Cost of Living in the United Kingdom in 2024

Updated on 27 January, 2024

Kanika Pruthi

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Detail Guide for Cost of Living in UK

Home to some of the most prestigious institutions, the United Kingdom (UK) is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for international students. Also, the strong economy with plenty of employment opportunities attracts professionals from across the world who look at it as a land of opportunities for their financial growth. However, the cost of living in the UK can be higher than in most other countries in the world. The average cost of living as a family of four is around $3,135(£2,268) without house rent. As a single person or student, the estimated cost of living per month in the UK is $900(£651) without rent. 

Important Link: Cost of Living for Studying Abroad

 

Cost of Living in the UK Dependence Upon the Number of Family Members

1. Cost of Living in the UK for a Family of Four

The average cost of living for a family of four in the UK is between £4,000 and £4,500, including the rent. It will change if you live away from the main cities. Your living cost would also depend on how well you manage your finances; however, the main expenses head like rent, food, transport, and tax should get covered in the above-stated figure. 

2. Cost of Living in the UK as a Family of Two or Shared by Two Individuals

For a family of two, the average cost of living in the UK is approximately £2,500 to £3,000, including accommodation rent. Living together can help in sharing the rent and bills of other utilities.

3. Cost of Living in the UK as a Student 

As a student, the average cost of living in the UK is around £1000 to £1600, including the rent. It can be different depending upon the place you are living. It can be a single flat where you live alone or a shared accommodation with a roommate.

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List of Necessary Items with Their Cost

Necessities for a living are food, transportation, and other services.

Restaurants and Cafes

ItemsCost (£)
Meal, normal Restaurant12
A meal in Mid-range Restaurant (Two people), Three-course50
McDonald’s McMeal6
Cappuccino (regular)2.76
Water (0.33-litre bottle)0.97

Read More: MS in UK Cost

Transportation

ItemsCost (£)
Monthly pass (Regular Price)65
One-way ticket (local transport)2.5
Taxi start2.8
Taxi 1 hour waiting17.5
Gasoline (1 liter)1.26

Utilities

ItemsCost (£)
Basic utilities including (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Garbage, water, laundry)160
Internet (unlimited-60mbps)0.1

Sports, physical activities, Entertainment

ItemsCost (£)
Fitness center30.72
Private, monthly tennis Court (Time-limited)10.24
Movie Theater10
Club/pub entry15

Schooling

ItemsCost (£)
Preschool, full-day, private,( Monthly for 1 child)950
International primary school (yearly for 1 child)13,500

Monthly Rent

City (London)Cost (£)
1 bedroom apartment in the city(London) center750
1 bedroom apartment outside the city(London) center400-600
3-bedroom apartment in the city(London) center1,200-1,500
3-bedroom apartment outside the city(London)860 – 1,100

Average Rent in the UK

The housing rent is no doubt one of your biggest budget items. For many, it even takes half of their salary. The rent in the UK varies on your location, requirements, and how many people are living together. The average rental cost in the UK in 2021 is a record high at £1,007 a month. The average is slightly more on the high side due to the high rents in a few places like London. So if you consider only the average, you will not get an idea of rents all over the UK. The rent depends on the type of household or the number of people living. For a single person living in the UK, the average cost is £725, and for a couple without children, the average rent is £870, which is around 30 percent more than a single household. For couples with children, the average rent goes up to £941. Single people sharing a room have a little less average rent.

Recommended Read: Student Visa for the UK | Best MBA Colleges in UK

Average Rent in the UK by Regional basis

In the UK, the further north you go, the higher the rent gets. In the northeast, renters pay the least amount for accommodation. The people in the north pay 40 percent less rent in comparison to people in England. The housing rent is the highest in London, with the average rent going up to £1,480.

RegionAverage cost(£)
North East530
Yorkshire and the Humber550
East Midlands561
West Midlands602
South West752
North West623
South East940
East860
London1,480

Read More: Study in UK for Indian students after 12th

Study Cost and University Tuition Fee

University fees have always been a topic of discussion in the UK. Presently in the UK, students at the UK universities must pay around £9,250 per year. International students who are graduating have tuition fees varying from £10,000 and going up to £38,000. The university fee is different according to the degree you are pursuing. Social sciences and humanities cost less, while courses in the laboratory and clinical degrees are more expensive. Combining these costs with the average cost of living in the UK, which is around £12,500 a year, you can see how costly studying in the UK can be.

While the cost of studying in the UK can be so high, it is important to consider that in the UK, the duration of programs offered by the universities is shorter compared to other countries. According to the UK student visa requirements,  you should have at least £1,015 in your bank account per month if you plan to study in UK. It sums £12,180 per year.

But living in the UK as a student can come with many perks like student discounts. Students in the UK can use their college IDs to get discounts on services like transportation, entertainment, etc. There are two types of tuition fees at UK universities, home student fees, and international student fees. For undergraduate home students, universities in England charge up to £9,250 each year. In Wales, undergraduate degree programs can cost you £9,000. Home students studying in private UK universities have the option of applying for study loans, which can provide them with financial help. International students pay a little more than home students for the university fee, which can be around £11,000. 

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Transportation Costs in the UK

In the UK, most of the public transportation is owned by private companies, with minimum or no interference from the government. In London, a public bus ride will cost you £1.50 per hour. The average monthly commuting cost in London is $186, higher than any other city in the world. Trains are also expensive in the UK because again their ownership lies with private organizations.

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Cost of Utilities and Bills in the UK

In the UK, the average cost of fuel is £1,131 per year, which is around 4 percent of the average household budget. The average cost of electricity per month is £34, and that of water bill can vary in different places in the UK. The estimated cost of the water and sewerage bill is £400 per year. Saving on water and avoiding its unnecessary usage can also save some money. The average cost of broadband in the UK is £27.50, including internet services as TV services. 

Read More: Best job opportunities after MS in UK

Living Costs in the UK for International Students

The cost of living in UK will depend on the city you live in. Being the capital city, the cost of living in London is higher than in other places. However, living in a metropolitan like London has their advantages, like finding high-paying part-time jobs, etc. But if you are on a tighter budget, there are some regional cities and small towns where the cost of living is relatively low. 

Cost of living in London (excluding rent)Average cost (approx.)
Single person per month£859 or INR 85,000
Single person per year£10,308 or INR 10.30 lakh 

Recommended Read: Scholarship in UK for Indian Students

Cost of living in Edinburgh (excluding rent)Average cost
Single person per month£684 or INR 68,400 (approx.)
Single person per year£8,208 or INR 8.20 lakh

Recommended Read: Summer Intake in UK

Cost of living in Cardiff (excluding rent)cost single
Single person per month£662 or INR 66,200 (approx.)
Single person per year£7,944 or INR 7.94 lakh

Read More: Spring Intake in UK

Education Costs in the UK

There is no doubt that you will find world-class universities and great schools in the UK, but the cost of attending these institutions is not cheap for international students, who need to pay more as compared to the UK nationals. This cost of tuition can be as high as £7,000 or INR 7 lakh per year, and the international fees can go up to 3x higher than the domestic fees. The cost of living in UK for Indian students will depend on the place of study and residence.

Here is an average education cost in the UK: 

SchoolAverage education cost
Preschool/ kindergarten in London£7,160 annually or INR 7.16 lakh
Private schools£15,250 annually or INR 15.25 lakh
University tuition (University College London, international students)Tuition fees range from £23,750 to £40,600 annually, depending on the type of course. This is roughly INR 23.75 lakh to INR 40.60 lakh. 
University tuition (University of Manchester, international students)Tuition fees range from £19,500 to £46,000 annually, depending on the course, or INR 19.50 lakh to INR 46 lakh. 
University tuition (University of South Wales, international students)Tuition fees range from £13,500 to £14,500 annually (approximately INR 13.50 lakh to INR 14.50 lakh), depending on the course. Scholarships of £1,500 to £2,500 are available. This is approximately between INR 1.5 to INR 2.5 lakh. 

Recommended Read: Cost of studying in UK decoded for aspirants

Affordable Cities to live in the UK

Some of the most affordable cities with affordable cost of living in the UK for international students are:

  • Durham
  • Belfast
  • Leicester
  • Stirling
  • Lancaster
  • Cardiff
  • Newcastle
  • Coventry
  • Warwick
  • Lincoln
  • Nottingham
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Norwich

Recommended Read: Education System in UK: Explained

Tips that can be useful to save money in the UK

1. Share a flat

Housing in the UK is very expensive, and the rents in the UK can be around half of your total budget. To overcome this, sharing a flat is considered a general thing in the UK. 

2. Getting a local bank account

Everything can get very easy when you have a local bank account. You can get one easily once you arrive in the UK, and it just needs some documents. First, get accommodation and the documents that will help you get a local bank account.

3. Try to reduce your household bills

The general utility bills like electricity, heater-cooler, etc., can be reduce by managing the overall usage. Like in winter, rather than always turning up the heat, you can try to wear some warm clothes.

4. Try to pay your debts as soon as possible

Paying off your credit card payments, student loans, and any other type of personal loan is foremost. After doing that, you can start saving money. It is necessary to understand that the best way to save money is to first pay off your debt as the interests from the loans are huge, and this cannot allow you to save money.

5. Search for good deals

Search for “sim only” deals if you have a phone already and get the ones with good returns and less money. These minor changes can save a lot of money for you at the end of the year.

6. Avoid eating at expensive places

Regularly eating in restaurants and cafes can cost a lot, and you cannot afford to lose so much money on luxury food and services. Look for more affordable eating places with good food, and make sure to use the benefits of offers and deals. You can also cook your food at home  or buy ready-to-eat food at a low price from the supermarkets; wait till the end of the day and pick products with bright yellow stickers on them.

7. Smart commute and comparing prices

Transportation cost in the UK is very high, and people are generally annoyed by this fact. Having a transportation card can be a little help. The cost of traveling by a contactless card is capped, which will not allow you to pay more than a set limit in a week. You can also get an oyster card for commuting. But it is always a good idea to do some online research about trains and their cost. Compare prices and try to get a good deal. For short commutes, taxis can be costly, but Uber can be cheaper. Coaches are the most economical way to travel long distances in the UK. Go online, check, and compare the prices and book your tickets. It also follows while traveling on the plane, as plane tickets can cost a lot. Try to book the tickets in advance and find good deals.

8. Try to bargain your way out while buying

In the UK, it is vital to bargain to save money and survive on an affordable budget. Always ask for the bargains and discounts. You need to understand what items you can bargain for and the items you cannot.

Living in the city be expensive, whether as a student or a family. But with good planning, you can save a lot of money. These changes may seem very little, but they sure have a significant impact on your overall budget.

Conclusion

In 2024, the cost of living in the UK continues to be a significant factor for residents and expatriates alike, characterized by regional variations and influenced by a blend of economic factors. Major cities like London and Edinburgh often command higher living expenses, reflecting their status as economic and cultural hubs. Accommodation usually constitutes the largest portion of monthly expenses, alongside utilities, transportation, and food. However, it's important to note that the UK offers a high standard of living, with access to quality healthcare, education, and social services. For students and professionals considering a move to the UK, budgeting wisely and understanding the cost dynamics of different regions are crucial. While urban areas offer more job opportunities and amenities, they also come with a higher price tag compared to smaller towns or rural areas. Balancing these factors, individuals can navigate the cost landscape of the UK, finding a living arrangement that suits their needs and financial capabilities, all while enjoying the rich cultural and professional opportunities the country has to offer.

 

 


 

Recommended Read: Job opportunities in India after MS from the UK

Frequently Asked Question

What is the average living cost in the UK?

If you are an Indian student, the cost of living in the UK for Indian students can be exorbitant compared to Indian standards. The average living expense is as follows: Accommodation in halls of residence including bills: £400 – £600 monthly (INR 40,000-60,000) Private accommodation excluding bills: £320 – £530 monthly (INR 32,000-53,000) Utility bills: £40 – £50 monthly (INR 4,000-5,000) Food/Housekeeping: £160 – £200 monthly (INR 16,000-20,000) TV license: £12.6 per month (INR 1,260) Mobile phone: £15 – £50 monthly (INR 1,500-5,000) Clothes/shoes: £25 monthly (INR 2,500) Leisure/sport: £10 – £20 monthly (INR 1,000-2,000) Books/stationary: £21 monthly (INR 2,100) Socializing: £120 monthly (INR 12,000) Travel/transport: £32 monthly (INR 3,200).

How much is the monthly rent in the UK?

The average rental cost in the UK is approximately £758 for one-bedroom flats in the city and £614 outside the city. It works out to roughly INR 75,800 and INR 61,400, respectively.

How much does a single person need to live in the United Kingdom?

In the UK, cost of living has always been expensive. An individual’s monthly cost of living is around £652, excluding rent. This works out to INR 65,200.

Is the UK more expensive than India?

Yes, the cost of living in UK is 6.5 times more than India. India ranks at 194 in the list of the most expensive countries globally, while the United Kingdom holds the 12th rank. For some perspective, a McDonald’s meal that costs around INR 245 in India will cost £6.16 (INR 618).

Country-Wise Cost of Living Guides

Top Universities in UK
University of OxfordUniversity of HullUniversity of StirlingUniversity of Exeter
University of CambridgeUniversity of GloucestershireUniversity of South WalesAston University
Coventry UniversityRobert Gordon UniversityKingston University LondonUniversity College London
Imperial College LondonGoldsmiths University of LondonGlasgow Caledonian UniversityUniversity of Surrey
University of LeicesterBirkbeck University of LondonUniversity of PlymouthSwansea University
University of BristolBath Spa UniversityUniversity of LincolnNewcastle University
Birmingham City UniversityLiverpool Hope UniversityUniversity of East AngliaLancaster University
Kings College LondonUniversity of ManchesterUniversity of Central LancashireDurham University
University of West LondonUniversity of EdinburghLondon South Bank UniversityHeriot Watt University
University of PortsmouthUniversity of SheffieldUniversity of ReadingUniversity of Sussex
Queen Mary University of LondonFalmouth UniversityUniversity of DerbyUniversity of Sunderland
Northumbria UniversityUniversity of ChichesterKeele UniversityUlster University
De Montfort UniversityQueens University BelfastYork St John UniversityManchester Metropolitan University
University of StrathclydeUniversity of WarwickUniversity of WorcesterCardiff Metropolitan University
Acceptance Rate of Top Universities in UK
Queen Mary University of London Acceptance RateGoldsmiths University of London Acceptance RateUniversity of Chichester Acceptance Rate
University of Sussex Acceptance RateUniversity of South Wales Acceptance RateBath Spa University Acceptance Rate
University of Strathclyde Acceptance RateLiverpool John Moore’s University Acceptance RateBirkbeck University of London Acceptance Rate
University of Leicester Acceptance RateRobert Gordon University Acceptance RateFalmouth University Acceptance Rate
Northumbria University Acceptance RateLiverpool Hope University Acceptance RateManchester Metropolitan University Acceptance Rate
Ranking of Top Universities in UK
University of Strathclyde RankingBirkbeck University of London RankingUniversity of Sussex Ranking
Queen Mary University of London RankingGoldsmiths University of London RankingLiverpool John Moore’s University Ranking
University of Leicester RankingLiverpool Hope University RankingUniversity of South Wales Ranking
Northumbria University RankingFalmouth University RankingRobert Gordon University Ranking
Manchester Metropolitan University RankingUniversity of Chichester RankingBath Spa University Ranking

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Kanika has 5+ years of experience as a writer and content developer. She has written for a wide range of industry verticals, including hospitality, restaurants, non-profits, finance, IT, HR, technology, payroll, and education. She has worked as a creator for a few leading companies and has also helped brands grow through her creative writing.

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