Birmingham is the second-largest city in the UK, so it comes as no surprise that living here can be costly. It can be tough to balance your budget at the same time as moving away from home and adjusting to a new city.
Don’t worry though, we are here to give you some life hacks on living in Birmingham on a student budget. And who better to give their insight then current student Rosie from the University of Birmingham.
Socialise on a budget
Socialising on a budget can sometimes be tricky if you don’t know the tips and tricks of the city. Fortunately for you, I’m going to let you in on the secrets that will help you to keep control of your purse strings, while still having a great time.
If you love chocolate as much as I do, then you have to go visit the renowned Cadbury World where you will learn about the history, making and magic of Cadbury Chocolate. There is also a student discount on tickets which means tickets are only £9 per person with an NUS card.
Looking for a little adventure? Take a trip down the canal on a canal boat. It’s a great way to view the city in a unique way and learn its industrial past. A trip will only set you back £8 but it’s worth it for those Insta shots!
Did you know that Birmingham is home to the oldest cinema in the UK? The Electric Cinema is tucked away on Station Street and offers new movies and old classics. It’s definitely an experience you want to go to before you leave university. They offer cocktails, specially brewed local craft ale, nibbles and plush seating. A ticket will cost you £5.90 which is a lot less costly than modern cinemas.
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at presenting, then this is the perfect activity for you. In the public space of the BBC Birmingham at the mailbox on Level 7 you can present the news and weather, have your photo taken and take selfies in dresses from Strictly. The best part is that admission is free!
Lastly, if you love comedy, then you’ve got to get yourself down to the Cherry Red Comedy Club. They have a capacity of less than 50 seats, so it gives you the unique opportunity to see some of the best TV comedians in the UK - up close and personal. They have had guests such as Joe Lycett, Darren Harriot and Russell Howards. Tickets range from £3 - £13. Find out more information on their Facebook page.
Eat on a budget
Want to eat and drink for free? Yes, it’s actually possible! Restaurants such as Giraffe, Leon and Wagamama all use mystery-shopping companies to keep staff on their toes and ensure good service and food. Not only will you get a free meal but sometimes you can actually get paid too! Mystery Dining by HGEM works with over 200 clients and assesses restaurants that includes Eat, Itsu and Wagamama. Service Scan covers restaurants, pubs and bars and Market Force covers the UK and globally.
A great lifehack is to head down to supermarkets an hour before closing to bag yourself a yellow-sticker discount. Sometimes it can be up to 75% off perfectly good grub (check expiry date to see when it has to be used by). This can be a huge saving if you’re doing this once or twice a week!
Lastly, a firm favourite in Birmingham is the Digbeth Dining Club which showcases a number of food stalls. It has been referred to by some as ‘Birmingham’s Camden’ - but I rate it a lot higher. The dining club is held near the Custard Factory and offers an array of delicious cuisines from all around the world. A firm favourite is the award-winning Thai food, Budda Belly. Entry is £1.50 but once you taste the food, you’ll soon forget about the entry cost.
Health and beauty
Health and beauty treatments can soon add up, but this lifehack is a no brainer if you don’t mind taking a bit of a risk. The Spa is located in Newhall Street and based at one of the University’s three city locations. They offer hairdressing, beauty treatments, massages and sports therapy at a highly reduced price. This is because treatments are conducted by students who do it as a part of their training.
The deals you need to know about
You have really joined the best club by becoming a student and I say that because companies love to give us discounts. The main apps to download immediately are Unidays and Student Beans which offer an array of savings on multiple retailers, activities, restaurants and bars.
There are also plenty of apps that will get you those takeaways at a fraction of the price. Too Good To Go offers discounted prices on restaurant food that would otherwise have been wasted. If you love eating out, then this one is perfect for you. Tastecard gives you 50% off or 2-4-1 on meals which gives you a great saving. Restaurants which have joined the scheme includes Pizza Express, Prezzo, Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny’s plus a load more.
Cinema tickets can sometimes seem costly, especially if you’re living on a student budget. However, Compare the Market offer 2-4-1 cinema tickets on a Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s well worth checking out if you love the cinema.
So, these are my tips and tricks to living in Birmingham on a student budget. If you follow one or more of my tips then you’ll definitely have more money left over at the end of the month!