How much money will I need?

Getting used to a new currency and the cost of living in a new country can seem difficult at first, but it is important that you work out your income and a budget for your expenditure before you come to the UK.

We estimate that an international student will need at least £10,000 per year for living expenses, based on a student spending 52 weeks a year in the UK. This figure includes accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, books, laundry, mobile phone and wi-fi. The amount you need will vary depending on your lifestyle, but should allow you to have a reasonable standard of living.

This estimate does not include travel to and from your home country, or your fees.

How much money should I bring with me?

We recommend you open a UK bank account after you have arrived in the UK. However, you will usually need to have enrolled on your course before you can do this and it might take a few weeks before you can open your account. So it's important to bring enough money with you for the your first few weeks in the UK.

The amount of money you will need to bring may depend on whether or not you have already paid for your accommodation. If you've already paid for your accommodation, we recommend bringing at least £500, to cover food and other initial expenses. If you have not yet paid for your accommodation, then you will need to have access to more money when you arrive. If you're looking for accommodation in the private sector, you will usually need to pay a deposit and one month's rent in advance, and so you might need to bring £1,000 with you.

Important: We don't recommend bringing large amounts of cash with you. Instead, we recommend that you bring money in a secure form, such as a pre-paid credit card. Alternatively, try to open an account with a multi-national bank in your home country before you leave the UK, and check with the bank that you will be able to use ATMs (cashpoints) in the UK. It's also a good idea to check how much money you will be charged each time you use the card.

Weekly budget

As a rough guide to costs, a typical student's basic weekly expenditure is shown below. No costs have been included for social life, as this can vary from student to student. If you live in halls of residence then you do not need to allow further money for heating or water in your budget - this is included in your rent – but if you live off-campus in private housing you should include an additional £20 per week for heating and electricity bills. Please note that these are approximate guidelines only and not a precise estimate of how much you will need to spend.

The International Student Calculator can help you plan and manage your money and to see how other students have budgeted for life at university in the UK.

Weekly budget guide



Food and toiletries


Books and stationery




Phone and internet





If you are catering for yourself you will probably need to budget for between £35 to £50 per week. You don't need to worry about missing your favourite food - Leicester has lots of markets, specialist shops and supermarkets stocking food from around the world, so you should be able to find the ingredients for any dish you fancy. Other international students will also be able to advise you where to find your favourite products.

Check out Student Cooking TV for students' recipes and food shopping tips. You can also look at current UK supermarket prices at mysupermarket.

Help and advice about money

Once at DMU, you may find that you have to organise your money carefully and you might want further guidance on financial issues. Student Finance and Welfare can advise students on money management, budgeting and on fee payment issues; the team provides a free and confidential advice service and are based in the Student Gateway in Gateway House.

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