Managing your money

Being a student is a big change. One of the most important things you’ll learn is how to manage your own finances.

Knowing that your finances are under control means that you can concentrate on your studies and fully enjoy your time here at UoB.  


Plan for your living costs

It’s important to get to grips with how much you’ll need in order to meet your living costs when planning your student finances. You’re probably wondering how much you should be budgeting for groceries, accommodation, bills, and just general day-to-day costs. Here we’ve compiled some average living costs, though please note that these will vary greatly depending on your lifestyle. It’s important to do your own research and understand your budget. 

If you're an international student, you should ensure you have enough funds to cover your tuition fees and living costs for the duration of your course before applying for a visa. If you cannot provide an official letter from a sponsor stating they will cover all of your fees and living costs, you must be able to prove you have access to sufficient funds yourself. For more information, please visit the UKCISA website

Average costs

The table below shows a breakdown of weekly essential costs. These will vary depending on individual circumstances. Other variable costs that aren't included in the table, but that you might want to consider include: travel, socialising, dining out and clothing.  

Undergraduate students should calculate their academic year costs over a 42-week period. Postgraduate students should calculate their total expenditure over approximately 52 weeks

Table of average living costs
DescriptionPrivate HouseSelf-Catered HallsMeal Plan Halls
Rent £108 £170 £219
Bills £40 Included Included
Food £50 £50 Included
Personal Care (e.g. Toiletries) £15 £15 £15
Internet/Mobile £10 £8 £8
Course Costs £18 - £30  £18 - £30  £18 - £30 
Weekly Total £241 - £253 £261 - £273 £260 - £272

Accommodation forms a large proportion of your budget. The University provides a variety of accommodation to meet the needs of our students. More information about the facilities and services included within University-owned accommodation can be found on Living's offer pack information page

With a Food Fellows Dining Plan, you’ll have £58.50 to spend each week at food outlets on campus. You’ll also get a discount of 10% off all food and drink (excluding alcohol). 

Full-time registered students are exempt from paying Council Tax

Extra costs

In addition to any costs associated with your course or programme of study, there are other costs that you’re likely to incur as a student. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an indication of the types of things you may have to pay for. 

  • Printing: To print or photocopy, you must have sufficient credit. Find out how to use our print, scan and photocopying services. Remember to only print or photocopy when you need it, and try to reduce your use as much as you can. 

  • Binding: In the majority of cases, coursework and assessments can be submitted online but some students may be required to submit work in a printed format. You can get your work bound by visiting facilities on campus such as Rymans at the University Centre.  

  • Books: You can access a range of resources, including most core books, journals and electronic resources required for your module, by visiting the Main Library or browsing our collections on FindIt@Bham. However, you may be required to or prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks. 

  • PCs and Laptops: You can log on to a PC at various locations on campus, alternatively, you can borrow a laptop in the Main Library, which you can borrow from lockers in the Wolfson Room. You may also find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet that you can use around campus and at home. Find the best deals on laptops. 

  • Stationery: Whether you prefer to use a laptop or you like to keep it traditional with a physical diary and sticky notes, it's a good idea to have notepads, pens, pencils, and highlighters on hand for jotting down your lecture notes. You might want to explore online retailers such as Amazon, Paperchase, The Works, or Ryman for potential discounts on stationery items.

  • Graduation: There are costs if you'd like to hire a gown for your Degree Congregation. Find out more. 

  • TV: If you want to watch TV whilst at University, you might need to get a TV license which pays for all BBC services, from TV channels to weather forecasts and more. When living in shared student accommodation, the chances are you’ll only need one license for the entire accommodation if you have a joint tenancy agreement. If you have a separate tenancy agreement or you live on your own, you may need your own TV license. Learn more. 

Setting a budget

It's important to remember that most students receive their funding in fairly large instalments, normally at the start of every term. So once a payment has been received, it usually has to last quite a while (typically until the start of the following term) before another payment comes through. This is why budgeting is so important. 

First, you need to establish the total income that is available to you. This might be a combination of your student loan, any scholarships that you receive, contributions from family members or sponsors and wages from part-time work. You can learn more about all of these sources of income through our funding pages

Once you know how much you have coming in, you will need to work out how much money you are likely to have left over after you've covered the essentials like rent, utilities and food. This will give you an idea of how much you can put aside for socialising and life's little luxuries. We have produced a budget planner to help you do this (PDF - 1,413KB). For an accessible, non-PDF version please use the Word document of the front section of the planner (Word - 70KB), in conjunction with our calculations spreadsheet (Excel - 21KB).

Our top tips

  1. Establish your total income available (from loans, scholarships, part-time work, etc.)
  2. Work out your essential outgoings, such as rent, bills and food.
  3. Factor in non-essential items that are important to you and one-off costs for special occasions.
  4. Be honest about your spending habits. Do you get a lot of takeaways, is going out important to you, do you spend a lot on clothes? Are these behaviours ones you can change or do you need to budget for them?
  5. Track and scrutinise your spending patterns. What can you cut or find cheaper? Can you earn some extra cash?
  6. Create a budget and stick to it. Don’t be dispirited if you go over budget – recognise how you can get back on track.

What can I do if I have gone over budget? 

  • Reflect on your spending - try and identify patterns in your spending that may have contributed to you going over budget. Did you impulsively buy things unnecessarily or that you could have gotten cheaper?
  • Reflect on your budget - you may need to adjust your budget. Often, people start out with a budget that is too restrictive. Try and be as realistic as possible.
  • Get back on track in the immediate future - it may be that you have to slightly underspend in the next week or month to accommodate for going over budget previously. As long as you’re aware of this, you can find ways to get back on track!
  • Get back on track in the long term - if you have assessed your spending and cannot cut down anything else, you may need to think about additional sources of income. You may also want to think about creating an Emergency Fund in which you save a little each week or month. This will act as a safety net for periods where you find you have slightly overspent.

Other budgeting resources

There are lots of free budgeting apps that may be able to help, including:

  • mint - a comprehensive budget that categorises your spending showing where cutting back might be possible
  • goodbudget - includes a 'share budgets' feature - useful if you're in a house share
  • Money Lover - brilliant for those who like charts, statistics and graphs

Save the Student provides some handy tips for saving money, together with a broad range of useful online tools and calculators to help you make the most of your finances. 

Part-time work opportunities

A part-time job can supplement your income and help you to gain valuable work experience. Many students discover jobs on-campus, tutoring or by engaging in freelance work. 

It's important to note that in the UK, the national minimum wage for ages 18-20 is £7.49 per hour; for those aged 21-22 it is £10.18; and for 23+ it is £10.42*.  

International students who wish to know if they can work in the UK under their student visa can get advice and guidance from the UKCISA working during your studies in the UK website

In light of these factors, we recommend that full-time students do not work more than 15 hours a week during term time. 

*Figures for 2023.  


If you’re looking for work that can fit flexibly around your studies, Worklink provides students with on-campus casual work opportunities. Browse their current vacancies

Guild of Students 

You can find and apply for job opportunities at the Guild of Students. The Guild of Students recruits student staff to be Student Mentors, Hall Reps and Community Wardens. 


Professional Services