Renting an apartment
Generally, it is cheaper to rent an apartment with a few other people. This way, each of you can have a room to yourself and share the kitchen. For example, a two-bedroom apartment in the city centre of Coventry will be around £1,100 (£550 per person per month).
Beware of scammers! Although it is getting rare, some people may take advantage of international students in search for a room or an apartment. Some scammers may ask you to transfer money to their accounts or say that they work through a well-known website. If the deal seems to be too good to be true – double and triple check.
A typical scammer may say that they live outside of the country and lease an apartment for extra cash. It is safer if you work through a company that can vouch for the landlord.
If you have friends who live in the city, ask them to visit the apartment for you and take pictures/videos or do it yourself.
Living in a dorm
Prices for a dorm also depend on the location, how new the building is, whether you share the kitchen with somebody or have a studio, if you share the bathroom or have an ensuite.
There are two types of dorms: dorms that belong to a specific university and those that are private. Private dorms tend to be more luxurious, newer, and are open to any students. They also tend to be more expensive.
Dorm rooms at a university dorm will be around £110/week. As for private dorms, the price will start from £140 for a room in a flat and from £180 for a studio.
The benefit of living in a dorm is that there is always a maintenance worker at hand in case something breaks.
Check whether these are included when signing the contract. In the majority of cases, utility bills are not included if you rent and are included if you live in a dorm.
As a rule of thumb, bills add up to around £150 per month and include electricity and water.
If you own a TV and want to watch and record programs, you need to buy a TV license. It costs around £150/year and can cover multiple TVs and other devices.
You are not allowed to watch TV programs unless you’ve purchased a license. A failure to do so may result in a fine of up to £1,000.
One trip on a bus will cost you around £2.20 or £4/return. You can buy a monthly pass which will cost around £50/month in smaller cities and £81.50/month in London.
When choosing a taxi, you have an option of cabs or uber and other apps. And the price for a ride will be approximately £1/minute.
For airport transfers and intercity travel, coaches such as Megabus and National Express and trains are a cheaper option. If you are a student, you can purchase an additional discount card for up to 30 percent off on trips.
When it comes to grocery shops, there are two main types: big chain grocery shops and newsagents. Chain grocery stores such as Sainsbury’s, Marks&Spencer’s, Aldi, and Tesco are great for weekly shopping. Bigger shops have an option to deliver your groceries to your house for free if your purchase is over £40 in total.
Newsagents are small shops that usually sell snacks, some over-the-counter medicine, and sandwiches. Prices here are a bit higher but, on the other hand, these shops are in close proximity to metro stations.
Typical prices for food are the following:
Whole chicken £3/kg, milk £1/litre, white mushrooms £1/400g, cheese £2.25/310g, Lindt dark chocolate £ 2/bar, avocado £1/piece, bread £1/pack.
Several places offer student discounts if you show your student ID. Here are average prices for a night out:
Cinema – £15 (£7 for the ticket and £8 for popcorn and a drink)
A dinner at a restaurant – £20-25/person
Coffee to-go – £3
At a pub: cocktail – £8, a bottle of beer/cider – £3-4, snacks (nuts/nachos/fries) – £4 or three for £10.
Theatre – £20-30/person
Total monthly expenses:
£13 TV lisence