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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Money diaries – Hercules

A full english breakfast
Reading Time: 4 minutes


Programme: Linguistics

Year of study: Masters year

Accommodation type: Privately rented flat, shared with two flatmates.

Hercules and a bagpipe player

Hercules and a bagpipe player

Day one

It’s 9am, and I’m boiling two eggs while pouring the coffee into my mug. Quickly check if I have kept fruits in my backpack; an orange, a banana and an apple (you know what they say, an apple a day, keeps the doctor away). As I head to school, I stop by a Lidl to get freshly baked croissant, which completes my breakfast, 65p.

I pack food from home for lunch, and today I had rice and beans. Sometimes, when I have assignments, I just make fried rice and get chicken wings from KFC but it’s not happening today!

In the evening, I stopped by Lidl again to get fruit, £3.56. Usually, the three or four kinds of fruits last me three to four days. After the purchase, I tried my luck with the Lidl App reward coupons and WooWoo! I won a FREE chocolate Brownie, dessert sorted! 

Total: £4.21

Day two

It’s Tuesday, and I need to be fully prepared for the day as it’s one of those days when you know you will be busy throughout – I have five lectures and then I will be meeting a professor to discuss my dissertation topic.

It’s 1pm, and I am heading to The Nile Valley to grab a wrap for my lunch (they are life savers when you are on a run). Today I had the chicken wrap, £4.99, but they also have some amazing vegan options, I highly recommend it!

After a long day, I returned home at 7pm and called it a day.

Total: £4.99

Day three

Today was simple – I got up at 7:30am, got ready, packed my lunch, went to school, attended lectures, came back to my room, and watched an episode of Upload after dinner.
Total: £0 

Day four

I got up early because I needed to complete a worksheet before a tutorial at 2pm. On the way to school, I picked up a croissant and yoghurt for breakfast, £2.30.

After finishing the worksheet at the library, I still had 30 minutes until the next lecture. I decided to go to my room (a five-minute walk from the school) and have lunch. It’s cost-effective to have home-cooked food – to give you an estimate, you can have the week’s ration at the cost of 3 or 4 meals. Another piece of advice, having accommodation within walking distance of the workplace always saves money!

At 4pm, I decided to call it a day and go for an evening walk in the Meadows. Later, I went grocery shopping for the week for £11.80. I do meal prep for three days at a time and this time, I’m gonna make chicken curry, rice, broccoli and stir-fried vegetables. I buy non-perishable food items like rice, lentils, oil, and spices once a month which costs roughly £30. Therefore, my weekly grocery only consists of items like chicken, eggs, and vegetables.

Total: £14.10

Hercules' shopping basket

Hercules’ shopping basket

Day five

Friday morning always is a good feeling – you know that the week is coming to an end. This term, I have no lectures on Friday, so my only goal for the day is to spend time in the library and cover the topics I learned over the week. Since I was not in a hurry, I did 20 minutes of meditation, followed by a long shower. I skipped my breakfast and decided to go for a heavy brunch. Later at noon, I was in the library with a mug full of coffee.

Around 4pm, I felt like munching something and went to Potterrow (University Cafe). I think their price is student-friendly and have many offers like Half Price Fries Friday. I got Potato Crunchies for £1.75. 

Later in the evening, I went to my friend’s place for dinner, I got him a pack of ice cream for £2.67. We discussed, work-life, watched a movie and later while returning went for a walk.

Total: £4.42

Day six

Got up late, and decided to go for brunch – I felt like having an English breakfast and pancakes. Quickly rushed to Lidl to get the items, £1.92. After a heavy breakfast, I went for a walk in the Meadows. Spent the afternoon on calls, catching up with family and friends abroad. Saturdays are when I also do my laundry. I had some emails that I had decided to reply during the weekend. Did that and called it a day.

Total: £1.92

Day seven

It’s Sunday-Funday and I’m going to a movie with friends. I have the monthly movie pass which is good for a cinephile like me. It comes with a monthly fee of £14.99. I go to movies every week, so it’s cost effective; a single movie ticket costs around £10 but with the pass it gets to £3.55.

I got some snacks (pringle and diet coke) from Tesco for £2.85. As I live in the centre of the city, all the places are within walking distance for me, which is another way to save money.

Total: £6.40


Weekly total: £36.04

Other costs

Rent: £600 a month including bills.

Earnings: My scholarship covers my rent and I work to cover other costs. For that, I was working part-time (approx 10 hours/week) in a restaurant but lately, I have a paid project under a professor for the next three months, so I’ve discontinued the restaurant job. Once the workload is okay with me, I’m thinking of getting back to the restaurant job and saving some money for the summer trip – but I won’t tell you where cause that’s a secret!

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