Money advice and support

One of the most important things that you’ll need to learn as a student is how to manage your money. Knowing that your finances are under control means that you can relax, concentrate on your studies and fully enjoy your time here at Birmingham.

The Funding, Graduation and Awards team provides financial advice and support to all University of Birmingham students throughout their studies. You can get in touch with us via fga@contacts.bham.ac.uk. On this page you will find some useful tips and resources designed to help you make the most of your money while at university. We also run numerous funding drop-in sessions and financial capability workshops throughout the year, details of which are included below.  

National Student Money Week 2020

National Student Money Week, which for 2020 will take place between Monday 3 and Friday 7 February, is an annual national campaign held to raise awareness of student finances. This year’s theme is ‘Healthy Living, Healthy Spending’. It is all about helping students to develop financial-capability skills in an environmentally sustainable way.

In addition to our normal funding workshops and drop-in sessions, we will be hosting a range of events, providing free money advice and free food(!), at various locations around campus. All sessions are free to attend and there is no need to book: just come along at the specified times below.

Food Taster and Cooking Demonstration
On Tuesday 4 Februrary we will be hosting a cooking demonstration at Shackleton Hall with the help of the Shackleton catering team. The event is open to all first-year students living in any of the University's halls of residence. Come to the Shackleton Hall reception where we will be giving away hot food that you can learn to cook for yourself by watching our live food demonstration. There is no need to book: just come along at any time between 17:30 and 19:30.

Financial Health Clinics
How financially sustainable are you? Come and find out at our Financial Health Clinic. We will be providing information and advice to help you to manage your finances with confidence. You will also have the chance to win a sustainable goodie hamper to boost your eco-rating! The clinics will take place on Wednesday 5 February in the Great Hall from 11:00– 15:00, and on Thursday 6 February in the Guild Reception from 11:30–14:00. Again there is no need to book: simply pop along when you have the chance. 

Funding workshops

Funding advice drop-in sessions and clinics. 

If you have general questions about funding your studies then you can talk to a member of the Funding, Graduation and Awards team at one of our drop-in sessions.

If you are experiencing money worries and need to talk to a member of the team in private then you can do so at one of our weekly funding clinics. These take place in the Student Hub, Aston Webb Building during term time. There is no need to pre-book: simply come along to the Student Hub during clinic hours, select 'funding clinic' at the kiosk and a funding advisor will come out to see you. Dates and times for the Spring Term are as follows:

  • Thursday 23 January 2020 15:30–16:30
  • Thursday 30 January 15:30–16:30
  • Monday 3 February 10:00–11:00
  • Monday 10 February 2020 10:00–11:00
  • Thursday 20 February 2020 15:30–16:30
  • Thursday 27 February 2020 15:30–16:30
  • Monday 02 March 2020 10:00–11:00
  • Monday 09 March 2020 10:00–11:00
  • Thursday 19 March 2020 15:30–16:30
  • Thursday 26 March 2020 15:30–16:30

You can also talk to your school's Welfare Officer or Welfare Tutor about any financial worries that you have, especially if these are having an impact on your studies.

 

Funding postgraduate study.

If you are considering postgraduate study and have questions about funding you can join an online forum through the Virtual Open Day platform. These run at regular intervals throughout the year. The Funding, Graduation and Awards team will also have a stand and be giving funding talks at the upcoming Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday 11 March 2020. 

What's next? Financial capability for graduates.

If you are a final-year undergraduate or taught postgraduate student then you can sign up for a workshop on financial capability skills for graduates. The session will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding your paycheck and offer tips on building financial resilience and planning for your future.

Future sessions are due to take place on: 

  • Thursday 6 February  - 16:00 to 18:00
  • Thursday 13 February  - 16:00 to 18:00
  • Thursday 27 February  - 16:00 to 18:00

You can book your place through our online form.

Budgeting advice

It is crucial to remember that most students receive their funding in fairly large instalments, normally at the start of every term. So once a payment has been received, it usually has to last quite a while (typically until the start of the following term) before another payment comes through. This is why budgeting is so important. 

First you need to establish the total income that is available to you. This might be a combination of your student loan, any scholarships that you receive, contributions from family members or sponsors and wages from part-time work. You can learn more about all of these sources of income through our funding pages

Once you know how much you have coming in, you will need to work out how much money you are likely to have left over after you've covered the essentials like rent, utilities and food. This will give you an idea of how much you can put aside for socialising and life's little luxuries. We have produced a budget planner to help you do this (PDF - 1,413KB).

There are also several budgeting apps that may be able to help, including:

  • mint - a comprehensive budget that categorises your spending showing where cutting back might be possible
  • goodbudget - includes a 'share budgets' feature - very good if you're in a house share
  • toshl - little monster characters put the fun into budgeting - also includes a currency conversion feature
  • Money Lover - brilliant for those who like charts, statistics and graphs 
  • loot - specifically designed for students, this links to a prepaid VISA card making tracking purchases simple

When calculating your budget, don't forget about one-off costs such as special occasions, birthday presents, family outings... and trips to the dentist!  The Which Student Guide gives a list of ten things to include. Also, Brightside have produced a brilliant online student calculator that can help you establish, monitor and review your budget on an ongoing basis. Save the Student provide some handy tips for saving money, together with a broad range of useful online tools and calculators to help you make the most of your finances. 

Don't forget to look out for discounts and savings, especially those aimed at students. Use your NUS student card wherever possible to get student discounts and freebies.   

Finally, if you are still struggling you may wish to consider applying to our Student Support Fund or you may feel that speaking to an adviser from GuildAdvice in the Guild of Students would be useful.