Global Business School for Health


A realistic week as a student living in London

27 April 2023

Voted as the best city in 2022, London is a lively, busy place with endless options for entertainment and travel, but these adventures are sometimes rather expensive. Here is a breakdown of my weekly expenses to give you an insight on the estimated cost of living as a student.

A realistic week as a student in London

Studying London is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can be pricey too. It is important to have a realistic understanding of the costs involved in maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. Aside tuition fee, rent and bills, there are other factors to consider in order to plan and budget your stay in London.

So, here’s a realistic financial breakdown of my weekly expenses to give you an insight on the estimated cost of living as a student in London.

1) Travel

A major chunk of my budget is spent on travel, be it to and from campus or hanging out with friends, public transport is your saviour. London has one of the most extensive and efficient public transport systems in the world. Since I don’t travel daily, I prefer using my oyster card “pay as you go”. I also use a National Railway 16-25 card which gives me an additional 30% discount on off-peak tube fares. Overall, my weekly travel expense is approximately £25 to £40.

2) Groceries

As I prefer cooking my own meal over takeout’s I make sure I re-stock my pantry every week. I usually shop at Sainsbury's or Lidl in the neighbourhood. I aim to spend about £20 to £30 a week on groceries, which consists of staples, snacks, fruits, veggies, and dairy goods. I try to purchase things that are on sale and utilise loyalty cards to collect points that can be used for future discounts or coupons.

3) Dining out:

I like experimenting with various cuisines because London offers a wide variety of eateries, cafés, and food markets. But dining out can get expensive, so I only try to do it once or twice a week. A meal at a restaurant can cost around £15 to £25. On the other side, purchasing meals from street sellers can cost £7 to £11. I utilise apps such as Unidays, The Fork and Too Good To Go for some great deals. My Pret coffee subscription helps me survive through the day, and costs about £6.25 per week (£25/month).

4) Going out

I try to use my spare time as a student by seeing the city and going to different events. Depending on the cinema and the time of day, a movie ticket in London might cost anywhere from £12 to £18. A museum or exhibition ticket can range in price from £5 to £20. Entry fee to clubs start from £10, depending on what time you enter. There are loads of free activities in London too, ranging from parks to free art exhibits. I usually step out once or twice a week and try to limit my spending to £15.

5) Shopping

At times I indulge in pampering myself with some impromptu shopping, which can be anywhere from £5 to £20. I usually shop during sale season and utilise student discounts there too.

As a student, I try to budget my money wisely, and plan ahead to save money. I usually prepare my meals on Sundays, which allows me to save money and time during the week. I also use apps such as the UCAS Budget Calculator which helps me to keep track of my spending. I also take advantage of student discounts whenever possible, and I look for free events and activities to attend. Apps such as Unidays, Totum, Student Beans and Eventbrite can be used for this. Overall, I spend approximately £80 to £100 a week to lead a comfortable lifestyle without cutting back in London.

Being a student in London is a unique and enriching experience. With its diversity and enormous number of opportunities, it has something for everyone! Although living here can be heavy on ones pocket, with planning and wise spending, it is possible to enjoy all that the city has to offer without breaking the bank.