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Living costs

Salford and Manchester are relatively budget friendly areas to live, allowing students to enjoy some of the cheapest public transport costs in the UK as well as great offers on social activities and plenty of choice when it comes to filling your food cupboards. This is due to the large student population in the Greater Manchester area.

Rent is often the largest cost. It can be relatively cheap if you can forward plan enough to look around. How much rent you pay is your single greatest opportunity to make large savings.

If you live within Greater Manchester, a suggested figure for minimum annual living costs is calculated as no less than £7,084pa for single students, who make up our largest population.

This figure or £7,084 was arrived at by looking at the spending habits below. Some of these spending habits may not apply to you, so please take a look at the table below to see how your spending could be affected, or different from this table.

Estimated minimum costs for a single student who pays rent and lives in Greater Manchester*

Likely Expenditure

Minimum cost

per month

Minimum cost per year





bedsit or a shared house only

Utilities (gas electric water)



Low rent often means utility bills




FIRST bus student monthly pass

Prescriptions & Dentistry



NHS Low Income Scheme

Textbooks & Stationary



Use your FREE library

Essential Food



It helps greatly if you can cook




Try and get this close to zero









Refurbished Laptop



Look for warrantee offers

Mobile contract



Pay as you go is another option

Socialising expenses



hugely variable, and controllable





*These costs were researched by Moneymatters in February 2020 for the Salford and Manchester areas

Although the very minimum rent you are likely to find is £250 per month, there are probably not enough of these low rents to go around. It is possible to pay significantly more, even £600 per month. Many of the best deals will also be snapped up a few months before the start of an academic year.

So start looking early. Look at plenty of options and always check the contract before signing anything. Make sure that you know exactly what’s included in the price, sometimes ‘bills included’ contracts can be cheaper than organising it yourself.

The maximum loan for living costs for students not on benefits in 2020/21 will be £9,203. It is worth considering how much your rent will cost you annually against the loan that you will receive from Student Finance.

Living at home can be a good way to save on costs but you will receive a lower loan for living costs from Student Finance. It is also worth noting that travel costs will be higher for those that commute further to study.

It’s important to think ahead and budget. There is a budgeting tool and sound money advice at

* Average Annual Cost based on 42 weeks – usual student contract

** Other includes utility bills, mobile phone bill, tv licence, social costs

Receiving Money

If you’re an international student, please do not have any living expenses or accommodation funds sent to the university from your sponsor as they cannot be transferred to you due to money laundering laws. Any money that you need, to help with living costs will must be paid from your sponsor directly to you.

Council Tax

All full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax. You may need to provide your local authority or landlord with a Council Tax exemption letter to prove you are a student at the University of Salford. An exemption certificate should be sent to your student email shortly after you register. If you do not receive your certificate you can request one online.

Part time students do not qualify for Council Tax exemption regardless of the hours studied on the course.

Television Licence

If you are in a regular property (i.e. with a private landlord) one Television Licence will cover the whole property. In university halls, each student with a TV will need their own licence. If you do not watch or record live broadcasts or download BBC i-player programmes, you may be exempt from needing to have a licence. The TV licensing website provides more information as to who needs to pay for a licence. Sometimes these are included in your rent, it is worth checking this before you pay.

Earning Extra Cash

In order to afford rent, bills, food and other expenses, you may want to consider getting a part-time job. While it may feel like a struggle to try and juggle both study and work there are several benefits to employment during university:

  • Extra cash
  • Increases work experience, making you more employable later in life
  • Allows you to increase your knowledge of the working world and gain life experience.

We encourage you not to work over 20 hours per week as this may impact on your relaxation and studies. Our Careers & Employability Service can help you to search for part time work. They also offer workshops on CV improvement, interview techniques and help you to prepare through mock interviews. Check out their webpage here.