Money Diary: A 26-Year-Old PhD Student On 17k

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 26-year-old funded PhD student, which means she gets her fees paid and receives an untaxed stipend from her university. The stipend amounts to just under 15k per annum, which is liveable in London, but things can be a bit tight. In order to supplement the stipend, she works ‘casual’ hours at a museum, which is kind of like a zero-hours contract. She tries to do at least two shifts a week, depending on what the museum offers her, which works out as about £250-£350 a month.
She hasn’t seen the other side of her overdraft since about 2014 and says she could be a lot better at saving if she did a lot more planning, but often gets too scared to look at her bank statement. She doesn't spend a load of money on anything in particular or buy anything mad when payday comes around, and suspects by doing Money Diary, she will realise most of her money goes on snacks.
Industry: Academia I guess, and the 'heritage sector'
Age: 26
Location: London
Salary: £17,000
Paycheque amount: £1,300-£1,400, depending on how many shifts I get at the museum
Number of housemates: 1 (boyfriend)
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £670
Loan payments: My student loan repayments have been on hold for a while.
Utilities: £50
Transportation: Once a month I go out of London to my uni for my PhD supervision meetings, which usually costs about £15-£25 for a return train or coach fare. To be honest, I don’t keep track of my London transport spend as I usually walk to work at the museum or to the libraries, so don’t buy a regular travel card or anything. I’ll estimate about £40 a month.
Phone bill: £20
Savings? Nope.
Other? Netflix, £5.99. Contact lenses, £20.
Total: £825.99
Love reading Money Diaries? Love commenting on Money Diaries? Want to hear MORE from the diarists themselves? Join our Money Diary Facebook Group, where our OPs will share an exclusive reflection on their week and their spending.

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that color what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most most vibrant cultural and culinary centers—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.