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Is the Student Maintenance Loan Enough to Live On?

May 2, 2018

In this article, we investigate whether or not the student maintenance loan gives you enough to live on without having you to seek part-time work.

Your maintenance loan is a sum of money that you get for day-to-day expenses while you’re at uni, from rent and bills to transport costs. You pay it back after you graduate, once you are earning over £21,000. You’ll probably know this already, having (hopefully) done your research.

What you might not know, however, is that there’s a chance that it won’t quite be enough to pay for the day-to-day stuff. Your maintenance loan is calculated depending on your family’s household income, so the amount you receive might be slim when you factor in living costs.

Student finance calculator

If this is the case, don’t worry. To see how much maintenance you’ll receive, you can go to the government’s official student finance calculator. If you don’t think your loan will stretch far enough, see below for ways to make a bit more money.

We all have to make ends meet! It’s easy once you get a bit savvier about things.

Shop smarter

The golden rule when it comes to food shopping is to never do a big shop on an empty stomach. You’ll find yourself succumbing to your bellyaches, and before you know it you’ve got a trolley full of Pop Tarts and share-bag crisps – i.e. a trolley full of nothing.

Look for reduced-price foods, and find out what time the supermarkets roll out their reduced products. You might benefit from buying in bulk, too. If you can freeze your foods, even better.

We actually wrote a whole blog on the subject: find out how to do an efficient food shop.

Part-time work helps

The average student ends up having to get a part-time job at some point in their academic career. It’s the easiest way to add a stable cash flow to your finances, and a bit of part-time work can give you a great bit of work experience (it all helps on the graduate market).

Hospitality and retail are good areas for you to get into; although they aren’t the most glamorous, they do give you the flexibility you need to work around your studies.

If you’re extra-savvy, you can even sell your skills to websites like Upwork or Fiverr and make your start as a freelancer. To find out more ways to earn on a part-time basis, check out our blog.

Get all the freebies you can

If you know, you know. There are lots of discounts you can take advantage of, like two-for-one tickets at your local cinema or a trial of Amazon Prime Student. The app Wish, for example, gives you loads of little freebies, from funky USB pens to colourful post-it notes.

As a student, you’re also eligible for discounts in most high-street stores. You’ll receive 15% off all Macs and MacBooks at Apple, 30% off HP items, and a huge 50% off Norton Security.

Here, we wrote a bit more on the subject of making the most of your student loan.

It's not all so bad

There you have it: in the scenario that your maintenance loan doesn’t cover all of your expenses, there are loads of ways you can save money, and even make a bit more. If it does cover your expenses, you’re sorted! Like we said, budgeting is vital at uni, so with the above tips you’ll be fine.

It’s also vital to live in a place that’s right for you. Find your perfect pad with us, or email us on

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