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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Money diaries – Anna

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Programme: Human Resource Management

Year of study: Masters year

Accommodation type: I live with my boyfriend in a privately rented flat

Part-time job: Stylist at Jo Malone where I work 12 hours a week (at £10.18 an hour)

Day one

Started the day with a homemade coffee and some avocado toast to fuel up before my morning lectures. Hopped on the bus to uni (which was free until I turned 22!), using my Ridacard, which is paid monthly at around £60 for students. Saves money in the long run, as I use the buses to get everywhere! Spent the morning on campus, which meant a fair few coffees, £6 (the best in Edinburgh can be found at Thomas J Walls on Forrest Rd). Had a quick lunch on campus, with a homemade sandwich I meal prepped after the food shop on Sunday.

In the afternoon, I headed to the Business School to catch up on some readings for a lecture. Managed to resist the temptation of buying a snack from the vending machine – instead snacking on the yoghurt & berries I’d packed from home as a snack. Monday is usually a good day for spending, as I’ve only just done the food shop for the flat the previous day. Dinner was home-made spaghetti bolognese, which I was able to save as leftovers for a couple more nights this week.

Total: £6

Day two

Headed back onto campus for my 9am, equipped with meal prepped packed lunch, and a few snacks. Despite my preparedness, I couldn’t resist a morning coffee before class (I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here…) with a few of my friends, £2.90. It was a spend-free day on campus after that, given that I’d packed enough food to last the day. I was hosting a few friends for dinner, so had to stop by the shops on the way home to stock up on food and drinks for their arrival, £20.50.

Total: £23.40

Day three

I spent the morning on campus, and the afternoon on shift. I overslept, which meant no time for breakfast, so had to pick something up at the Business School cafe. Luckily, prices are better there than most of the other places in town, so I managed to get some overnight oats and a coffee for £5. Since it has been such a busy week so far, I ended up having to pick up a Tesco meal deal for lunch on my way to work after a busy morning in classes for £5.50. Luckily, I’d saved some of the spag-bol from Monday so was able to have a quick, fuss-free dinner as soon as I got home from work.

Total: £10.50 

Day four

Thursday marks the peak of my week, packed with classes from 9am to 5pm, followed by an after-class activity at 6pm. Despite the early start, I managed to squeeze in a homemade breakfast and brewed a coffee to-go before dashing out the door. However, I ended up indulging in a lunchtime treat at a nearby sushi place with a few classmates from my course to get us through the day, £34.50. After the evening activity, a few course mates and I decided to head to the local pub quiz, where we paid £2 each for entry and got a couple of drinks each, £8.50.

Total: £45

A takeaway coffee

Coffee on the way to campus

Day five

Friday is class-free for my programme, so I spent the morning working on some essays at home. Met a friend for lunch, as I’m working all weekend, and had a wander round some of the shops. Managed to avoid any unnecessary shopping (most unlike me) but had to pop into the supermarket on the way home to pick up some food for dinner, £25. Although I try to do a big enough weekly shop on a Sunday to get through all seven days, the fridge is usually looking pretty empty by the end of the work week.

Total: £25 

Day six

Had a 9am to 5pm shift and managed to squeeze some porridge in for breakfast before I left. Unfortunately, didn’t manage to save any leftovers from last night’s dinner, so headed to the closest cafe (Victor Hugo) to pick up some lunch during my shift. Food on George Street (where I work) always seems to be a little pricier than the typical campus food, so my sandwich, coffee and granola bar came to £15.50 total!

A view down George Street in Edinburgh

George Street in the sun

After my shift, I headed to join my friends at a restaurant near my flat for some dinner. It was a Thai Food buffet that did great group deals, so I was able to escape with less damage to the wallet than I initially thought, £14.50! Although it would have perhaps been more sensible to stay in and cook with what food we had left at home, I was keen to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

Total: £30 

Day seven

Ah Sunday – the most expensive day of the week. My flatmate and I do our food shop every Sunday at Lidl and split the cost. This time, it was a little more expensive than usual as we had a few household items (the boring stuff – bin bags, washing detergent) to stock up on. We try to avoid buying too many fresh products, to reduce waste if we don’t end up cooking with it. Both of our schedules can be pretty unpredictable, so it’s always hit or miss on how often we cook at home. I was back at work on Sunday afternoon, and treated me and my colleagues to some cupcakes from a local cafe! It was a slow day at work, and everyone needed the pick-me-up.

Total: £50 


Weekly Total: £189.90

Other costs

This weekly diary is reflective of my day-to-day living, but there are some other background costs that definitely make up a substantial chunk of my budget. My rent and bills come out on the first of the month, and I usually use the start of the new month to look through my weekly finances.

Rent: £600

Utilities: £50

Earnings: My income is largely made up of a student loan (around £500 a month) and my part-time job.

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