‘I tracked my spending for a week on less than minimum wage – it freaked me out’ – Rowenna Hoskin

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.

‘I think I managed to stay on budget this week…until I got a notification from my bank saying I used my overdraft’

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.

Rowenna is a self-confessed housework junkie


Rowenna Hoskin)


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

Paracetamol: 25p

Pesto and veggie wrap, Kettle’s salt and vinegar crisps and Lipton iced tea: £3

Food outlets: £32.75

Gasoline: £15


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.

Rowenna treated herself to a store-bought coffee on a busy day despite trying to save costs


Rowenna Hoskin)

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

Pint: £3.95


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

Notepad: £2

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

Rowenna’s love of farming burned a hole in her bank account


Rowenna Hoskin)


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.


Gasoline: £15

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

Drinks: £25.50


Me and my boyfriend went for coffee in the morning, then drove to Coney to surf, where we had another coffee.

Rowenna and her boyfriend drive to the beach for a winter surf session


Rowenna Hoskin)

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…


Coffee: £5.40

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 to appear in next week’s Money Diary 'I tracked my spending for a week on less than minimum wage - it freaked me out' - Rowenna Hoskin


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