Cost of living

Image of group of students

In this guide we aim to give you a good idea of costs, but how much money you will need to live comfortably in the UK depends on your own personal preferences and lifestyle.

It is a good idea to include money in your calculations for  unexpected expenses.

The following is only a general guide of costs per month for a single student in average priced self-catering accommodation

We would recommend allowing:

  • £13,060 for a single student per year
  • A minimum of £20,000 for a married couple
  • For each child add £5,000 per year

In addition to the figure of £12,360 below, you should include the following amounts annually:

  • UK travel: £300
  • Books and stationery: £400

Costs per month - examples

Type of expense:Approximate cost:
Accommodation £550
Food £180
Clothes £70
Bus, underground, taxi fares £40
Laundry, stationery, stamps, toiletries £30
Telephone/internet £40
Entertainment £120
Total: £1,030 per month (£12,360 over 12 months)
  • Before you start your studies, 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 or depend on part-time work to support yourself.

Although it is difficult to consider and budget for every possible cost when living in the UK, we hope that this information will assist you.  

One-off costs - examples

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

Possible Expenses:

Deposit for accommodation (in the private sector this is usually the equivalent of 4 weeks rent)

Tuition fees (amount may change per year and depends on your College / programme of study.  Find out more about tuition fees costs, ways to pay and SAAS tuition payment for EU students).

Insurance for your belongings (Basic cover included in University owned accommodation.  Budget around £10 per month if you are in private accommodation and buy cover).

Police registration (if applicable to you - £34)

Mobile phone (for use in UK: £50-£100)

Temporary accommodation (Hotel or B&B usually around £60+ for 2 nights)


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

With the exception of Wolfson Hall, University-owned accommodation is within walking distance of Gilmorehill campus.

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).  University accommodation is mostly self-catered (Wolfson Hall is the only catered resdence, offering breakfast & evening meals, 7 days a week).

Please see below for links to:

Although many students decide to apply for university accommodation until they have got used to the city, 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, a centralised searchable database of private sector accommodation for rent by students from the five higher education institutions in the Glasgow area.  You will also find helpful information about private renting on the SRC website.

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 in your rental package, an apporoximate extra cost to budget for is £340+ per year.


The cheapest place to do your weekly food shopping is a supermarket. Corner stores and small shops which are open late can be a bit more expensive.

Where to shop: Use the "store-locator" tool on the weblinks below to find your nearest branch.

Cheap supermarkets include Lidl and AldiIceland and Farmfoods are also relatively cheap supermarkets that specialise in frozen food but also sell a range of other groceries.

Morrisons, Asda, The Co-operative, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are other major supermarkets, and have stores across Glasgow.  Iceland and Farmfoods are supermarkets that focus on frozen food but also carry non-frozen items and can be quite cheap - use the store locator tool on their website to find the nearest shop.

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 approximately £45 per week for food.


Glasgow has a great public transport system, including buses, trains and the Subway.  Buying travel passes to cover your fares for a set period of time can be cheaper than paying for your fares in cash each day, such as a Zone Card for use on all forms of public transport (you can buy a Zonecard to cover 1, 4 or 10 weeks or 1 year).

For travelling outside Glasgow, you could buy a 16-25 Railcard or a Young Person’s Coach Card 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, you might like to check EasyJet and Ryanair or other airlines for good deals.

Books and stationery

Allow at least £400 per year for books - look out for opportunities to buy second hand books to save money (try your departmental notice board or the SRC Second Hand Bookshop in the John McIntyre Building - you can search their stock online).  Some book shops in Glasgow will offer a student discount.

Remember that you will have to buy your own stationery and "print credits" to scan, copy and print on campus.

Clothes and laundry

For many students the climate in the UK will be very different from that they are used to - you will probably need to buy items of waterproof or warm clothes once you are here (particularly for the winter months).

If your accommodation does not have a washing machine or laundry facilities you may wish to use a launderette (the nearest are on Great Western Road). Depending on how long you will study here, you will also need to replace clothes and household items (such as towels or bedding) from time to time, so it is important that you remember to include money in your budget for this.


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.  However, social costs can have a big impact on your budget so look out for student deals and discounts on eating out, cinemas, gigs and so on. Most of Glasgow’s local events, festivals, museums and galleries are free or of low cost, and make excellent cultural options to visit cheaply.

The average student is likely to spend approximately £120 per month, however this amount will differ depending on your lifestyle.