Congratulations on securing your place at the University of Birmingham! I’m Lauren, a current student and Student Communicator, and here’s a guide on how to manage your money at university.
Find out when your maintenance loan comes in
Your student finance maintenance loan will come into your account on the first day of the semester, but remember you’re going to have to make it last until the next instalment! If you are living in student halls, you need to consider how much money will be left over once you’ve paid rent. Not to mention, you’ll need a little extra money to live on until January’s instalment, as you pay more rent in first semester.
If you do start to struggle with money however, there are options. One option is to apply for the Student Support Fund to request a discretionary grant, offering non-repayable support to assist with general living and course-related costs. You can also speak to Guild Advice if you need advice during the year.
Use a budgeting spreadsheet
Budgeting spreadsheets are a great way to visually keep track of your spending, and there are plenty of templates online. By using a spreadsheet or tracker you can set your own budgets based on the activities you plan to do and how much you can afford to spend, then input your spending every week to make sure you’re staying on track.
There are so many campus jobs advertised throughout the year - you could join the cleaning team, become a receptionist in the Guild or even work as a student group assistant who supports society activities. Whatever you are drawn to, head to the Guild website and check out any available vacancies. These jobs are flexible to help you work around your studies, and are a great way to improve your employability for your future career.
Cook your own meals
One way to not spend too much is to cook your own meals. The University has several local stores to choose from. If you’re living in Selly Oak, Bristol Road has a local Tescos, Sainsbury’s and Aldi, whilst the Vale has a local Co-Operative and Morrisons which are a short bus ride or walk away. You can also save costs by cooking with your flatmates, and meal planning once a week.
Don’t buy too much new stuff for your accommodation!
You don’t need to bring everything from home or buy excessive items for university. Check the inventory list for your accommodation on the university’s website to see what is available when you get here. Bring only the essentials and check the Student Mentors' list of things to pack for some ideas.
Make use of student discounts
Use your university ID to save on days out, some stores have student discounts that aren’t openly advertised so always make sure to ask. Use student apps like TOTUM to get great discounts on your favourite stores. You can also save on travel to and from the city centre by spending only a pound when you show your ID on the X21, X22, 61 and 63 buses.