Money Diary: A 20-Year-Old Law Student In Wiltshire On 13k

Anonymous
·13 min read

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: "I am currently at university. I am originally from Wiltshire but moved to London in 2018 to pursue a law degree (LLB). I fund my university with student loans and supplement the loans with my part-time job as a tutor.

Growing up, I observed the complicated relationship that my parents had with money. They would seldom express the financial difficulty that they were in but it was an unspoken rule between my sister and I that we would not ask for more than necessary. This meant that we often declined optional school trips and social engagements.

Understanding how much debt my parents were in encouraged me to step up to add some order. I often drafted a shopping list for my parents, advised on how we could save money, got a job to contribute early on and cautioned my parents on their spending. I understand that my parents were unable to prioritise our family's financial future because, being the first generation of our family to reside in the UK (they moved from Nigeria), there was a lot of pressure from the external family to financially support others once we came here.

Moving back home during the pandemic was not an easy decision because I had moved to London in the hope of finding independence and establishing myself in the city. My decision to move home was for a range of reasons which included saving money on rent and transportation. I know that a lot of young adults have had to move back home, which helps me not to feel like I am behind in life. While it is discouraging to have the global pandemic cause financial harm, I choose to acknowledge this as an opportunity to spend time with family, to save money and take an inventory of my finances. I continue to worry about money but in these times I have been working hard on shifting my mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance."

Industry: Law student
Age: 20
Location: Wiltshire
Salary: £13,000
Paycheque amount: £300 from my part-time job. I don't pay tax as I am not over the personal allowance yet.
Number of housemates: Four (parents and two younger siblings).

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £0 since moving back home, previously was £640/month.
Utilities: £0. Previously this was included in the rent.
Net worth: £0
Loan payments: I will have about £60,000 debt when I finish my degree.
Transportation: Since moving back and working and studying from home, I have not opted for a bus pass because the places I go to are walking distance.
Phone bill: £20
Savings? Investment: £30. I got into investing a few months ago and I am committing to investing 10% of my monthly paycheque from my part-time job. I invest this amount and I try to replicate successful ‘investment pies' shared by others slowly.
Other: Apple storage: £0.79 for 50GB storage plan. Tithe: £30. Since the start of the pandemic, I have reconnected with my Christian faith and I have recommitted to tithing 10% of my paycheque.

<strong>Day One</strong><br><br>6am: I wake up to work out at home. I find that working out at home is more enjoyable than going to the gym because I find it slightly awkward working out in front of others, and of course it saves money.<br><br>9am: I begin to focus on my studies. I try to follow a 9am to 5pm routine because I find that it helps me to stay disciplined while studying and working from home. I head to my designated workspace, which is a corner in my bedroom. <br><br>1pm: My phone's alarm goes off, reminding me that it is lunchtime. I race down to the kitchen to see what meal I can throw together. I had planned that I would get something healthy such as a salad. But with the stress of the morning's work, I head out to my local Iceland to pick up some frozen items. I purchase a frozen pizza, some southern fried chicken and a Pepsi. £6 <br><br>2.30pm: I continue with my work for university. I read through some notes in preparation for the seminar that I have at 3pm.<br><br>5pm: Classes have finally finished for the day. I head down to prepare dinner since it is my turn to cook today. My family has divided responsibility for dinner so that I cook two days, my sister cooks two days and my mum cooks three times. I cook up spicy tomato pasta with meatballs with the ingredients bought during this week's grocery shop totalling £16.98.<br><br>7.30pm: I begin to wind down for the day with some Korean dramas with my sister. We are watching <em>True Beauty</em> and it is such a funny show to relax to.<br><br>9.30pm: I read through my calendar and notepad to double-check my plans for tomorrow. I get ready for bed and then it is lights out.<br><br><strong>Total: £22.98</strong>
Day One

6am: I wake up to work out at home. I find that working out at home is more enjoyable than going to the gym because I find it slightly awkward working out in front of others, and of course it saves money.

9am: I begin to focus on my studies. I try to follow a 9am to 5pm routine because I find that it helps me to stay disciplined while studying and working from home. I head to my designated workspace, which is a corner in my bedroom.

1pm: My phone's alarm goes off, reminding me that it is lunchtime. I race down to the kitchen to see what meal I can throw together. I had planned that I would get something healthy such as a salad. But with the stress of the morning's work, I head out to my local Iceland to pick up some frozen items. I purchase a frozen pizza, some southern fried chicken and a Pepsi. £6

2.30pm: I continue with my work for university. I read through some notes in preparation for the seminar that I have at 3pm.

5pm: Classes have finally finished for the day. I head down to prepare dinner since it is my turn to cook today. My family has divided responsibility for dinner so that I cook two days, my sister cooks two days and my mum cooks three times. I cook up spicy tomato pasta with meatballs with the ingredients bought during this week's grocery shop totalling £16.98.

7.30pm: I begin to wind down for the day with some Korean dramas with my sister. We are watching True Beauty and it is such a funny show to relax to.

9.30pm: I read through my calendar and notepad to double-check my plans for tomorrow. I get ready for bed and then it is lights out.

Total: £22.98
<strong>Day Two</strong><br><br>6.40am: Since I am not working out today, I take this opportunity to sleep in a little before waking up to my day.<br><br>7am: I get ready for the day and spend some time chatting to my mum. Less time for breakfast today, which means that I take my toast upstairs and finish eating while working on my studies.<br><br>9am: I have work later today. I tutor maths and English online so I know that I only have until 1pm to get some schoolwork done. I prioritise my tasks and deadlines to see which one I should use this time to work on.<br><br>1pm: So happy that it is lunchtime! I grab some leftover pizza and chicken from the freezer and have the same lunch as I did yesterday. I use this time to go for a walk with my sister around our neighbourhood. It feels good to get some fresh air into my system, having stayed indoors for some time. <br><br>4pm: Work starts. I work with a range of kids with different backgrounds and abilities so the work is always diverse. I enjoy tutoring online because I can focus solely on the one child in the meeting and see their progress as well. <br><br>8pm: Finished work for the day so I head to the kitchen to pick up the dinner that my sister has prepared. She has made some nice jollof rice and plantains – so happy because this is my favourite meal and a nice way to finish the day.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Two

6.40am: Since I am not working out today, I take this opportunity to sleep in a little before waking up to my day.

7am: I get ready for the day and spend some time chatting to my mum. Less time for breakfast today, which means that I take my toast upstairs and finish eating while working on my studies.

9am: I have work later today. I tutor maths and English online so I know that I only have until 1pm to get some schoolwork done. I prioritise my tasks and deadlines to see which one I should use this time to work on.

1pm: So happy that it is lunchtime! I grab some leftover pizza and chicken from the freezer and have the same lunch as I did yesterday. I use this time to go for a walk with my sister around our neighbourhood. It feels good to get some fresh air into my system, having stayed indoors for some time.

4pm: Work starts. I work with a range of kids with different backgrounds and abilities so the work is always diverse. I enjoy tutoring online because I can focus solely on the one child in the meeting and see their progress as well.

8pm: Finished work for the day so I head to the kitchen to pick up the dinner that my sister has prepared. She has made some nice jollof rice and plantains – so happy because this is my favourite meal and a nice way to finish the day.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Three</strong><br><br>6am: I wake up in the morning with a dread for the day because of the back-to-back meetings and tasks that I have lined up for my studies. I try to unwind and distract myself by reading a book. I am currently reading <em>Leaving Time</em> by Jodi Picoult. It is such an interesting and well-written book but the themes of sadness and longing do not help with my mood for the day.<br><br>7am: I try to counteract this feeling with some more light-hearted and carefree stimulation by tuning into <em>The Bold Type</em> while eating my breakfast. <br><br>9.40am: Running slightly late in starting my day because I decided to clean and hoover the house a little. With everyone at home, it is more important to make sure that our space is tidy and organised. <br><br>1pm: One of my favourite parts of the day! I nip out to pick up some vegetables and toiletries which we are running low on in the house. I also use this opportunity to pick up a sandwich from the shop. This shopping totals £8.<br><br>2.30pm: I am back to my studies. Dreaming about other things and constantly reminding myself to focus. I find that there are distractions close by when I am working from home, such as my phone (the big culprit) and family, who I can hear chatting downstairs.<br><br>6pm: I race to eat my dinner which my mum has prepared. Today I have some rice and stew before logging into Skype for a catch-up with my friends. <br><br>7pm: We (myself and friends) put on some face masks. I put on the Holographic Peel Off Mask from T-Zone that my sister picked up for me during the day. I remember to send her £4 to cover this cost.<br><br>9.30pm: I am having fun with my friends but sleep is definitely catching up with me so I say my goodbyes and goodnights and call it a day. <br><br><strong>Total: £12</strong>
Day Three

6am: I wake up in the morning with a dread for the day because of the back-to-back meetings and tasks that I have lined up for my studies. I try to unwind and distract myself by reading a book. I am currently reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. It is such an interesting and well-written book but the themes of sadness and longing do not help with my mood for the day.

7am: I try to counteract this feeling with some more light-hearted and carefree stimulation by tuning into The Bold Type while eating my breakfast.

9.40am: Running slightly late in starting my day because I decided to clean and hoover the house a little. With everyone at home, it is more important to make sure that our space is tidy and organised.

1pm: One of my favourite parts of the day! I nip out to pick up some vegetables and toiletries which we are running low on in the house. I also use this opportunity to pick up a sandwich from the shop. This shopping totals £8.

2.30pm: I am back to my studies. Dreaming about other things and constantly reminding myself to focus. I find that there are distractions close by when I am working from home, such as my phone (the big culprit) and family, who I can hear chatting downstairs.

6pm: I race to eat my dinner which my mum has prepared. Today I have some rice and stew before logging into Skype for a catch-up with my friends.

7pm: We (myself and friends) put on some face masks. I put on the Holographic Peel Off Mask from T-Zone that my sister picked up for me during the day. I remember to send her £4 to cover this cost.

9.30pm: I am having fun with my friends but sleep is definitely catching up with me so I say my goodbyes and goodnights and call it a day.

Total: £12
<strong>Day Four</strong><br><br>6.40am: I wake up in a better mood and I do some stretches facing the window. Afterwards I make my bed. <br><br>7am: I enjoy my coffee and toast and recommence my binge of <em>The Bold Type</em>. <br><br>1pm: Oops! I stayed in the living room watching episode after episode of <em>Everybody Hates Chris</em>. When my alarm goes off, I stretch my legs and head to the kitchen to fix a nice chicken burger for lunch. <br><br>4pm: My dad gets back from work and the whole family spends some time in the living room, chatting, laughing and watching TV.<br><br>5.30pm: Dinner is on me today so I order some KFC via Uber Eats for £10.78 (this included the 25% off your first order) to continue this minimum-effort day that I have had before calling it a night around 10pm.<br><br><strong>Total: £10.78</strong>
Day Four

6.40am: I wake up in a better mood and I do some stretches facing the window. Afterwards I make my bed.

7am: I enjoy my coffee and toast and recommence my binge of The Bold Type.

1pm: Oops! I stayed in the living room watching episode after episode of Everybody Hates Chris. When my alarm goes off, I stretch my legs and head to the kitchen to fix a nice chicken burger for lunch.

4pm: My dad gets back from work and the whole family spends some time in the living room, chatting, laughing and watching TV.

5.30pm: Dinner is on me today so I order some KFC via Uber Eats for £10.78 (this included the 25% off your first order) to continue this minimum-effort day that I have had before calling it a night around 10pm.

Total: £10.78
<strong>Day Five</strong><br><br>6am: I wake up and I am back in the grind of things. I start my day with a morning workout with Les Mills on YouTube.<br><br>7am: Feeling super healthy because I have just had that workout. I try not to sabotage this feeling by blending a green smoothie containing spinach, apples and pears which I purchased a couple of days ago in that quick groceries run. <br><br>9am: I hop on Teams for a seminar for my course and then spend the following hours revising this week's work and reviewing next week's reading. <br><br>1pm: Lunchtime again. I put in the oven some chips and fish which my mum picked up during the week. <br><br>3pm: I begin work for my part-time job. I have a short day today, only a couple of hours. Due to the pandemic the hours and days that online tutoring is available have been shortened and so have our shifts.<br><br>5pm: I finish work just in time for dinner as my sister calls me downstairs. I am having chips again because my sister is unaware that I already had some earlier. But she adds a little twist by making stir-fry chips with this lush tomato and pepper sauce to accompany the dish.<br><br>7.30pm: I use this opportunity to review any applications that I can make for training contracts or law school for next year. To finance law school next year for the LPC, I plan on doing a combined master's which will allow me to get a postgraduate loan for my studies. However, of course, this is more debt at the end! <br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Five

6am: I wake up and I am back in the grind of things. I start my day with a morning workout with Les Mills on YouTube.

7am: Feeling super healthy because I have just had that workout. I try not to sabotage this feeling by blending a green smoothie containing spinach, apples and pears which I purchased a couple of days ago in that quick groceries run.

9am: I hop on Teams for a seminar for my course and then spend the following hours revising this week's work and reviewing next week's reading.

1pm: Lunchtime again. I put in the oven some chips and fish which my mum picked up during the week.

3pm: I begin work for my part-time job. I have a short day today, only a couple of hours. Due to the pandemic the hours and days that online tutoring is available have been shortened and so have our shifts.

5pm: I finish work just in time for dinner as my sister calls me downstairs. I am having chips again because my sister is unaware that I already had some earlier. But she adds a little twist by making stir-fry chips with this lush tomato and pepper sauce to accompany the dish.

7.30pm: I use this opportunity to review any applications that I can make for training contracts or law school for next year. To finance law school next year for the LPC, I plan on doing a combined master's which will allow me to get a postgraduate loan for my studies. However, of course, this is more debt at the end!

Total: £0
<strong>Day Six</strong><br><br>6am: I get up this morning and spend some time reading my book. I like this slow start since I know that I will be in back-to-back meetings for my part-time job today. I have a fruit salad for breakfast with black coffee.<br><br>9.30am: Ready to start the day. I support each child in their session and liaise with parents/guardians at the end to deliver feedback on the progress that their child is making.<br><br>1pm: I enjoy my job but I am happy to recharge after back-to-back meetings with children! I am excited for this one-hour unpaid break and head down to make a pasta salad for lunch. <br><br>5pm: I finish up with the last student and get ready for a run while the sun is still up. I run around my neighbourhood and later run a long bath to unwind. <br><br>7pm: I switch on some fairy lights and candles in my room to really get into the mindset to relax after the week. I watch some reruns of <em>Pretty Little Liars </em>on the BBC while eating Indomie. With my sister's busy schedule, she did not have time to make dinner today so I whipped up a quick ramen meal for us.<br><br>9pm: I am tired and snuggle up under the covers, falling into a deep sleep.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Six

6am: I get up this morning and spend some time reading my book. I like this slow start since I know that I will be in back-to-back meetings for my part-time job today. I have a fruit salad for breakfast with black coffee.

9.30am: Ready to start the day. I support each child in their session and liaise with parents/guardians at the end to deliver feedback on the progress that their child is making.

1pm: I enjoy my job but I am happy to recharge after back-to-back meetings with children! I am excited for this one-hour unpaid break and head down to make a pasta salad for lunch.

5pm: I finish up with the last student and get ready for a run while the sun is still up. I run around my neighbourhood and later run a long bath to unwind.

7pm: I switch on some fairy lights and candles in my room to really get into the mindset to relax after the week. I watch some reruns of Pretty Little Liars on the BBC while eating Indomie. With my sister's busy schedule, she did not have time to make dinner today so I whipped up a quick ramen meal for us.

9pm: I am tired and snuggle up under the covers, falling into a deep sleep.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br><br>7am: I wake up to get ready for church because my dad has pre-booked spaces for the family for 8.30am mass. <br><br>8.30am: I give an offering of £2 to the church (on top of my 10% tithe). On the way back from church, I pick up a scratch card because I am feeling a little lucky (£1). This feeling was false as I did not win anything.<br><br>11am: I spend some time going over some of the tasks that I could not complete during the week for school. <br><br>2pm: My sister picked up a meal deal for me from her work. I send her £3 to compensate. <br><br>3pm: I have church online with VOUS Church, which I have got into since the pandemic. No fees necessary to join. <br><br>5pm: I help my mum out with dinner. She chats to me about how family are in Nigeria and I agree to send over £100 this evening to help family. This translates to 52,734 naira (at the current exchange rate), which can mean a lot to family back home. <br><br>9pm: I am done for the week so I head to bed and fall asleep after watching some random YouTube videos. <br><br><strong>Total: £106</strong>
Day Seven

7am: I wake up to get ready for church because my dad has pre-booked spaces for the family for 8.30am mass.

8.30am: I give an offering of £2 to the church (on top of my 10% tithe). On the way back from church, I pick up a scratch card because I am feeling a little lucky (£1). This feeling was false as I did not win anything.

11am: I spend some time going over some of the tasks that I could not complete during the week for school.

2pm: My sister picked up a meal deal for me from her work. I send her £3 to compensate.

3pm: I have church online with VOUS Church, which I have got into since the pandemic. No fees necessary to join.

5pm: I help my mum out with dinner. She chats to me about how family are in Nigeria and I agree to send over £100 this evening to help family. This translates to 52,734 naira (at the current exchange rate), which can mean a lot to family back home.

9pm: I am done for the week so I head to bed and fall asleep after watching some random YouTube videos.

Total: £106
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food & Drink: £44.76<br>Entertainment: £0<br>Clothes & Beauty: £4<br>Transportation: £0<br>Other: £103<br><br><strong>Total: £151.76</strong><br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"Overall, the biggest category was 'other' due to the money that I sent to family back home. Of course, this money diary only shows a week but for those who have moved from another country, there is still an expectation that we will look out for and care for those that we have left behind. That is perhaps a non-negotiable outgoing from my account. <br><br>When I look at the money that I spent on food and drink, it is apparent that we enjoy a lot of luxuries such as Uber Eats, which we can call upon if we do not feel like cooking after a long day.<br><br>I need to evaluate further ways that we can collectively save money. This is to ensure that we are in the best financial position if the pandemic rages on. I would say that my spending was a lot more calculated when in London as it is so expensive and to ensure my longevity in the city, knowing how much I had coming in and out was crucial for my stay. Being back at home has perhaps made me more relaxed in that we are blessed to have three working people who can supply a more diverse stream of income to support us all. <br><br>Collectively, it seems as though we do not really have control of the money that we have going out. But my family would like to get on the property ladder and own a house soon, instead of renting a house in disrepair as we have done for more than a decade. To get serious about that, money diaries such as this one are crucial to seeing where and how to save money. I will definitely keep at it and encourage others to create their own money diaries as well."
The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £44.76
Entertainment: £0
Clothes & Beauty: £4
Transportation: £0
Other: £103

Total: £151.76

Conclusion

"Overall, the biggest category was 'other' due to the money that I sent to family back home. Of course, this money diary only shows a week but for those who have moved from another country, there is still an expectation that we will look out for and care for those that we have left behind. That is perhaps a non-negotiable outgoing from my account.

When I look at the money that I spent on food and drink, it is apparent that we enjoy a lot of luxuries such as Uber Eats, which we can call upon if we do not feel like cooking after a long day.

I need to evaluate further ways that we can collectively save money. This is to ensure that we are in the best financial position if the pandemic rages on. I would say that my spending was a lot more calculated when in London as it is so expensive and to ensure my longevity in the city, knowing how much I had coming in and out was crucial for my stay. Being back at home has perhaps made me more relaxed in that we are blessed to have three working people who can supply a more diverse stream of income to support us all.

Collectively, it seems as though we do not really have control of the money that we have going out. But my family would like to get on the property ladder and own a house soon, instead of renting a house in disrepair as we have done for more than a decade. To get serious about that, money diaries such as this one are crucial to seeing where and how to save money. I will definitely keep at it and encourage others to create their own money diaries as well."

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Money Diary: An Electrician In Grimsby On 17k

Money Diary: A Project Manager In London On 46k

Money Diary: Criminology Student & Part-Time Carer