Living Costs and Budgeting

Living Costs

Weekly household costs in Scotland are roughly 20% lower than in London, and 10% cheaper than the UK as a whole. A recent survey named Dundee the cheapest city to live in the UK. The survey looked at subjects like the cost of accommodation and grocery shopping.

It’s inexpensive to live here, so your money will go further - but you still need to budget.


If you're living on a limited student income it's essential to budget.

Student loans and interest-free overdrafts can be an essential part of financing your future career but any other borrowing should be treated with considerable caution. It's also important to avoid missing payments as doing so could have an adverse effect on your credit rating.

We have listed some essential costs you'll need to consider before moving to Dundee. These are all estimates, and real costs could be slightly higher or lower than those stated. If you know you are getting into financial difficulty, please contact the advisory service.


Rent will probably be the largest regular payment that you have to make out of your income and most landlords will want at least one month's rent and deposit in advance.

Average cost of accommodation: £300-£400 per month. For more information, please review our student accommodation section.

Utility Bills

There are a number of schemes available that are designed to lessen the impact of paying these bills all in one go.

  • Savings stamps are available from gas and electricity showrooms. You buy them weekly then hand them in with your bill.
  • You can use the budget payment scheme through which an average monthly payment is worked out and debited automatically from your bank account (customers who use this form of payment pay the cheapest rates for gas and electric).
  • You can also spread payments by using a coin or charge card meter, but bear in mind that this is the most expensive payment method.
  • Beware of estimated bills. Check the reading on the bill and if there is much difference between them get in touch with your electricity and gas supplier and ask for an actual reading to be done.
  • When you move in to a new property always contact the utility companies to let them know. Otherwise you may well get a bill that belongs to previous tenants.

Average cost of electricity and gas: £30-£50 per month.

Telephone Bills

You can help keep the costs down by calling at cheap rate - throughout the weekend or after 6.00pm during the week (including international calls).

Average telephone bill: £15-20 per month


It may be worth buying a student bus pass covering your travel to and from University. Check the Xplore Dundee website for more offers/deals.

A 16-25 student railcard costs £30/year. This gets you all over Scotland and the UK. This entitles you to one third off normal ticket prices. You are also eligible for this railcard if you are over 26 and in full-time education. Visit the national rail website to find out more.

TV Licence

If you are a student living away from home and use a television set in your lodgings, you will need a television licence. You can buy a television licence at any Post Office or pay by direct debit. You can be taken to court and end up with a large fine if you are caught without one.

Cost of television license: £147 per year

Health Benefits

Most full-time students are not eligible for free dental treatment or eye treatment. However, you do not need to pay for prescriptions in Scotland.

For more information please contact Student Services.


If you find yourself dealing with debt problems, contact the Advisory Service. They offer a confidential service and can provide support. 

Don’t panic and ignore the problem. It won’t go away and it may well get worse. The sooner you tackle it, the sooner you can start to sort the problems out.