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5 reasons why living in a studio as a postgraduate student is great

 

1. Your own space

As a postgraduate student you’ve probably had enough of living the classic student life. And although it may be fun during your first years living away from home; partying until the early hours and making midnight meals with your housemates, having your own space will really benefit your postgraduate studies. Living in a studio you can sleep, study and chill-out when you want to, whilst making your room your very own sanctuary.

Silver studio Lucas Studios
The spacious silver studio room at Lucas Studios, Birmingham, form only £186pw (all bills included).

 

2. No more queues

Living in a studio flat means you have your very own kitchenette, bathroom and study space. So there’s no more queuing for a shower in the morning, no more waiting for the microwave, no more sharing a fridge and no more cleaning up after your messy housemates! You can do whatever you want at your own pace and more efficiently as everything you need is all in one space.

3. Study in peace

Studio flats are popular with mature students and are even sometimes available to couples, so tend to be quieter places to live. You can set up a study space in your room that works for you and make the most of the peace and quiet. Check out tips for maximising your study space and managing studying stress levels.

A range of all-inclusive studio flats available at Academic House, Herne Hill, from only £240pw. Perfect for postgraduate university life.

 

4. Value for money

All-inclusive living means exactly that; all your utility bills are included in your rent so you don’t have to worry about budgeting for unexpected bills. A purpose-built studio flat will be better value for money than renting privately as there are no extra fees (such as admin fees, deposits and contents insurance).

5. Less hassle

Let’s face it; you already have enough on your plate as a postgraduate student. But living in a studio flat means less worry about your living situation, and more time to focus on studying and getting the very best out of your university years. Why not check out some of our awesome studios rooms that are available to book today:

 


Boost your graduate LinkedIn profile with these top 4 tips

Check out how to make the most of your graduate LinkedIn profile with these top 4 tips

1. Keep your profile photo professional

Did you know that LinkedIn profiles with photos get over 14 times more views? A professional photo can help give you the best first impression you can. Consider the lighting, background, and what you’re wearing in the photo. Headshots are best (avoid selfies!).

 

2. Create appeal with a catchy headline

Make the most of your headline by keeping it short and punchy, for example ‘Marketing student seeking a social media internship’. Your LinkedIn profile is searchable so try to think about what a recruiter/employer would be looking for. And research the right keywords for your industry.

 

3. Include achievements in your summary

Recruiters can find out information about your work experience, job titles and education in the ‘Experience’ section. So use your summary to show-off about your achievements and what you’ve accomplished during your time studying/on placement. Give tangible examples i.e. ‘I implemented a weekly organic social content plan with an above average engagement rate of 0.21% across all platforms’.

Graduate interview techniques

 

4. Make connections and ask for recommendations

Connect with your university alumni and ask any employers or people you’ve worked with to post a testimonial to your profile page. You can also add any skills you have separately, to help you really stand out from the crowd. Your LinkedIn connections can then endorse you for these skills, adding extra credibility.


Top 3 tips for graduate interview success

Graduate interview techniques

Increase your confidence and feel fully prepared for your graduate interview by following these 3 top tips:

1. Research the employer

– Revisit the employer research you did when you put together your CV and job application and build on it.

– Check out the organisation’s website and social media pages for any details of recent successes or clients, and pick a couple to research in detail.

Graduate interview techniques

– Graduate interviewers will expect you to show a keen interest in their organisation, so think up at least three questions to ask about the employer and three questions about the job itself.

 

2. Make a good first impression

– Think about your outfit beforehand and make sure it’s clean and ironed.

– Dress appropriately for the weather; don’t spend the interview in a sweat!

Graduate interview techniques

– Think about your body language. Keep eye contact, smile and have a firm (but not knuckle-crushing) handshake. Try to resist the urge to fidget and remember to not slouch in your seat. Speak clearly and not too fast, and avoid phrases like “you know” and “I mean”.

 

3. Be prepared

– Most interviews will have competency-based questions, i.e. team work, communication, problem solving and time management. Make sure you prepare specific examples so you’re not left panicking.

– If you don’t have much work experience why not use skills examples from your studies, part-time work, volunteering or hobbies?

Graduate interview techniques

– A tip to help you answer questions is STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result); briefly outline the situation and your task or objective, then provide details of what you actually did – your role and input. Finally, tell them what the result was – did you achieve your goal or deadline? Also be prepared for follow-up questions.


Cost of Living in London as a Student

Introduction to cost of living in London as a student

London has to be one of the most exciting, lively and cultural cities in the world to be studying in. Experiencing everything that the city has to offer as a student can still be affordable. Despite the cost of living in London as a student is higher than any other UK city.

Cost of Living in London as a Student

There are a large range of student discounts to take full advantage of. You can get money off all the essentials; food, clothes, public transport, and also the non-essentials such as entertainment and theatre tickets!

Although the cost of living in London as a student can be pricey, there are ways to make sure you get to experience the best of London. Even on a limited student budget.

What will I need to spend money on living in London as a student?

In addition to your university tuition fees, the cost of living in London will vary depending on your choice of accommodation. Also living essentials such as bills, food, transport, books, equipment, clothes, etc.

And how wisely you spend any ‘spare’ money you have left on entertainment, hobbies or socialising.

According to King’s College London, a broad estimate of the funds needed to live to a reasonable standard in London is currently estimated at approximately £1,250 per month for living costs, in addition to tuition fees (they note that price increases and unexpected expenditure should be taken into account and students arranging initial short-term accommodation on arrival in London need to budget for this).

You may also wish to consider additional initial arrival costs, such as accommodation deposits, utensils, furniture, etc.

Unsurprisingly, accommodation is the biggest spend for students in London per month at an average of £840:

 

Student accommodation options and costs in London

There are a few options for student accommodation in London which this guide explores further in detail:

– Private halls – buildings operated by a third party company (though some may have partnerships with universities). Similar to halls of residence, laid out in cluster flats and studio apartments. Most will have ensuite rooms with shared facilities (such as kitchen and dining/lounge area) or the studio flats will be completely self-contained.

– University halls of residence – most universities in London will provide places for first-year students at their own halls of residence. They are normally located near the university campuses.

– Private housing – a room in a shared house which is privately owned by a landlord and normally let through an agency.

The chart below gives a quick comparison of private halls (Academic House in central London) versus other student accommodation (university halls & private housing), and some main living costs:

 

Although other student accommodation may cost roughly the same as private halls, there are hidden fees to consider (figures based on estimates provided by the UCL and using monthly averages*):

Hidden fees with private housing:

 

Other things to consider:

Furnishings – most private housing is unfurnished, you will be expected to provide furniture and kitchenware (white goods normally provided)

– Facilities – you will most likely have to share facilities such as a bathroom, kitchen and lounge

Private halls are all-inclusive and have no hidden fees which makes life so much easier for students:

 

– Furnishings – private halls will be fully furnished with some kitchenware (you may need to bring your own utensils and cutlery)

– Facilities – you will most likely have your own ensuite bathroom, and share a kitchen and lounge

PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article is intended as a guide only, as the cost of living in London will differ depending on your individual circumstances and spending habits.Furnishings – private halls will be fully furnished with some kitchenware (you may need to bring your own utensils and cutlery)

About university halls of residence and houses in London

Most universities in London will provide places for first-year students at their own halls of residence. They are normally good value for money, all utility bills are included, and they are located near the university campuses. University halls of residence and houses differ but are usually a mixture of:

– furnished flats with shared facilities (such as a kitchen, lounge/dining area, toilet, bathroom)

– can sometimes be catered, or part-catered, but mostly are self-catering

– can be mixed or single sex, and are large-scale

– providing accommodation for any number up to 800 students.

There is a good community feel at university halls and houses. They are great places to make friends, be part of the social scene and help you feel less lonely during the first few weeks away from home and family. However, like any shared accommodation, you never know who you will end up sharing with and Fresher’s Week can often be a rowdy time. So be prepared to not get much sleep or stock-up on earplugs!

Fresher’s Week can be tiring!

 

How much do halls of residence cost?

According to Study London a standard room (including bills) is £135 – £210 per week, an ensuite room is £130 – £260 per week, and a studio apartment is £140 – £340 per week.

Many halls of residence will guarantee you accommodation if you have firmly accepted their offer by a given date in the summer but it may not be the same process if you come through Clearing.

What should I look for in halls of residence?

Make sure to take full advantage of Open Days to see the university accommodation for yourself. Check out the university’s website which will have invaluable information about the student housing which they provide, but also options in the private sector (please see private halls section below for more details).

Always try and take a friend or family member to view the accommodation with you and do not feel pressured to sign and tenancy agreement straight away. Remember to take into account:

– does the accommodation have the right ‘vibe’ for you

– is it in a good location

– consider what transport to and from the university would be and how much this will cost you (see transport section below for more detail

– does the accommodation have good facilities

– how many people will you be sharing the facilities with

– can you afford it and will you be getting good value for money.

It is important to check that your university accommodation or private halls are covered by one of three accreditation schemes. These cover essential issues like how the hall is managed, health and safety and security. You can find information about the schemes and check your accommodation is a member by checking the UUK or ANUK/Unipol schemes websites.

How long can I stay in halls of residence?

Most students are expected to move out of halls of residence after their first year, which means you will need to start looking for accommodation and planning who you want to live with as early as November of your first year. This can be quite a stressful process and you will also be expected to provide deposits and pay admins fees (see the private housing section below for more details).

About purpose built student accommodation and private halls in London

Another option for student accommodation in London is purpose built student accommodation or private halls. These buildings are not owned by the university and are usually operated by a third party company (though some may have partnerships with universities).

They are very similar to halls of residence, laid out in cluster flats and studio apartments. Most will have ensuite rooms with shared facilities (such as kitchen and dining/lounge area) or the studio flats will be completely self-contained. Most are excellent quality accommodation with on-site facilities ranging from gyms, to cinema rooms, laundrettes and outside communal space.

Research by Unipol and the National Union of Students (NUS) found that private halls account for half of student bed spaces in the UK, up from 39% in 2012 (Source: Accommodation Costs Survey 2018).

How much do private halls cost?

According to Study London, a standard room (including bills) in a private hall is £160 – £250 per week, an ensuite room is £160 – £280 per week, and a studio apartment is £280 – £500 per week.

What should I look for in private halls?

Private halls are fairly new to the student accommodation market and have many bonuses compared to university halls of residence or private housing, such as:

– all bills are included – that means you don’t need to worry about utility bills, broadband, council tax, contents insurance or a TV license (only for TVs in communal spaces)

– communal areas are maintained and cleaned

– most have a manned reception desk with an on-site manager

– on-site social activities are arranged and are free of charge to attend

– you can rent a cluster of flats with your friends, or book one room and be allocated flatmates to live with

– you have a separate tenancy agreement to your flatmates/other residents, so you are not liable for any damages or if someone decides to leave

– usually there is no deposit scheme or hidden admin costs, but you have may have to pay a one-off reservation fee to secure your booking

– rent can be paid in full in advance, or a payment plan is agreed – usually 3 installments

– some sites also have the option to book for short-term tenancies and summer lets

– you can reserve and book online, and you often don’t need to be there in person to sign contracts

– private halls are also extremely popular with international students due to all the points above as there is less to worry about!

The roof terrace at Academic House student accommodation in Herne Hill

 

Most private halls have a mixture of residents from many local universities. The accommodation can be an exciting melting pot of students from a variety of nationalities, and from different years of study. Perfect if you are keen to meet new people and expand your social network.

How long can I stay in private halls?

Most private halls cater for all university students, no matter what year of study you are in. So in theory, if you find a place to live that you really like, you could stay there for the whole length of your degree course – and even into postgraduate study.

A lot of private halls offer incentives to existing residents to re-book for the following year so you can bag yourself a bargain and not even have to worry about moving out/finding a new place to live; hassle-free!

About private housing in London

University halls of residence or private halls aren’t for everybody and private housing is still one of the most popular ways to live as a student in London. This is often because students feel like private housing is their first opportunity to live completely independently without supervision.

However, there is still a lot of responsibility that goes along with renting privately. Bills are not included in the rent and you often have to pay hefty deposits and admin fees. You will need to find suitable people to live with, and you may have to prepare yourself for disagreements like who’s been running up a big electricity bill and why you’re stuck with the smallest bedroom!

Stuck with the smallest bedroom and no storage?

 

How about this light & spacious double ensuite room, just 20 minutes from Central London, instead?

 

Renting privately also means you will need to deal with a landlord or an agent who will expect the property to be maintained and cleaned to a good standard.

How much does private housing cost?

According to Study London, the cost for private housing in London can vary great and bills are not normally included in this price. A small studio apartment in London can cost from £120 per week to over £1,000 per week. A room in a shared house costs on average around £150 per week.

What should I look for in private housing?

It’s worth considering that although it may be tempting to settle for a cheaper private house, it will be cheap accommodation for a reason! Remember to be vigilant when viewing the property and check for any signs of damp or mould.

How long can I stay in private housing?

Most landlords will be happy to keep good tenants in their property for as long as possible. So in theory, if you find a place to live that you really like, you could stay there for the whole length of your degree course – and even into postgraduate study.

Living expenses for students living in London

In addition to paying rent there are many other living expenses that you will need to take into account when living in London. Depending on your accommodation, some of these bills may already be included in your rent:

Council tax:

Confused about council tax? Essentially, if you are a full-time college of university student you are exempt from paying. NUS offers some great advice to help you work out if you are exempt from paying council tax or not here.

TV Licence:

If you live in halls of residence or private halls, TVs in communal spaces will already be covered by a licence.

Academic House Herne Hill student accommodation communal area with TV

 

However, if you wish to watch TV in your room or live in private housing, you must pay for your own. You require a licence no matter what device you watch or record live TV and a licence costs £150.50 a year.

Utility bills:

These include gas, water, electricity, and broadband. If you are living in halls of residence or private halls these may already be included in your rent. If you are living in private housing you will need to organise payment of these yourself and split the bill between all of your housemates. Split the Bills has some helpful estimations depending on house size and number of residents.

Contents insurance:

Most insurance providers offer competitive quotes for student contents insurance, with the average starting at approximately £15 per month. If you are living in halls of residence or private halls, you most probably won’t need to sort insurance as this will already be included as part of your tenancy. You can find out more about the different types of contents insurance here.

Deposits and admin fees:

Again, this will depend on your choice of student accommodation. Private housing often runs up the biggest expenses when it comes to deposits and admin fees, and you may also need to pay a month’s rent in advance. Deposits can vary but they usually range from 4-6 weeks rent. Private halls usually ask for a non-refundable reservation fee of approximately £250 when you make your booking. But a bonus is there won’t be any extra deposits or extra admin fees on top of this, as long as you pay your rent on time!

Furnishings, kitchenware and laundry:

As well as utility bills you will need to consider what you need to live comfortably in your student accommodation. Does your room come already furnished? Do you need to provide your own kitchen utensils? Do you have access to laundry facilities such as a washer and tumble dryer, or will you need to use a laundrette (costs tend to range for £2-3 per wash and £1.50-£2 per dry)?

Storage and removals:

Will you be living at your accommodation during the summer? And what are your plans for second and third year? If your tenancies don’t run back to back you may need to put your belongings in storage. Luckily, self-storage is now extremely popular in London and you can store one box per week from as little as £1.04 per week. If you have heavy items and don’t fancy lugging your suitcase and belongings on the Underground, then it may be wise to hire a removal van or a company to do it for you (prices start from £25 per hour).

Some private halls offer storage as part of your contract and if you decide to stay at the same accommodation for the next year you won’t need to move your belongings at all!

Cost of transport when living in London as a student

There’s no denying that London has travel options for pretty much everyone. Whether speed is your thing, you need to travel cheap and cheerfully, or you’re cutting down on your carbon footprint. From walking (which is pretty much free) to Uber (which can cost up to £0.30 per minute), take a look at the options for you:

Cost of living in London as a student
Academic House and Malden Hall; student accommodation within zones 1-4 in London

Walking:

Walking is without a doubt the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to get around London. Depending on how close your student accommodation is it to your university campus and amenities, you could be saving pennies and also getting some crucial exercise by walking.

SAFETY FIRST: You will need to research your walking route and make sure to stay to in well lit, public areas when walking alone or at night-time. Do not be tempted by shortcuts through side streets. Remember that your regular route during the day may be far less safe at night. When walking at night it is definitely not a good idea to listen to music. They dramatically reduce your awareness of your surroundings.

Cycling:

Cycling is also another cheap and quick way to get about. Traffic in London is notoriously bad so you will need to be a confident cyclist to navigate the roads. However, there are currently eight ‘cycle superhighways’ across London that connect stations, town centres and key destinations, making them more accessible and easier for people to cycle to. There are also ‘quietways’ that are continuous and convenient cycle routes on less-busy backstreets across London.

If you have your own bike you will need somewhere safe and secure to store it, and your housemates might not be too keen with you keeping your muddy set of wheels on the communal landing!

However, most halls of residence and private halls have bike storage as standard.

London’s public bicycle scheme is another way to get around the city on two wheels if you don’t own a bike – and the first half hour is free. There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes to hire around London. It costs £2 to access a Santander Cycles bike for 24 hours; the first 30 minutes of each journey is free. For longer journeys, it costs an extra £2 for each additional 30 minutes. Bikes can be hired using a bank card at the docking station, or using the official app.

SAFETY FIRST: Check what you are legally required to do when cycling here.

Bus:

London has a 24 hour bus service that operates on over 700 different routes and is fairly cheap to use. A single bus fare costs £1.50, and if you ‘pay as you go’ you can make unlimited bus journeys for free within one hour of first touching in.

If you only use buses and trams to travel around London, you will pay a maximum of £4.50 per day, as long as you pay with the same ticket or contactless payment card every time. You cannot pay for bus journeys with cash; you will need an Oyster card, a Travelcard or a contactless payment card (see Travelcards section below for more details).

London’s buses run throughout the night. Night bus services cover the period between the close of the Tube and the start of daytime bus services. In addition, many London bus routes run for 24 hours.

Train:

Travelling by train has to be one of the most popular and efficient ways of travelling longer distance across London as a student.

The Underground/Tube:

Did you know that the London Underground’s history dates back to 1863 when the world’s first underground railway opened between Paddington and Farringdon?

The Underground is divided into nine zones and Central London is covered by zone 1. There are 11 Tube lines and fares depend on how far you travel, time of day, and how you pay. Oyster or contactless payments are the cheapest ways to pay for single fares. Tube services usually run from 5am until midnight, with Night Tube services on some lines on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Overground:

London’s Overground rail services crisscross the city and extend beyond the Tube network. Most local train lines connect efficiently with the Tube and accept payment by Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card, Travelcard and contactless payment card.

Cost of living in London as a student
Academic House just 2 minute’s walk from Herne Hill station

 

SAFETY FIRST: If you take a train late at night try to avoid empty or almost empty carriages, especially if you are on your own.

Travelcards:

As a student in London you can save 30% on Travelcards and Bus & Tram Passes with an 18+ Student Oyster photocard. You can also use this Oyster card to pay as you go but you won’t receive the 30% discount.

Oyster cards are electronic smartcards that are used to pay for public transport in London. To use an Oyster card, touch the card on the yellow reader at the gates as you enter and end your journey. You don’t need to touch out at the end of your journey on buses and trams.

It may also be worth investing in a 16-25 or 26-30 Railcard and add it to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to get 34% off pay as you go off-peak fares and daily caps for the Tube, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.

It is also worth purchasing a Travelcard wallet/holder to keep your pass safe and use a designated pocket in your bag so you always know where it is

Quickest ways to travel in London as a student

Often the quickest way to get from door to door (no walking or navigating public transport involved!) is by car. However, it is one of the most expensive forms of transport in London so you would need to seriously consider the necessity of using an Uber or taxi frequently.

Uber:

The undeniable luxury of using Uber to get around London is the ease of it! Book a ride from your phone, step out your door and into the waiting car, no need to fuss paying by cash or card, and then get dropped off directly at your destination! However, it has a price tag… base fares start from £2.50 and then £0.15 per minute on top of that (or £1.25 per mile). Minimum fare is £5.00 and you can also be charged a cancellation fee of £6.00 if you book and then change your mind.

To put it into perspective a journey from Academic House student accommodation in Herne Hill to UCL will take 35 minutes by train (from Herne Hill station), costing £8.00 return (using an 18+ Student Oyster card). To travel to the same location by Uber it will cost between £14-20 (for one way), taking 35 minutes depending on traffic.

So travelling by train takes the same amount of time and could save you up to £32.00!

Surge pricing is also another thing to take into consideration when Ubering. This is when the prices either rise or drop depending on demand. During busy periods when there are more riders than drivers, Uber increases its normal fares.

Taxis and minicabs:

London black cabs and taxis are an iconic way to travel around Central London and will get you from A to B quickly. You can book in advance, hail on the street (black cabs only), or be picked up from designated taxi ranks. If the yellow TAXI sign is on, the cab is available for hire. Black cabs are metered and there is a minimum charge of £2.60.

Prices depend on time of day and distance, but it will roughly cost the same amount as an Uber.

TfL has a useful breakdown of taxi fares here.

SAFETY FIRST: Be sure you book with a licensed minicab with a Transport for London license disc: unbooked minicabs are illegal, unsafe and uninsured. Uber also has some great safety tips for passengers on their website.

Cost of food in London as a student

Eating in:

By buying and preparing your own food you will save a lot of money whilst living as a student in London. Although the choice of takeaways, cafes and restaurants in London is second to none, eating out less often and keeping it as a once a month ‘treat’ will save you pennies in the long run.

According NatWest’s Student Living Index 2018, students spend more on supermarket shopping than anything else – on average £76.30 per month.

Budgeting for a weekly food shop and planning your meals is the easiest way to save money and still eat well. Having a set amount of money to spend on groceries and a prepared shopping list means you will be less likely to ‘splurge’ on tempting supermarket offers and you’ll come away with enough food to last you the week (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks).

Become familiar with your local supermarket and work out where and when they markdown stock to clear. You can pick up some great bargains!

The cost of living in London as student
Why not invest in some Kilner jars or quality tuppawear to store your prepped meals in?

 

Meal prepping has become very popular recently. All you need is some Tupperware and to cook up a batch of your favourite dish (chilli, casserole, curry) to freeze in portions. Having a yummy meal that’s going to take a few minutes to re-heat in the microwave means you will be less tempted to get a takeaway pizza. Or settle for a Pot Noodle!

Food deliveries:

Deliveroo: You don’t even need to step outside your front door to enjoy food from your favourite restaurants and takeaways! 1. Simply place your order online. 2. Track your food to your door in real time. 3. Eat from the comfort of your own home. However, this convenience comes with a price tag; the menu price plus £2.50 (as long as the order is over £15, below and the fee goes up to £4.50).

Uber Eats: Similar to Deliveroo, you can place your order online and get it delivered straight to your door. Uber Eats is available from 7:00 AM – 4:00 AM, seven days a week.

Eating out in London:

London has some of the best choices of takeaways and restaurants in the UK. Local takeaways and fast food chains offer cheap meals but if you’re after something a bit healthier, the average price for a meal at a standard restaurant is £15.00. A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant (three courses) will be £50.00.

Make the most of your NUS discount and always search for voucher codes to save extra dosh! If you don’t finish all your meal, ask for a ‘doggy bag’ and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

SAFETY FIRST: Always check the ‘use by’ dates on food and make sure you refrigerate and store food correctly. Take care when re-heating food to make sure it is piping hot. Always write the date you made the meal on the Tupperware container/freezer bag so you know how long you have to eat it.

University equipment costs

On top of the everyday essentials (accommodation, bills, transport, food and drink) you will need to factor in any costs for equipment needed for your university course. Though it might be tempting to splurge on shiny new textbooks, desk organisers, pencils, pens, etc. there are plenty of places to pick up a bargain and save some money.

Bargain books: Save some serious dosh by searching for your textbooks online. Check out used/second-hand books websites for the best bargains.

Discounted stationery: Make use of your NUS discount and check which high-street stationers offer student discount.

Borrow equipment: Buy as much as you can online. It’s often cheaper than buying on the high-street. Most universities also offer an equipment loans service where they are able to lend various items of AV/media equipment to students

Get software for free: Save the Student has a run-down of the best free software for students, saving you some serious pennies on office, antivirus, image editing, audio & video software.

Cost of socialising as a student in London

It is important to find a balance between managing your university workload and having down-time with your housemates and friends. Your university years are some of the most formative of your life, with new people, new places and new experiences.

The Student Living Index 2018 states that the longer time students spend socialising, the more likely they are to enjoy studying, and there are so many social activities for students to take part in in London.

So whether it’s a chilled pizza night with your housemates in your student accommodation or a club or society event at your university…

The cost of living in London as student

…or taking up a new hobby or going out for a student night out on the town, there is something to suit every person and every pocket.

Student nightlife in London:

You can start by checking out your own university’s SU bar and venue that will have a schedule of events. The drinks – soft and alcoholic – will be cheap and cheerful!

There are also hundreds of music venues and nightclubs to choose from in London, from swanky (and expensive) to student-friendly (and slightly more affordable).

If you want more of a low-key night out, there are literally thousands more bars and pubs to choose from.

Cost of living in London as a student

The average price of a pint in London is, unsurprisingly, the most expensive in the UK at £5.19. So it’s worth taking advantage of any offers or happy hour discounts.

Clubs and societies:

Your university will have a variety of clubs and societies to join. It is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and make a new network of friends.

Student clubs and societies can range from sports, to subject-related interests and hobbies. You can even set-up your own society with grant funding from your university.

Hobbies and interests:

London is a melting-pot of people and cultures which means there is a huge choice of hobby and interest groups to join.

Sport: If exercising is your thing there will be a gym at your university campus, or within walking distance of where you live. A lot of gyms are affordable for students and offer discounts or pay-as-you go rates. Prices start from around £14.99 per month and pay-as-you-go from £4.50 per session.

Music: MakingMusic has a free online search option so you can easily find a music group near you.

Dance: You can find the best dance classes in London here with some great discounts available for university students For example a swing dance class with Swing Patrol costs just £6 for students.

Cost of living in London as a student

Try something new: There are many weird and wonderful hobbies in London to try out. Such as butchery (£155 for a one-off session), trapeze school (£30 for a 2 hour beginners session) or weaving (£45 for 2 hours).

Get inspiration online: Meetup is a great way to join a group online. You then meet in person at an arranged event, such as a board-game or photography group. A lot of the activities are free too.

Student discounts in London

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest bonuses of being a student is the awesome discounts! You save some serious pounds by being savvy and checking out what discounts are available:

Oyster cards and travelcards: According to the Student Living Index, London students spend the most on public transport, paying on average £43.30 per month. So it is well worth getting in a student travelcard (please see section above on).

TOTUM (NUS Extra) or ISIC card:  A TOTUM card (formally known as an NUS Extra card) is a great investment for just £12 a year. You can get great discounts across university essentials such as books, eating out, entertainment. So pretty much everything a student needs. For a 2-year card it’s £22 or £32 for a 3-year card .

An ISIC (International Student Identity Card) allows students the world over prove their official student status. It also allows access to thousands of targeted student benefits and discounts in over 130 countries. With no travel insurance, a card costs $20. With Premium travel insurance it costs $99 and with Explorer travel insurance it’s $199. 

If in doubt, when you’re at the checkout ask if they accept student discount – you might save yourself some dough!

UNiDAYS: UNiDAYS is free to join and also offers great discounts, such as 50% off Amazon Prime and 40% Virgin trains.

Cheap eats: Google is your best friend. Have a good look online to find out the cheapest and best rated places to eat near you. Also, check out our eating out in London guide above for more ideas.

The London Pass: If you’re keen to soak up the sights and sounds of London, then The London Pass will be great for you. The credits package give you access to over 80 incredible attractions, tours, and museums. You will also get fast track entry at many of London’s top attractions and 1-day hop-on-hop-off bus tour.  A 1-day pass is £75 and up to a 10 day pass is £199.

Cost of living in London as a student
Spend some time sight-seeing and save some pennies!

 

Working whilst studying in London

Studying can be expensive. There’s accommodation bills, food, transport, books, equipment, clothes… and pretty much everything else to pay for. So you might be considering getting a part-time job? Luckily there are plenty of student-friendly jobs in London. These include:

  • Hospitality
  • Event staff/waiting staff
  • Bartender
  • Babysitting
  • Cleaning
  • Promoter
  • Retail

A job can be part-time, evening or weekend only, zero hours contract, or seasonal if you only want to work during the holidays. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash, but try not to let working get in the way of your studies. UCAS has some great tips to make sure you’re picking the right part-time job for you here.

A part-time job as waiting staff is a great way to earn some extra pennies (plus tips!)

 

National living wage: From April 2019, the National Living Wage will increase by 38 pence-an-hour to £8.21.

International students: If you are an international student in full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study, you are allowed to work part-time. You can work during term time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during the holidays. This means you could earn up to approximately £656 (before tax deductions) per month during term-time.


Cost of Living in Edinburgh as a Student

Introduction to cost of living in Edinburgh as a student

Edinburgh, the capital Scotland, is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is a melting pot of history, scenery and culture, and has to be one of the liveliest cities to be studying in. Despite the cost of living in Edinburgh as a student being higher than the UK average, experiencing everything that Edinburgh has to offer can still be affordable.

There are a large range of student discounts to take full advantage of. You can get money off all the essentials; food, clothes, public transport, and also the non-essentials such as entertainment and theatre tickets!

Although the cost of living in Edinburgh as a student can be pricey compared to other UK cities, there are ways to make sure you get to experience the best of Edinburgh. Even on a limited student budget.

What will I need to spend money on living in Edinburgh as a student?

In addition to your university tuition fees, the cost of living in Edinburgh will vary depending on your choice of accommodation. Also living essentials such as bills, food, transport, books, equipment, clothes, etc.

And how wisely you spend any ‘spare’ money you have left on entertainment, hobbies or socialising.

You may also wish to consider additional initial arrival costs, such as accommodation deposits, utensils, furniture, etc.

According to The University of Edinburgh, a broad estimate of the funds needed to live to a reasonable standard in Edinburgh is currently estimated at approximately £8,500 – £11,000 a year for living costs, in addition to tuition fees (please note that price increases and unexpected expenditure should be taken into account and students arranging initial short-term accommodation on arrival in Edinburgh need to budget for this).

They have estimated overall living costs at an average (lower-range) total of £695 per month:

Unsurprisingly, accommodation is the biggest spend for students in Edinburgh per month at an average of £425.

Student accommodation options and costs in Edinburgh

There are a few options for student accommodation in Edinburgh which this guide explores further in detail:

Private halls – buildings operated by a third party company (though some may have partnerships with universities). Similar to halls of residence, laid out in cluster flats and studio apartments. Most will have ensuite rooms with shared facilities (such as kitchen and dining/lounge area) or the studio flats will be completely self-contained.

University halls of residence – most universities in Edinburgh will provide places for first-year students at their own halls of residence. They are normally located near the university campuses.

Private housing – a room in a shared house which is privately owned by a landlord and normally let through an agency.

The chart below gives a quick comparison of private halls (200 Cowgate in central Edinburgh) versus other student accommodation (university halls & private housing), and some main living costs:

Comparison of private halls versus other student accommodation in Edinburgh

Hidden fees with private housing:

Although other student accommodation may be slightly cheaper than private halls, there are hidden fees to consider (figures based on estimates provided by the University of Edinburgh):

Hidden fees with private housing accommodation

Other things to consider:-

Furnishings – most private housing is unfurnished, you will be expected to provide furniture and kitchenware (white goods normally provided)

Facilities – you will most likely have to share facilities such as a bathroom, kitchen and lounge.

No hidden fees with private halls:

Private halls are all-inclusive and have no hidden fees which makes life so much easier for students:

Costs included in rent for private student halls in Edinburgh

Furnishings – private halls will be fully furnished with some kitchenware (you may need to bring your own utensils and cutlery)

Facilities – you will most likely have your own ensuite bathroom, and share a kitchen and lounge

PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article is intended as a guide only, as the cost of living in Edinburgh will differ depending on your individual circumstances and spending habits.

About private halls in Edinburgh

Another option for student accommodation in Edinburgh is purpose built student accommodation or private halls. These buildings are not owned by the university. They are usually operated by a third party company (though some may have partnerships with universities).

They are very similar to halls of residence, laid out in cluster flats and studio apartments. Most will have ensuite rooms with shared facilities (such as kitchen and dining/lounge area) or the studio flats will be completely self-contained.

Research by Unipol and the National Union of Students (NUS) found that private halls account for half of student bed spaces in the UK, up from 39% in 2012 (Source: Accommodation Costs Survey 2018).

How much do private halls cost?

There are a variety of room types to choose from, and prices too. A standard room (including bills) in a private hall is £120 – £160 per week, an ensuite room is £160 – £190 per week, and a studio apartment is £190 – £335 per week.

What should I look for in private halls?

Private halls are fairly new to the student accommodation market and have many bonuses compared to university halls of residence or private housing, such as:

– all bills are included. That means you don’t need to worry about utility bills, broadband, council tax, contents insurance or a TV license (only for TVs in communal spaces)

– communal areas are maintained and cleaned

– most have an on-site manager who is contactable for certain hours during the day

– on-site social activities are arranged and are free of charge to attend

– you can rent a cluster of flats with your friends, or book one room and be allocated flatmates to live with

– you have a separate tenancy agreement to your flatmates/other residents, so you are not liable for any damages or if someone decides to leave

– usually there is no deposit scheme or hidden admin costs. But you have may have to pay a one-off reservation fee to secure your booking (which is deducted from your total rent)

– rent can be paid in full in advance, or a payment plan is agreed – usually 3 installments

– some sites also have the option to book for short-term tenancies and summer lets

– you can reserve and book online, and you often don’t need to be there in person to sign contracts

– private halls are also extremely popular with international students due to all the points above as there is less to worry about!

The spacious and light penthouse apartment at 200 Cowgate, Edinburgh.

 

Most private halls have a mixture of residents from many local universities. The accommodation can be an exciting melting pot of students from a variety of nationalities, and from different years of study. Perfect if you are keen to meet new people and expand your social network.

Finding student accommodation in the city centre of Edinburgh means you are normally never more than a 15 minute walk away from everything you need as a student. Including supermarkets, pubs and clubs, shops and gyms.

200 Cowgate (private halls), in central Edinburgh, is within 10 minutes’ walk of all essential amenities and The University of Edinburgh campuses:

200 Cowgate student accommodation private halls Edinburgh
200 Cowgate student accommodation is within a 10 walk of all the essentials!

 

How long can I stay in private halls?

Most private halls cater for all university students, no matter what year of study you are in. So in theory, if you find a place to live that you really like, you could stay there for the whole length of your degree course. And even into postgraduate study.

A lot of private halls offer incentives to existing residents to re-book for the following year. So you can bag yourself a bargain and not even have to worry about moving out/finding a new place to live; hassle-free!

In private halls such as 200 Cowgate you will also be able to stay for the summer which means you don’t have to worry about moving out as soon as your final semester ends. There is plenty to enjoy in Edinburgh during the summer months, such as the unique festivals. You could also consider saving up some money by getting a summer job.

Why not stay in Edinburgh for summer at 200 Cowgate & enjoy the buzz of the city during festival season?

Copyright:© CALLUM BENNETTS – MAVERICK PHOTO AGENCY

About university halls of residence in Edinburgh

Most universities in Edinburgh will provide places for first-year students at their own halls of residence. They are normally good value for money, all utility bills are included, and they are located near the university campuses. University halls of residence and houses differ but are usually a mixture of:

– furnished flats with shared facilities (such as a kitchen, lounge/dining area, toilet, bathroom)

– can sometimes be catered, or part-catered, but mostly are self-catering

– can be mixed or single sex, and are large-scale

– providing accommodation for any number up to 800 students.

There is a good community feel at university halls. They are great places to make friends, be part of the social scene and help you feel less lonely during the first few weeks away from home and family. However, like any shared accommodation, you never know who you will end up sharing with and Fresher’s Week can often be a rowdy time. So be prepared to not get much sleep or stock-up on earplugs!

Freshers Week can be tiring!

 

How much do halls of residence cost?

The University of Edinburgh offer a standard room (self-catered, including bills) from £3,512 (under £100pw) to £6,413 (£168pw) for a 38-week lease, with some options for twin rooms available from £2,491 (£65pw).

Many halls of residence will guarantee you accommodation if you have firmly accepted their offer by a given date in the summer but it may not be the same process if you come through Clearing.

What should I look for in halls of residence?

Make sure to take full advantage of Open Days to see the university accommodation for yourself. Check out the university’s website which will have invaluable information about the student housing which they provide, but also options in the private sector (please see private halls section below for more details).

Always try and take a friend or family member to view the accommodation with you and do not feel pressured to sign and tenancy agreement straight away. Remember to take into account:

– does the accommodation have the right ‘vibe’ for you

– is it in a good location

– consider what transport to and from the university would be and how much this will cost you (see transport section below for more detail

– does the accommodation have good facilities

– how many people will you be sharing the facilities with

– can you afford it and will you be getting good value for money.

It is important to check that your university accommodation or private halls are covered by one of three accreditation schemes. These cover essential issues like how the hall is managed, health and safety and security. You can find information about the schemes and check your accommodation is a member by checking the UUK or ANUK/Unipol schemes websites.

How long can I stay in halls of residence?

Most students are expected to move out of halls of residence after their first year, which means you will need to start looking for accommodation and planning who you want to live with as early as November of your first year. This can be quite a stressful process and you will also be expected to provide deposits and pay admins fees (see the private housing section for more details).

Some halls of residence do not let you stay for the summer and only offer 38 week tenancies.

About private housing in Edinburgh

University halls of residence or private halls aren’t for everybody and private housing is still one of the most popular ways to live as a student in Edinburgh. This is often because students feel like private housing is their first opportunity to live completely independently without supervision.

However, there is still a lot of responsibility that goes along with renting privately. Bills are not included in the rent and you often have to pay hefty deposits (1-2 month’s rent) and admin fees (£250-£350 and non-refundable).

You will need to find suitable people to live with, and you may have to prepare yourself for disagreements like who’s been running up a big electricity bill and why you’re stuck with the smallest bedroom!

Stuck with smallest bedroom & no storage?

 

How about this spacious double room with ensuite, just an 8 minute walk from University of Edinburgh Central & Holyrood Campuses?

 

Renting privately also means you will need to deal with a landlord or an agent who will expect the property to be maintained and cleaned to a good standard.

How much does private housing cost?

The cost of private housing in Edinburgh can vary greatly and bills are not normally included in this price. A small studio apartment in Edinburgh can cost from £650 per month to over £900 per month. A room in a shared house costs on average around £225 per month (bills not included) for your own room with shared facilities such as bathroom, kitchen and lounge.

What should I look for in private housing?

It’s worth considering that although it may be tempting to settle for a cheaper private house, it will be cheap accommodation for a reason! Remember to be vigilant when viewing the property and check for any signs of damp or mould. Ask what heating the property has and consider how costly this may be during the winter months.

How long can I stay in private housing?

Most landlords will be happy to keep good tenants in their property for as long as possible. So in theory, if you find a place to live that you really like, you could stay there for the whole length of your degree course – and even into postgraduate study. Providing you have housemates who want to stay there too.

Other living expenses for students living in private housing in Edinburgh

In addition to paying rent there are many other living expenses that you will need to take into account when living in private rental houses in Edinburgh. Depending on your accommodation, some of these bills may already be included in your rent:

Council tax:

Confused about council tax? Essentially, if you are a full-time college of university student you are exempt from paying. NUS offers some great advice to help you work out if you are exempt from paying council tax or not here.

TV Licence:

If you live in halls of residence or private halls, TVs in communal spaces will already be covered by a licence.

However, if you wish to watch TV in your room or live in private housing, you must pay for your own. You require a licence no matter what device you watch or record live TV and a licence costs £150.50 a year.

Utility bills:

These include gas, water, electricity, and broadband. If you are living in halls of residence or private halls these may already be included in your rent. If you are living in private housing you will need to organise payment of these yourself and split the bill between all of your housemates (approximately £45-60 month). Split the Bills has some helpful estimations depending on house size and number of residents.

Contents insurance:

Most insurance providers offer competitive quotes for student contents insurance, with the average starting at approximately £15 per month. If you are living in halls of residence or private halls, you most probably won’t need to sort insurance as this will already be included as part of your tenancy. You can find out more about the different types of contents insurance here.

Deposits and admin fees:

Again, this will depend on your choice of student accommodation:

  • Private housing often runs up the biggest expenses when it comes to deposits and admin fees, and you may also need to pay a month’s rent in advance. Deposits can vary but they usually range from 1-2 months’ rent.
  • Private halls usually ask for a reservation fee to secure your booking of approximately £250. This is then deducted from your total rent. bonus is there won’t be any extra deposits or extra admin fees on top of this, as long as you pay your rent on time!

Furnishings, kitchenware and laundry:

As well as utility bills you will need to consider what you need to live comfortably in your student accommodation. Does your room come already furnished? Do you need to provide your own kitchen utensils? Do you have access to laundry facilities such as a washer and tumble dryer, or will you need to use a laundrette (costs tend to range for £2-3 per wash and £1.50-£2 per dry)?

Storage and removals:

Will you be living at your accommodation during the summer? And what are your plans for second and third year? If your tenancies don’t run back to back you may need to put your belongings in storage. Luckily, self-storage is now extremely popular in Edinburgh and you can store one box per week from as little as £1 per week. If you have heavy items and don’t fancy lugging your suitcase on public transport, then it may be wise to hire a removal van or a company to do it for you (prices start from £25 per hour).

Some private halls offer storage as part of your contract and if you decide to stay at the same accommodation for the next year you won’t need to move your belongings at all!

 

Cost of transport when living in Edinburgh as a student

There’s no denying that Edinburgh has travel options for pretty much everyone. Whether speed is your thing, you need to travel cheap and cheerfully, or you’re cutting down on your carbon footprint. From walking (which is pretty much free) to Uber (which can cost up to £0.30 per minute), take a look at the options for you:

200 Cowgate is just a 2 minute bike ride from University of Edinburgh Central and Holyrood Campuses

Walking:

Walking is without a doubt the cheapest, healthiest and most environmentally friendly way to get around Edinburgh. Depending on how close your student accommodation is it to your university campus and amenities, you could be saving pennies and also getting some crucial exercise by walking.

SAFETY FIRST: You will need to research your walking route and make sure to stay to in well lit, public areas when walking alone or at night-time. Do not be tempted by shortcuts through side streets. Remember that your regular route during the day may be far less safe at night. When walking at night it is definitely not a good idea to listen to music. They dramatically reduce your awareness of your surroundings.

Cycling:

Cycling is also another cheap and quick way to get about. Edinburgh has a terrific network of cycle paths and off-road routes. Check out the Edinburgh Inner Tube cycle route map:

A section of the Inntertube Map showing cycle routes across Edinburgh. (Photo: The Bike Station/The Hillside Agency)

 

If you have your own bike you will need somewhere safe and secure to store it, and your housemates might not be too keen with you keeping your muddy set of wheels on the communal landing! However, most halls of residence and private halls have bike storage as standard.

SAFETY FIRST: Check what you are legally required to do when cycling here.

Buses and trams:

Edinburgh has a 24 hour bus service that operates very frequently and is fairly cheap to use and a single bus fare costs £1.60. Day buses run from 6 am until midnight. Outside this schedule, there are night buses (the N lines).

If you use Lothian buses and trams to travel around Edinburgh, it will pay to invest in a Student Ridacard you will pay a maximum of £4 per day. If you want to purchase a ticket from the bus driver you have to have the correct fare as the drivers cannot give you any change.

Edinburgh tram has one route and 15 stops that link the airport with the new parts of the city. It takes 35 minutes to get to Princes Street (the closest stop to the city centre) from Edinburgh Airport. You can also use your Student Ridacard to pay for fares.

Train:

Edinburgh Waverly station is the city’s largest train station and is easily accessible from all of central Edinburgh. The University of Edinburgh has some really useful information about ticketing and railcard options. For example, PlusBus is a discount price bus pass that you buy with your train ticket. It gives you unlimited bus travel around town, at the start, the finish, or both ends of your train journey.

You can buy a PlusBus bus pass with your train ticket at the station ticket office, by ‘phone or online.

200 Cowgate is just a 5 minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley train station

 

SAFETY FIRST: If you take a train late at night try to avoid empty or almost empty carriages, especially if you are on your own.

Travelcards:

It may also be worth investing in a 16-25 or 26-30 Railcard for £30 per year.  You will benefit from an average annual saving of £192 plus special partner discounts on days out, holidays, theatre and more.

Invest in a  Travelcard wallet/holder to keep your pass safe and use a designated pocket in your bag so you always know where it is.

 

Quickest ways to travel in Edinburgh as a student

Often the quickest way to get from door to door (no walking or navigating public transport involved!) is by car. However, it is one of the most expensive forms of transport in Edinburgh due to parking costs.

Most student accommodation in central Edinburgh do not provide parking spaces for resident. You may be able to purchase a zone parking permit but they are extremely costly and have controlled hours and days.

If you need to get somewhere quickly, it may be more cost effective to leave your own four wheels at home and take advantage of an Uber or taxi instead.

Uber:

The undeniable luxury of using Uber to get around Edinburgh is the ease of it! Book a ride from your phone, step out your door and into the waiting car, no need to fuss paying by cash or card, and then get dropped off directly at your destination! However, it has a price tag… base fares start from £2.50 and then £0.15 per minute on top of that (or £1.25 per mile). Minimum fare is £5.00 and you can also be charged a cancellation fee of £6.00 if you book and then change your mind.

To put it into perspective, a journey from 200 Cowgate student accommodation in the city centre to the University of Edinburgh central campus will take 8 minutes on foot (and it costs nothing). To travel to the same location by Uber it will cost between £3-6 (for one way), taking 2 minutes.

Surge pricing is also another thing to take into consideration when Ubering. This is when the prices either rise or drop depending on demand. During busy periods when there are more riders than drivers, Uber increases its normal fares.

Taxis:

Taxis in Edinburgh are very similar to those in London. The famous black cabs can take up to five passengers besides the driver. You can book in advance, hail on the street or be picked up from designated taxi ranks. If the yellow TAXI sign is on, the cab is available for hire. Black cabs are metered and there is a minimum charge of £2.10 (Monday – Friday 6am – 6pm) and £3.10 (6am Saturday – 6am Monday).

Prices depend on time of day and distance, but it will roughly cost the same amount as an Uber.

SAFETY FIRST: Be sure you book with a licensed minicab with a license disc: unbooked minicabs are illegal, unsafe and uninsured. Uber also has some great safety tips for passengers on their website.

Cost of food in Edinburgh as a student

Eating in:

By buying and preparing your own food you will save a lot of money whilst living as a student in Edinburgh. Although the choice of takeaways, cafes and restaurants in Edinburgh is second to none, eating out less often and keeping it as a once a month ‘treat’ will save you pennies in the long run.

According NatWest’s Student Living Index 2018, students spend more on supermarket shopping than anything else – on average £76.30 per month.

Budgeting for a weekly food shop and planning your meals is the easiest way to save money and still eat well. Having a set amount of money to spend on groceries and a prepared shopping list means you will be less likely to ‘splurge’ on tempting supermarket offers and you’ll come away with enough food to last you the week (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks).

Become familiar with your local supermarket and work out where and when they markdown stock to clear. You can pick up some great bargains!

Why not invest in some Kilner jars or quality Tupperwear to store your prepped meals in?

 

Meal prepping has become very popular recently. All you need is some Tupperware and to cook up a batch of your favourite dish (chilli, casserole, curry) to freeze in portions. Having a yummy meal that’s going to take a few minutes to re-heat in the microwave means you will be less tempted to get a takeaway pizza. Or settle for a Pot Noodle!

Food deliveries:

Deliveroo: You don’t even need to step outside your front door to enjoy food from your favourite restaurants and takeaways! 1. Simply place your order online. 2. Track your food to your door in real time. 3. Eat from the comfort of your own home. However, this convenience comes with a price tag; the menu price plus £2.50 (as long as the order is over £15, below and the fee goes up to £4.50).

Uber Eats: Similar to Deliveroo, you can place your order online and get it delivered straight to your door. Uber Eats is available from 7:00 AM – 4:00 AM, seven days a week.

Eating out in Edinburgh:

Edinburgh has some of the best choices of takeaways and restaurants in the UK. Local takeaways and fast food chains offer cheap meals but if you’re after something a bit healthier, the average price for a meal at a standard restaurant is £15.00. A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant (three courses) will be £50.00.

Make the most of your NUS discount and always search for voucher codes to save extra dosh! If you don’t finish all your meal, ask for a ‘doggy bag’ and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

SAFETY FIRST: Always check the ‘use by’ dates on food and make sure you refrigerate and store food correctly. Take care when re-heating food to make sure it is piping hot. Always write the date you made the meal on the Tupperware container/freezer bag so you know how long you have to eat it.

University equipment costs

On top of the everyday essentials (accommodation, bills, transport, food and drink) you will need to factor in any costs for equipment needed for your university course. Though it might be tempting to splurge on shiny new textbooks, desk organisers, pencils, pens, etc. there are plenty of places to pick up a bargain and save some money.

Bargain books: Save some serious dosh by searching for your textbooks online. Check out used/second-hand books websites for the best bargains.

Discounted stationery: Make use of your NUS discount and check which high-street stationers offer student discount.

Borrow equipment: Buy as much as you can online. It’s often cheaper than buying on the high-street. Most universities also offer an equipment loans service where they are able to lend various items of AV/media equipment to students

Get software for free: Save the Student has a run-down of the best free software for students, saving you some serious pennies on office, antivirus, image editing, audio & video software.

Cost of socialising as a student in Edinburgh

It is important to find a balance between managing your university workload and having down-time with your housemates and friends. Your university years are some of the most formative of your life, with new people, new places and new experiences.

The Student Living Index 2018 states that the longer time students spend socialising, the more likely they are to enjoy studying, and there are so many social activities for students to take part in in Edinburgh.

So whether it’s a chilled pizza night with your housemates in your student accommodation or a club/society event at your university…

…or taking up a new hobby or going out for a student night out on the town, there is something to suit every person and every pocket.

Student nightlife in Edinburgh:

You can start by checking out your own university’s SU bar and venue that will have a schedule of events. The drinks – soft and alcoholic – will be cheap and cheerful!

There are also hundreds of music venues and nightclubs to choose from in Edinburgh. If you want more of a low-key night out, there are loads more bars and pubs to choose from.

The average price of a pint in Edinburgh is £4.00. So it’s worth taking advantage of any offers or happy hour discounts.

Edinburgh festivals:

Edinburgh is the world’s leading festival city with over 11 festivals taking place year round. There is something for everyone with art, music, comedy, theatre, book, film, and science all being celebrated.

Clubs and societies:

Your university will have a variety of clubs and societies to join. It is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and make a new network of friends.

Student clubs and societies can range from sports, to subject-related interests and hobbies. You can even set-up your own society with grant funding from your university.

Hobbies and interests:

Edinburgh is a melting-pot of people and cultures which means there is a huge choice of hobby and interest groups to join.

Sport: If exercising is your thing there is a free gym at the University of Edinburgh. Or a lot of public gyms are affordable for students and offer discounts or pay-as-you go rates. Prices start from around £9.99 per month and pay-as-you-go from £4.50 per session.

Music: MakingMusic has a free online search option so you can easily find a music group near you.

Dance: DanceBase Edinburgh has a huge variety of classes to choose from. They have a ‘try before you buy’ scheme and offer concession prices for students.

Try something new: There are many  hobbies in Edinburgh to try out. Such as tapestry weaving (£120 for a day class), learning how to upcycle furniture (from £21.91), and walk and talks at Edinburgh Zoo (from £6.50).

Get inspiration online: Meetup is a great way to join a group online. You then meet in person at an arranged event, such as a board-game or photography group. A lot of the activities are free too.

Student discounts in Edinburgh

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest bonuses of being a student is the awesome discounts! You save some serious pounds by being savvy and checking out what discounts are available:

Oyster cards and travelcards: According to the Student Living Index, students spend on average £20.20 per month on day-to-day transport. So it is well worth getting in a student travelcard (please see section above).

TOTUM (NUS Extra) or ISIC card:  A TOTUM card (formally known as an NUS Extra card) is a great investment for just £12 a year. You can get great discounts across university essentials such as books, eating out, and entertainment. So pretty much everything a student needs. For a 2-year card it’s £22 or £32 for a 3-year card.

An ISIC (International Student Identity Card) allows students the world over prove their official student status. It also allows access to thousands of targeted student benefits and discounts in over 130 countries. With no travel insurance, a card costs $20. With Premium travel insurance it costs $99 and with Explorer travel insurance it’s $199. 

If in doubt, when you’re at the checkout ask if they accept student discount – you might save yourself some dough!

UNiDAYS: UNiDAYS is free to join and also offers great discounts, such as 50% off Amazon Prime and 40% Virgin trains.

Cheap eats: Google is your best friend. Have a good look online to find out the cheapest and best rated places to eat near you. Also, check out our eating out in Edinburgh guide above for more ideas.

Working whilst studying in Edinburgh

Studying can be expensive. There’s accommodation bills, food, transport, books, equipment, clothes… and pretty much everything else to pay for. So you might be considering getting a part-time job? Luckily there are plenty of student-friendly jobs in Edinburgh. These include:

– Hospitality

– Event staff/waiting staff

– Bartender

– Babysitting

– Cleaning

– Promoter

– Retail

A job can be part-time, evening or weekend only, zero hours contract, or seasonal if you only want to work during the holidays. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash, but try not to let working get in the way of your studies. UCAS has some great tips to make sure you’re picking the right part-time job for you here.

A part-time job as waiting staff is a great way to earn some extra pennies (plus tips!)

 

National living wage: From April 2019, the National Living Wage will increase by 38 pence-an-hour to £8.21.

International students: If you are an international student in full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study, you are allowed to work part-time. You can work during term time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during the holidays. This means you could earn up to approximately £656 (before tax deductions) per month during term-time.


Life as a couple at student accommodation – Lucas Studios, Birmingham

As part of the ‘meet our residents’ series, we had a chat with Ewis who lives at Lucas Studios, in Birmingham.

Ewis lives with his girlfriend so we asked him all about student life as a couple, and why Lucas Studios works so well for them…

Name: Ewis

Age: 20

University: Birmingham City University, second year studying Media Production

How did you hear about Lucas Studios:

My partner and I were look for student accommodation for couples, and were recommended to look at Lucas Studios.

What do you like most about living at Lucas Studios?

The fact I can live here with my girlfriend and it’s a reasonable price as there’s no extra fee for couples. It’s also very close to Birmingham City University (just a 15 min walk).

Studio apartment – there is plenty of space for couples at Lucas Studios

 

All the rooms are all studio apartments so the place is pretty quiet compared to other accommodation sites. Also the internet connection is great!

Tell us the best thing about living in Birmingham?

Birmingham has everything you need in a close enough area to walk to. The city has great railway links. I love that there is Deliveroo and Uber Eats and we are also eligible for Amazon Prime 1hr delivery.

Image copyright Deliveroo

 

What has been your favourite event at Lucas Studios?

It would have to be the free pizza in the common room. I love pizza – simple!

Have you made friends at Lucas Studios?

My girlfriend has made friends which has really benefited her as she gets lonely sometimes. I don’t socialise as much but I always say hi and have a chat with staff onsite. Most of my friends are online that I play PC games with. So the reliable internet connection at Lucas Studios is a really big deal for me.

Ewes and his girlfriend Georgia live together in a studio room at Lucas Studios

 

What piece of advice you would give to someone looking for student accommodation?

If you are a couple looking to live together, Lucas Studios is a great place to start out and gain a lot of independence.

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Thank you Ewis for sharing your story with us! It’s great to hear that Lucas Studios has been a great place for you and your girlfriend to live.

If you’re looking for the best in Birmingham student accommodation, take a look at our range of contemporary studio flats close to Aston University, Birmingham City University, University of Law BirminghamUniversity College Birmingham and University of Birmingham, click here.


Life at student accommodation -The Recording Rooms – Part 2

As part of the ‘meet our residents’ series, we had a chat with Elle who lives at The Recording Rooms.

We asked her about all things student accommodation and what it’s been like living with us for the past two years…

Name: Elle

Age: 21

University: University of Birmingham, studying LLB Law

How long have you been a resident at The Recording Rooms: 2 years

How did you hear about The Recording Rooms: By a friend’s recommendation. In my first year I had an opportunity to visit my friend’s studio and right after that I decided to live here!

Residents student accommodation Recording Rooms Birmingham
Elle, resident at The Recording Rooms, and her friends

 

What do you like most about living at The Recording Rooms: The best thing about The Recording Rooms is its location. It is very near to the University, and it is in the safest area of Selly Oak. On top of that, I like the room design. Although the room size is similar to that of other student accommodation, the room design allows more storage and walking space.

Ensuite room student accommodation Recording Rooms Birmingham
Example of an ensuite room at The Recording Rooms Birmingham

 

It also has a gym which is very convenient. Last but not least, the site manager (Katie) is very kind and responsive to any problems I encountered while living here.

What do you like most about living in Birmingham: Everything is easily accessible in Birmingham. Plus it has its own international airport which saves the hassles of moving luggage around.

Have you made friends at The Recording Rooms/do you socialise on site: Yes, I actually made a group of new friends whilst doing laundry! We later joined the school choir together. I also socialise with my flatmates in the flat kitchen.

Residents student accommodation Recording Rooms Birmingham
Elle with fellow residents & friends at The Recording Rooms Birmingham

 

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking for student accommodation: I would say choose accommodation which offers excellent customer service and maintenance — for example, a good reception which will sign parcels for you. If anything is out of order, staff will be readily available to repair.

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Thank you Elle for sharing you story with us! It’s great to hear that The Recording Rooms has been the perfect place for you to live for the past two years whilst studying.

If you’re looking for the best in Birmingham student accommodation, take a look at our range of contemporary cluster ensuites and premium studios here.


Life at student accommodation – The Recording Rooms – Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of ‘meet our residents’!

Today we caught-up with Josh; a resident at The Recording Rooms in Birmingham. We asked Josh a few questions about finding student accommodation in Birmingham and what he enjoys most about living at The Recording Rooms…

Josh, resident at The Recording Rooms Birmingham

 

Name: Josh

Age: 21

Studying: University of Birmingham, BSc Geology and Physical Geography (I am now in my third year and I am applying for the Applied Meteorology and Climatology MA course, again at Birmingham, for next year).

How long have you been living at The Recording Rooms: Since September 2018, and I will be staying until August 2020

How did you find out about The Recording Rooms:

Simply walking through Selly Oak! For my second year of university I lived in a standard terrace house in Selly Oak. I didn’t particularly enjoy this so I decided I wanted to live in a flat again, like I did in my first year of university. I Googled The Recording Rooms, and after looking at other flat options in Selly Oak, I chose to live here because it looked the best.

What do you like most about living here:

The great view out of my window of Birmingham University and the high quality and standard of the accommodation.

Student accommodation Birmingham Recording Rooms
View from  Josh’s room at The Recording Rooms Birmingham student accommodation

 

It is spacious and very clean and tidy in general. Any maintenance work is always done promptly and to a very good standard, it is great that staff hoover the flat corridors, and undertake regular room and kitchen inspections. Staff are friendly and very helpful at the reception desk. It is great living so close to the University of Birmingham, and it is close to the train station, and even closer to get a bus (61/63) into Birmingham!

I often use the common room at The Recording Rooms with my friends and girlfriend; especially the tennis table which is good fun.

What do you like most about living in Birmingham:

I am from Shrewsbury and I like Birmingham because it is quite close via a simple train link. I can go home if I need to but it is far enough away to feel like I am living an independent life. Birmingham is a great city, with a very modern city centre and a wide variety of good shops and restaurants, etc. It is easily accessible via bus or train, and it has an amazing German market at Christmas! There are also a large number of attractions within easy reach, such as Cadbury World and the Sea Life Centre.

One piece of advice for anyone looking for student accommodation:

You need to be comfortable living at university away from home, for long periods of time. From my experience Selly Oak housing isn’t the best and landlords often cause problems. Students need to realise there are other options such as The Recording Rooms, which from what I can see seem to be becoming more popular. I think purpose built student accommodation such as The Recording Rooms are significantly safer than the Selly Oak housing, and they provide better views out of the windows! Last year I never opened my window blinds because I lived right on the road on the ground floor, with people walking along the pavement right outside, but I am much more comfortable here.

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Thank you Josh for taking the time to speak to us! We’re so glad to hear that you’ve enjoying your time at The Recording Rooms.

If you’re looking for the best in Birmingham student accommodation, take a look at our range of contemporary cluster ensuites and premium studios here.


How to look after yourself this December, and stay happy and healthy

December can be a stressful time of year. On top of studying there’s extra social events, the days are colder and darker, and money can become a worry. If you are struggling this holiday season there are plenty of places to get advice or talk to someone. Check out of our top 5 ways to battle the winter blues, and stay happy and healthy all year round:

Student well being in December

1. Manage your money

Managing a tight student budget when you are taking exams and living day-to-day university life can cause a lot of anxiety for some students. But there are simple steps you can take to stay on top of your finances, especially during the festive season.

student budget money

2. Keep active

It’s easy to go into hibernation mode now that the weather is colder and the evenings are darker. However, the more active you are the better your mood, and you will be less likely to catch a cold. The NHS has these easy tips for winter exercise.

3. Cope with exam stress

The key to managing exam stress is to feel in control. With a little bit of time management and organisation you can feel more prepared and less panicky about studying and exams. Charity Student Minds has plenty of resources to help you.

4. Mental health advice

It’s easy to have a lower mood during the winter months, and some students suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But it’s important that you reach out for help if you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, low mood or depression. Your university will offer support and guidance throughout your studies if you are experiencing any kind of mental hardship. Contact your counselling service or the charity Student Minds for advice.

student winter mental health

5. Create your own sanctuary

Transform your student accommodation into a cosy haven which is also practical for everyday student life. Take a look at these awesome storage hacks and ideas of how to style your accommodation room on a student budget.


Top 5 shopping tips for students on a budget

Black Friday is traditionally the day which follows Thanksgiving in America and is now thought of as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season across the world. Each year, big retailers use Black Friday to give massive price reductions to shoppers just before the festive season.

Black Friday shopping students

However, being shopping-savvy on a student budget isn’t just for Christmas time! Check out our top 5 tips for grabbing the best bargains all year round:

1. Food

According to Save the Students! yearly National Student Money Survey, students spend on average £108 a month on food alone – that’s more cash than you will spend on anything else apart from accommodation… so take a look at their ways to save money on food. Our favourite tips are freezing foods in portions, planning your meals and investing in a slow cooker.

Meal plan student shopping

2. Student discount

If you haven’t already, sign up for an NUS card and a UNIDAYS account which will give you access to amazing student discounts across loads of high street shops and food chains. Possibly the simplest way to save you money, ever!

3. Online shopping

Which? has listed 14 tricks to use to make sure you get what you need at the best price when shopping online, from getting voucher code alerts, signing up for newsletters and checking for cashback, all from the comfort of your student accommodation!

4. Charity shops

If you don’t mind sparing a bit of time, charity shops can be a trove for all sorts of treasures that won’t break your student budget. From high street and designer clothing, books and home wear for your accommodation, if you want a bargain and don’t mind hunting for it, get yourself to your local charity shop.

Charity shop student shopping

5. Upcycle

All it takes is a little imagination and you can create useful storage and decorative items for your student accommodation. Do your bit for the environment and take a look at these ingenious upcycling ideas. Using everyday household items or stuff you were going to throw away, they cost pennies to make and save you from having to shop.