Spending Diary: One Week on a Student’s Budget

What exactly do we spend our money on?

This week we follow a second year English student who comes from the south of England. She generally tries to limit her spending, but doesn’t keep a strict budget. Attempting to spend no more than £50 each week is easier said than done.


12:00pm: My classes don’t start until 1 pm on Mondays so I work on an essay at home until midday, have some soup for lunch and then leave for uni.

2:00pm: My class is over and I’m working in the library. I bring in my own tea bags and keep a cup so that I don’t have to pay when I want a hot drink.

5:00pm: I pop to Tesco to grab a few things, including bread, salad and Oreos. Cinnamon bagels are on offer so I get some to keep in the freezer, and I also buy a kilogram of root veggies for 49p, which I think will make a nice soup. £4.55 in total.

8:00pm: My housemate is popping to Aldi so I ask him to get me some grapes and frozen raspberries. He leaves his receipt at the shop so I have no idea what I owe him, but I give him £2.

8:30pm: I spend the evening batch cooking meals that I can take to uni for lunch for the rest of week, so that I don’t have to waste money on meal deals.

Total: £6.55


9:00am: I have breakfast at home and then head to my first class at 10am.

12:00pm: Eating my pre-made packed lunch makes me feel smug.

3:00pm: I get peckish; there goes 80p on pop chips.

5:30pm: I realise I don’t have time to go home for dinner before my rehearsal so I cave and buy a meal deal. I make the most of it by getting a naked juice as my drink; cause health is more important than money, right?

9:00pm: I have to pay £12 for a show jumper that I ordered before Christmas, they’ve finally arrived!

Total: £16.80


10:00am: I spend the morning at home and make soup with the vegetables I bought on Monday.

1:00pm: I head to the library in the afternoon and buy myself a coffee and Oreos from the cafe – £2.

7:00pm: I have rehearsal this evenings so I brought a packed dinner in again, and am feeling very pleased with my thriftiness.

Total: £2


12:00pm: Lunch at home again before heading into the library. I have a coffee before I leave so that I won’t cave and buy one at the library when the mid afternoon slump hits.

4:30pm: Pop chips from the library cafe for nutritious essay writing sustenance, 80p. I also have a cup of tea, but I use my keep cup and tea bags I brought from home: I feel like I’m cheating the system.

6:30pm: I eat packed dinner that I brought in with me because I knew I’d be in the library until half 8 at least.

9:30pm: Forgetting the outside world.

I head to The Rule and have a £3.95 cocktail. I’ve been in the library for so long that I have forgotten the outside world existed, so this is enough to make me tipsy enough to start talking about politics and veganism.

10:30pm: I am craving something salty so I go to Tesco to buy crisps. I also get freezer bags (what an exciting life I lead) and then notice my favourite Tilda microwave rice is on sale so I buy two packs. I try to cook from scratch as much as possible but these are so handy when you’re in a rush. £4.35 in total.

Total: £9.10


11:00am: I’ve had bananas sitting in my house for almost two weeks so I decide I need to do something with them. Look up recipes for vegan banana bread and realise I have no flour. I’m lazy so instead of going to Aldi I pay the extortionate price of £2.59 for a kilo of flour from CostCutter’s.

2:00pm: My oven ruins the banana bread and so I feel very upset about wasting my £2.59 and 3 perfectly good bananas.

10:00pm: After a stressful rehearsal I go to the pub. I buy a pint to start and then two halves for I and a friend later on in the night. My bank statement tells me this cost £7.65.

Total: £10.24


10:00am: It’s show day so I have rehearsals all day. I bring a packed lunch in with me but I also stop off at Sainsbury’s for extra snacks, £2.

11:00am: I have to pay £5 society membership in order to perform tonight, which I had been hoping they’d forgotten about, but alas. I also had to give a pound for crew presents.

9:30pm: I buy two bottles of Corona to take to the cast party, but I only end up drinking one because I have to be up early in the morning. £4, but I have the extra bottle left over for another time.

Total: £12


9:00am: I get up early and head to choir. I am so exhausted I can’t function right.

12:30pm: The terms of my choral scholarship mean we get Sunday lunch provided for us by the Byre Theatre, so I pay nothing for quite a nice meal. I also buy a coffee to keep me going for the rest of the afternoon, £1.62.

5:00pm I have completely run out of all food sources, so I make a trip to Aldi. I spend £18.30 on bread, fruit, veg, falafel, hummus and some snacks.  I normally do a big shop like this every couple of weeks and top myself up on fresh fruit and salad from Tesco when I need it.

Total: £19.92




232 thoughts on “Spending Diary: One Week on a Student’s Budget

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