With a population of more than 550,000, a number growing day by day, more and more people are flocking to Manchester. A city with a rich industrial history, bisected by rivers and canals, in Manchester residents can achieve a lifestyle similar to that of London or Birmingham, but at a far more reasonable price.
In spring 2022, Manchester was named as one of the top 10 cheapest cities in the UK to live in amid the cost of living crisis, as well as The Economist’s most liveable UK city for several years running. A student city, the fact that over 50% of those who study in Manchester choose to remain here speaks for itself – once you’re here, you’re home.
Everyone knows that the north is consistently cheaper than its southern counterparts, but what exactly is the cost of living in Manchester? We can give you a good idea, and share some ways you can keep it even lower, to truly get the most out of this vibrant, cosmopolitan city.
The cost of groceries
Based on recent studies and polls, if you can aim to spend roughly £30-£50 a week on groceries as a single person in Manchester, you’re on the right track. One of the easiest ways to do this is by regularly comparing your weekly shop price to that of other supermarkets.
Many websites and news outlets run frequent comparisons, making it easy to find the best prices for your cupboard staples. With the cost of other utilities rising steeply, keeping your grocery shopping competitive is something you can easily take control over.
All of the big name supermarkets are accessible from Manchester city centre, but if you’re looking for the cheapest you’ll want to focus on Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons. One top tip is to always do your food shop on a full stomach to keep you from being cowed by your cravings.
The cost of transport
Manchester has a wide variety of accommodating public transport options, including buses, trams and trains. Amazingly, a monthly Metrolink pass in Manchester can be nearly £100 cheaper than the London equivalent. Day tickets across the tram, bus or Metrolink are usually under £10, with the cost of one-way tickets dropping to £3 and under.
If you want to cut the costs of transport entirely, Manchester is considered pedestrian friendly, with well-maintained paths and public parks. Or, if you don’t have time to smell the roses, cycling is always free and easy, with more and more bike lanes being added to the city’s streets as its occupants turn to two-wheeled travel.
The cost of eating out
Even with rising prices on your mind, you’re going to want to treat yourself every now and then. And with the multitude of treats that Manchester has on offer, it would be madness to try and resist. Luckily there’s an option for every budget, with a standard meal for two setting you back £25-£35.
Check out one of the many affordable curry houses on the infamous Curry Mile, Rusholme, if you want flavour worth every penny. Or, if you’re looking for a coffee to go (which will set you back roughly £2.50-£3), don’t just head for one of the dozens (yes, literally dozens) of Starbucks in the city centre – the independent coffee house scene in Manchester is huge.
Keeping in mind that your money will spread further in Manchester compared to other cities, eating out every once in a while won’t be breaking the bank any time soon.
The cost of entertainment
What would Manchester be without its music, sports and art? There’s so much to see and enjoy in Manchester – much of which is doable without spending anything at all. Many of the museums and galleries (there are 119 in total) offer free admission, but with a recommended charitable donation for those who wish to support their work.
If you have some cash to burn on cultural enrichment, there is a reliable host of artisanal markets and music festivals passing through Manchester at any one time. If you’re feeling raucous, why not grab tickets to a gig at the infamous Warehouse Project, the largest indoor techno experience in the UK?
Tickets are usually less than £40 depending on the headliner, and well worth the price for the experience. Or, if you fancy dinner and a show, Albert’s Schloss Bavarian-style beer hall vibes and bawdy cabaret performances are not to be missed – and cocktails start at only £9.50.
And if you think entertainment is worth splashing out on, we have loads more suggestions of fun things you can do in Manchester.
Renting with UNCLE in Manchester
The cost of living is on the rise all across the country, whether we like it or not. But we don’t think that means comfortable, luxurious city living has to be a pipe dream.
Most importantly, the cost of living in Manchester is considered perfectly reasonable by the ones who know it best – its residents. Based on a recent survey by Time Out, the majority of people living in Manchester do not find it an expensive place to live – and not only do we agree, but we want to do our bit to make it even more liveable.
Our furnished one bed and studio apartments start at £1025, waiting to be found in our beautiful Grade II listed building a mere 6 minutes walk from Manchester Piccadilly. No spare cash for a gym membership? No problem. We have a residents-only gym and yoga space. If you’re a budding artist needing a place to be creative, feel free to use our art studio. Just remember us when you’re famous.