Student Guide: Cost of Living in Leeds

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Reem Mohamed

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26 September, 2022

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7 mins read

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Student Finance

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Recently, Leeds has risen through the ranks of the top destinations for international students. Leeds boasts a number of internationally recognized learning institutions and top-ranked universities whose quality of education attracts students, both from across the UK and from different parts of the world. As a relatively smaller city, compared to London and Birmingham, Leeds is often a more affordable choice for students. Its affordability, vibrant student life, and diverse population make Leeds one of the top study abroad destinations. So, if you’re headed off to Leeds to pursue an education, let us break down the cost of living in Leeds for you! 


Cost of Living in Leeds as A Student

The cost of living in Leeds, especially for students, is considerably affordable compared to the likes of London. The average student would need around £1,300 per month to cover their basic expenses. These expenses include student accommodation rent, monthly utilities, transportation, food, and groceries among other things. Tuition fees, however, are not among this estimated monthly cost as they require a budget of their own, and depend on your choice of university, program, and major. Here is a breakdown of the living costs in Leeds that you’ll need to keep in mind when moving there! 

Tuition Fees

There are several different universities, colleges, and higher education institutions spread throughout the city of Leeds; they offer high-quality education to local and international students alike. These universities include the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, and Leeds Arts University among others. The average tuition fees in those Leeds universities average between £10,000 and £20,000 per year. This is mostly for undergraduate degrees and part-time courses, postgraduate and research degrees may cost a little higher than that. 


There are several options for you to choose from when it comes to booking student accommodation in Leeds. These accommodation options include PBSAs (Purpose-Built Student Accommodation), private lets, and coliving spaces. The rent in any of those places varies depending on the location, the distance from the closest university, nearby amenities, and the utilities and services offered at the property. The average weekly rent for a single room in a Leeds student home is around £110, with other room types possibly costing a bit more. 


Getting around with ease, convenience, and affordability is an important asset to international students in Leeds. The city has an extensive network of public transport that you can use for your daily commute to university. Monthly train and bus passes are available for students who take regular or daily trips, making their journeys less expensive and more convenient. Bus tickets can be booked using the West Yorkshire bus app for about £2.00 per ticket, whereas a standard booking costs about £1.60 for a short distance and £2.50 for long-distance.

Food, Groceries, and Shopping

While studying in Leeds, you also need to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition. Grocery shopping or eating out in the city of Leeds is relatively cheaper than in London, it will cost you an average of £30-£40 per week. Leeds is also a notable shopping destination, and you can easily get clothes and other essentials there at around £20 per week. 

Internet and Phone Bills

When going over the cost of living in Leeds, you should factor in your weekly or monthly internet and phone bills. As a student, you’ll need access to the internet whether it is for your studies or for your leisure and free time, so you can catch a movie or a show; the average cost of a weekly internet bill in Leeds is around £4.50, which is less than the national average, and therefore relatively affordable. As for your phone bill, which you might use to contact your family and friends back home, this mainly costs an average of £7.72 per week, which is once again less than the national average. 

Leisure and Entertainment

We get that you are in Leeds to pursue an education, but a balanced lifestyle that factors in leisure and entertainment wouldn’t hurt! Leeds is a city with plenty to offer, its vibrant student life features a number of different things to do and places to see. Theatres, restaurants, nightclubs, cafés, coffee shops, tourist destinations, and weekend getaways are all available in Leeds. An estimate of approximately £16.56 is what you’ll need to spend a proper night out in Leeds, which is a great deal if you ask us! 

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How to Make It in Leeds on A Budget

While the cost of living in Leeds might not be that steep, it doesn’t hurt to save money while there. Budgeting is a student’s best friend! It helps you live comfortably and save money in the process. Here are our tips to maintain a good quality of life on a budget as an international student in Leeds! 

Set a Monthly/Weekly Budget 

Choose the time frame that best suits you and adjust your budget accordingly. Set aside the necessary amounts for rent, transportation, grocery, food, entertainment, and if possible, a little extra for savings. This helps you monitor your spending while taking everything into account. By the end of the week/month, you’ll have paid your due fees and have a little extra to treat yourself or save for later! 

Find Scholarships and Financial Aid

As tuition fees make up a lot of the living costs in Leeds a student, finding scholarships and financial aid programs beforehand is the way to go! Universities will most often have financial aid programs for international students. In the event that this is not available, however, there are plenty of organisations and institutions that provide international students with either scholarships or the chance to participate in an exchange program. Be sure to include this as a part of your research process prior to moving to Leeds!

Book Affordable Student Accommodation

Second to tuition fees, student accommodation in Leeds is the next big expense students worry about. Fret not, though, we have the solution for you! Casita has plenty of student accommodation options in Leeds for you to choose from. You can even use our filters to make sure you get accommodation that is within your budget range, and ones where bills are included in the rent since those tend to save a lot of money. Student accommodations close to your university of choice also help you save money on transportation and daily commutes. 

Get a Student Job

The schedule of an international student is far from free, however, getting a part-time job that pays well, adds to your experience, and still leaves you a bit of free time to enjoy yourself is very possible. There are plenty of well-paying jobs that fit into students’ schedules with ease and benefit them greatly in the process. You can either work on or off-campus, there is an abundance of student jobs to choose from either way! You can work as a library assistant, a barista, a tutor, or a server. Whatever you choose, make sure it benefits you and doesn’t take away from your study or free time!

Conserve Energy

You can save money on electricity bills by living an environmentally friendly life and conserving your energy use. Turn off the lights that you’re not using, unplug any unnecessary devices, and invest in power-saving light bulbs. Using electricity in moderation is a nifty trick to save both your money and the environment, who wouldn’t want that double win? 

Scout for Discounts

Student discounts are a godsend! Being a student sure has its perks, an important one of which is student discounts. While leading a budget-friendly life, you want to scout for as many student discounts as possible. Some discounts are provided to you by your university, while others are made available to you once it is known that you are a student. You can get discounts on food, groceries, transportation, books, and even clothes. Do not take your student ID for granted!

Shop Smart

Grocery shopping can take up most of your budget, this is why it is essential that you shop smart. Smart shopping allows you to get all your essentials while also remaining true to your budget! The trick to smart shopping lies in the following: shopping at grocery stores that offer student discounts, shopping in bulk, ditching pricey items that you do not use, always comparing brands to make sure you’re getting the most benefit at the lowest price, and timing your grocery trips to times when offers are booming, like holidays or sale events, so you can get what you need at reasonable prices.

Cook and Meal Prep

Cooking your own food at home is great for saving the money you would have otherwise spent on eating out. There are plenty of student-friendly recipes that take your budget and time into consideration. Another budget-friendly trick is preparing your meals for the whole week, this is better done after your grocery shopping, so you can make use of the groceries you’ve bought and also save money and time in the process! 

Look for Free Entertainment

Not all fun and entertainment come at a cost, surprisingly, some of them are completely free of charge! Whenever you’re in a pinch or can’t find it in your budget to have some fun time out, worry not, you can still enjoy your time at little to no cost! Multiple tourist attractions in Leeds allow free entry, especially for students. Free activities also include cycling around the city, enjoying a picnic in the park, or going on a city tour! 

The cost of living in Leeds, especially for an international student, is relatively affordable. With the help of budgeting, student discounts, and financial aid programs, the living costs in the city can get even more affordable, which in turn, allows you to have a beneficial study abroad experience without worrying about the money that much. If you’re planning a trip to Leeds to pursue an education, keep this article in mind and let it guide you on your journey! 


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