Student living costs

Being a student can be a big change - you'll have to manage your own finances and this can be tough at first. Here's some top tips to help you manage your money.

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Living costs

It's important to get to grips with your incomings and outgoings when you first start your course. You're probably wondering how much you should be budgeting for groceries, accommodation, bills and just general day-to-day costs. Planning your spending is not only very sensible, but also frees you up to not feel guilty when you know you've budgeted extra funds for your nights out, shopping trips and other well-deserved treats.

General expensesApproximate yearly cost
University accommodation (51 weeks) From £6,400 to £7,012
Food, and other shopping £2,600
Gas and electricity £2,080
Insurance for personal belongings £15 - £117
Laundry (using a laundrette) £240
Course related costs: books/stationery/photocopying/binding £450
Subscriptions to journals/magazines £36
Bus pass – three terms and summer pass (travel) £390
Television licence £150.50
Mobile telephone £240
Social activity costs – depends on activities £600 - £960
Kitchen utensils, plates and cutlery £35
Police registration (if applicable) £34

Commuting vs living in halls

There are pros and cons to the question of whether your should commute to uni and live at home, or strike out on your own and live in halls. Of course, this all depends on whether your home is close enough to uni to commute, or whether you would prefer a taste of independence while studying.

Money-wise, there can be a big difference - living at home doesn't come with a bill for student accommodation. However, many parents expect their children to pay towards the costs of running a household, and you may be roped in to other less pleasant tasks like vacuuming and washing up, if you don't already do these! However, the balance of saving the money you would spend on halls means you have a bit more of your funds free for your social life.

On the flip-side, if you're in halls you don't need to worry about commuting costs and travel time, so you can roll straight out of bed and stroll to your lectures. You need to be more careful with managing your funds if you're living independently, but remember that everyone else is in the same boat and won't expect you to go out for dinner every night. There is a lot of support available on campus too if you ever run into any difficulties.

City South Campus

If you're studying at our City South Campus, you'll need to factor in travel costs to and from the city centre if you fancy a spot of shopping or a night on the town.

Our student Mollie wrote about her experiences studying at City South and commuting from home - find out more about her travel costs and budgeting tips in her blog. 

City Centre Campus

Our City Centre Campus is based right in the centre of Birmingham - if you hadn't guessed already! This means the majority of the accommodation is close to campus and hence close to the city, so you're in walking distance of the major shopping destinations and all manner of restaurants, from Digbeth to the Jewellery Quarter. Make sure to take advantage of your student card to get money off in shops and restaurants, and if you like treating yourself to meals out, it's worth investing in an Independent Birmingham card.

Where can you get help?

There are loads of resources available to you on campus and online, whether you wanted to ask about how to budget or if you need to find a part time job.

On campus

Ask Desk, Curzon Building

  • BlackBullion is the one stop shop for student money advice. You can find a budget calculator here, plus competitions to win and information about how to make your money work for you. Simply log in with your BCU details!
  • Money Saving Expert is a great resource to find tips on - you guessed it - saving money! They feature discounts and students offers, so it's good to check the latest deals here before you make any bigger purchases.
  • The Totum discount card from the NUS is the best way to unlock student discounts at every opportunity. Sign up using your uni account and start saving!
  • Unidays is the ultimate discount website for students - use this to get codes for all your favourite online shopping destinations and get yourself on average of 10 per cent off. Keep checking back as they often do limited time offers of up to 50 per cent off!

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Finance and money matters

Head to our finance pages to get tips and advice on how to manage your money, and what help we can offer.

Find out more