Any views expressed within media held on this service are those of the contributors, should not be taken as approved or endorsed by the University, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue.

Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Money diaries – Sophie

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Programme: Veterinary Medicine

Year of study: Fourth year

Accommodation type: Privately Rented with three other flatmates

Part-time job: Rubbish Removal at Retail Parks and Student Ambassador

Day one

I started my day with seeing that I had been paid for my part time job which I worked on Sunday. I get paid weekly which is really helpful for managing weekly expenses. This was £48 plus £1.56 petrol expenses.

I also use the Save the Change feature from my bank, so whenever I make a payment, the amount I spend is rounded up to the nearest pound, with the rounded up amount going into my savings. I love this as a way to save without even realising. The amount goes into your savings the following working day, so £3.86 had been moved to my savings from my weekend spending.

I then went to the Vet School for an optional workshop that I’d signed up for run by a Vet Student Society and led by a member of teaching staff. This workshop was practicing removing the eye from a lamb cadaver! To cover the cost of suture material provided, it cost £6 to attend.

The Vet School campus is located a bit far out from the city centre, at Easter Bush, so students tend to get the public bus or drive to campus. The good thing though is that bus travel is free for Scottish residents under 22 so I spend nothing on this daily travel! The Vet School also offers a small annual subsidy for the over 21’s who have to pay for the bus. I have my car with me at Uni, but since we’re on campus every day, I prefer to take the bus to save money on petrol.

On my way back to my flat, I grabbed some bicarbonate of soda to make some cookies the next day. This was £1.75, and I already had basic things like flour at home.

Total: £7.75

Day two

After baking my cookies this morning, I started today by going for a quick run around the Meadows, which is an amazing park located right next to the uni’s main campus. I then met my flatmate for pancakes because today was pancake day! We went to a lovely place only a few minutes walk away from central campus. They had a special menu to mark the occasion, with £7.50 for a stack of three pancakes with maple syrup and then each additional topping costing £1 to £2.50. I had raspberries and strawberries on mine which came to £11.50.

I then went to a focus group ran by the University focusing on how wellbeing can be best included within the curriculum. This was a really interesting discussion, and got compensated for my time with a £20 voucher for a popular bookstore.

I then spent the rest of my day going to the gym, the library and then the University’s Sign Language society! I grabbed a quick yoghurt snack from Sainsbury’s in the middle of this which was £1.75.

Total: £13.25

Day three

Wednesday is when I go to the University’s Pole Dancing Society class! This costs £5 per class and is a highlight of my week.

Today was actually Valentine’s Day so I met my partner after the class and we went out for a lovely meal at a nearby Indian Restaurant. Here I spent £22.66 which included a curry, naan bread and we shared rice and poppadoms. I tend not to eat out much, but it was very nice for a special occasion.

Total: £27.66

A restaurant table with naan bread and curry

A curry feast for Valentine’s Day

Day four

My day started with a 9am practical so I grabbed a meal deal for breakfast on my way to the bus which was £3.50. I then spent the rest of the day at the Vet School Campus with lectures and another practical.

On the way home I grabbed some ingredients to make a quiche which came to £6.55.

Total: £10.05

Day five

I spent all of Friday at the main library catching up on lectures from the week. I got a snack to keep me going which was £1.55.

I also bought raffle tickets supporting the Vet School’s outreach charity. This was £5 for five tickets and hopefully I’ll win a £100 voucher for Tesco!

Total: £6.55

Day six

Today was also spent in the library all day studying as I have an in course assessment on Monday. I studied with my friend today so when we took a break we went to a lovely nearby cafe. I had a chocolate and raspberry brownie for £4.30. I also used my O2 phone network perk of a weekly free coffee at Greggs!

I’d ran out of my cereal this morning so I grabbed a new box (supermarket own brand) for £2 on the way home.

Total: £6.30

Day seven

Sunday is my usual day that I work. I work for four hours each shift, during which I empty bins at retail parks and pick up any litter around the site. I have to use my car to drive between the retail parks, but petrol costs for this are included. I get paid £12 an hour which I’ll receive in the next couple of days.

I’ve been doing my litter picking job since near the end of second year. I found it one day scrolling through Indeed and loved how flexible the job sounded. I only typically work one shift a week, which is a split shift of 3 hours in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. I only work when my boss (who does it for the rest of the week) would like a day off. This makes the job ideal as at the start of each month I get asked which days I would like to work, and I can pick as many or as few as I want. This makes having a job much easier to manage, especially around exam times.

Since I’m at the retail park for work anyways, this is when I do my weekly food shop. This works really well for me, as this is where Lidl (one of the cheaper supermarkets) is, and I have my car with me to carry the food home! Today my weekly shop came to £28.49, which is fairly average for me.

Before my shop, I use an app (Cherrypick) to plan out my meals for the week. By customising portion sizes, grouping ingredients together and knowing in advance what I’m going to eat, I save so much money. I always make two or three portions for dinner to have the spare portion for lunch the next day. By meal prepping like this, I very rarely end up buying lunch or dinner out.

Total: £28.49

Three bowls of chilli

Meal prepping can save time and money


Weekly total: £99.45

Other costs

Rent: £600 per month

Utilities: £34.50 per month

Internet: £15.50 per month

Student loan: £500 per month

Savings: £5.91 added this week

Money earnt: £49.56 (plus £20 voucher)

Related links

Chat with Sophie on Unibuddy

Other studying and living costs

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Report this page

To report inappropriate content on this page, please use the form below. Upon receiving your report, we will be in touch as per the Take Down Policy of the service.

Please note that personal data collected through this form is used and stored for the purposes of processing this report and communication with you.

If you are unable to report a concern about content via this form please contact the Service Owner.

Please enter an email address you wish to be contacted on. Please describe the unacceptable content in sufficient detail to allow us to locate it, and why you consider it to be unacceptable.
By submitting this report, you accept that it is accurate and that fraudulent or nuisance complaints may result in action by the University.