London is one of the most exciting cities you can live in as a young person and is home to some of the world’s best universities. It’s unsurprising, then, that so many students choose to come to London to get a world-class education.
But it’s no secret that life in London doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it’s currently ranked as the world’s 22nd most expensive city to live and work in.
To afford the capital’s sky-high rents, transport costs and food and drink prices, you need to be good at money management. acasa has put together this guide to budgeting as a university student in London to make sure everyone can make the most of the city’s incredible opportunities.
First, let’s break down what you need to pay for. There are some costs in London that are inescapably high, no matter how smart and frugal you are. Your heftiest costs are likely to be:
- Rent: The average for a double room in a house share is around £600 by most estimates, but this will vary depending on location and room size
- Utilities: Based on average output, a four-bedroom house would have a dual fuel bill of £1,163 per year or £97 a month, which would be split between the occupants.
- Transport: Londoners spend around £700 on transport every year. Transport for London offer discounted rates for student travelcards.
Luckily, water is actually one of the only things that’s cheaper in London than in other parts of the country! Thames Water’s average price for metered customers is only the 12th most expensive in the country at £440 a year. This is less than half of the £943 per year that customers served by the most expensive supplier, South West Water, find themselves paying.
You’ll also need to set aside a few hundred pounds for groceries every month as well as any subscriptions you may have, such as Netflix or Spotify. Anything that’s left over after this will likely go towards nights out, membership to various university societies or miscellaneous spending!
You’re likely to be living in a shared house, so you’ll be splitting utilities costs with your flatmates. We can’t underestimate the importance of having a fair and foolproof system in place for sharing these expenses between you. Everyone who’s ever lived in a shared house at university has their own horror story about a housemate who was late or flat-out refused to pay for their share, forcing others to cough up on their behalf.
More and more students in London are using bill-splitting apps to clearly divide the costs, hold people accountable for their share and minimise the burden on a single flatmate’s shoulders if someone decides not to pay.
It’s likely that to cover your costs and have a little left over for yourself, you’ll need to take on some kind of part-time job. It’s rare to meet a student in London who hasn’t got some kind of side-hustle or an allowance from their parents to help them make ends meet.
Luckily London is a hub for pretty much every industry in the country and you should be able to find everything from part-time admin work to food service. Most universities have well-paid jobs available at the student union that fit in around your classes. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to find work in your field of study!
acasa is a bill sharing app designed for anyone living in shared accommodation, whether that’s as a student, with a partner or with a group of friends. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems. Download acasa on iOS or Android, get a free quote for your property.