Living costs have become very expensive for everyone, including students. Recently, research by NatWest found that university students are paying 30% more in rent compared to last year. On average, students now spend £591.90 per month on rent. In London, it’s even higher at £840.30 per month. Food prices have also gone up a lot, with students now spending £109 a month on groceries, which is a 44% increase from last year.
As the new school term is approaching, it’s a good time to see which UK cities are the most and least affordable for students in 2023. According to the research, which looks at both how much money students have and how much they spend, Edinburgh is the least affordable city for students overall. Students in Edinburgh have a monthly income of £1,453 during the term but spend £1,072.61 in total each month. More students in Edinburgh work part-time jobs than in any other city.
On the other hand, London is the most expensive place to buy a pint of beer, costing students £5.51 per drink. Cambridge follows closely with an average cost of £5.07 for a pint. However, in Lancaster, you can get a pint for as low as £3.81.
Surprisingly, Bournemouth is the most affordable city for students in 2023, even though students there have some of the highest monthly expenses, around £1,225. This is because students in Bournemouth earn about £3,296.64 per term. However, nearly half of all students (46%) run out of money by the end of the term, which is up from 35% in 2022. Also, almost one in four students (24%) find it stressful to manage their money, especially in Bournemouth.
Moreover, 90% of students have had to change their lifestyle to stay within their budgets, with many spending less on going out. In places like Glasgow, Bournemouth, and Cardiff, this number is even higher at 96%.
Jaimala Patel, head of NatWest Student Accounts, commented on these findings: “Rising reliance on student loans and significant increases in spending on food and rent are affecting students’ finances. There are positive signs that students are getting better at budgeting, and they are taking steps to live within their means. We offer tools to help students with this, like spend categorization in our mobile app and a Round Ups tool to help them save.
Top 10 Most Affordable University Cities in 2023