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The Real Cost of Living in Birmingham: Dispelling Myths

Birmingham is a vibrant and bustling city in the heart of England. Although always a favourable contender for the title of ‘Britain’s second largest city‘, the cost of living in Birmingham is lower than London and Manchester. According to NUMBEO, Birmingham is 4% to 10% less costly than Manchester in daily living, renting, and more. Knowing the cost of living in Birmingham ahead of time for new students travelling to Birmingham will help them better manage their budget.

Cost of Living in Birmingham: Daily Life

Birmingham is a well-known city in the UK, and students will have various options for their daily lives.


For most students, supermarkets are an ordinary living expense in Birmingham. For common supermarkets in the UK, students may spend around £110 per month on daily supplies. In addition to this, eating out in restaurants is also a daily expense. The city has a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from £7 a meal at McDonald’s to £36 per person at Tattu Birmingham. For those who want to experience the pub culture of the UK, there are a variety of pubs within the streets that offer a different experience. Both beer and cocktails can be savoured in the range of £5 to £12.

cost of living in birmingham supermarket


After a busy week at school, students can head to St. Andrew’s on the east side of the city centre, the home of Birmingham City F.C., where they can enjoy high-quality football for just £25. Cinema is also a popular form of entertainment, with films costing around £5 each. The Bullring & Grand Central in the city centre is Birmingham’s most famous shopping destination, with a wide range of high street brands, and you can expect to spend between £40 and £200 per visit.

cost of living in birmingham football

Mobile Network

In Birmingham, SIM card prices from all operators are broadly in line with the rest of the UK. For most students, the ‘pay as you go’ type of deal is the best value as it can be cancelled anytime. Generally speaking, £10 per month will cover your daily internet needs. Note that most operators require the SIM card to be tied to a UK bank card, so please prepare in advance.

Transport cost of living in Birmingham

Birmingham has an urban area of 267.8 square kilometres, and students can reach all corners of the city with the help of the public transport system. There are a number of bus operators, such as National Express West Midlands, where a single ticket is £2. However, students can save money by purchasing a variety of Tickets, depending on their circumstances.

cost of living in birmingham bus

Apart from buses, trains are also a standard mode of transport in the UK. Apart from commuting within the city, it is also possible to reach other cities. The price from Birmingham to London is around £15 to £25, but students can also buy a Railcard for £30, which offers a 30% discount on train tickets for a year.

cost of living in birmingham train

Cost of Living in Birmingham: Education​

University tuition fees are the first significant expense for all students, and the exact price can vary greatly depending on the faculty and specialism.

  • The University of Birmingham‘s tuition fees range from £14,500 to £22,500 for international undergraduates£20,000 to £23,000 for postgraduates, and may reach £30,000 or more for PhD students, depending on the specialism.
  • Aston University‘s undergraduate tuition fees are lower at £13,900 to £19,950 for undergraduate students, £15,000 to £19,000 for postgraduates and around £45,000 for PhD students.
  • Birmingham City University has undergraduate fees of £14,000 to £19,000 for international students and £22,000 to £27,000 for postgraduates.

cost of living in birmingham education

Cost of Living in Birmingham: Accommodation​

Apart from tuition fees, rent is also a considerable expense that cannot be avoided. Birmingham’s rental market offers a wide range of options, including university halls of residenceoff-campus student flats and social properties.

On campus student halls​

dormitory on the university campus is the first choice for many new students. Not only does it provide quick access to a variety of teaching facilities, but it also enhances relationships with fellow students. 

  • The University of Birmingham‘s halls of residence cover a number of areas and range in price from £660 to £776 per month. 
  • Aston University offers two halls of residence, both priced at around £600 per month.
  •  Birmingham City University’s halls of residence are around £640 per month.

Off campus student accommodation​

Off-campus student accommodation in Birmingham is also a recommended living option. With a variety of flat providers offering a diverse range of rooms and facilities, students have various options. Prices will range from £480 to £1320 per month, depending on preferences.

cost of living in birmingham accommodation

Private rental property Cost of living in Birmingham

Renting a social property is also a common option, giving students the freedom to organise their space and roommates. Typically, prices range from £950 to £2300 per month. Although the price is high, it is possible to find

Council Tax​

In the UK, council tax is a tax that varies with the value of the property. Students living in student halls of residence or flats are automatically exempt from the tax. Also, students living in social properties can apply for tax avoidance on the government website. However, if a student does not apply, they must pay between £105 and £317 per month.

cost of living in birmingham details

In summary, university fees are the biggest expense for international students, costing around £20,000 per year. Accommodation is the second, which averages at £800 per month. Daily life and entertainment will cost between £800 and £1,500, but students can reduce costs through various experiences.

The Cost of Living in Birmingham 2024
Cost Price/annual
Education £14000~£45000
Accommodation £5760~£27600
Food £1500~£6000
Entertainment £1700~£13000
Transport £500~£2000
Network £120~£500

Cost of Living in Birmingham: FAQ

Whilst Birmingham tends to be more affordable than London, it is essential to note that the cost of living can vary greatly depending on an individual’s lifestyle, location in the city and personal preferences. These costs include housing, utilities, groceries, entertainment and transport. Statistically, international students can expect to spend more than £30,000 annually here. Overall, Birmingham strikes a balance between urban convenience and economic viability, making it an attractive option for many.

Average rental prices in Birmingham, UK vary greatly depending on the type of property and location. According to current figures, the monthly rent for a one-bedroom flat in the city centre is around £700 to £800. However, larger properties or those in particularly sought-after areas can cost more than £1,000. The best thing to do is to look at multiple sources of information and analyse them thoroughly in order to find the most suitable accommodation within your budget.

Regarding the cost of living, Birmingham is often considered cheaper than London. From housing to grocery shopping and entertainment to eating out, prices in Birmingham are lower on average. According to NUMBEO, London is roughly 35% higher than Birmingham in terms of cost of living, and rents are 60% more expensive. However, different living habits can lead to considerable differences in expenses.

If you are interested in Birmingham study life or other city’s accommodation. Please check following blogs!

uhomes.com | Student Accommodation,Flats,Houses,Apartments for Rent
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