A Student Guide: Cost of Living in Manchester

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Reem Mohamed

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16 October, 2022

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9 mins read

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Student Finance

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Manchester is a vibrant English city that is known for celebrating many different cultures, combining both the modern and ancient, and being a favourite destination among many. Art, culture, history, music, sport, and architecture all have a home in Manchester, making it an even more attractive place to visit or maybe even live. 

Around 100,000 students currently live and study in Manchester, making the student population in the city one of the highest in Europe and the world. Manchester has been gaining popularity with students from all over the world over the years and therefore becoming one of the most famous study destinations and a renowned student city. 

An important thing to consider when moving somewhere to pursue an education is how much life there will cost. So, with top-ranked universities and a busy student life awaiting you there, what exactly is the cost of living in Manchester as a student? Let’s find out! 

Cost of Living in Manchester

Cost of Living in Manchester

Part of what makes Manchester a renowned student city and a favoured educational destination is that students can get the perk of experiencing a major UK city while remaining on a budget. As a student, the cost of living in Manchester for you is expected to fall around £1,200 per month to cover your basic living expenses. 

This amount is set to cover your Manchester student accommodation, basic bills and utilities, groceries, food, and transportation, and even factors in leisure and entertainment among other living necessities. This, however, doesn’t account for tuition fees and other study expenses. So, let us break down the cost of living in Manchester and give you an estimate of how much you will be spending and on what!

Tuition Fees

Manchester is a city that provides its students with a high-quality education in various fields and disciplines. The city has a number of top-ranked universities and renowned learning institutions, including the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Bolton, and Arden University Manchester to name a few. 

These universities offer students an array of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, including laboratory degrees, non-laboratory degrees, and medical degrees with the tuition fees varying for each. Non-laboratory degrees start at around £20,000 for international students, while laboratory degrees average at about £25,000, and medical degrees go up to £50,000 per year. 

Additional Study Expenses

Unfortunately for your little student budget, study expenses do not just stop at tuition fees, they tend to include additional materials and study resources as well. Learning devices, textbooks, software, stationery, and other study materials should all be accounted for when calculating the amount you need to cover study expenses. 

The average amount you’re expected to pay for those additional study materials varies according to your field of study, the quality of the materials you’re buying, and where you buy them from. All in all, you should set aside around £40-£50 for those additional costs.

Cost of Living in Manchester

Student Accommodation Expenses

As a student in the city, your Manchester living costs are going to include your student housing rent. The prices for student accommodation in Manchester vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of accommodation, the provider, the room type, the amenities offered, and the distance from your university of choice. 

The average weekly cost for student accommodation in Manchester, specifically a single room, is around £101. Other room types like en-suite rooms or studios or private apartments may cost more depending on the provider.

Student Travel and Transportation

As the second-largest city in the UK after the capital, Manchester has plenty of transport links and ways for you to get around the city. The city hosts a major train station and an international airport with quick, easy, and convenient local and international flights. Students in Manchester can reach London via an easy two-hour train ride. 

A regular one-way ticket for local transport costs around £2.50, while a monthly pass costs a minimum of £75. So, the monthly cost of living in Manchester should factor in an average of £100 for transportation.  

Takeout and Eating out

Your schedule as a student can be too busy that you don’t have time to cook or prepare your own meals, which leads you to order takeout or eat out with friends after classes. This costs a rather significant amount of money, especially on a student budget, and let’s not forget the occasional coffee, soda, or energy drink you buy between classes.

On average, a meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs around £15, while in a fast food restaurant a meal would cost £6 or less, and a cup of coffee costs £3, while a soda costs £2. 

Grocery Trips

Filling your pantry as a student living in Manchester may cost you quite a bit of money. Your living costs in Manchester should include at least £30 to cover your weekly grocery trips. This amount may vary depending on your needs and how often you go to the supermarket. 

Generally, this amount is enough to cover several products that you consume on a daily basis, including milk, cheese, eggs, your choice of protein, bread, vegetables, and fruits. If you prefer vegan alternatives to some of those products, however, you’ll probably have to spend more.

Fun and Leisure 

Manchester is one vibrant city with plenty of things to keep you busy during your time there. There is no shortage of things to do and places to see in Manchester, some of which are affordable, while others are expected to make a dent in your budget and affect your overall living costs in Manchester. 

If you are planning to entertain yourself in Manchester, whether it’s by going to the movies, attending a concert, going clubbing, visiting a museum or an art gallery, or going to an arcade or a paid attraction, you need to set aside a sum of £30 or slightly more to cover your leisure and fun expenses.

Cost of Living

How to Save Money as a Student in Manchester

As established above, the cost of living in Manchester, while not so expensive, is still relatively steep. So, you’ll need to get nifty and find ways to save your money as a student in Manchester. 

We’ve compiled a list of handy tips and tricks to help you manage your spending, stick to your budget, and keep your living costs in Manchester as little as possible while also enjoying yourself and making the most of your time there. Here is how you can save money as a Manchester student! 

Budgeting is Hip

In order to keep your spending in check, you must first start with a budget. Budgeting might sound boring and routine, but there are plenty of ways to make budgeting fun! You can invest in a cool notebook or planner, or even use one of the new budgeting apps to set a fixed monthly or weekly budget and challenge yourself to stick to it. 

Knowing the cost of living in Manchester, you should be able to include everything in your budget and set aside the amount that will cover your expenses exactly. You should also set aside an emergency fund as well as a surplus to reward yourself with when you manage to perfectly stick to your budget!

Smart Travel is The New Thing

As accessible as travel and transportation are in the city of Manchester, they are also quite pricey. So, you need to start travelling smart and saving your money. Instead of spending £2.50 on a single ticket, try investing in a monthly past for about £75 and save your money. 

Other ways to save money on transportation include finding student accommodation in Manchester close to your university so you can walk to and from campus, cycling from one place to another, or carpooling with friends or fellow students.

Discounts are a Student’s Best Friend

A great advantage of being a student in Manchester is the student discounts you can benefit from! Your university card is your ticket to an array of discounts on different products and services across the city. You can get discounts on groceries, clothes, food, books, university supplies, and transportation, and even get free or discounted entry to famous attractions and landmarks in Manchester.

Just in: Cooking is Trendy

We’ve already established that eating out in Manchester or even ordering takeout is a bit expensive, and we know how busy your schedule as a student can be, but hear us out! There are plenty of ways in which you can cook on a budget and in a limited time so you can save both your money and your time. 

Meal prep is a great way to go about this issue. You get all your favourite food, cook it during the weekend, and save the meals in the freezer to be reheated every day after your classes. This way, you save time by cooking everything all at once and save money by always going home to find food and not having to order or eat out. It’s a win-win, really! 

A Job: Experience and Money

You could always consider getting a job to help you keep up with the cost of living in Manchester. While a job might take up some of your precious time, it is still greatly beneficial for you both in the short and long run. Not only do you get to make money to cover your living expenses and spoil yourself in the process, but you will also get the chance to boost your CV and improve your skills while still in university, how neat is that? 

Some of the student jobs you can apply for as a student in Manchester include off-campus jobs like working in a coffee shop or a book store, and on-campus jobs like tutoring, being a research assistant, working in the university library, or working as an administrative assistant or a receptionist.

Free Entertainment? Where Do I Sign up?

As easy as entertainment is to come by in Manchester, finding free entertainment is even easier! Who says having fun and enjoying yourself has to come at a price? You can spend a fun day out in Manchester having a nice stroll or a picnic with friends in one of the city’s numerous parks and gardens at little or no cost. 

Other ways to guarantee yourself some free entertainment include visiting free museums and art galleries, going on sponsored city tours, using your university card to get free or reduced entry to some of the city’s famous destinations, and attending university-held events that are free for students and are always a blast! 

Energy Conservation: Two Birds, One Stone

A great tip for saving money is to make sure you keep your energy consumption in check. Gas and electricity bills are getting more and more expensive every day, this is why it’s important to conserve energy. You can do this by turning off all the lights when you don’t need them, unplugging all unused appliances, investing in energy-saving light bulbs and appliances, and making sure your gas is turned off when not in use. 

This is not only a great way to save money, but it also greatly benefits the environment and reduces your carbon footprint. Who wouldn’t want to kill two birds with one stone?  

Grocery Coupons: Collect Them All!

Grocery trips can take up quite a lot from your budget, this is why learning to shop in a smart and efficient way is guaranteed to save you money. Here are a few ways in which you can get whatever you need in groceries while remaining on budget and maybe even saving some money in the process. 

Make sure you shop in bulk and compare brands while shopping, get the ones with the most benefit and least cost. Collect loyalty points and grocery coupons after every purchase, those will definitely come in handy later. Do not dismiss supermarket-own brands, those are usually of great quality and even greater price. Shop at stores that do not overcharge as well as ones that offer student discounts, this will definitely save you a few bucks.

Thrifting: Good for You and The Environment

A lot of your budget for your Manchester living costs can go towards shopping. Whether it is shopping for clothes, books, university supplies, or even furniture and household items, they can still be a bit pricey, especially in such a big city. This is why thrifting and shopping at second-hand stores is the solution for you.

Not only will thrifting help you save money, but it will also allow you to purchase unique and one-of-a-kind pieces at wonderful prices. It is also great for the environment and helps you remain eco-friendly while staying in style and having money to spare, what a win! 

The cost of living in Manchester as a student can be a bit overwhelming, from tuition fees and student accommodation rent to food, groceries, and entertainment; it is a lot to keep up with! Use this as your guide when travelling to pursue an education in Manchester, plan your spending beforehand, and make sure to follow those money-saving tips for a better and more fulfilling experience in Manchester!


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