Choosing to study in London means you’ll no doubt be choosing an awesome course, exciting nightlife, and some of the best work opportunities. However, relocating to the capital does have a few drawbacks. For example, living costs and utility bills in the big city are generally much higher than in other cities. In fact, London is ranked as the most expensive place to live in the UK. According to King’s Cross London, the average student should budget around £1,250 per month to live comfortably.
Despite being pricey, many students love London life and manage to make their budget work. If you’re planning on going to University in London, here’s a breakdown of the average bills and expenses to expect:
Accommodation is going to be your biggest monthly expense if you are living in London. Unfortunately, rent is never cheap in the capital and there’s no way to get around the high rental prices. The good news is that you will have loads of choices when it comes to your accommodation. You can live in student halls on campus, house share with your mates, or rent a private property.
The cost of accommodation in London varies a lot depending on the area. Rental properties in central London are significantly higher, so it may be worth looking at houses further out if you want to save money. You can take a look at this map which shows the average rental prices for houses within one km of each station on the Underground.
You can also reduce your monthly expenses by quite a lot if you rent a room in a shared house, rather than renting a whole property or studio apartment. Advice from our friends at accomodationforstudents.com say you should budget at least £150-£200 per week for accommodation, which works out at roughly £600-£800 per month.
Gas & Electricity
Gas and electricity is likely to be your next biggest outgoing after rent. The team at Ovo Energy recommend budgeting around £50 per month for energy bills in a shared student house.
If your house uses gas and electricity, check whether these utilities have been combined on a dual tariff. This means that you receive all of your gas and electricity from one provider and the cost is combined in one easy bill. If your energy is in two separate tariffs, then it may be worth switching to a dual fuel tariff, as this is often more cost-effective and convenient (this isn’t as scary as it sounds, there are plenty of guides online to help you!).
If your student house uses meters, then you’ll need to take meter readings as soon as you move in. If you don’t, you may end up being charged for energy that was used by the previous tenants. Check out our useful advice on how to take meter readings here.
Broadband & TV licence
Broadband is another essential utility bill that comes with student housing. And let’s face it, the one you’ll want to get sorted straight away! Unless you are living in all-inclusive accommodation, you will be responsible for managing and paying your monthly broadband bill. You may even move in with a broadband provider already in place when you move in. Make sure you find out what provider is being used and check the monthly internet rates. You may be able to save money by switching to a cheaper provider or taking advantage of new sign-up deals. Make sure you choose a package that suits your needs and offers the level of speed you’ll require to complete your uni deadlines (or late-night Netflix binges).
All properties in the UK also require a TV licence, even if you are only watching programmes on a phone or laptop. This includes services such as ITV Player and All 4, with the only exceptions being when watching a programme on ITV or Channel 4 after it’s aired.
London is expensive and you have to accept the fact that it will cost a lot to study in the capital. However, you shouldn’t let that put you off applying for your dream university in London. With careful spending and money management, anyone can live comfortably while studying – plus your student loan is a higher amount when studying in London.
Managing your student bills can be a challenge, especially when you have so many other things to worry about. Our bill splitting app can be used to ensure that all of your household bills are split fairly. We also bundle your household utilities into one simple bill so that everyone knows what they need to pay each month. This will take the stress out of shared bills as you won’t need to keep chasing that one housemate (every student house has one),and allow you to focus on enjoying university life!