Money matters

Cost of Living in London for Students

Planning to study in London? Been accepted to a university and want to know how much it will cost? Want to know the average cost of living for students in London? We hope it helps!
Cost of Living in London for Students
Published on: 23 Oct 2023

Your student accommodation is going to be your biggest cost throughout your course. Even when you live in halls for your first year, you’ll be paying for it. Once you’re out on your own, you’ll still need significant funds to pay for accommodation.

The London School of Economics tells its students to budget between £1,300 and £1,400 per month for all living expenses, with at least £500 per month for rent. And that’s for an HMO!

You can stay with Sanctuary Students from £211 per week. Stay with us and you get your own ensuite or private room, a clean, well-maintained accommodation, common rooms, security, CCTV, Sky TV, broadband and all your home comforts as part of the price.

That’s slightly more than an HMO, but its true value will become apparent in a moment.

Household bills

Household bills can be as much as rent depending on how many live in the house and how many home comforts you have. Students don’t have to pay council tax, which is a bonus. You do have to pay gas, electric, water, phone/internet, insurance and any other bills the house comes with though.

Depending on the area and how many of you there are, that could be upwards of £150 per month. Stay with Sanctuary Students and there are no bills!

All rents are fully inclusive. It includes gas, electricity, heating, water, WiFi/internet, maintenance, cleaning of social areas, CCTV, security, onsite facilities, Sky TV and anything else that’s in the building. Rent even includes contents insurance!

All you’ll need to pay for is your own phone and food. That can be a significant saving over going it alone!


No study on the cost of living in London for students would be complete without mentioning travel. Travel can be next to nothing or a significant outgoing depending on where you live and where you study.

If you can walk or cycle to class, you’ll just need to travel for leisure and to explore London. If you need to take a bus or the tube to get around, you’ll need an 18+ Student Oyster Card.

You’ll get up to 30% discounts on travel across the city and you charge it just like a debit card. How much you pay for travel depends entirely on how much you use it, but at least you’ll get a discount!


Food is an expense that’s hard to give a cost of as we all eat different things in differing amounts.

Food has been one of the commodities hardest hit by inflation. However much you spend, you can bet it will increase while you’re a student.

If you plan to cook for yourself or eat the usual pasta and sauce or frozen pizzas, you should expect to spend a minimum of £50-60 per week on food.

You may be able to save some of that by shopping savvy, but we think that’s a safe minimum.

Mobile phone and internet

Mobile phone and internet costs will be the same in London as they are anywhere.

Whatever you’re paying for your phone now will be what you’re paying when you’re studying in London. The benefit is, London is well-served by 5G so you may get better value for money.

Internet varies depending on the speed you get, but factor in a minimum of £30 per month for the connection.

This is another bill you don’t have to pay if you stay with Sanctuary Students as it’s included in the rent.

Leisure and entertainment

Leisure and entertainment expenses depend entirely on what you plan to do while you’re here.

Getting out and about and enjoying the city is all part of the student experience and will form a small part of your education. It would be a shame to miss it.

London is a great night out but also an expensive night out. London can be expensive to eat out, go to pubs, go to clubs and visit commercial venues.

There’s also a lot you can do for free. Parks, galleries, museums, libraries, cafes and more can all be free to enter. What you spend while you’re there is entirely up to you!

Study costs

Study costs include books, stationery and everything you need to complete your course. The cost of your course varies depending on the university and the subject so we won’t mention that here.

We’ll also assume you’re bringing your own laptop, so won’t need one of those either.

For everything else, books, pens, markers, notepads, post-it notes and more, we think budgeting £40-50 per month should be enough.


Laundry costs are something many students overlook when planning their budget. But a clean student is a happy student so it’s one of life’s essentials.

Your halls will typically have laundry facilities. You’ll just need to factor in £7-10 for a bottle of laundry detergent, which should get you 30 washes or so. After that, much depends on whether your student accommodation has a washing machine or not.

If it does, that same laundry detergent will serve you well here. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to check the whereabouts of your closest launderette. They can cost anywhere from £5 to £15 per wash.

If you play sports, washing that kit may cost more. Stay with Sanctuary Students and every building has a laundry room where you’ll pay around £3 per wash.

Gym membership

Gym membership will be a cost of living in London for some students and not others and that’s fine.

Some London universities have their own gyms on site and will charge a monthly or annual fee.

For example, LSE has the LSESU Gym and charges £32 per month or £240 per year for membership.

Others won’t so you’ll need to use a commercial or council gym depending on what’s available where you are.

Some university sports clubs will have free access to gyms or discounted access. It’s well worth checking out what’s available at your chosen university before you commit to a gym contract.

Private gyms cost from £50 per month upwards regardless of whether you’re a student or not. Some will offer a student discount and others will not.

Living in London as a student

The cost of living for students in London is higher than most other places in the country but it also offers more.

It’s the largest, liveliest, most interesting city in the country and has more to see and do than anywhere else.

Unfortunately, all that comes at a cost.

Stay with Sanctuary Students and you minimise that cost as much as possible. High-quality student accommodation, fully inclusive rent and a safe place to enjoy your student years.

What more could you need?

Accommodation prices accurate as of July 2023.