students in kings cross station

Cost of living

Living in London means that you have constant access to an exciting variety of international cuisines, cultural activities, and shops. While living in London can be expensive, student discounts on everything from public transport to theatre tickets mean that even a small budget can stretch a long way. Your cost of living as a student will depend largely upon your lifestyle choices, so its important to budget to ensure that you have enough money to live on while you complete your studies.

There are a variety of resources available to help you plan your budget and make the most out of the money you spend. Many retailers and entertainment venues will offer discounts or concession prices when you present your student ID and there are also multiple apps and websites dedicated to student discounts.

Here are a few resources suggested by our students:

  • Student Beans (offers discounts for students on almost everything in stores and online)
  • UNiDAYS (discounts on fashion, tech, health, and beauty – mostly online)
  • Save The Student (helpful articles and tips on everything student-centric for UK audiences)


Accommodation: recommended budget: £315 per week

This amount is based on the average cost of accommodation options we offer.

Privately rented accommodation varies considerably but will often not include the cost of utilities and may require a more extensive transport budget, depending on the location.

See our Student Accommodation page for more information

Utilities: recommended budget: £ 500+ per year (for a shared private accommodation)

If you are living in student accommodation, most of your utilities such as WiFi, water and electricity will be included in the fee. However, if you are renting privately these can often be an additional on top of the rent. Please note that at the time of writing (May 2023) the price of utilities are continuing to rise.

If you are living in student accommodation and plan to have a TV in your room, you will need to purchase a TV licence (however, if you are living in a shared property with a communal TV, then the cost of the TV licence can be shared). If you do not have a TV licence, you risk legal action and a fine of up to £1,000. More information.

Travel: recommended budget: £100 – 200

As a student, you are entitled to receive 30% off Travel cards if you purchase a Student Oyster Card. Depending on how many journeys you take, you may not need to purchase a Travel card. Some students may find it cheaper to use a pay-as-you-go service. By combining a 16-25 railcard with a Student Oyster Card, you can receive 34% off pay-as-you-go services on the Tube, Overground, Trams, and the Elizabeth Line making each individual journey significantly cheaper.

Food: recommended budget: £50+ per week

There are many things you can do to help reduce your food budget, for example, buying your groceries in a group with flatmates, preparing your lunch at home rather than eating out, and shopping around for deals at various supermarket chains Many supermarkets offer free reward cards – it could be helpful to sign up to these to benefit from discounts and rewards.

Entertainment and Social Events: recommended budget: £20-50 per week.

Unlike many cities in Europe, most art galleries in London offer free entry to their permanent collections, so there’s always something to do without spending money. Some galleries have a reciprocal entry programme with The Courtauld meaning that entry to prestigious shows is provided with your student card.

Many entertainment venues in London will offer cheap tickets for students or under-25s; for example, the Barbican Centre offer £5 tickets to theatre productions, cinema screenings, and concerts.

The Student’s Union organises many subsidised events throughout the year, offering cheaply priced opportunities to socialise with your peers – as well as weekly events run by clubs and societies. Unlike at many universities, Courtauld societies don’t charge for membership.

Books and Stationery: recommended Budget: £10 per month

You will not need to purchase books for your study as any required reading for your course will either be available in The Courtauld Library, or on the VLE. When conducting wider research, you may need books that are not available at The Courtauld; Jisc Library Hub can show you if any of the books are available in other London libraries, such as Senate House or the British Library, which you can access for free.

It is also possible to ask The Courtauld Book Library team to  look into purchasing the book for the library, see here for more information and guidance on how to obtain books from our library staff.

Other useful information

International students: International students requiring a visa to study in the UK are required to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover expenses before you arrive. Further information can be found on the UKCISA website. You may also find it useful to take a look at the Study UK website, which provides a plethora of information for international and EU students, specifically the Moving to the UK sections.

Student bank accounts: Though opening a student bank account is not essential, they can provide you with benefits such as an interest free arranged overdraft, or cash incentives for opening an account. You may wish to shop around to find the right account for you. If you wish to open a student bank account, you will need a letter from us to confirm your student status. You may request this letter only at enrolment or later.

Council tax exemption: If you do not live in student accommodation, in order to claim your Council Tax exemption you will need to provide a letter to your local council stating that you are a full-time student. If you fail to provide this letter to your local authority, you may face legal action. You may request this letter only at enrolment or later.

Hardship fund, scholarships, and bursaries: The Courtauld can also offer financial support to students in need on a one time or longer-term basis. See more information here: undergraduate or postgraduate.

Prices are based estimates by a current student in August 2022. Please note that we have no affiliation with external providers listed, and there are alternatives.

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