Cost of living in Sheffield for students

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The city of Sheffield

If you have the option of studying in other cities in the UK but would like to know the cost of living in Sheffield for students before choosing a school, this article is for you. 

I currently study and live in Sheffield and this city is home to two Universities- Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, making it a lively student community. Sheffield is one of the most affordable cities in the UK to live in and study in, and honestly, this was one of the reasons I chose to study in Sheffield as an international student even though I had the option to choose schools that were in other cities.

To understand the cost of living in Sheffield as a student, I’ll break down this article to discuss factors that influence this cost. Factors such as rent, transportation, feeding and groceries, toiletries, cost of clothes, entertainment, and phone bills.

Read also: Factors to consider when choosing a University in the UK.

Cost of renting accommodation in Sheffield for students

The two universities in Sheffield, i.e., the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, both offer student accommodation. These accommodations are often (not always) bills inclusive. What this means is that the monthly rent you pay includes payment for things like Wi-Fi, electricity, gas, water, and other facilities offered by the hall of residence. 

School halls of residence

Student accommodation offered by Sheffield Hallam University ranges from £95 – £168 per week, while University of Sheffield accommodation prices range from £120 – £181 for a 42-week contract for undergraduate students, £121 – £180 for a 42-week contract and £120 – £190 for a 51-week contract for postgraduate students. 

Contract durationUniversity of Sheffield
(weekly rent (£))
Sheffield Hallam University
(Weekly rent (£))
Undergraduate students42 weeks£120 – £181 £95 – £168 
Post-graduate students42 weeks£121 – £180 
51 weeks£120 – £190

But accommodations offered by the university to students are lower in supply than demand. There are other options that make up for this. 

Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA)

There are housing companies that specifically offer student accommodation packages. Some of the most popular ones in Sheffield include Unite Students, iQ Student accommodation, and Student Roost. 

Accommodation providerRent per week
Unite Students£80 – £140
iQ Student accommodation>£100 – <£300
Student Roost£99 – <£200

Private renting

As a student, you can also rent through real estate agencies or directly from landlords. Some of them have student packages, while most do not have any special offer for students.

You can find houses for rent in Sheffield through online real estate property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla, OpenRent, OnTheMarket, and Reeds Rent. 

To best way to get an idea of house much it will cost to rent a house in Sheffield when renting directly from landlords or real estate agencies is to visit the website of any of the real estate property companies I mentioned in the previous paragraph. You can filter your search result to display houses within your budget, how many rooms you are looking to rent, if you want a furnished apartment or not, the part of Sheffield you want to live in, etc.

Cost of transportation in Sheffield for Students

Bus tickets in Sheffield costs £2 per trip for adults. But students aged 22 and above pay £1.20 when they present their student ID. Tram tickets cost £2 and there’s no discount for students over 21 years.

With a Zoom Beyond pass, students aged between 18- 21 pay £0.80 (80 pence) for bus and trams. 

Using the assumption that you’ll use public transport (bus and tram) 5 times a week, every week below is how much it will approximately cost to travel in a month as a student in Sheffield.

Monthly cost of traveling by bus as a student in Sheffield

AgeCalculationTotal (£)
18 – 21(0.80 x 2)* x 5 x 432
22(1.20 x 2)* x 5 x 448


Monthly cost of traveling by tram as a student in Sheffield

AgeCalculation Total (£)
18 – 21(0.80 x 2)* x 5 x 432
22(2 x 2)* x 5 x 480

* Return ticket.

Bus is the more popular mode of transportation because it covers more routes than trams.

Asides bus discounts, students also get train ticket discounts when they buy a rail card. A rail card is especially profitable for students that travel out of Sheffield occasionally. With a rail card, you get 1/3% discount off the original ticket prices. A rail card costs £30 for a year. If there’s an on-going promo, it will cost less. You can also check StudentBeans for discount codes if you’ll be paying online. 

Inter-city bus service providers like National Express and Mega Bus, offer 15% and 10% discount respectively to students. You can get student discount codes by going to Student Beans, UniDays or Totum when booking online.

Food and groceries

The total amount you’ll spend on feeding and buying groceries as a student will depend on your appetite, if you make your own meals or if you eat out, and how often you eat out if you do. Occasional restaurant or fast-food visits won’t dent your pocket. But regular eat outs will.

I asked a couple of friends and acquaintances (who are students as well) how much they spend on feeding monthly and the replies they gave me ranged from £200 – £300. So, I could say the average cost of feeding and grocery shopping in Sheffield for a single student is £250.

Toiletries

After calculating how much I spent on toiletries in 3 months, the total I got was £61.25. So, on average, I spent £20.42 monthly. There were some months I spent more than £20, while there were months I spent less. 

Shopping in supermarkets that offer low prices can save you a lot of money. Consider shopping for your toiletries, groceries, and some of your food stuff in Aldi and Lidl. You’ll get a lot of things at a low rate in these stores.

Clothes

Shopping for clothes in Sheffield, in my opinion, is expensive. But I don’t think it’s a Sheffield thing. I think quality clothes are generally (relatively) expensive in the UK. You could spend up to £100+ in a month shopping for casual wears and that amount would only get you 3-4 good clothes. 

There are places you can shop for clothes at a low rate, but they don’t promise great quality. Ex: Primark. 

I prefer to shop on Asos. You can find moderately priced clothes of good quality there + they give student discount. 

Entertainment

University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University occasionally organises social events for its students. Some of them are free and come with refreshments. The others that are not free are usually offered at a subsidized rate. So, it’s possible to spend £0 on entertainment as a student in a month. 

But beyond school-organized events, there are other things you can do.

Clubbing, cinema outings, picnics, outdoor games are some of the most common entertaining activities students enjoy in Sheffield. Movie tickets at the cinema could cost as low as £6.50 for students. 

Phone (sim) bill

This would depend on your service provider and your contract with the company. I asked a couple of my friends how much they spend on phone bills monthly, and the answers they gave me ranged from £10 – £36.

You can pay less on phone bills by opting for a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deal instead of a rolling contract. With a PAYG sim deal, you only pay for the service you use. With a rolling contract, you’ll pay more. 

Secondly, if you get a rolling contract, you’ll have to stay with that network provider for the duration of that contract (even if you are not getting a satisfactory service). If you want to change network provider before your contract elapses, you’ll have to pay a penalty fee equal to the sum of the monthly charge left for the contract to expire. 

Having discussed all these, …

How much does it cost to live as a student in Sheffield?

To answer this question, let’s revisit the recurring expenses we earlier discussed. See table below.

Recurring expensesEstimated average monthly cost (£)
Rent & utilities760
Transportation64
Feeding & groceries250
Toiletries20.42
Clothes 100
Phone (sim) bill23
Total1,217.42

From the calculations above, we can say that the average cost of living in Sheffield as a student is £1,217.42 per month.

Frequently asked questions

Is it expensive to live in Sheffield?

No, it’s not. Based on my personal observation visiting other cities in England like Brighton, Coventry, and London, I’ve found that Sheffield is one of the most affordable cities to live and study in England.

Is Sheffield a good place to live for international students?

From my experience as an international student, I’d say, yes. Sheffield is a good place to study and live for international students. People are welcoming, and it’s easy to adapt because you’ll see a lot of fellow international students. 

Is Sheffield a good city for students?

Yes, Sheffield is a good city for students. 

In addition to the fact that the two universities in Sheffield are among the best 20 universities in the UK, there are a lot of other perks of studying in Sheffield. Students in Sheffield enjoy a lot of incentives. Compared to several cities in the UK Sheffield is less expensive, the environment is beautiful, there are lots of places you can visit to have fun without having to spend much, there are job opportunities, etc. 

Conclusion

As much as the cost of living in Sheffield as a student is considerably lower than the cost of living in many other cities in the UK, it can be difficult to save after paying your bills. 

International students are not permitted to work for more than 20 hours a week during term-time. The average hourly rate ranges from £10.18 – £16 for most job roles open to students. This means that during term-time, most students earn between £814.4 – £1,280 monthly. With the average cost of living in Sheffield as a student being approximately £1,200, there will be little to save afterwards.

To mitigate the effect of this, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University occasionally helps students with cost-of-living support. This could come in the form of scholarships, shopping vouchers, grants, etc. I recommend you be on the lookout for such opportunities and apply for them when they are announced. I also recommend you read this guide on how to save money as a student. It will help you find out how to cut off unnecessary expenses and manage your money better as a student.

As told by Uzoamaka