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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Money diaries – Kezia

Kezia's dinner
Reading Time: 4 minutes


Programme: GeoSciences

Year of study: Masters

Accommodation type: Private with five other flatmates.

Day one

It’s the start of the week and I still have dry food and other bits to cobble together for stuff during the day so that’s not an issue. Also with the weather still Edinburgh dreary, I don’t leave my flat if I don’t have class.

My flat also has a weekly cooking rotation where one person cooks dinner every night. It’s a great way to cut down on food waste and build relationships with one another.

But today, I also paid £5.99 for a bus ticket travelling in England that I’m going to use during future travel.

Total: £5.99

Day two

I have class at 9am today, and I’m about to be late. So I take the bus – I’m not 22 so I will eat the £2 ticket, but if you’re entering university, make sure you apply for a Young Scots Card to get access to free bus travel around the country. At the ECCI cafe I spent £4.05 on a croissant (for me) and a hot chocolate (for a friend). My friend says this is adequate pay back for covering a ticket to a paid exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland. I agree.

Apparently, I am a high roller today and I spent £12 on Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food’s Tiffin Lunch Deal. I think the lunch deal has good value, and the restaurant is close to campus. This time I got butter chicken, onion bhajis and a garlic naan.

Tonight is my time to cook dinner, so I picked up the ingredients and snacks we don’t have at home from Lidl. This includes oat milk (£1.09), tropical juice drink (£1.39), chocolate digestives (77p), four aubergines (£3.56), and lemons (59p) totaling to £7.40.

Using ingredients already available in the fridge, I make miso glazed aubergines, salad with tahini lemon dressing, roast potatoes, and fresh bread. I’m also super grateful that there’s other folks in the building I live with who have relationships with bakeries around town that provide us with surplus bread weekly. My flatmates and I take these slices and put them in the freezer to eat later.

Total: £23.45

Day three

I decide to make a trek to Musselburgh to the Borders Scrap Store about an hour away from the centre of town. Scrapstores are typically organisations that centre on giving second chances to clean excess materials, primarily art and crafting supplies for the public to buy and use before going to waste.

The Borders Scrap Store offers free memberships for students. I spent £1.25 total on stickers, scrapbooking materials and fabric. It’s a heavy use bus day for me, so Lothian Buses capped my ticket charge to £4.80 for the whole day. In Musselburgh I also spent £1.05 on a custard treat, traybakes are pretty exciting to me so I’ll indulge when I see something I haven’t tried yet. Later I picked up grapes for £2.25 to snack on when hanging out with friends in the evening.

Total: £9.35

The interior of the scrap store

The Scrap Store

Day four

I bring toast, butter and nutritional yeast from home to campus to do work and tide me over till evening class is done. Sometimes I’ll drink tea with my stash of unopened tea bags that were left over from other university events. The flats in my building are hosting a potluck in the evening and we contribute vegan Aloo Biryani, one of my other flatmates bought the ingredients, but I help with cleaning up.

Total: £0

Day five

One of my classes is holding a field trip at 9am, so again I hop on the bus for £2 to get to King’s Building in fear that I’m going to be late. I made it in time.

Lucky for me, I’m also a member and volunteer for SHRUB, a zero-waste community co-operative where the co-op’s mission includes swapping pre-loved clothes, reducing food waste during donations gathered from grocery stores and restaurants, and hosting sustainable social events. This is a roundabout way for me to say that I got overnight oats for breakfast and a sandwich for a free lunch. But I do encourage anyone, to utilise the SHRUB food sharing scheme as a way to get nutritious food either on a recommended donation basis of £1 a kilogram or for free.

After the field trip, I take the University shuttle bus from King’s Buildings to the main campus which is free for students. I also go to the Central Lending Library to return books. I think it’s an underrated study spot. Today is fancy and my flatmate cooks Korean pancakes. We help with chopping.

Total: £2

Day six

I love thrifting. But I’m picky with the charity shops in Edinburgh. One of my absolute favourites is Birthlink Thrift Shop Two, where they have a pay what you want section for fabric. So I pick some pieces up and pay £1. My flatmate cooks pasta for us all. I also hung out with my friend and their flatmates watching a series of very silly and very exhausting movies. We share candy. I paid £2.75 for Squashies and a juice at Tescos.

Total: £3.75

A moody view of the sea from Mussleburgh


Day seven

Today is a day for art. I walk to Dean Village and through the Water of Leith to visit Modern One and Modern Two, part of the National Galleries of Scotland. These museums are always free, and open every day. For lunch I got a chicken saffron, garlic mayo, and avocado wrap from Khartoum Cafe for £6.95.

I will also take this little extra space to advocate the use of apps and groups like Too Good To Go – for unsold surplus food, Olio – for unsold food and free items around town, and The Meadows Share – a Facebook group to request and give away items without a middle man.

Total: £6.95


Weekly total: £51.49

Other costs

Rent: £374 a month, bills included.

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