Money Diary: PhD Student In Gloucestershire On 14.5k

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 final-year PhD student who left a well-paid sales job in London to head back into full-time education. She lives with her parents and manages to save most of her money, which enables her to live off her £14,500 yearly grant. Anticipating an expensive few months ahead while she and her boyfriend buy a house, she is trying to be very sensible with money.
Industry: University/ Education
Age: 29
Location: Gloucestershire
Salary: My income is a bit of a weird one… As a PhD student, I have a bursary to live on. I receive around £14,700 per year, tax-free, which works out as the equivalent of someone earning around £22,000 (and paying tax, NI, student loan, etc.), I think.
Paycheque amount per month: I am paid quarterly (shock horror!); each payment is around £3,676.50, which works out at about £1,223 per month.
Number of housemates: I currently split my time between living at home with my parents and spending time at my boyfriend's house-share of 3.

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs
: £0. I am incredibly lucky that while I am studying my parents are happy for me to live at home, rent-free. The other half of my time I spend at my boyfriend’s house, where I am also lucky enough not to have to pay rent (although I do like to contribute here and there to bills/ milk/ tea/ biscuits/ beer fund, to keep everyone happy).
Loan payments: £150. I have a credit card but I use it sparingly. I only really like to spend what I know I can afford to pay off in full at the end of the month.
Utilities: £50 (token payments to boyfriend and parents each month).
Transportation: £250. This one is a bit of a killer. It is amazing that I am able to live at home rent-free but this does mean I have to travel to uni – a 100-mile round trip! Luckily, I only need to go in around twice a week on average, but it does mean my biggest outgoing is petrol.
Phone bill: £34.50
Savings: I try and put away at least a few hundred pounds each month, although as the house purchase has been getting nearer, I have been putting away as much as I can physically afford – usually around £400 per month.

Total: £884.50