Guide to budgeting for international students

One of the things you will need to do is to work out how much money you will need to cover your living costs. If you are not used to budgeting this may seem difficult at first, especially when you are getting used to what things cost in the UK – but don’t worry if you follow our tips you will be fine!

Calculating your budget

A number of apps and online tools are available, including the International Student Calculator, to help you forecast how much your regular expenses will amount to. And don’t forget the university that you will be attending will know the local rate for things like rent and transportation, so get in touch with the international student advisors or the students union.

Most universities also host webinars or social media chats which are good way to ask specific questions.

According to the National Union of Students, the average cost of living, excluding university fees, in England is £12,056 per year and if you are intending to study in London it is higher, at £15,180.

When creating a budget make sure you include the following items:

·         Course fee

·         Rent

·         Food

·        NHS surcharge, medication and fees for the dentist and optician

·         Books and other course materials for your course

·         Mobile phone/Internet

·         Bank fees

·        Transportation local, trips, going home

·         Socialising


The good news is that as a student you will qualify for lots of discounts! If you apply for an International Student Identity Card or an NUS Extra Card you will get discounts off eating out, entertainment and clothes amongst other things. These two cards will also prove your age and status as a student.

There are also a host of websites that have discount codes for students such as Student Beans and UNIDAYS. And if you like travelling you should get a Student Railcard – which will get you a 1/3 off train fares anywhere in the UK.

If you need to buy a lot of pricey books or equipment, the first place you should check is with your university because third year students will want to sell their stuff. You might also be able to get your reading list as e-books which could save you some cash too.

Working part-time as an international student

You may want to work part-time for a bit of extra cash, just be aware if you have a tier 4 visa and are studying at degree level then you can work up to 20 hours a week and that includes internships. Students from countries in the European Union are not subject to any restrictions.

In order to work part time, you will need to apply for a National Insurance card. And the current minimum wage for people 25 and over is £7.20, £6.95 for 21- 24 year olds and £5.55 for 18 to 20 year olds.




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