A Typical Week of Spending in London

Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

London has to be one of the most vibrant, lively and exciting cities to live in as a student. But it’s also the most expensive city in the UK… so, just how expensive is it really? In this blog, I’m going to explore how expensive living in London is by taking you through a typical week of my spending as a first-year student living in halls at KCL. I’d like to preface that everyone’s individual spending will differ vastly depending on a number of factors and my own spending fluctuated greatly from week to week before I sorted out a budget for myself, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what costs to expect! 

Accommodation: £169p/w 

Utility bills: £0 

By far, my greatest cost (and this will be the same for almost every student) was the rent for my student accommodation. I was actually very lucky to be paying an untypically low rent, compared to my fellow London peers, due to me being on the KAAS scheme (King’s Affordable Accommodation Scheme), which essentially offers accommodation at a reduced rate for students from lower income backgrounds, meeting certain eligibility criteria. This meant my weekly rent was reduced from £204 to £169, and this included all my utility bills. The weekly rent for King’s accommodation ranges from £160 to £335.  

Grocery shop £25-30   

One thing I started to do (and would recommend to other students) was to pick a specific day of the week for grocery shopping, and to create a shopping list before stepping out. This helped to prevent overspending as I was less tempted to pick up random things I wouldn’t need throughout the week or when shopping. I would usually visit Lidl with one of my flatmates on a Sunday and spend around £30 but would sometimes do a larger shop at Asda for £60+. This is because I love cooking and would sometimes need more niche ingredients from here. However, this would then last me longer than a week, aside from fresh goods. On the weeks where I’d just returned from visiting home, I would spend much less on grocery shopping as I’d bring home-cooked food with me. Therefore, I only spent around £20 on groceries on this week.  

Transport: £7.90 

My accommodation was just an 8-minute walk from Guy’s Campus, where all my teaching was based. On this particular week, I used the tube once (to get to Oxford Street) and the bus once (to get to Covent Garden). 

Social: £15 

It was my flatmate’s birthday on this week, so we ate out a place called Yori in Covent Garden. Later in the week, I also visited the Wallace Collections, aka the pink museum (for free) with a friend, and then walked to Oxford Street where we ate some chips. Excluding transport costs, this added up to £15.  

Tea and coffee: £3 

I’m not much of a tea or coffee drinker, but I did visit a café during the weekend to get some studying done outside of the library environment. I ordered a latte for £3.  

Monthly subscriptions/bills: £4.50 

  • Sim: £2.50 per week (Voxi) 
  • Gym: £1 per week! (King’s’ Sport gyms had an offer where you could pay £40 for a membership for the whole academic year if you lived at GDSA or SSA) 
  • Amazon prime: £1 per week (Student price) 

Other: £8 

At this point in the year, I started bringing food with me to the library, but on days I forgot to being some with me, I would buy a Tesco meal deal or falafel wrap (which happened once this week). Laundry at my accommodation cost me £3.50 weekly. I also bought the occasional thing from Sainsbury’s, which was directly opposite my accommodation.  

Total excluding rent: £58.40 

Total including rent: £227.40 

Just a reminder that spending and costs will be different for everyone and will differ week to week. E.g., I would spend a lot more on groceries if I was trying new recipes on some weeks or spend a lot more on social activities – especially during the start of the year. I myself am still learning to manage my own money and budget, but hopefully, this has given you some insight into what to expect.  

So, there you have it – a typical week of spending from the perspective of a student living in London!  

Tasniya Aktar
King’s Student Money Mentor
Part of Money & Housing Advice

The King’s Student Money Mentors blog shares our students’ personal experiences and thoughts on money-related topics. Any reference, opinions or recommendations on a particular company/brand are only the views of the student(s) who wrote the blog post. King’s College London, the Money & Housing Advice service and the Money Mentor project do not share the views in the blogs nor endorse any of the companies mentioned. Readers should conduct their own research before using any companies mentioned in our blog posts. 

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