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london living cost

im going to start uni in london this year and does anyone know how the living cost is? food transportation night life etc.
Original post by Anonymous
im going to start uni in london this year and does anyone know how the living cost is? food transportation night life etc.

Would love to know too!
Reply 2
Been a London uni student for the past two years - first year I lived close to campus so didn't really have to factor in transport but this time I'm out in private halls so experience with commute :smile:

1.

Food - I am on a £25 per week food budget (and pretty much have to stick to it) because unfortunately that is just my financial situation - obviously it'll depend on budget but I still manage this pretty well -- I eat most meals 2x in a row because few things do for 1 meal cheaply, but it's a mix of cooking and ready meals. As long as you meal plan, don't mind eating the same thing a lot, and don't mind going for the store brands, it's not bad, and I can cover 3 meals a day and snacks. Some other food-related notes:

2.

If you're buying tea/coffee from a cafe, it'll be solidly £5 -- I recommend either buying it to make at home and taking a travel cup, or if you want to just grab it occasionally, it's generally a bit cheaper at the student-union run places. Otherwise, if you're up for it, a very popular thing to do is find a friend and get a Pret subscription - £25 a month for 5 free drinks a day, so £12.50 if you split it, and I think you get money off the rest of the time as well (plus, given the sheer number of Prets in central London, you'll never be far from one 😂)

3.

Not a pub-goer myself, but I've been reliably informed to expect ludicrous amounts for alcohol (close to £9 for a pint, as my disgruntled Northern friend once said to me) which is probably why most people do pre-drinks beforehand

4.

Most supermarket food is probably slightly higher priced than elsewhere, but not noticeably, certainly if you can go to a bigger one (though the little ones aren't bad for grabbing a few things). I think Lidl is the cheapest, but Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's are all good too

5.

I can't comment if eating out is any more expensive than elsewhere, when I've been out with my friends it's usually £10-£15 for a lunch from places like Leon, Tortilla etc, but it really depends where you go and what you like. If you ever need to grab lunch though, there's always the student staple of a Tesco meal deal 😂

6.

General tip -- as long as it doesn't require you to pay, get a loyalty card for EVERYTHING. Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Boots (this one is good as you can go once a year with your student ID and get them to add student discount onto your advantage card for 10% off)

7.

Transport - ahh TfL, robbing my money off me every single day. Really, this depends on what zone you're living in vs where you're going. If you're needing to commute, my tip is to get a 18+ student Oyster card (costs £30) and a 16-25 railcard, and you can add the railcard discount onto your Oyster to get the off-peak discount. So, on on-peak it costs me £4.40 to get from Zone 4 to Zone 1, and off-peak with my discount it costs £2.10, which adds up as a big saving especially for going out on weekends and stuff. If you can though, I would recommend getting the bus as it's £1.75 for travel within an hour (and then maybe off-peak discount on top??) so a lot cheaper but not always feasible in some places -- I'd have to get something like 6 buses for a 2 hour journey to campus, vs a 30 minute direct tube lmao

8.

Nightlife - again, not something I'm familiar with but to my little knowledge it's usually around £10 entry, and I think some places might do student/early entry discount

9.

Accommodation -- solidly £10,500+ for a year, MINIMUM, at least for an en-suite. Often a lot more, I am limited by my budget, but it's a lot.

Hope this helps! 😊
Original post by Anonymous
im going to start uni in london this year and does anyone know how the living cost is? food transportation night life etc.

You can find transport costs here:
https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/

Food, drink, going out etc depends on where you go, eg Waitrose or Lidl, Spoons or clubs.

Your biggest cost will be accommodation, for which you can check your uni's website.
Original post by cyberhex
Been a London uni student for the past two years - first year I lived close to campus so didn't really have to factor in transport but this time I'm out in private halls so experience with commute :smile:

1.

Food - I am on a £25 per week food budget (and pretty much have to stick to it) because unfortunately that is just my financial situation - obviously it'll depend on budget but I still manage this pretty well -- I eat most meals 2x in a row because few things do for 1 meal cheaply, but it's a mix of cooking and ready meals. As long as you meal plan, don't mind eating the same thing a lot, and don't mind going for the store brands, it's not bad, and I can cover 3 meals a day and snacks. Some other food-related notes:

2.

If you're buying tea/coffee from a cafe, it'll be solidly £5 -- I recommend either buying it to make at home and taking a travel cup, or if you want to just grab it occasionally, it's generally a bit cheaper at the student-union run places. Otherwise, if you're up for it, a very popular thing to do is find a friend and get a Pret subscription - £25 a month for 5 free drinks a day, so £12.50 if you split it, and I think you get money off the rest of the time as well (plus, given the sheer number of Prets in central London, you'll never be far from one 😂)

3.

Not a pub-goer myself, but I've been reliably informed to expect ludicrous amounts for alcohol (close to £9 for a pint, as my disgruntled Northern friend once said to me) which is probably why most people do pre-drinks beforehand

4.

Most supermarket food is probably slightly higher priced than elsewhere, but not noticeably, certainly if you can go to a bigger one (though the little ones aren't bad for grabbing a few things). I think Lidl is the cheapest, but Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's are all good too

5.

I can't comment if eating out is any more expensive than elsewhere, when I've been out with my friends it's usually £10-£15 for a lunch from places like Leon, Tortilla etc, but it really depends where you go and what you like. If you ever need to grab lunch though, there's always the student staple of a Tesco meal deal 😂

6.

General tip -- as long as it doesn't require you to pay, get a loyalty card for EVERYTHING. Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Boots (this one is good as you can go once a year with your student ID and get them to add student discount onto your advantage card for 10% off)

7.

Transport - ahh TfL, robbing my money off me every single day. Really, this depends on what zone you're living in vs where you're going. If you're needing to commute, my tip is to get a 18+ student Oyster card (costs £30) and a 16-25 railcard, and you can add the railcard discount onto your Oyster to get the off-peak discount. So, on on-peak it costs me £4.40 to get from Zone 4 to Zone 1, and off-peak with my discount it costs £2.10, which adds up as a big saving especially for going out on weekends and stuff. If you can though, I would recommend getting the bus as it's £1.75 for travel within an hour (and then maybe off-peak discount on top??) so a lot cheaper but not always feasible in some places -- I'd have to get something like 6 buses for a 2 hour journey to campus, vs a 30 minute direct tube lmao

8.

Nightlife - again, not something I'm familiar with but to my little knowledge it's usually around £10 entry, and I think some places might do student/early entry discount

9.

Accommodation -- solidly £10,500+ for a year, MINIMUM, at least for an en-suite. Often a lot more, I am limited by my budget, but it's a lot.

Hope this helps! 😊

SO HELPFUL THANK YOU. my student loan is like 8k and my accom is around 11k. im so worried because i know i can get a job but do you think its manageable? how does second year accom work btw, finding your peopkle and looking for houses!
Hey!

I was in a similar situation as you when I started my first year at Kingston - my maintenance loan worked out around 5k, whilst my annual rental costs (private halls, studio apartment) worked out at around £11,000. Luckily, rent is going to be your biggest expense by far: if you meal prep and stick to a budget, I find £25-30 a week is perfectly reasonable for grocery costs, although I'd obviously recommend factoring in a bit more if you tend to have a few drinks whenever you go out or want to eat out regularly. And as cyberhex said above - free supermarket loyalty cards are your friend! 🙂

Getting a part-time job really helped ease my initial financial worries: I worked about 15 hours a week in my first-year, and then found some part-time opportunities through my university as well. By working mostly on weekends, I felt I could balance work/uni quite well - but I would also recommend having a look at the Financial Support/Money page on your university's website just in case. Most universities should have some sort of fund in place to assist students struggling financially; and whilst you might not need it, it's good to know what's available.

What course are you planning to study? Some courses have more lectures/teaching hours than others, which reduces the amount of part-time work you can reasonably fit around your schedule; I think as a rule of thumb, most universities recommend no more than 16-20 hours a week.

Eve (Kingston Rep).
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Kingston Reps
Hey!
I was in a similar situation as you when I started my first year at Kingston - my maintenance loan worked out around 5k, whilst my annual rental costs (private halls, studio apartment) worked out at around £11,000. Luckily, rent is going to be your biggest expense by far: if you meal prep and stick to a budget, I find £25-30 a week is perfectly reasonable for grocery costs, although I'd obviously recommend factoring in a bit more if you tend to have a few drinks whenever you go out or want to eat out regularly. And as cyberhex said above - free supermarket loyalty cards are your friend! 🙂
Getting a part-time job really helped ease my initial financial worries: I worked about 15 hours a week in my first-year, and then found some part-time opportunities through my university as well. By working mostly on weekends, I felt I could balance work/uni quite well - but I would also recommend having a look at the Financial Support/Money page on your university's website just in case. Most universities should have some sort of fund in place to assist students struggling financially; and whilst you might not need it, it's good to know what's available.
What course are you planning to study? Some courses have more lectures/teaching hours than others, which reduces the amount of part-time work you can reasonably fit around your schedule; I think as a rule of thumb, most universities recommend no more than 16-20 hours a week.
Eve (Kingston Rep).

So it’s manageable if your maintaince loan is considerably less than your rent? Aren’t part time jobs difficult if you’re planning on going home during holidays etc
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous
SO HELPFUL THANK YOU. my student loan is like 8k and my accom is around 11k. im so worried because i know i can get a job but do you think its manageable? how does second year accom work btw, finding your peopkle and looking for houses!

ohh I know that pain, my loan was 7k last year and is maybe gonna be 6k next year 😭 I've been doing a part-time freelance transcription job since October of my first year - not the best pay so my shift schedule is kinda whacked (6-7 nights a week to scrape by lol) but as long as you keep your hours around 15-20 per week it is definitely manageable! For me, I plan my schedule a lot to fit everything in which helps keep me on track with when I need to do my uni work and hobbies and everything. I won't lie, it is tough at times especially when you might have friends who are in a position where they don't have to work during the term, but overall it's not too bad

for second year accommodation, it's a mix of how it works as there are a couple of options:

1.

Staying in uni halls -- in my experience, this can be tricky as obviously there is the first year guarantee so very few of my friends who picked this route got places, but it is still an option especially if you like your hall!

2.

Private accommodation -- there are a lot of non-uni run private halls available that are mostly around 10-11k for the year, I think some you can try and book as a group or you can just be in a flat with a mix of other students like in first year. My number 1 tip for this is to start looking around December/January - annoyingly some things don't open around then but other places do, but definitely January/February time is the optimum for booking - don't leave it until March because most places will be sold out!! (saying this from experience 😅)

3.

Flatshares -- most of my friends have gone for this option so in terms of finding people, it's generally the people from your friend group that you'd be happy to live with, and then you can usually find flats that are available for flat shares on real estate websites like YourMove (both general flats and also flat shares that would be with strangers as well I think, but from the brief looking I did for next year you can usually find ones that specify they're for students) -- this has worked out for my friends as the 3 of them share a 3-bed flat and I think the rent between them is about the same as if they'd been in private halls, and they were able to find a place really close to campus

Original post by cyberhex
ohh I know that pain, my loan was 7k last year and is maybe gonna be 6k next year 😭 I've been doing a part-time freelance transcription job since October of my first year - not the best pay so my shift schedule is kinda whacked (6-7 nights a week to scrape by lol) but as long as you keep your hours around 15-20 per week it is definitely manageable! For me, I plan my schedule a lot to fit everything in which helps keep me on track with when I need to do my uni work and hobbies and everything. I won't lie, it is tough at times especially when you might have friends who are in a position where they don't have to work during the term, but overall it's not too bad
for second year accommodation, it's a mix of how it works as there are a couple of options:

1.

Staying in uni halls -- in my experience, this can be tricky as obviously there is the first year guarantee so very few of my friends who picked this route got places, but it is still an option especially if you like your hall!

2.

Private accommodation -- there are a lot of non-uni run private halls available that are mostly around 10-11k for the year, I think some you can try and book as a group or you can just be in a flat with a mix of other students like in first year. My number 1 tip for this is to start looking around December/January - annoyingly some things don't open around then but other places do, but definitely January/February time is the optimum for booking - don't leave it until March because most places will be sold out!! (saying this from experience 😅)

3.

Flatshares -- most of my friends have gone for this option so in terms of finding people, it's generally the people from your friend group that you'd be happy to live with, and then you can usually find flats that are available for flat shares on real estate websites like YourMove (both general flats and also flat shares that would be with strangers as well I think, but from the brief looking I did for next year you can usually find ones that specify they're for students) -- this has worked out for my friends as the 3 of them share a 3-bed flat and I think the rent between them is about the same as if they'd been in private halls, and they were able to find a place really close to campus


ahh i see. this is so informative thank you. finding jobs in London is so hard especially the work schedule meaning i wont be able to go back home that often if im working straight hours every week. Terrified about money, most of my friends accoms are £150 per week like what a dream WITH AN ENSUITE AS WELL.
Reply 9
Original post by Anonymous
ahh i see. this is so informative thank you. finding jobs in London is so hard especially the work schedule meaning i wont be able to go back home that often if im working straight hours every week. Terrified about money, most of my friends accoms are £150 per week like what a dream WITH AN ENSUITE AS WELL.

no problem!! Glad I could help :smile: and OMG that is the dream, £150 a week is crazy 😭
Have a look at mystery shopping and dining. It's easy as long as you follow the exact procedure and as a result you get free products or food. (I've done the latter, not the former.)
Original post by Anonymous
So it’s manageable if your maintaince loan is considerably less than your rent? Aren’t part time jobs difficult if you’re planning on going home during holidays etc

Hi,

I definitely found it manageable - it takes the occasional bit of work and a good budget, but it's certainly not impossible.

Admittedly, being approved for extended periods of time off depends on your employer; but I find most employers who know you're a student and regularly employ students for part-time work tend to be understanding about how schedules might change out of term-time. Although, that's one perk of getting employed directly by your university, so make sure to look for part-time work available on campus (e.g. student ambassador schemes, on-site cafes, library assistants).

Eve (Kingston Rep).

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