University student money diary

06 June 2023

Penryn Campus Stannary interior with students dining
Stannary dining

We asked Katie, a second-year Acting student what she spends in a typical week at Falmouth University. 

I am currently living in a five bedroom shared house in Penryn which is only a 20 minute walk from Falmouth University’s Penryn Campus. Being able to walk to all of my lectures on campus is really convenient as I don’t have to spend money on transport. 


Income & Student Finance 

I receive around £8,500 in Student Finance each year. This is paid in instalments, with £2,500 being paid in September and January, and a further £3,500 in April.

In order to boost my finances, I have a job as a Student Ambassador at Falmouth University, where I work at Open Days, campus tours and events. I get paid £11.40 per hour for this role. I like to work at least one shift a week during term time to ensure that I have a healthy home, work and uni life balance. However, when there are no lectures, like at the moment as I have finished my studies for my second year of university, I work as many shifts as possible to save money for the next academic year. 

Monthly outgoings

My monthly rent is £442 for my room in a shared house in Penryn. I also pay £5.17 per month for insurance, and £6.90 for WIFI and £12.81 for water. As a student, I don’t need to pay Council Tax. 

Regarding subscriptions, I use Spotify student premium which costs £5.99 per month. I also invested in a 16-25 Railcard at the beginning of university. This cost £70 for three years and gives me a third off train journeys. 

Money diary

Day one

I wasn’t feeling well today so decided to stay at home and rest. Thankfully I didn't have anything planned for this day so taking a day off to recover didn't cause any issues. 

Total: £0 

Day two

I decided to do my weekly food shop today because I was running low on milk and other supplies. I normally spend anywhere between £15 and £25 on a weekly shop and today it was £21.40.  

This evening, I head to darts which is a sport I really enjoy and represent Cornwall for. I usually spend no more than £15 for the whole night. Tonight was no different and I spent £12.70 in total which includes transport there and back, darts subs for the week and two pints.  

Total: £34.10 

Day three

I had work today from 9:30am until 4pm at the University. I bought lunch, which cost roughly £4. Besides this, I didn't spend any money today.  

Total: £4 

Day four

Just like yesterday, I had work from 9:30am until 4pm and I bought lunch, which was again roughly £4. 

Total: £4 

Day five

I had work from 5pm-8:30pm. I decided to eat at home before my shift to avoid having to buy food out. Overall, I didn't spend any money today as I didn't need to.  

Total: £0 

Day six

I had work from 8am until 4pm on the Falmouth Campus, which is about 4 miles from Penryn. I caught the train from Penryn station down to Falmouth which cost £2.10. I picked up lunch while I was there which cost about £4. 

After work, I headed to Wetherspoons in Falmouth to meet some of my course mates. I ordered a pint which cost £3.20. 

Total: £9.30 

Day seven

I had the day off today so I decided to stay at home to catch up on some housework, including washing and hoovering. As I didn’t leave the house, I didn't spend any money that day. 

Total: £0 

The breakdown 

  • Food & Drink: £44.20 
  • Entertainment: £2.50 
  • Travel: £4.70 
  • Clothes & Beauty: £0 
  • Home & Health: £0 
  • Other: £0 

Total: £51.40 


This money diary was recorded on a week where I didn't have lectures, so it may vary depending on how many lectures I had on that day. However, this is very close to what I would spend in a regular week. I try and stick to a budget of £50 per week as this helps me to avoid massive overspending and ensures that I have enough money to pay rent and the bills.

For more information on how to budget for university, visit our Money Matters hub.

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