The new academic year is in full swing, which means that the next generation of hopeful university graduates are starting to think about where they might like to do their degrees.
Rising costs of living in the UK mean that deciding on a university is no longer just about the best course. Instead, an increasing number of students are looking for a budget-friendly university experience. In fact, four out of five university students worry about making ends meet financially.
What are the cheapest university cities in the UK?
The cheapest university cities are those that have a low cost of living. To rank the 10 cheapest cities in the UK, ABC Finance looked at factors including the cost of rent, bills, transport, nights out, eating out and a gym membership.
UK university cities with the lowest cost of living
The university city with the lowest cost of living is Bradford, which costs just £10,643 in annual living fees. The highest maintenance loan available to UK students is £9,488, leaving these students in need of an extra £1,155 (on average).
The university cities with the second- and third-lowest cost of living are Bangor (£10,772) and Wrexham (£10,968). Out of the three cities, Bangor has the cheapest public transport while Wrexham offers the cheapest rent.
The three cheapest university cities to rent accommodation
Rent takes up a huge portion of every student’s living expenses. Many students will use the entirety of their maintenance loan to cover their rent each month. The cheapest rent in the UK can be found in Wrexham (£4,000) Stoke-on-Trent (£4,520) and Bradford (£4,613).
If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay whilst you study, the best option is to rent a room in a shared house. The rent for this type of accommodation is often much cheaper than renting halls of residence.
The cheapest cities for a night out
No university experience is complete without a few nights out on the town. Although you may be trying to save money, it is possible to have a great night out on a budget.
The city of Carmarthen has been ranked as the cheapest city for nights out in the UK. The average cost for a year’s worth of nights out in this city sits at £2,098. Carmarthen is closely followed by Hull (£2,176) and Middlesborough (£2,176).
What are the most expensive UK university cities?
Unsurprisingly, London has been ranked as the most expensive city to live in. The average annual cost of living for students in the capital is £25,518. This does mean that students who choose to live in London can receive a higher maintenance loan of £12,382 per year.
Oxford was ranked the fifth most expensive university city and Cambridge was ranked 6th. This comes as a surprise considering that Oxford and Cambridge are two of the most prestigious universities in the UK.
How to live cheaply as a university student
Living cheaply as a student is all about cutting down your costs without missing out on great experiences. Here are three easy ways to make big savings during your time at university.
1. Prep your meals
Bulk cooking and prepping your meals for the week can save huge amounts of money that would otherwise be spent on last-minute takeaways. Some students have reported getting their weekly food bill down to just £12 by meal prepping!
2. Buy second-hand textbooks
The average student will spend up to £60 per month on university equipment. However, you could cut this figure down massively by shopping second-hand and buying used textbooks from previous students.
3. Invest in an annual transport pass
The cost of train journeys and bus rides as a student can seriously add up! One way to cut this down is to purchase an annual pass at the beginning of the year. The 16-25 Railcard offers a student pass that will save you 1/3 on rail fees. The card offers average savings of £189 per year.
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