent. The average rent in England is £200 a week or £868 a month. In the northeast, renting a place costs the least, about 40% less than in southern England. London, however, is the most expensive for housing, with the average rent being £1,480. If you're a student in London, you’re expected to spend a lot more compared to other places. You can choose to live in northern England, where rent is way more affordable than in the south. The cost of living varies a lot all over the UK. Find the rental cost based on the cities from the below table.

Region Average cost (£) Average cost (₹)
London £1,480 Rs. 148,000/-
North East £530 Rs. 53,000/-
Yorkshire and the Humber £550 Rs. 55,000/-
East Midlands £561 Rs. 56,100/-
West Midlands £602 Rs. 60,200/-
South West £752 Rs. 75,200/-
North West £623 Rs. 62,300/-
South East £940 Rs. 94,000/-
East £860 Rs. 86,000/-

Transportation costs in UK

In the UK, public transportation is primarily operated by private companies, with limited government involvement. The transportation cost is influenced by factors like transportation mode, distance, and time of travel. Single bus or train journeys typically range from £2 to £5, while day or weekly passes can span £5 to £50 depending on the locale. Private transportation, encompassing fuel costs of around £1.30 per litre and starting car rental fees of £20 per day, provides an alternative. Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft also exhibit varying prices, with a London taxi ride averaging around £3 per mile. In contrast, cycling is a favoured mode of transport, facilitated by cycling clubs, safety workshops, and city bike hire schemes in cities like London, Liverpool, and Belfast. These allow bike rental for a nominal fee from one docking station to another within 24 hours. Commuting expenses in the UK vary across cities and regions. London charges £1.50 for a public bus ride within an hour, contributing to the city's high average monthly commuting cost of $186. Check the table below to understand UK transportation costs based on cities.

Items Cost (£) Cost (INR)
Monthly Bus/Transport Pass £160 ₹16,000
One-way ticket (local transport) £1.65 ₹165
Taxi start £4.65 ₹465
Taxi tariff, 1km (normal tariff) £1.7 ₹170
Taxi 1-hour waiting £17.5 ₹1,750
Gasoline (1 litre) £1.76 ₹176

Cost of food in UK

Food expenses significantly impact the overall cost of living in the UK, especially in cities like London. Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 10.1% in the year to October 2023 according to the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH). Universities in the UK offer dining halls where students can choose from diverse menus, priced between £5 and £10 per meal. Opting for restaurant meals can be expensive, with average costs of £15 per meal at inexpensive restaurants and around £100 for two people at expensive restaurants. If you are eating out on a daily basis, it will cost around £450 per month. Engaging in restaurant dining daily could lead to significant expenses. However, there's room for savings by cooking at home or availing affordable grocery options in UK supermarkets. On average, a single person spends about £47.5 per week (£206 per month) on groceries. This will influence the overall budget and will affect to manage the living crisis in the UK. Check the below table to know the cost of various items and restaurants in UK.

Items Price (£) Price (INR)
Bread (500g) £1.07 ₹107
Water (1.5 litres) £0.84 ₹84
Milk (1 litre) £0.96 ₹96
Eggs (12) £2.12 ₹212
Local Cheese (1kg) £6.89 ₹689
Beef (1kg) £8.50 ₹850
Chicken Fillets (1kg) £6.12 ₹612
Tomato (1kg) £2.38 ₹238
Potato (1kg) £1.30 ₹130
Onion (1kg) £1.15 ₹115
Rice (1kg, white) £1.46 ₹146
Apples (1kg) £2.05 ₹205
Oranges (1kg) £1.97 ₹197
Banana (1kg) £1.21 ₹121

The following are the restaurant's costs

Items Cost (£) Cost (INR)
Meal, normal Restaurant £12 ₹1,200
A meal in a Mid-range Restaurant (Two people), Three-course £50 ₹5,000
McDonald’s McMeal £6 ₹600
Cappuccino (regular) £2.76 ₹276
Water (0.33-litre bottle) £0.97 ₹97

Healthcare and dental costs in UK

International students planning to stay in the UK for more than 6 months need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) during the visa application process. The charge will be £470 after a 25% discount for student visa holders, which grants access to the UK's National Health Service (NHS). This publicly funded healthcare system is one of the UK's advantages, extending across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. The NHS's quality has consistently been highly rated in various surveys, with recent reports ranking it as the 4th best healthcare system globally. While free healthcare is available, a small percentage of people opt for private health insurance. Prominent private insurance providers include Aviva, AXA Health, Bupa, and Cigna. While the UK's healthcare is largely free, there are certain services that may require payment.

Cost of utilities and bills in UK

In the UK, utility costs play a significant role in the overall cost of living. The utility expenses include electricity, gas, water, and internet. As per the data from ONS, in the year to October 2023, gas prices fell by 31.0% and electricity prices fell by 15.6%.The extent of these costs depends on property size and usage patterns. The average fuel expense is £1,131 per year, constituting around 4 percent of the average household budget. Monthly electricity costs hover at £34, while water bills vary by location, with an estimated annual cost of £400 for water and sewerage. Broadband services, including internet and TV, come at an average of £27.50. Estimated yearly utilization indicates that a family of four would spend £291.08 per month on petrol and electricity, while a single person would incur £142.69. If these utility costs are not covered in rental agreements, the monthly gas, electricity, and water expenses amount to approximately £155/$204 USD. Check the following table for utility costs.

Items Cost (£) Cost (INR)
Basic utilities including (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Garbage, water, laundry) £160 ₹16,000
Internet (unlimited-60mbps) £0.1 ₹10

Living Expenses in UK based on cities for international students

The cost of living in the UK varies significantly depending on the city of residence. London, as the capital city and a global financial center, stands out as the most expensive place to live in the country. A single person living in London will need around £1,500 per month to cover their living expenses. The cost of living in London is attributed to factors such as high rents and overall day-to-day expenses. However, London offers benefits like potential high-paying part-time job opportunities. Opting to reside in other regional cities, smaller towns or villages comes with the advantage of lower costs providing options for a more budget-friendly lifestyle. For instance, UK cities like Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester, and Birmingham offer more affordable living compared to London. The choice of location ultimately plays a vital role in determining the overall cost of living in the UK.

The following table represents the cost of living for the top 10 student cities according to the QS World University Ranking. 

City Cost of living (without rent) per month (£) Cost of living (without rent) per year (£) Cost of living (without rent) per month (INR) Cost of living (without rent) per year (INR)
London £966 £11,592 ₹96,600 ₹11,59,200
Manchester £752 £9,024 ₹75,200 ₹9,02,400
Edinburgh £717 £8,604 ₹71,700 ₹8,60,400
Glasgow £749 £8,988 ₹74,900 ₹8,98,800
Coventry £683 £8,196 ₹68,300 ₹8,19,600
Nottingham £747 £8,964 ₹74,700 ₹8,96,400
Birmingham £688 £8,256 ₹68,800 ₹8,25,600
Aberdeen £685 £8,220 ₹68,500 ₹8,22,000
Newcastle upon Tyne £730 £8,760 ₹73,000 ₹8,76,000
Brighton £793 £9,516 ₹79,300 ₹9,51,600

Know the best student cities in UK

Education cost in UK

While the UK has esteemed universities and schools, the cost of attendance can be higher for international students, compared to domestic students. The cost of studying in UK is approximately £9,250 per year. To study in the UK, international students need to pay tuition fees ranging from £10,000 to £38,000, based on their chosen degree program. It's worth considering that the duration of academic programs in the UK is relatively shorter compared to other countries, although the costs can be substantial. The tuition fee for undergraduate programs ranges from £20,500 to £45,000 and international students pursuing graduate programs need to pay around £19,000 to £58,000. As per UK student visa requirements, prospective students must demonstrate having at least £1,334 in their bank account per semester or up to £12,006 per year in London. While it is comparatively lower outside of London, typically around £1,023 per term or £9,207 for 9 months. Check the below table.

School Average cost
Preschool/kindergarten in London (annual fee) £7,212
Private school (day school) £178,863
University tuition (University College London, international students) Annual tuition fees of £22,200 to £35,100 depending on the course
University tuition (University of Manchester, international students) Annual tuition fees of £20,000 to £47,000 depending on the course
University tuition (University of South Wales, international students) Annual tuition fees of £13,700 to £15,500 depending on the course (with £1,500-£2,500 scholarships available)

Tips to save money to live in UK

  • Share Accommodation: Housing costs can consume a significant portion of your budget in the UK, which makes shared flats the most preferred one. Sharing a flat with roommates is a practical way to split the high rental costs in the UK, allowing you to save a substantial amount on housing expenses.
  • Local Bank Account: You need to obtain a local bank account upon arrival to simplify your financial management. Having a local bank account streamlines your financial transactions, making it easier to pay bills, manage expenses, and receive payments.
  • Reduce Utility Bills: Managing electricity and heating usage is one of the best practices to decrease utility expenses. Simple practices like turning off lights when not needed, using energy-efficient appliances, accommodating solar energy equipment and setting the thermostat conservatively can lead to noticeable reductions in your utility bills over time.
  • Prioritize Debt Payment: Clear credit card debts, student loans, and personal loans before focusing on saving. Paying off debts first not only relieves you from financial burdens but also prevents you from paying high-interests, which in turn enables you to allocate more money toward savings.
  • Seek Deals: Researching and opting for cost-effective mobile phone plans/sim card deals and leveraging discounts while shopping can cut down your regular expenditures.
  • Frugal Eating: Avoiding costly restaurants and cooking meals at home allows you to control your food costs. Buying discounted grocery items/ready-to-eat food from supermarkets will help you in managing your food expenses and planning the food budget subsequently.
  • Efficient Commuting: Utilizing transportation cards such as oyster or contactless options, as well as comparing travel prices and exploring pocket-friendly commuting modes, can contribute to significant transportation savings. Opt for public transport or cycling to lower commuting costs. 
  • Bargain for Savings: Negotiate discounts and deals when shopping for certain items. Engaging in negotiations and seeking out discounts and deals when purchasing items like electronics or furniture can lead to substantial savings over time.
  • Budget Creation: Creating a well-structured budget helps you to allocate your funds more effectively, ensuring that you have a clear overview of your income and expenses.
  • Smart Shopping: Looking for discounts/deals, buying items in larger quantities to make use of bulk discounts, and considering second-hand options can help you make the most of your shopping budget.
  • Cost-Effective Entertainment: Explore free or low-cost entertainment options like local art exhibitions, museums, parks, and local events. This will allow you to enjoy cultural experiences and leisure activities without exceeding your budget.

FAQ

1. What is the cost of living in UK?

The average monthly cost of living for a single person or student is ₹76,572.5 (£754.0), excluding rent, and the average living expenses for a family of four are around ₹261,158.5 (£2,571.5£), without house rent and miscellaneous expenses.

2. What is the cost of rent in the UK?

The average rental price in the UK is £1,243. Across all regions, there has been an annual rising cost in rent, with Scotland experiencing the most substantial increase, reaching 15.8%, resulting in an average monthly cost of £973. Comparatively, the North East of England remains the most budget-friendly rental area in the UK, with an average monthly rent of only £636.

3. What is the cost of living in London for an Indian?

The cost of living in London for an Indian is

Expense Type Monthly Cost in INR
Rent 1.07 lakhs
Utilities 25,437
Travel 12,170
Food & Drink 21,347
Entertainment 32,520

4. How long will UK cost of living crisis last?

According to the Resolution Foundation's annual Living Standards Outlook, the cost of living crisis will likely to get resolved in 2024. However, the problem won't be completely solved until people's wages also increase to match these improvements.

5. What are the best student discounts in UK?

As a study abroad aspirant, you have various opportunities to avail of student discounts in UK. Here are some ways:

  • NUS (National Union of Students) Extra Card: This card costs £12 annually and gives you discounts at many UK retailers, including restaurants, clothing stores, and electronics shops.
  • Unidays: This free platform offers student discounts at different retailers which includes fashion, technology, and food brands.
  • Student Beans: Like Unidays, Student Beans is free and offers discounts from a range of brands.
  • Transport discounts: Full-time students in the UK can benefit from a 16-25 Railcard, which gives you discounts on train travel. Additionally, you can save on bus travel with a student bus pass.
  • Cultural discounts: Many cultural places like museums, theatres, and galleries provide discounted or free entry to students.

6. How much do you need to pay for sports, physical activities, and entertainment?

The following table involves the cost of sports, physical activities, and entertainment.

Items Cost (£)
Fitness center 30.72
Private, monthly tennis Court (Time-limited) 10.24
Movie Theater 10
Club/pub entry 15

 

About Author Arivarasi

Arivarasi is an experienced author with expertise in the study abroad industry and preparing test materials for exams like IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, SAT, PTE, etc. She stays up-to-date with university and college requirements for international students which allows her to provide guidance on course selection, documents like SOP, LOR, and scholarship opportunities. She has written numerous articles on study abroad exams, destinations, universities & colleges requirements, admission procedures, and the entire process of studying abroad. Collaborating with industry experts and counselors, she crafts informative articles that make students take the right decisions.

Kanan International is a study abroad consultancy that offers reliable services, products, and solutions for students and education institutions. We support students throughout their study abroad journey, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence make us the go-to partner for expanding global horizons. The company provides coaching for IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, and SAT exams and services like visa consultation, accommodation, scholarship assistance, and education loans.

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