Find out how students fund their studies when they are entitled to lower student loan because of their household income

4 min read

To help you understand more about how students fund their studies and university life, our students have been keeping a money diary to show you their typical weekly spend

Student loan contributions are based on your current household income. Below you'll find a diary from a Film Production student, who receives the minimum student loan contribution. You'll see how they manage their money over a typical week, including earning extra money to fund their social activities.

Course: Film Production

Where do you live? In a house share, in Southsea, with 7 other people.

How do you fund your studies? Student Finance England

Scholarship/bursaries: None

Annual income

A typical week

Monday – £0 spent

I worked from home so didn’t spend any additional money on this day. I worked part-time for my job as a content creator, including answering student questions online, and editing a TikTok video. I spent 2 hours on this, earning just over £18.

Since I had some spare time, I completed some online surveys. I use websites such as UserTesting and Prolific to earn some extra cash. Although they don’t pay much, the money adds up and allows some extra room in my budget.

Usually I do a big grocery shop every fortnight to last me 2 weeks (costing around £40); this means I eat at home a lot or make myself a packed lunch to save money on food.

Tuesday – £16.53 spent

I was on set in the afternoon today. We require a lot of equipment which often means paying for taxi transportation. I paid for a return taxi (Uber) costing me £9.33.

I also went to Hampshire Boulevard for their weekly bingo night with my friends. I bought 2 tickets costing £5 total, and was 2 numbers away from winning £150! I also bought a drink from the bar (£2.20). 

Wednesday – £9.50 spent

I was in university for a lecture and a studio shoot. I bought lunch from the cafe (a sandwich, chocolate bar and packet of crisps), totalling £5 and also bought snacks for the crew (£4.50). They loved the cookies, chocolate, and sausage rolls!

Thursday – £0 spent

I didn’t spend any extra money today as I was working at home, and had plenty of food in the fridge. I finished more work for my content creation job, gaining £18. Because I work from home a lot of the time, I have to have a good internet connection which means I opted for the faster internet speed in my monthly bills package (totalling £59.75 per month).

Friday – £5.35 spent

On Fridays I have 3 lectures and today I also needed to collect kit from the loan store. It was a rush so I decided to buy lunch from the cafe before my lecture started, totalling £5.35 for a toasted sandwich, chocolate bar, and packet of crisps.

Saturday – £8.58 spent

I was filming on the Isle of Wight today. The organisers of the event paid for our ferry tickets, but I paid for a taxi to take our equipment to the port. This cost me £4.58 (Uber).

We had some time in between shooting and leaving so treated myself to some vegetarian nuggets and chips from the local chippie (£4).

Sunday – £10 spent

I spent the day on the beach with my friends. I filmed a TikTok and YouTube video for my job as a content creator and later edited the video, earning around £36. The video I was creating was called “Portsmouth on a tenner” so I spent £10 for the day!

I bought some vegetarian chicken burgers and sausages (£4.85 from Iceland), a disposable BBQ (£2.15 from Tesco), and managed to find a couple of rounders bats and a tennis ball for just £3 from Poundland. I’d say it was a very student budget friendly day out!

Total spent across the week: £49.96

Monthly spending

More about me

Before coming to university, what conversations did you have about money?

I had spoken to my parents about how they budget and they had created a budgeting spreadsheet with me so that I knew how to do it. This really helped me when I started uni as it didn't all feel so overwhelming when I had it written down in front of me.

How do you feel about your finances now you’re here?

I feel like a grown up! When you learn how to manage your money and start to budget properly you really feel like you're maturing. Now that I've been doing it for almost 2 years I feel confident that, in the future, I will be able to do it independently.

Having a part time job with the uni definitely helped me feel more confident in my finances because, when I started uni, I had budgeted without it so it meant that I always had a little extra money to work with if I needed it.

What do you wish you’d known about funding your studies before coming to university?

I wish I'd known not to worry about it. Up until year 12 I didn't want to go to uni because of the finance side of things and knowing that I'd receive the minimum maintenance loan made things a lot harder in my head. But you always find a way to manage. It's a bit daunting at first but once you ease into it, it gets so much easier!