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.  

Funding workshops

Funding advice drop-in 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.

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 Saturday 23 November 2019.

If you are interested in PhD study then come along to our PhD funding panel at 14:00 on Thursday 21 November 2019 at Westmere House. You can book your place through our online form.  

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. 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.