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Plan for expenses

Living expenses

Setting up a budget is all well and good, but it can be difficult to plan properly before you’ve arrived at university and worked out how much everything costs each week or month.

The information below is designed as a guide to your living expenses at university. You will be able to calculate your own personal budget once you know your outgoings.

Expenditure Per month Per year Notes
Rent (if you are living in university accommodation, this is paid in one instalment each term) £300 - £430 £3,640 - £5,200 Average rent for a standard room on a 42-week tenancy.
Bills (gas, electric, water, sewerage and internet) £0 (university accommodation)

£35 (non-university accommodation)

£0 (university accommodation)

£420 (non-university accommodation)

All of these bills are included in the cost of your rent if you are living in halls of residence/Unilet accommodation.

Otherwise, expect to pay around £35 per month.

Local bus travel £0 (university accommodation)

£20 (non-university accommodation)

£0 (university accommodation)

£240 (non-university accommodation)

An annual bus pass is included in your rent if you are living in halls of residence/Unilet accommodation.

Otherwise, it costs £240 for unlimited travel on specified BU and more bus routes.

Food, toiletries and household items £245 £2,200 These figures are based on the National Union of Students cost of living survey
Laundry costs £13 - £26 £156 - £312 Launderette facilities in halls of residence are coin/card operated. Unilet houses are fitted with washing machines, so this is included in the rent.
Insurance for personal possessions £70 We recommend you insure your personal possessions. This can also be paid monthly by direct debit.
TV licence £145.50 You can also pay for your TV licence in weekly, monthly or quarterly instalments. Check whether you need one at the TV Licensing website
Course materials £18 - £53 £210 - £630 For example, core textbooks, photocopying, stationery and other consumables.

These figures are based on a 12-month period and have been gathered from a range of sources.

You may find one of the following online calculators can help you work out your budget:

Start-up costs

Don’t forget that there are certain things you’ll need to buy when you start university, as these won’t be provided by your accommodation. They include:

  • Bedding (sheets, pillows, duvets)
  • Towels and tea towels
  • Cups, bowls and plates
  • Cutlery
  • Cooking utensils and saucepans.

You may just want to bring the bare minimum of kitchen equipment, cutlery and crockery when you start university, as you and your housemates may decide to buy some of the essentials together and split the cost.