Money matters

Student Cost of Living in Manchester

Manchester is not only an amazing place to be a student, it is also one of the more affordable places to study. Here's what you need to know about the average cost of living in Manchester for students and how much to expect to pay while you’re here.
Student Cost of Living in Manchester
Published on: 23 Oct 2023

Aside from your course fees, student accommodation is going to be your largest outgoing.

The University of Manchester estimates accommodation will cost around £160 per week in 2023, or £6,570 per 41 week year.

That’s not including food but does include bills while you stay in halls. Once you leave halls in your second and third year, you can expect that to rise substantially.

Stay with Sanctuary Students and you could pay as little as £133 per week for self-contained student accommodation.

That includes bills!

All rent includes bills and we promise, there are no hidden fees or extras. The price you see is the price you pay.

We’ll get to bills in a minute…

We have two buildings in Manchester. One is on Denmark Road, the other on Grafton Street. Both are close to class, close to the city centre and transport links.

Both would make an excellent home while you study in Manchester.

Household bills

Household bills can add significantly to the cost of living in Manchester for students.

Bills typically include electricity, gas, water, TV, internet, insurance and any optional extras you might have.

As a student, you’re not liable for council tax, which is a big saving. Once you’re out of halls, you will be liable, or partly liable for the rest.

We estimate you’ll need £120 per month for bills. Much will depend on what you have in your accommodation.

You’ll pay more for Sky, Netflix and so on but those are optional anyway.

Want to avoid paying bills and keep that money for yourself?

Stay with Sanctuary Students. All rents are fully inclusive, so there are no bills to pay.

Gas, electricity, water, internet/WiFi, cleaning common areas, security, CCTV, building maintenance, common room and even contents insurance are all included in the price!


How much you spend on travel depends on how much you plan to use public transport.

Our buildings are in the heart of the city, close to class and everything that’s going on. You may want to explore further though.

There are student travelcards like the Stagecoach UniRider or student tickets from First Bus, but you’ll still pay upwards of £50 per month for them.

Transport for Greater Manchester also offers weekly and monthly passes for students to travel across the city.

If you think you’ll need to take public transport, budget a minimum of £50 per month for it. For occasional use, the cheapest option may be to pay as you go.

Mobile phone and internet

Mobile phone and internet are two smaller outgoings that add to the cost of living in Manchester for students.

There is no regional pricing for either of these so you’ll probably pay the same as you’re paying now for your phone.

There are always deals to be had and, if you can use the same phone for a little longer, SIM only deals offer a lot of data for not a lot of money.

Internet costs vary depending on where you live.

It will likely be free while you’re in halls. It’s also free if you stay with Sanctuary Students as it’s included in the rent.

If you go for an HMO or rent a flat with friends, you’ll pay around £30 upwards for a standard internet connection.

Leisure and entertainment

Leisure and entertainment costs will vary massively depending on what you plan to do for fun while away at university.

You could have a great time while not spending a lot of money. You could also have a great time while spending a lot of money.

This is where budgeting can come into its own. Setting up an entertainment fund where you have a good idea of how much you can spend per week or per month.

The University of Manchester estimates a weekly cost of £60 to cover leisure, entertainment, books, phone, laundry and study costs.

We would say that’s very conservative.

Even one night out in a city pub buying a couple of rounds could exceed that!

We would estimate a minimum of £100 to £150 is more realistic.

There are plenty of free things to do as a student in Manchester but most things cost money here so you’ll need more than £60.

Study costs

Study costs include books, stationery and all those little things you need to complete your course.

It doesn’t include specific equipment you may need for particular courses. Neither does it include course fees or laptops as those should be taken care of already.

We estimate the cost of living in Manchester for students here would be £40-50 per month.

Once you have your course books for the year, the rest should be pens, paper and post-it notes.


Food will be another significant outgoing during your student years. Even a basic diet of pasta and sauce isn’t as cheap as it used to be so you’ll need to budget carefully.

We strongly recommend learning to cook a few basic meals for yourself before you leave home. It will save you an incredible amount of money while ensuring you have everything you need to make it through your course.

We estimate at 2023 prices, you’ll need around £50-60 per week for food.

That doesn’t include eating out or deliveries.

That’s grocery shopping with a couple of nice extras to keep life interesting.

Shop savvy, use discount supermarkets and yellow sticker offers to minimise your spending as much as possible.

Gym membership

Gym membership may or may not be important to you depending on how you plan to spend your time.

For some, it’s essential. For others, not so much.

The University of Manchester provides access to three sports facilities, Armitage Sports Centre & Wellbeing Rooms, Manchester Aquatics Centre and Sugden Sports Centre.

Memberships cost from £120 per year for each depending on the venue and membership type you choose.

There’s also Whitworth Park and Hulme Hall gyms and UoM ResFit from £70 per year.


Laundry costs are one of those outgoings often overlooked when you’re planning your university stay.

It isn’t expensive but can add up over the year depending on how you plan to keep your clothes clean.

University halls have laundry amenities, which means you’ll need to budget £7-10 for laundry detergent.

Once you’re out of halls, costs can vary.

If you’re in an HMO, you’ll still need to pay for detergent but also add a little for water and electricity.

If you stay with Sanctuary Students, you’ll have access to a laundry room with an average wash costing from £3.

Cost of living in Manchester for students

The cost of living in Manchester for students is lower than in many other university cities while offering so much more.

Studying at one of the city universities means getting a great education in a fantastic city.

Staying with Sanctuary Students while studying at one of the city universities means having a fantastic place to live, with no bills, while getting a great education.

You don’t need a degree in economics to know that makes good sense!

Accommodation prices accurate as of July 2023.