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Cost of Living in Birmingham UK for International Students

A single person’s estimated monthly costs are 823$ (656£) without rent. Birmingham is 36.72 percent less expensive than New York (without rent).

Aside from quality education and excellent facilities, one of the things that international students look out for when deciding the university to study at is the monthly cost of living at the university. Loads of international students who are looking towards studying in the United Kingdom usually choose Birmingham.

The reason is not far-fetched because Birmingham is the second-largest city, second-largest metropolitan area, and third-largest urban area in the United Kingdom, with roughly 1.2 million inhabitants within the city area, 2.8 million inhabitants within the urban area, and 4.3 million inhabitants within the metropolitan area. The city proper is the most populated English local government district.

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With five major universities (Aston University, Birmingham City University, Birmingham University, Newman University, and University College Birmingham), Birmingham is considered an important center of education not just within the United Kingdom but globally.

Birmingham is an incredible city to study in, with a big student population, great infrastructure, and a vibrant cultural scene. Brindley place is a fantastic destination right in the city center, and it has bars, retail, offices, leisure facilities, and its very own film festival. Having said that, here are some of the monthly costs of living in Birmingham UK for international students.

Monthly Cost of Living in Birmingham UK for International Students

1. University Accommodation

One of the major areas where you will spend the bulk of your money as an international student is in accommodation. At Birmingham University, an international student usually spends between £6,400 and £7,012 for 51 weeks within the university hostel.

But if you choose to live outside the university-controlled accommodation, the rate is slightly different. Depending on where your university is located, you can get cheaper accommodation in places like Castle Vale housing estate located between Erdington, Minworth, and Castle Bromwich.

The estate is part of the Tyburn Ward and it is the cheapest place to rent a property in Birmingham. Please note that the average private rent in England is £200 a week or £868 a month. Social renters pay an average of £102 a week or £442 a month.

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2. Transportation

Another area where you expected to spend money as an international student in Birmingham is transportation. Even if you live within the university hostel, you would have cause to visit other places in Birmingham. Please note that in Birmingham;

  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – £2.40 – £1.90-3.00
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – £57.50 – £50.00-72.00
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – £2.20 – £2.20-4.00
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – £1.12 – £1.12-1.12
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – £15.60 – £15.60-15.60
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – £1.55 – £1.46-1.72
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – £24,000.00 – £21,000.00-£25,000.00
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) £21,549.12
  • Food, and other shopping – £2,600
  • Gas and electricity – £2,080
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If you choose to get your car and drive to campus, you should budget for associated expenses like car maintenance and repair, coupled with parking at both your place of residence and on-campus.

3. Utilities (Monthly)

Spending on utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage is yet another key area that will influence your cost of living as an international student in Birmingham. If you are living on your own in a small apartment, the utility bills will cost you around £90.

If you are living with a friend or partner in a slightly bigger apartment, roughly 80 m2, the utility bills will be between £160 – £180. This includes energy, heating/cooling, water, and your council tax. You are expected to spend the following as utility costs;

  • Insurance for personal belongings – £15 – £117
  • Laundry (using a launderette) – £240
  • Course related costs: books/stationery/photocopying/binding – £450
  • Subscriptions to journals/magazines – £36
  • Bus pass – three terms and summer pass (travel) – £390
  • Television license – £150.50
  • Mobile telephone – £240
  • Social activity costs – depends on activities – £600 – £960
  • Kitchen utensils, plates, and cutlery – £35
  • Police registration (if applicable) – £34
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4. Food and Groceries

Another key area that will contribute to your cost of living as an international student in Birmingham is the money you spend on food and groceries. Interestingly, the cost of food and groceries in Birmingham is slightly below the average in the United Kingdom.

Here are the areas that you will spend on food if you choose to eat out in a restaurant;

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – £10.00
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – £50.00
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – £5.27
  • Domestic Beer (0.5-liter draught) – £4.00 – £2.00-5.00
  • Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle) – £4.00 – £3.39-5.00
  • Cappuccino (regular) – £2.78 – £1.50-3.50
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33-liter bottle) – £1.45 – £1.00-2.00
  • Water (0.33-liter bottle) – £1.00
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If you choose to buy groceries and cook yourself, then you will be ready to spend;

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – £0.97 – £0.50-1.15
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – £0.96 – £0.62-2.00
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – £1.29 – £0.50-1.80
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – £1.81 – £1.07-2.40
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – £5.98 – £2.00-10.00
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – £5.03 – £2.50-6.50
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – £7.69 – £5.00-17.70
  • Apples (1kg) – £1.82 – £1.00-2.70
  • Banana (1kg) – £1.00 – £0.73-2.00
  • Oranges (1kg) – £1.91 – £1.00-4.00
  • Tomato (1kg) – £1.76 – £1.00-2.50
  • Potato (1kg) £1.12 – £0.50-2.00
  • Onion (1kg) – £1.04 – £0.60-1.78
  • Lettuce (1 head) – £0.57- £0.40-1.00
  • Water (1.5-liter bottle) – £1.09 – £0.50-1.50
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – £7.00 – £5.00-10.00
  • Domestic Beer (0.5-liter bottle) – £1.63 – £1.40-2.00
  • Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle) – £1.65 – £1.00-2.30
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – £12.25
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5. Books and Stationery

Aside from your tuition fee, you will most definitely have additional expenses related to your courses, such as books, supplies, lab equipment, electronic devices, and other technology. While you can budget £500/semester for these, have in mind that emergencies happen. Therefore, you should establish funds for yourself that can act as a buffer if you have an urgent need, such as unexpected thesis research and the like.

6. Clothing And Shoes

Clothes and shoes are other expenses you should be ready to spend on especially in your first month as an international student. You are expected to dress according to the weather hence you should buy the appropriate clothes and shoes. Here are some of the basic costs for clothes and shoes;

  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – £64.44 – £30.00-80.00
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M) – £28.12 – £20.00-40.00
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – £75.00 – £50.00-100.00
  • 1 Pair of Men’s Leather Business Shoes – £62.22
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7. Sports And Leisure

Although this is not compulsory, some international students usually budget for sports and leisure. The truth is that it is not out of place to budget for sports and leisure as an international student. But what you consider as leisure might not be the same as what another person considers as leisure hence there might not be a fixed amount when it comes to the budget for sports and leisure.

But here are the basic amount you should budget for sports and leisure;

  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – £25.42 – £15.00-40.00
  • Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) – £10.88 – £5.00-20.00
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – £10.00
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In Conclusion,

Birmingham offers the buzz of a big city with a big choice of shopping, restaurants, bars, and live performances. But this comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of living in Birmingham, United Kingdom for a family of four is estimated at 2,804$ (2,235£) without rent. A single person’s estimated monthly costs are 823$ (656£) without rent. Birmingham is 36.72 percent less expensive than New York (without rent).