Below are a range of case studies from current students at Oxford showing how their living costs vary depending on how they choose to spend their money.
Garlen, MSc in Social Anthropology
I found it easy to save money at Oxford mainly by cooking my own meals. The college and societies hold many free events so saving money doesn’t mean not going out. Books are borrowed from the library and many articles can be downloaded online, so no need to purchase course materials. You can also request the cheapest room from your college, which I did, and saved £3000 (for the year) compared to the most expensive rooms.
Améline, MSc in Comparative and International Education
I live in a single en-suite college room (with a double bed!) in a house with 10 other students. I have a few meals in college every term to make the most of my allowance (included in the college accommodation fee), but otherwise I cook with my housemates as it’s much cheaper. I bought stationery and a laptop at the start of my degree and haven’t had to spend much since, as I borrow books from libraries instead of buying them. Most of my social and sport activities are free, but I go to London or visit friends every weekend. My main and regular expenses include food shops, train tickets and phone contract, with occasional additional costs such as social outings (and sometimes a ball after exams - start saving up early if you want to go, they can be pretty expensive!).
Sam, MSt in Music
My living costs are probably towards the high end of the range. I opted to live in a large en-suite room in college, and in addition to eating at hall I also tend to go out at least a couple of nights each week with friends to pubs or restaurants. I use the University gym regularly and play football and rugby each week which means I spend quite a bit on kit and getting to games. Also I tend to go into London at least once a month on a weekend.
Alexei, DPhil in Ion Channels and Disease
I am currently living in North Oxford in college owned couples accommodation with my girlfriend. We share a one bedroom flat, which is small and quite basic but good value for such a lovely part of Oxford. One of the best things is that bills are included in the rent, and parking for two cars is available outside the flat. Living close to the city centre and my department is great as it means I can cycle to work in less than 10 minutes, so I don’t spend any money on commuting. As we enjoy cooking ourselves we rarely spend money eating at college other than for the odd formal and guest night dinner.
Samantha, DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry
I live out of college in a house with four other people. Usually I cook for myself, but sometimes we share meals, and if I've got time I like to have friends over and cook for a crowd. My college's MCR put on lots of events that are free to go to and I'll go to formal hall probably three or four times a term, and a couple of bar nights, as well as socials with my lab group. I have enough to travel home or visit friends most weekends easily, and to buy presents or buy new clothes without living beyond my means.
Ayesha, DPhil in Pharmacology
I live in a shared house that is quite far from the city centre, and usually eat at home, though I like to eat out with friends a few times a week. My social life is quite busy as I like to meet friends at some point each day, and this often means going out somewhere and spending some money. I like to buy clothes sometimes, and I spend quite a bit of money on groceries and household supplies, though this was a more significant cost when we first moved in. I don’t have much extra expenditure for my studies or for travel.
Tatiana, DPhil in Education
I live in an en-suite college room and share a kitchen with three more students. I work as Assistant Junior Dean at my college and because of this my accommodation is free of charge. Being a DPhil student I spend most of the year in Oxford. I usually cook in the flat or go for meals to college. On occasions I eat out. My social life is somewhat active and I like to go to the movies, concerts, theatre and to have coffee and catch up with friends. I try to attend free events around University or take advantage of student discounts. This year I’ve had to invest some money in equipment for fieldwork and data analysis, for example a voice recorder, some software licenses and a laptop. I often commute by train or bus to do interviews outside of Oxford for my research. I’ve also spent some money on sports equipment and club memberships. I go to Colombia, my home country, once a year, usually during Christmas break.