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STUDENT LIVING COSTS Your probably thinking I'm digressing from the usual money saving expert tips by going into the actually potential costs of student life, however, to do effective personal finance and budget planning you need to see the full picture before your already in the problematic scenario. See i never digress in these articles.  

After rent and housing expenses, the day-to-day costs of student life con easily and quickly stack up. The total cost of weekly food shopping can be around £25+, books and course materials - which can vary considerably, depending on your course, also add a substantial amount.  

Meeting new friends and socialising is one of the best parts of university life! But unfortunately it can also be one of the most expensive. At a fair estimate, students spend around £25 a week on alcohol alone. However, the price of entry to a nightclub or an event at the student union and taxi fare home can easily add a further £6 to £10 to the cost of a night out so as said before its best to make a plan. A section on Living on a student budget is available on this site also check the side links for more information. Don't forget travel costs, particularly for students planning to study a long way from home or hoping to visit friends and family on a regular basis.  Accommodation is the biggest expense after tuition fees, and its cost can vary widely from around £10,000 to £25,000 a year, if you reside in a hall. Halls of residence are the most popular choice for fresher’s, because the secure and social environment makes the transition to living away from home a lot easier.  

As a guide, catered halls cost around £60 to £120 a week, but you will need to factor in the cost of food shopping, which works out at about £25 a week, and occasional eating out. Each university has a range of accommodation to cater for different preferences, so you will generally be able to find something to suit your budget wherever you go.  

The really important factor to consider is the cost of housing after your first year in halls. Most students decide to share a rented house with friends, as this offers a lot more independence. However, this entails extra costs that need to be budgeted for, such as utility bills, a television licence, contents insurance, food and other household essentials.  

When students rent privately, it is normal for a contract to run for the full calendar year, rather than the 29-week academic year typical for university accommodation. They may therefore, have to pay rent for their accommodation during holidays, even when they are not living there.  
The cost of accommodation varies from place to place. According to the Royal Bank of Scotland study, Sheffield is by far the cheapest city to rent in, at an average of £60 a week. London is the highest at £93, followed by Aberdeen at £88, while the rest of the country varies between £60 and £80 a week. Part-time work can be the difference between a empty pocket and a full one, students should take up part-time jobs to fund their studies but obviously if you have enough money to happily get by there’s no need. A part time job not only provides additional income but valuable work experience too. While studying comes first, it is usually possible to work a couple of evenings a week or perhaps at the weekend. According to RBS research, 45% of undergraduates have part-time jobs, with one in five working more than 20 hours a week. It just goes to show that university isn’t cheap.  

Pay rates vary, but the average rate for students is above the national minimum wage, at around £6.02 a week. However pay rates are not necessarily related to living costs, as you might expect. Students in Coventry have the highest earning potential, taking home an average of £132 a week from part-time work, compared to just £63 in Durham, so look around or visit your student union to get the best suited job for the best wage.  

Where to go for advice and information
Universities and Colleges Admission Service: ucas.com
National Union of Students: nusonline.co.uk
The Student Loan Company: slc.co.uk
Direct Gov: direct.gov.uk
Department for Education and Skills: dfes.gov.uk
 

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