Ways to save money

Keeping to a student budget is easier said than done but there are lots of different ways to keep costs down while at university.

We’ve listed a few key money-saving tips to reduce costs and save money in your everyday life. 

ways to save money 2


On Campus

When you’re on campus, you don’t want to be burdened with more costs. We get it. That’s why we’re working with different teams and services across the University to reduce some of the financial pressures for you.

Study Spaces

If you’re coming onto campus to study, chill, or are just waiting in between lectures, did you know you can make the most of our free Wi-Fi access, charging stations and central heating?

study spaces

That’s right, and at no extra cost. Check out our list of study spaces and where you can find them.

If you want to be extra snuggly and warm, you can even borrow a blanket whilst studying in the Main Library. Find them on each level right beside the lifts.

Free Utilities

There are lots of free utilities on campus where you can fill up your water bottle, access kitchens, microwaves and hot (and cold) water taps. Find out more by checking out our handy list

water bottles on campus

You can also juice up your mobile phone for free in one of our lockers found in the Sports Centre, Ground Floor Teaching & Learning Building, Murray Learning Centre, and University Centre while you study, eat or go for a walk around campus.  

Free Period Products

You can now collect free, environmentally friendly period products, including tampons and sanitary towels from more than 20 campus locations, including the Aston Webb Student Hub. Find out more.

student hub

You can also collect them at the following locations:

Building Location 
Aston Webb Student Hub
Staff House Ground Floor Female Toilets
Main Library Ground Floor Gender Neutral Toilets & 1st, 2nd & 3rd Floor Female Toilets
Arts Ground Floor Female Toilets
Alan Walters Ground Floor Female Toilet
Guild All Floors, Female Toilets, Disabled Toilets & 2nd Floor Gender-Neutral
Muirhead Tower Mezzanine Female Toilets near Starbucks
Education Ground Floor Gender Neutral Toilets, near Cafe
Medical School Female Toilets near Wolfson Common Room
Watson 1st Floor Gender Neutral Toilets
School of Engineering All Floors, Female Toilets
Met & Mat Ground Floor Female Toilets in Block A and Block C
CTL Lower Ground Floor Toilets
Molecular Science Building Female Toilets Ground Floor and 2nd Floor
52 Pritchatts Road Ground Floor Female Toilets
SportEx Ground Floor Female Toilets

Vale Village Accommodation:

Chamberlain Tower


Mason Social Space

Ground Floor Female Toilets


We appreciate that everyone may be feeling the pinch lately, but we don’t want anyone to struggle financially to the point where they can’t afford to eat.

food fellows

Here are a few changes and initiatives that can help you if you’re struggling:  

  • Working with our very own Food Fellows, we’ve reduced lunchtime staples and implemented an improved Meal Deal range that now includes some hot options and starts at £4.50 at all outlets on campus that sell sandwiches. And if you fancy a coffee on the go, it doesn’t need to break the bank! All of our coffee shops on campus offer a basic tea and filter coffee offer, alongside the full range of hot drinks. 

  • If you’re struggling to buy food, your Guild of Students’ Community Pantry can support you by providing a free one-off food parcel if you’re in need. 

  • Why not bring a home-cooked meal to campus with you? It’s so easy to prepare your own food and drinks on campus with Food Fellows’ ‘Micro Markets,’ new self-service vending machines with built-in microwaves and hot taps in the Mason Arts Lounge, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Biosciences Buildings. You’re welcome to eat your food in any of our social spaces and food areas, just make sure you clean up after yourself, please! 

  • We’re also fighting food waste by teaming up with the online platform ‘Too Good to Go’. This free app lets you buy food (i.e. Magic Bags) that would otherwise go to waste, at a great price. Head to The Exchange, Library Cafe, Costa Uni Centre and the Med School Cafe to get your bags.
  • You can also drop-in to the Mermaid Bar at the Guild of Students every Wednesday morning from 8:00am until 10:00am to enjoy a free, continental-style breakfast while you're there. All students are welcome.


Steps you can take

There are plenty of small changes you can make in your everyday routine, from minor tweaks to more substantial changes, all aimed at helping you save money.

Energy Consumption

Research has shown that energy consumption can be reduced significantly by taking small steps. We’ve put together some resources on a few easy ways that you can save on your energy consumption whilst living in our accommodation and at UoB. 

  • NUS Student Switch Off+ provides some great advice on understanding your energy bills and offers some tips about conserving energy and heat. 

  • MoneySavingExpert regularly puts out guides on how you can cut the cost of your energy and water bills. 

  • As mentioned above, you can also save money on your energy bills by working on campus. There are Study Spaces located around campus as well as the Main Library. 


Being sensible with your money is an important life skill but it doesn’t mean you can’t spend it at all. When you’re buying something, either big or small, it’s always worth shopping around to make sure you’re getting the best deal. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you save where you can: 

  • Look for student discounts and don’t forget to use your Totum card wherever possible.
  • Apps such as UNiDAYS offer discounts at a variety of retailers and online subscriptions.
  • Always ask if somewhere offers student discounts, such as at the hairdressers.
  • Some banks offer student extras so shop around for the best account for you.

Food Shopping

When food shopping, you should have a think about which supermarkets best suit your budget. Non-branded items are considerably cheaper than branded items, and you can often get food for cheaper by shopping in the evenings when food prices have been reduced. Spoilt for choice?  

Whether you're searching for affordable options, or just want to try some different tastes, students Srushti and Ishita have got you covered! 

Many supermarkets also have reward schemes such as Tesco Clubcard, Asda Rewards, Sainsbury’s Nectar Card and Morrisons More. There’s also lots of other ways to save money on food online, such as cashback apps and coupons: 


You can save a lot of money by cooking with your housemates or friends, rather than ordering a takeaway.  

Not only will it save costs and reduce waste, but you can also batch-cook your meals and freeze them, which will prevent food from expiring and save you some extra time and money. Please note that many shops are removing best-before dates in an attempt to reduce waste. Whilst best-before dates only offer a guide on quality, you should still refer to the use-by dates to make sure your food is safe to eat. 

You don’t need to be a pro to have a go at cooking some healthy, cost-effective meals. There are lots of easy, cheap, and filling student recipes to get you started: 

You may also want to take some inspiration from student May, who shares her favourite, quick and nutritious dishes that won't break the bank.

Eating Out and Takeaways

Whilst it’s important to avoid spending money daily on takeaways, they can be a nice treat every now and then, especially if you’re busy or just don’t feel like cooking. 

  • Check out this handy guide from Save the Student.

  • You can get a takeaway bargain by using Too Good to Go. Open the app and find Surprise Bags of Food from restaurants and shops near you. 

  • The Food Fellows team have also been cooking up new ways to help you enjoy the food and drink you love on campus, for less. Find out more. 


A key perk of being a student is the discounts. Download apps like UNIDays or Student Beans to find out what kind of discounts you can get at a variety of different shops. If you’re out and about, always ask if the shop or retailer you’re visiting offers student discounts, especially around the local Selly Oak area. It’s more than likely that they do! Don’t forget to use your Totem card wherever possible too. 

When it comes to clothing and goods, there are lots of second-hand shops that you can visit near the University to find a pre-loved bargain. It's cheap and better for the planet. Hazaar is a zero-waste marketplace for students that was set up by one of our own students!  

Keep in mind that there are plenty of enjoyable activities you can take part in without spending money. 

  • Why not organise free, fun activities with friends? You can visit free attractions and museums, stay in to watch a movie, play board games or go for walks.
  • One of the many perks of studying at UoB is the fact that your student status gives you free access to the different cultural attractions on campus, including the University's very own Lapworth Museum of Geology or Winterbourne House and Garden. Just bring your student ID!

Health & Wellbeing

You may be eligible for help with healthcare costs by completing a HC1 form and applying to the NHS Low Income Scheme. This could include full or partial exemption from NHS prescription costs, or help with dental and optical care.

We also offer Student Membership at the Sport & Fitness Centre. You could also explore alternative exercise plans such as Couch to 5K, utilise exercise videos on YouTube or join a club or society here at UoB.


Getting to campus and finding your way around is an important part of University. There are loads of ways you can cut down your travel expenses while at UoB.


We have our own University Train Station located right here on campus, and it's a quick and easy way to travel into the heart of Birmingham.

There are a number of Railcards available to purchase, with the majority offering 1/3 off rail fares in the UK. Our Student Train Travel Tips page has more information on other savings available if you're travelling in and around Brum. 


Many students choose to cycle at the University, and it's great for your wallet! You can save hundreds of pounds on fares, parking charges, or petrol.

We operate a bike hire scheme, and you can find West Midlands Cycle Hire stations around the outskirts of campus.


There are a range of discounted student bus passes available directly from NX Bus or Transport for West Midlands. These passes can include all bus companies, local trains, trams, and travel across the West Midlands. Passes can now be bought through a dedicated UoB Portal.

You can also explore a variety of other deals offered by National Express.

Don't forget to also download NX Bus’s mTicket App via the App Store or Google Play Store. It's a practical way to buy single tickets, passes and excellent-value group tickets. You can also make contactless payments on their buses.

Please note that as of 8 April 2024, National Express are discontinuing the Birmingham University Hop fare that permitted University of Birmingham staff and students to travel between Selly Oak, the main campus and the city centre for a reduced fare of £1.50. 

Course Costs

You can have different course-related costs depending on what you study. You can find information on the type of general and subject-specific costs by contacting your respective School or College.

Most courses require core textbooks. We suggest using our Library Services where possible, and always checking to see what books are available via our library catalogue, FindIt@Bham, before you buy.

If you need to purchase your own textbooks, opt for second-hand textbooks to cut down on costs via second-hand retailers like Ebay or Amazon. Plus, you can resell them afterwards!


Professional Services