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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

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Spending Diaries: Life of a Fresher

About Me

Job:  University Student

Age: 20

Location: Norwich

Annual student loan: £3,769

Annual earnings from holiday jobs: £4,000

Term-time monthly allowance from parents:  £600

Living conditions: Student house with 3 other housemates

 

Monthly Expenses

Rent: £390

Utilities: Around £35

Groceries: Around £160

Petrol: Around £40

Phone bill: £8
Savings?: If I’m lucky!

Gym: £17.99

Total: £633

 

Monday

10am – Got up late because I have a day off! Need to start buying some back-to-uni essentials today, which I have been bracing myself for by saving a little extra over the past few weeks.

2pm – Off to the shops with my friends. I bought some Tupperware, stationery and sweet chilli sauce (essentials, of course!) in Home Bargains, which only came to £4.

7pm – I’ve sponged off my non-student boyfriend and convinced him to bring some pieces of fish over for dinner. Jacket potato is a staple in my diet and I buy veg in bulk, chop it and freeze it to save money – they’ll go nicely with the tuna!

Tuesday

10am – I’m off to campus having had a nice big breakfast. I’m hoping it will see me through until 2pm when I can go home for a late lunch.

4pm – My housemate and I head to Aldi and I manage to get all the essentials for £35. My student budget doesn’t have room for brand snobbery, so I’ll happily buy anything (from fresh fish to loo roll) from supermarket own-brands to save money.

6pm – I make a double portion of salmon and veg pasta at dinnertime, and put half in my new Tupperware for a packed-lunch tomorrow. The meal deals in the campus shop are a good fall-back, but they’re around £3 a go so they add up if you get them regularly.

Wednesday

9am – I’m up and out of the house with my packed lunch ready for a day at uni. I’ve taken a flask of coffee with me to kick-start my day and avoid spending over £2 on a takeaway one.

1pm – I’ve managed to drop my lunch on the floor and it’s not salvageable… oh well, best laid plans! I nip to the café in the student union and spend £4.80 on a pasty, a yoghurt and some iced tea.

6pm – I resist the temptation of a drive-thru with my housemates and make some eclectic veggie burgers from the vegetables and halloumi I have in the fridge.

Thursday

11am – I’ve woken up late and I have so much reading that I need to get done today so that I can go out later. Instead I procrastinate for a few hours by online clothes shopping, and end up buying nothing because I haven’t got enough money! When will I learn…

1pm – I’m having some fishcakes from the freezer for lunch, but making some tuna pasta for a packed dinner as I’ll be on campus later today. Hopefully I won’t drop this one!

8pm – Packed dinner eaten, I’m off to the bar to meet the new freshers on my course – it’s tradition. I spend £7.40 on two pints, but don’t stay very late as I feel a cold coming on… fresher’s flu?

Friday

8am – My alarm wakes me up and I feel awful. My housemate brings me a cuppa in bed and I fall back to sleep. I wake up late and have to rush to campus for a meeting with my professor – spending £1.50 on a snack bar for breakfast.

12pm – My friends are going to the shops so I ask them to pick up some painkillers and tissues for me, which come to £3. I’m now sat at home making an empty notebook that I have into a planner – I can’t justify the £10-15 that stationery shops seem to be charging for pre-made ones.

7pm – I’ve been in the house blowing my nose for most of the day and really fancy a takeaway. My stomach overrules my budgeting and I spend £14.98 on a Dominos, justifying it with the fact that I would have gone out tonight if I hadn’t felt so rubbish.

Saturday

8am – I have rehearsals for a university production I’m part of all day today. I have breakfast and throw a few snacks in my bag to keep me going.

1pm – I didn’t have time to make a packed lunch so I buy food in the campus kitchen. I spend £3.75 on an all-day breakfast – worth every penny!

8pm – I cook some homemade lasagne that I have in my freezer and eat it as I’m getting ready for a night out. My friends and I pre-drink before going out – the classic student money-saving technique! We go to spoons and then a few nightclubs and I spend around £20 on drinks. I buy some cheesy chips on the way home for £2.80.

Sunday

12pm – I eventually get up and manage a weird mix of scampi and onion rings from the freezer for lunch. It gives me enough energy and relieves enough of my hangover to help me finally get dressed.

6pm – I’m having a homemade curry at my boyfriend’s house and his mum kindly spoons some leftovers into a Tupperware for my dinner tomorrow. Writing this money diary has made me realise how often I make extra or keep leftovers as a student… hooray for the Tupperware!

Total spending: £97.23

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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

Launch Chat

Chat to the Money Advice Service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm.