Conquer the Cost of Living: Top Hacks for International Students

Posted by Sarah Richens on

Moving to the UK for your studies is an exciting (and often quite scary!) step, but it’s so important to understand everything about the financial side of living abroad. Knowing exactly to expect by properly understanding the cost of living in your chosen area, along with managing your finances effectively can massively lessen the stresses and also improve your student experience while you are studying in the UK.


Accommodation Costs
Accommodation will almost always be your largest expense. Students have a few different options ranging from staying in university halls to private flats, each varying quite considerably in cost. Uni halls tend to be a budget-friendly option as they often include your bills, which always helps manage your monthly expenses. Private rent / PBSA Accommodation often offer a little more independence and space - however that space tends to come at a higher [rice, usually with added bills and internet.

Furnishing your Student Halls
Your move to university can be both an exciting and also daunting experience, especially when it comes to kitting out all the essentials for your new home. Featured on BBC ONE's Shop Well for Less, UniKitOut was proven excellent value for money by offering cost-effective student essentials, without compromising on quality. Thanks to the backing of our Wholesale company, Gailarde - Our bulk buying approach saves our customers money by cutting out 'the middle man'. By bundling all the items you need for Uni into Starter Kits, UniKitOut keeps prices competetive, and passes on those savings directly to students. In fact, when compared to purchasing items individually on Amazon, students save up to 40% by buying bundles. Most importantly, when compared against the costs from traditional retailers such as John Lewis and Debenhams, UniKitOut comes up excellent in terms of affordable prices for quality products. 

Lifestyle and Daily Expenses
The United Kingdom boasts an array of experiences, but lifestyle costs can vary significantly based on your hobbies, and also where you live. Basic essentials such as food, transport, and entertainment costs can very quickly add up. Cities such as London are always on the pricier side, whereas Newcastle or Cardiff can be much more wallet-friendly. It's crucual to budget properly for groceries, social activities, and also travel within the UK to keep your finances in check.


Food, eating out & ways to save.

There are many activites where you can socialse whilst saving money. Cooking up a storm for your flatmates is not only be a fun and social experience, but also a fantastic money-saving strategy. By combining your funds and taking turns buying and preparing meals, you can massively cut down on individual grocery costs (It's always cheaper to cook for two than one!). Another option is introducing vegetarian nights into your meal plans, even if you usually prefer to eat meat, going veggie a couple of nights a week can be a budget-friendly choice. Meals packed with vegetables tend to utilise more affordable ingredients including beans, lentils, and various grains whilst still providing a nutritious and filling meal. Not only does it help save money on your groceries, but it also promotes environmental sustainability and encourages you to try different things, and who knows - you may find your new favourite meal!


Savings and Part-Time Jobs
Some students bring savings with them to Uni, but not everyone has the backing of a healthy bank account. Getting a part-time job is a common way to increase your funds. Working is not just about the extra money; it’s also a chance to gain some incredibly valuable work experience (whilst also giving you chance to practice your English skills if Enlgish is not your first language). Uni's sometimes even offer internal roles such as paid student ambassadors, library assistants, or admin / SU support, which are all designed to fit around your studies.


Check University Employment Policies
It’s super important to remember that some universities or visas may restrict how many hours you can work during your term time. So, always check your university's policy and your visa to make sure you adhere to all regulations surrounding part-time work.


Using Tools to Estimate Your Costs
To help you with planning and managing your budget, there are some amazing tools like the University Living Cost Calculator*.. This handy resource helps you to plan a personalised estimate cost of your monthly outgoings, it also takes into account your lifestyle/hobbies and location.

International students moving to the UK find that it is such a rewarding, enriching journey that tends to offer countless opportunities for both personal and academic growth. As long as you understand and properly plan for the cost of living, you make sure that your time spent studying abroad is not just successful for your career, but also financially manageable and enjoyable. With all of the right preparation, you can definitely sit back and enjoy your international education to the maximum - without stressing about your budget. 


*UniKitOut partner with University Living to make life easier for students when moving to University for the first time. University Living gives students the ability to search, compare, and book from over 1.75 million beds in 300+ popular student cities across the UK, Ireland, Australia, Europe, USA, and Canada, aiming to simplify the transition to student life.