Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last penny.
This week, we're with a 22-year-old final-year law student who loves to travel and enjoys experiencing new things. She currently lives with her parents and sister in Sheffield, which she loves – she's very much a family person. As a student, she makes the most of her money by looking for the best deals and selling things to fund her adventures.
Industry: Student Age: 22 Location: Sheffield Salary: £6,000 bursary Paycheque amount per month: I receive it as one lump sum but if you divide by 12 then it works out at £500 a month Number of housemates: 3 (my family)
Housing costs: I don't pay rent because I live at home but I pay my parents £100 a month as well as paying for one-off things. Loan payments: Still at university so don't pay anything at the moment. Utilities: Covered by the £100 I pay. Transportation: Share a car with my mum and only pay for insurance which is £500 per annum – £41.70 Phone bill: £9 a month for sim only. Bought my handset outright as it's cheaper but now due an upgrade. Savings: Not saving much at the moment as I don't have a large enough income but have saved £500 towards a new phone overall. I don't put away a set amount each month, though.
Day One 9am: I have leftover birthday cake from the weekend so breakfast is free. 11am: I get my hair cut and styled by a mobile hairdresser as I am going to an afternoon tea later. She does a great job and saves me having to do it myself. £18 2pm: Afternoon tea with the family. It's my treat and I already paid for it last month (£20) as I found a good deal on Groupon, so this doesn't come out of this week's budget. I fill up on lots of sandwiches and cakes and bring leftover cake home for later. I decide to let someone else have it as I have eaten non-stop cake all weekend. 6pm: I go to Meadowhall to do some shopping. I only do window shopping on this occasion as I have spent a lot on clothes this month. 8pm: After walking around with no purchases, decide to go to Pizza Express. I justify it as I have a £5-off code but end up paying for my mum and sister, too, which is my way of paying them back for the free food, bills etc. £30.40 Total amount spent: £48.40
Day Two 8am: After spending all day out yesterday, I have an essay to finish so decide to get as much of it done as I can. Make a cup of tea, fried egg and toast and I get started. 1pm: Still working on my essay. Decide to make myself a quick lunch using leftovers to make a salad and carry on with my research. 5pm: I have a break from my essay and end up shopping online. The Pandora ring I have been wanting for a while has been reduced so I buy it. I justify it as an end-of-exam treat. £42 7pm: I make tuna pasta with the food from the weekly shop we did last week. It's yummy, quick and filling and one of my go-to dishes when I am studying. I eat this while finishing off my research. Total amount spent: £42
Day Three 9am: Breakfast is tea and toast. Not particularly adventurous but still satisfying. Carry on with my essay. 12pm: Eat my leftover tuna pasta and write 1,000 words for my essay. Feeling pretty pleased with the amount of work I've managed to do. 6pm: Make a last-minute decision to go to the cinema for a break seeing as I've done a huge chunk of my essay. Use my 241 code and student ID so tickets for two people work out as £8.50. I take my little sister and I pay. Nip into Tesco on the way and buy the popcorn I like (because I hate cinema popcorn) and a few drinks and snacks. It costs £3. Total amount spent: £11.50
Day Four 9am: Don't have long for breakfast as I have a few errands to do. Just a quick cup of tea for me. 10am: Someone bought something of mine on eBay last night and I have to post it. I regularly sell my clothes and any unwanted things from the house. The money I get from eBay I save to put it towards my new phone. The buyer pays postage so this costs me nothing. 12pm: Boots have a promotion on so I stock up on toiletries. I usually wait until there is a sale on. I share this with my mum's basket so I can collect £10 worth of points on my Boots card. I usually save these points and buy a perfume or something to treat myself later. £18.15 1pm: As the weather is 27 degrees, I decide to enjoy it before it goes. Buy ice cream and ice lollies for everyone and take it to my grandma's house where I sit in the garden until sunset. £5. Make a mental note to make sure I do my essay tomorrow. Total amount spent: £23.15
Day Five 8am: Run a few errands, pick up a tea on the way but it is free as I have a loyalty card and have got all my stamps. 11am: Get working on my essay to catch up for yesterday. Spend all afternoon writing and snacking. 7pm: Find out the moon has been sighted and it has been confirmed Ramadan starts tomorrow! Take my brother to the supermarket and buy enough food to last the next few weeks so that we don't have to shop while we're hungry. I pay for it on my bank card but my parents pay me back £64 as I like to pay for my share. Total amount spent: £20
Day Six 2am: It's sunrise so now we have breakfast. Have a mango smoothie and granola for sustenance. The fast starts at 2:50 am and it's going to be a long day as the sun sets at 9:15pm so can't eat until then. Go back to sleep. 11am: I am lucky I don't have university this month as it is exams season so can sleep in. Spend the rest of the day writing my essay and trying not to think about food. 9pm: The day goes by quite fast and it's nice to eat with all my family for iftar (the meal to open the fast). We have lots of food prepared but I stick to water and salad. Trying not to be unhealthy or overindulge as it makes the following day harder. Read evening prayers and get an hour's sleep before waking up to do it all again. Total amount spent: £0
Day Seven 2am: Wake up and have granola, a boiled egg and two glasses of water. Staying hydrated is the key. Go back to sleep. 11am: Wake up and finish my essay. As the day goes by your body adjusts so I tend to be more productive during Ramadan, and distracting yourself with work helps. 1pm: My theatre tickets I ordered arrive. It's a bit expensive but the seats are front and centre stage. It's a birthday treat for my mum and I paid using my savings from last month. 9.20pm: Open my fast and start off well eating a chicken salad I prepared earlier. But as the night goes on I feast on trifle, chocolate and anything in sight. Decide to drink plenty of water to balance it out and have a healthier breakfast in a few hours. Total amount spent: £0
The Breakdown Food & Drink: £58.50 Entertainment: £8.50 Clothes & Beauty: £36.15 Travel: £0 Other: £42 Weekly Total: £145.15