Living in Glasgow – how much does it cost?

Living in Glasgow – how much does it cost?

It’s always difficult to know exactly how much it will cost to live comfortably in a new place and everyone knows that one person’s weekly budget might only last another person a couple of days.  So, in this guide we aim to give you a good idea of costs, but much depends on your own personal choices – therefore, allow some margin to cover this as well as having something kept aside for the unexpected things which always catch us out when we least expect it!

We would recommend allowing £11,500 for a single student per year and a minimum of £15,000 for a married couple. For each child add £3,000 per year.  Please note that the following is only a very rough breakdown of costs per month for a single student in average priced self-catering accommodation.  In addition, to the below figure of £10,800, you should include the following amounts annually: Books: £400; UK Travel: £300. 

 Cost per month
Accommodation £450
Food £180
Clothes £60
Bus, underground, taxi fares £40
Laundry, stationery, stamps, toiletries £30
Telephone/Internet £40
Entertainment £100

You could also try budgeting using the International Student Calculator!

Remember also that before you start your studes, it is expected that you will have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living costs.  Once you arrive in the UK it is not possible to raise funds.   Part-time work cannot be depended on to support yourself.  Finally, although it is hard to prepare for every cost that you will face during your stay in Glasgow we hope that this guide will have helped you plan and avoid omitting any major items of expenditure.

Have a look at the tabs below to view more information on specific costs that you may encounter:


When you first arrive you are also likely to have some one-off costs.  Here are some examples:

 Approximate cost
Deposit for accommodation In the private sector this is usually the equivalent of 4 weeks rent
Insurance for your belongings Basic cover included if you are in university accommodation, but budget around £10 per month if you are in private accommodation
Police registration (if applicable to you) £34
Mobile phone £50-£100
Temporary accommodation (2 nights B&B) £60


 

The amount you will pay for tuition each year depends on your College and course. Details of all fees can be found here

These pages also include information on payment by instalment and arrangements for EU students eligible for payment of tuition by SAAS.

After paying your tuition fees, the biggest cost you are likely to face is the cost of somewhere to live.

University Accommodation
The University offers accommodation suitable for undergraduates, postgraduates and, to a lesser extent, students with families.  In most cases the rents are all inclusive (e.g. heating and lighting, bed linen, internet access, personal possessions insurance). The majority of University accommodation is self-catered.  There is however one catered hall, Wolfson Hall, offering breakfast and evening meal 7 days a week.  Please see below for links to:

Private Sector
Although many students decide to apply for university accommodation until they have got used to the city, there are other options available in the private sector which you might want to look at before you come to Glasgow, or that you might think about after your first year here.

There are quite a number of flats managed by private student accommodation providers in the area around the University as well as the city centre including Unite, Liberty Living and Victoria Halls.

For information on other sources of private accommodation and costs, you can use PAD which is a centralised searchable database of private sector accommodation for rent by students from the five higher education institutions in the Glasgow area. 

Remember to check what the rental package includes and if the contract dates are suitable for your course.  If heating and lighting are not included, you should budget for at least £340 per year.

The cheapest place to do your weekly food shopping is a supermarket.  Open-air markets are quite rare and are very expensive.  Corner stores and small shops which are open late can also be a bit more expensive.  You can save money by:

  • buying in bulk
  • buying when items are on special offer
  • buying when they are labelled under the supermarket's own brand or
  • by writing a list and sticking to it!

Two of the cheapest supermarkets for many items are Lidl and AldiMorrisons, Asda, The Co-operative, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are the other major supermarkets to be found all over Glasgow and are where most UK families do their weekly shop.  Iceland and Farmfoods are essentially frozen food supermarkets but they also carry non-frozen items and can be quite cheap.  Use their store locators to find one near you.

You will also find plenty of good Fruit and Vegetable shops near the University. Many of these also specialise in international produce and are often cheaper (and better quality) than supermarkets.  For example:

  • KRK, Continental Cash & Carry, 286 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, G3 for Asian and Halal products
  • Solly's Fruit and Veg, 381-383 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G4 for African and Caribbean products
  • See Woo, The Point, 29 Saracen Street, Glasgow, G22 for Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Korean and Japanese products

As a rough guide, expect to pay £30-£40 per week for food.


 

Apart from Wolfson Hall, student residences are all within walking distance.  The SRC run a free Campus to Halls minibus service, Monday-Friday mornings and evenings during term-time. 

If you need to take public transport in Glasgow, a single journey on the underground costs £1.40.  A bus journey from campus to the city centre costs about £1.40.

If you live a distance away from the university, the cost of a Zone Card for use on all forms of public transport starts from £696 per year.  You can also buy a Zonecard for 1 week, 4 weeks or 10 weeks.

For travelling outside Glasgow, you could buy a 16-25 Railcard for £30 per year or a Young Person’s Coach Card for £10 per year and reduce the cost of most UK travel by up to 1/3.  Anyone between 16 and 25 (or students aged 26 or over and in full-time education) can apply for these cards.

If you prefer to fly, check EasyJet and Ryanair for good deals, but remember Ryanair fly from Prestwick and not Glasgow International Airport.

Books and stationery
Allow at least £300 per year for books and rather than immediately buying everything new, look out for opportunities to buy second hand books.  Your departmental notice board is a good place to start as well as the SRC Second Hand Bookshop in the John McIntyre Building.  You can search their stock online. Remember that you will have to pay for your own stationery and photocopying.

Clothes and laundry
For many students coming to study in the UK the climate will be very different from that which they are used to and you will probably need to buy clothes once you are here, particularly for the winter months.  Depending on how long you will be here, you will also need to replace items from time to time. So, it is important that you remember to include money in your budget for clothing as well as items associated with your course of study.

Depending on where you are living you may also need to buy items such as bedding and towels. Also, don't forget laundry costs (included in your fees if you live in University Accommodation). 

Communication
The cost of keeping in touch with people at home should also be included in your budget as phone calls can be expensive. Overall, you could spend between £600 and £1000 a year on the above items.

Entertainment
Something that students often forget to budget for is social costs. If you're going to get the most out of your time in Glasgow then you will want to go out and see some of what the city has to offer and this can have a big impact on your budget.   A student cinema ticket will cost roughly £5.70.   Eating out can be expensive, but sometimes restaurants offer special deals in the early evening or on certain days of the week.  Remember that most of Glasgow’s museums and galleries are free, so that is a cheap, but cultural, option.

Overall, we would recommend that you include between £750 and £1,000 in your budget to cover social and unexpected expenditure.


 

This is just a small selection of outlets that offer student discounts.  The location of most of these can be found on our interactive map.
  
Walkabout
Student saving card available for £2, saves money on food and certain drinks  

The Curlers Rest, Byres Road
Cheap drink/food
Student discount on certain nights, very student oriented

Paperino’s
Half price pasta until 5pm
Student Discount available

Cineworld
Student discount available

Grosvenor Cinema, Ashton Lane
Student tickets £7.20 

Orange Wednesdays
2 cinema tickets for the price of one for Orange customers.

Schuh
10% discount on full price purchases

Topshop/Topman
10% Student discount on clothing

The key thing to remember when seeking out a student discount is that you have to put aside notions of pride and just ask if they do it. Almost all large chain stores will do 5% or 10% student discounts upon showing your student card however they usually need to be asked if there is a discount scheme operating. Cinemas almost always offer a student discount which will substantially cut the price. You can often also use student discounts in conjunction with other offers - this may not always be the case but it is worth remembering. 

When going on a night out, whilst your student card won’t be accepted as ID, you should still take it with you. Most clubs will offer discounted entry/free entry if you are a student with some student nights even making it mandatory!  Many pubs will offer smaller discounts if you have the card. Restaurants are usually less open to a student discount, with pub lunches being your best bet if you want a cheaper lunch. Fast food outlets almost never offer student discounts.

Student discounts don’t just end at shops and clubs.  Student discounted travel is often available with your card.

It is unlikely that you will be able to get student discounts when shopping online. The few websites that do offer a discount usually only accept NUS universities and as Glasgow is not one of these, you’ll find options are limited.