The cost of living

It is estimated that a single student living in London will need approximately £1,265 a month to meet basic living expenses such as accommodation costs, food, books and equipment and other necessities. This is in line with Home Office recommended figures for living inside London. These figures are given as a guide only and the amount you actually spend will depend a lot on your personal lifestyle. The following breakdown of costs can give you some idea of how this figure is reached. Don't forget that your costs will be much higher if you'll be bringing your family to the UK as your dependants.  

An easy way to work out your budget is by using this interactive international student calculator.


It is very important that you have insurance to cover your personal property. If your laptop and other belongings are damaged or stolen it will cost you a lot of money to replace them. Endsleigh is the recommended insurance company for students. Insurance cover for up to £1,000 of laptop and other electrical items costs about £80 per year.

Student NUS discount

After you have enrolled at London Met, apply for an NUS (National Union of Students) extra card, which costs £12 but entitles you to discounts in hundreds of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, so it won't take long to cover the £12 cost of the card. 


On average you will need to budget for spending an average of between £50 and £70 on food per week. This is based on eating breakfast, lunch and a hot evening meal. London is full of great places to eat. There are many outlets for buying food on and around our campuses that are extremely affordable. You can find out more about where to eat in London on the VisitLondon website.

Heating and lighting

If you choose to live in private rented accommodation, the cost of heating will not be included in your rent. If you're not used to cold or damp weather, you may need to use the heating for up to seven months of the year.

Cheaper rented accommodation doesn't usually have central heating, and gas or electric fires provided can be expensive to run. Allow a minimum of £600 for the year.

Books and equipment

London Metropolitan University has well-stocked libraries where you should be able to find all the books required for your course. You can find out about our libraries on our library pages.

There may also be times where you will have to purchase your own books. The cost of books varies for different courses. You are strongly advised to check with your department to find out any extra costs anticipated. You will have to pay for your own stationery, computer disks/memory sticks and photocopying. 

Travel costs

All students are entitled to a 30% discount on travel in London but only if you have a Student Oyster card. You can apply for your Student Oyster card on the Transport for London (TfL) website.

A Young Person's Railcard will entitle you to one third off normal nationwide train fares so that you can visit other parts of the UK. You can apply for the railcard on the 16-25 Railcard website.

Cycling is a fast and cheap way of travelling but remember to stay safe and always wear a helmet. Cycling safety information can be found on the UK government website and also on the Transport for London website.

Council tax

Council tax is the system of local taxation charged to all residents in the UK by the local government councils to part-fund local public services such as waste disposal, policing, fire service, schools etc. Council tax charges are based on the value of your property and consider the number and type of occupants.  

Do I have to pay the council tax?

Full-time students usually don't have to pay council tax. If you live alone or in a household where everyone is either a student or a Tier 4 dependant of yours, you will not need to pay any council tax as the property will be exempt. You should request a council tax exemption letter from your Student Hub and then give it to your local council office

Further details on council tax and international students can be found on the website and also on the UKCISA website.

Further information

Food: Tesco Pricecheck
Books: Blackwells, Amazon
UK weather: BBC UK Weather
UK culture and living: British Council

A photograph of Tower Bridge from between two buildings