In the first installment of Mirror’s Money Diary, full-time student Rowenna Hoskin breaks down how much she’s spent in just one week – and is horrified by the results.
Name: Rowenna Hoskin
Job: Full-time student (lifeguard/summer front desk during vacations)
Annual income: This summer £2,460 and £300
I think I’m usually a pretty frugal person; I spend the summer saving money for next year – working day in and day out so I don’t have to work during semester time. My course is 9am to 4pm at university every day, so not only do I have no time to work, but I don’t think I have time to spend money.
I have a part time social media job which means I make £25 a month; I hope that this helps me stay on top or serves as a little gift wherever I go. So far my big purchases have been on room decor at the beginning of the year – I also harbored a plant-shopping addiction, in which I felt the frenetic allure of botanical stores – like the sound of siren every time something a little unusual on that day.
Now I have more than 43 factories. My room faced North, not suitable for many trees and as a result, some of my children died. I’ve stopped this habit/obsession because I don’t have room for them anymore – but I still have a hole in my pocket.
I woke up on Monday with a severe headache, but I ran out of painkillers. After realizing for a few moments that I also had no food in the house but ice cream, I knew I had to buy breakfast quickly if I could make it in time for my 9 a.m. lecture. So I jogged to the Tesco Express round the corner for a quick bite to eat and some paracetamol.
At lunchtime, I had to go to Tesco around the corner for a classic meal.
That evening I drove to Aldi to buy a restaurant and get gas in my car.
2 chocolate croissants: £1.38
Oat milk for college tea: £1.80
Pesto and veggie wrap, Kettle’s salt and vinegar crisps and Lipton iced tea: £3
Food outlets: £32.75
Having eaten breakfast and even a packed lunch, I’m ready for today to be my best frugal day. One day I finally lived within my budget.
It turns out this is not realistic. It was production day in college, and I was the editor for that day. I had the best day I could ever have. At lunchtime I needed a treat and so I went to Greggs and had lunch.
Then I went to Pret for a proper coffee, not the instant coffee I had last month… I told you I wanted a meal.
That night I went to have a drink with my friend but only stopped at one person.
2 vegan festival cakes: £3.20
Oat milk latte: £3.35
Gingerbread Man: 99p
I wake up late so I can’t prepare a packed lunch before I rush to college at 8:30am for 9am. Hence: lunch was again a deal meal, but unfortunately I also forgot my notebook… and then the sweets caught my eye too.
It’s also a stressful day, so on my way home, I stop by the Oxfam bookstore and try to ease my mind by buying books I’ll never have time to read.
Meal deal: £3
Candy (offered – 3 for £1): £1
The books that will remain on my bookshelf will collect dust until at least the summer, unless I can give them away to everyone and ship it off as originally planned, instead of filling the urge to buy. My shopping: £15.64
I feel prepared, I have not only a packed lunch but also a tea to take to college. I remembered everything. I was on the right track. I was on the right track minus a chocolate bar from the vending machine.
Then my classmate challenged me to rock-paper-scissors, where the loser had to buy the other a chocolate bar. I lost.
Chocolate bar: £1
Another chocolate bar: £1
I had to drive to Pontypridd for an interview for an article I was writing, so I had to get a little more fuel after some other trips around Cardiff that week.
My boyfriend is coming to visit so I also need to buy the ingredients for a properly cooked dinner, something other than the bread I live on for the week. That night we also went out for drinks with friends, and I ended up buying several rounds.
Risotto Rice: £1.75
Pine nuts: £3.60
Aldi Red Wine: £4.20 (I know it… and it’s a pretty good wine)
3x mushrooms: £2.70
Onion pack: 67p
Me and my boyfriend went for coffee in the morning, then drove to Coney to surf, where we had another coffee.
For the rest of the day we didn’t need to buy anything but dinner. We left it late so finally decided to get a Deliveroo.
First coffee: £3.10
Gasoline for surfing: £5
Second coffee: £2.80
Vegan Wagamama Ribs, Gyoza and Dumplings: £9.75 each
We went to a coffee shop for work and I got my coffee when my boyfriend bought our evening drinks last night.
We spent nothing else because I had food in the house for dinner and we had enough time to cook – I also got a notification from the bank that I was overdrafted…
Total spending this week
So overall, I spent 168.78 this week. And I tried to save. Looks like next week, I’ll have to be more strict with myself!
Doing this weekly follow-up freaks me out – if I spend that much every week for the rest of the year, I’ll be completely out of money within the next few months…and I have no money left! I have to get better and start having lunch with me to college, I also have to stop buying books and clothes as a coping mechanism.
At least I didn’t buy any crops!
Do you want to track your spending for a week? Email Emmeline.Saunders@mirror.co.uk to appear in next week’s Money Diary
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/i-tracked-spending-week-uni-25626254 'I tracked my spending for a week on less than minimum wage - it freaked me out' - Rowenna Hoskin