Money Diary: A Primary School Teacher On 29.6k

·26 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’m a 25-year-old primary school teacher living on the south coast of England. I’ve been teaching for three years and live with my partner, A, who has also been teaching for three years so we earn the exact same salary. This makes budgeting so much easier, which I am eternally grateful for! I’m currently studying an online MSc in psychology alongside teaching full time. While I love teaching, I’m not sure I can see myself in the classroom forever and I'm interested in becoming an educational psychologist in the future. As I don’t come from a psychology background, I started the MSc conversion course earlier this year and although it’s hectic, so far it’s great. I have a tendency to be a bit of a workaholic (the most typical Enneagram type three you will ever meet) and massively burned out in my first year of teaching so I’m really trying to have more of a work-life balance and prioritise myself. I love being busy and studying so this doesn’t always come easy. I really struggled mentally over the course of the lockdowns for various reasons but have turned a huge corner in the last few months. With this in mind, I’m finding I’m spending a lot more money on experiences but am trying to tell myself this is okay."

Occupation: Primary school teacher and MSc psychology student. 
Industry: Education 
Age: 25 
Location: South coast 
Salary: £29,664 salary plus student loan (roughly £1,900 three times a year). 
Paycheque amount: £1,781.71 
Number of housemates: One: my partner, A. 
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £775 for a two-bed house in the city centre. 
Loan payments: £17 student loan. I don’t yet pay any of my master's loan as I’m still doing the course but am dreading the day this comes around as I’ve heard the contributions are significantly more. 
Savings? £400 in a Help to Buy ISA (clearly well on my way to owning a home) and £2,370 in an everyday saver account.
Pension? I pay £212.59 into my pension each month.
Utilities: On the joint account, my half of each bill comes to £85 council tax, £2.25 home insurance, £16.50 water, £41.30 gas and electric, £23.50 Wi-Fi, £6.50 TV licence (all split directly with A). We pay £850 each into the joint account per month and use this to cover all utilities, rent, food plus any joint activities or expenses. 
All other monthly payments: £42.52 for my iPhone and AirPods. £26.40 leisure centre membership including gym, swim and classes (split with A). £16.14 teaching union membership, £9.19 AA membership, £35 for physio every other week for cervicogenic headaches. Subscriptions: £7.99 Amazon Prime, £5.99 Spotify Student. I also pay half of our Disney+ and Microsoft Office subscriptions on the joint account at £4 a month for each. 

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? 

I went to university at 18 to study a three-year BEd in primary education. I absolutely loved uni but it was a massive learning curve with regards to money. I paid for my studies using a student loan and got the minimum maintenance allowance. I’d worked in retail and hospitality since 16 but didn’t ever prioritise saving and massively regretted this once I’d maxed out my overdraft limit before the end of first year. I managed to work and save a bit more over the summer of first year and then my parents helped me out with £150 a month once I spoke to them about my money situation. 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?

My parents have always advocated spending money in a way which allows you to enjoy life within your means while making sure you have a little left over. I took this to the extreme when I was younger and only saw saving as something you would do to fund a purchase. I really do believe that you only live once and you should spend money on experiences while you can but I am much more able to combine this with a more rational outlook now. When I left for uni, I realised how massively privileged I had been growing up to never really have to worry about money. 
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?

I moved out temporarily for uni at 18 but came back during holidays. When I graduated at 21 I moved back in with my mum and dad for six months to save money to go travelling while working as a waitress and they were kind enough to not charge me rent during this time. When we got back from travelling, my partner and I moved back in with my parents for another few months while we started our teaching jobs, until we began renting our current house. During this time, we paid them £200 each month for rent. 
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?

I would say just after I turned 23, when I moved out of my parents’ house and into this one. A and I split all living costs equally. We have very different attitudes to money – he is very much a saver while I’m a lot more of a spender – but we’ve managed to compromise well. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?

I got my first job at the age of 15, working in a local shop for £3 an hour! I basically got the job to fund my obsession with YouTube beauty influencers and to be able to buy makeup. I worked in various retail and hospitality jobs all through my final years of school, sixth form and uni, often working crazy hours in between studying.
 
Do you worry about money now?

Yes. I’m dreadful for comparing myself to others and often look at people who are my age or younger and have significantly more in savings than me and think what on earth am I doing with my money and why was I so careless in the past? However, I then look back on all the amazing experiences I’ve had and things I’ve done with my money. I do really worry about home ownership and how realistic this is for me – probably not very likely in the next few years. 
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

I received £10,000 from my grandma when I was 17, this was from some money she’d inherited herself. I spent most of this on buying my car (which I still drive to this day) and paying for driving lessons and insurance. I put the remainder towards travelling around America after I left sixth form.

Refinery29 is currently looking for someone who has a NatWest ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ card to take part in a paid opportunity around R29's Money Diaries. This person would need to be a conscious spender and saving up for or considering making a large purchase (£500 and under). If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please do send a bit of information about yourself and your financial situation to moneydiary@refinery29.uk.

<strong>Day One</strong><br> <br>6.30am: Wake up on a half-deflated airbed at our friends' house in London. We travelled down last night ready for a day festival today. We’re in that post-uni phase where our friends are spread all around the country so spend a lot of weekends travelling to different places and sleeping on this airbed! I read my Kindle for a bit (a thriller called <em>The Adoption</em>) before falling back to sleep. <br> <br>9am: Up and time to get ready for the festival. Swig a black coffee while getting glittered up. <br><br>10.30am: Head to Asda to get some drinks for the train ride to the festival. While I’m there I realise I don’t have a hat and the forecast is baking. Pick up a fetching denim bucket hat and some cocktails in tins (strawberry daiquiri and passionfruit martini for me) for a total of £11.56. <br> <br>11am: Get to the station and use my railcard to buy a travelcard for the day, £13.50. Get on the train, which alas is not air-conditioned. The cocktails taste a bit like Monster and I look a bit like a mushroom in the bucket hat. Never mind. <br> <br>12pm: Arrive at our stop and head straight to the pub for some more affordable drinks before the festival. I order a double pink gin and lemonade and three plates. I get Quorn chicken nuggets, loaded fries and some chicken strips. Health is wealth. We put this on the joint account, £14.35 for my half. <br><br>1.15pm: Order another gin for me and a pint for A, £4.75 for my half. <br> <br>2pm: Back on the Tube to head to the festival. After a short detour to dispose of a backpack we can't bring in (turns out no bags bigger than A4 are allowed), we are in! Head straight to watch an act in the sun before getting a drink. We decide to double park to avoid queuing up so many times. I have two passionfruit seltzers (which are amazing), £13 for my half. <br> <br>5pm: In the crowd enjoying an act when a woman selling jelly shots comes along. I buy four for £10 and distribute them among the group. Once we’ve had them, I realise they could be anything and we have no way of knowing what was actually in them. A reassures me that she had a card machine so obviously that means she must be legit. Fortunately, no one experiences any ill effects.<br> <br>8pm: Have an amazing afternoon seeing lots of different bands (my 14-year-old self would be so excited right now). I end up buying chips and gravy for all of us to share, £8. We also get another drink, £10.25 for my half. <br> <br>9.05pm: Time for the headliners! They are incredible. Have a little drunk happy cry to myself – this time last year, I was not in a good headspace and would never have been able to be in the middle of a crowd, singing and dancing with no cares. I feel so happy and proud of myself.<br> <br>11.30pm: Head back to the Tube and wait in a long queue but luckily make our connection with time to spare. The train home seems to take ages and my head is starting to ache. I always find now that after day drinking I have a hangover before even going to bed. Is this ageing? <br> <br>12am: Arrive back at our friends' stop. The rest of the group decide to get food but A and I can’t be bothered to queue and head back to the house. We get cosy on our airbed and go to sleep. <br> <br><strong>Total: £85.41</strong>
Day One

6.30am: Wake up on a half-deflated airbed at our friends' house in London. We travelled down last night ready for a day festival today. We’re in that post-uni phase where our friends are spread all around the country so spend a lot of weekends travelling to different places and sleeping on this airbed! I read my Kindle for a bit (a thriller called The Adoption) before falling back to sleep.

9am: Up and time to get ready for the festival. Swig a black coffee while getting glittered up.

10.30am: Head to Asda to get some drinks for the train ride to the festival. While I’m there I realise I don’t have a hat and the forecast is baking. Pick up a fetching denim bucket hat and some cocktails in tins (strawberry daiquiri and passionfruit martini for me) for a total of £11.56.

11am: Get to the station and use my railcard to buy a travelcard for the day, £13.50. Get on the train, which alas is not air-conditioned. The cocktails taste a bit like Monster and I look a bit like a mushroom in the bucket hat. Never mind.

12pm: Arrive at our stop and head straight to the pub for some more affordable drinks before the festival. I order a double pink gin and lemonade and three plates. I get Quorn chicken nuggets, loaded fries and some chicken strips. Health is wealth. We put this on the joint account, £14.35 for my half.

1.15pm: Order another gin for me and a pint for A, £4.75 for my half.

2pm: Back on the Tube to head to the festival. After a short detour to dispose of a backpack we can't bring in (turns out no bags bigger than A4 are allowed), we are in! Head straight to watch an act in the sun before getting a drink. We decide to double park to avoid queuing up so many times. I have two passionfruit seltzers (which are amazing), £13 for my half.

5pm: In the crowd enjoying an act when a woman selling jelly shots comes along. I buy four for £10 and distribute them among the group. Once we’ve had them, I realise they could be anything and we have no way of knowing what was actually in them. A reassures me that she had a card machine so obviously that means she must be legit. Fortunately, no one experiences any ill effects.

8pm: Have an amazing afternoon seeing lots of different bands (my 14-year-old self would be so excited right now). I end up buying chips and gravy for all of us to share, £8. We also get another drink, £10.25 for my half.

9.05pm: Time for the headliners! They are incredible. Have a little drunk happy cry to myself – this time last year, I was not in a good headspace and would never have been able to be in the middle of a crowd, singing and dancing with no cares. I feel so happy and proud of myself.

11.30pm: Head back to the Tube and wait in a long queue but luckily make our connection with time to spare. The train home seems to take ages and my head is starting to ache. I always find now that after day drinking I have a hangover before even going to bed. Is this ageing?

12am: Arrive back at our friends' stop. The rest of the group decide to get food but A and I can’t be bothered to queue and head back to the house. We get cosy on our airbed and go to sleep.

Total: £85.41
<strong>Day Two</strong><br> <br>8.30am: Wake up and I am SO hungry. My three plates in the pub seem a long time ago. Feel proud of myself for remembering to take my makeup and glitter off and drink a copious amount of water before bed, meaning I feel okay this morning.<br> <br>10am: Our friends are finally up and ready and we decide to head to another branch of the well-known pub chain for some breakfast. My hunger gets the better of me and I order a bacon sandwich, black coffee and six hash browns (I’d love to say I regretted this but I didn’t), £6.30. <br> <br>11am: Head home. I bought A an Alexa for his car for Christmas and it’s the best purchase. Get Flightradar out as we pass Heathrow and have a great time. <br> <br>12.30pm: Stop at Aldi to do the weekly shop just before we get home (a task I weirdly love). As the weather is hot we decide to get picky bits for tea. This includes some chicken skewers, Thai salmon, lots of salad ingredients, couscous and new potatoes among other bits as well as the usual cereal, fruit, almond milk, pitta breads, hummus, ice creams and so on. £28.37 for my half. <br> <br>12.45pm: Home and potter around for a bit, putting the shopping away and doing some general cleaning. Once I’ve finished I have an amazing shower – even though we weren’t camping at the festival, I still feel grimy as anything – and put my pyjamas on. We then settle down for a lazy afternoon on our sofa, which handily pulls out into a bed. We’re currently rewatching <em>Game of Thrones</em> and are on "The Long Night" episode from the last series. Even though I’ve seen it several times before, I am glued to it. <br> <br>4pm: Read my current book, <em>The Spanish Love Deception</em> (I never usually read romance but was heavily influenced by TikTok and needed something easy to tide me through the last week at school), and have a nap on the sofa. Sunday bliss! <br> <br>6pm: Have jerk chicken thighs, air fryer sweet potato cubes and mixed veg for dinner. It feels so nice to have something a bit healthier after a weekend of beige. Carry on with a mixture of <em>Game of Thrones </em>and my book after tidying up from dinner with A. <br> <br>8pm: FaceTime my mum and dad. Regrettably, the Conservative leadership campaign gets brought up and my dad and I debate while my mum rolls her eyes. Nevertheless, have a lovely chat and arrange to see them in a couple of weeks' time. <br> <br>8.45pm: Skincare time. I have psoriasis and am in a constant battle to find something which helps. A couple of weeks ago I saw the most incredible doctor at our local surgery who has prescribed me several different things, which I’m seeing a great difference from! Tonight is my last night on my steroid cream so I apply that after double cleansing with Neutrogena Hydration Boost micellar water and CeraVe cleanser. <br> <br>9pm: TV time.<br> <br>10pm: I’m so happy to be back in our cloudlike bed after two nights of airbedding. Chiropractor video on, fan on high and off to sleep. <br> <br><strong>Total: £34.67 </strong>
Day Two

8.30am: Wake up and I am SO hungry. My three plates in the pub seem a long time ago. Feel proud of myself for remembering to take my makeup and glitter off and drink a copious amount of water before bed, meaning I feel okay this morning.

10am: Our friends are finally up and ready and we decide to head to another branch of the well-known pub chain for some breakfast. My hunger gets the better of me and I order a bacon sandwich, black coffee and six hash browns (I’d love to say I regretted this but I didn’t), £6.30.

11am: Head home. I bought A an Alexa for his car for Christmas and it’s the best purchase. Get Flightradar out as we pass Heathrow and have a great time.

12.30pm: Stop at Aldi to do the weekly shop just before we get home (a task I weirdly love). As the weather is hot we decide to get picky bits for tea. This includes some chicken skewers, Thai salmon, lots of salad ingredients, couscous and new potatoes among other bits as well as the usual cereal, fruit, almond milk, pitta breads, hummus, ice creams and so on. £28.37 for my half.

12.45pm: Home and potter around for a bit, putting the shopping away and doing some general cleaning. Once I’ve finished I have an amazing shower – even though we weren’t camping at the festival, I still feel grimy as anything – and put my pyjamas on. We then settle down for a lazy afternoon on our sofa, which handily pulls out into a bed. We’re currently rewatching Game of Thrones and are on "The Long Night" episode from the last series. Even though I’ve seen it several times before, I am glued to it.

4pm: Read my current book, The Spanish Love Deception (I never usually read romance but was heavily influenced by TikTok and needed something easy to tide me through the last week at school), and have a nap on the sofa. Sunday bliss!

6pm: Have jerk chicken thighs, air fryer sweet potato cubes and mixed veg for dinner. It feels so nice to have something a bit healthier after a weekend of beige. Carry on with a mixture of Game of Thrones and my book after tidying up from dinner with A.

8pm: FaceTime my mum and dad. Regrettably, the Conservative leadership campaign gets brought up and my dad and I debate while my mum rolls her eyes. Nevertheless, have a lovely chat and arrange to see them in a couple of weeks' time.

8.45pm: Skincare time. I have psoriasis and am in a constant battle to find something which helps. A couple of weeks ago I saw the most incredible doctor at our local surgery who has prescribed me several different things, which I’m seeing a great difference from! Tonight is my last night on my steroid cream so I apply that after double cleansing with Neutrogena Hydration Boost micellar water and CeraVe cleanser.

9pm: TV time.

10pm: I’m so happy to be back in our cloudlike bed after two nights of airbedding. Chiropractor video on, fan on high and off to sleep.

Total: £34.67
<strong>Day Three</strong><br> <br>6am: Woken up by my sunrise alarm clock (this has transformed my mornings). Standard morning routine before heading downstairs to make myself an almond milk iced coffee to drink with my breakfast of Aldi cereal. I can already feel the temperature is hot. <br> <br>7.20am: Drive to work and take delight in a field of sheep who have an umbrella set up for them over their water trough to ensure they are shaded. I absolutely love sheep and am working on cutting down on the amount of meat I eat in the long term (I’ve already cut out lamb). However, I’ve suffered from disordered eating in the past and know I need to make this manageable for myself. <br> <br>7.40am: Arrive at work. Open up and go to check on our school guinea pigs. They’ve disappeared! Message the staff WhatsApp chat, deeply concerned they’ve been taken by a fox or hawk. Fortunately someone has just taken them home to a more shady location, phew. Safe in the knowledge that the guineas are alive and well, I set up my classroom for today. I teach the younger children so make sure we have lots of water-based activities in our shaded outdoor area. <br> <br>8.45am: The children arrive and the day begins. Although my job can be stressful, I absolutely love it and the children are truly the best part. We have a morning of trying to complete as much learning as we can while keeping as cool as we possibly can (not an easy feat). The children go home at lunchtime today due to the red weather warning. <br> <br>12.15pm: During lunchtime I get a notification from my university learning platform saying our grades have been released for our previous module. This was a statistics module, which I found really challenging, and I’m nervous about getting the grade. Annoyingly, the grade is nowhere to be found! See on our forum that others are having the problem too and cross my fingers that it will be there soon. <br><br>5pm: I leave work and have never been so glad to have air-conditioning in my car. I get £20 cash out on the way home to pay for some Facebook Marketplace bargains I found for my classroom, which I need to pick up tonight. <br> <br>5.50pm: After picking up my bits I head to Tesco to pick up hummus, pittas, sun cream and some faux potted plants. It comes to £25.50, which I pay for on my personal account as the majority of sun cream was for me and the plants were my choice. <br> <br>6pm: Ugh, time to fill up with petrol. Just over three quarters of a tank comes to £57.52. Gone are the days when I could fill up this car for £40. <br> <br>6.40pm: Finally home and A has cooked pork belly, couscous and a giant feta and pomegranate salad. It’s delicious! <br> <br>7.30pm: Tidy up from dinner and have a tepid bath to cool down. Finish <em>The Spanish Love Deception</em> in the bath – a 4/5 from me. Log my book on Goodreads. <br> <br>9.30pm: Get a notification saying our grades have finally been released. Charge upstairs and check my laptop to find I got 75% – a distinction! Feel entirely overwhelmed with relief and shock as I did not feel the assignment had gone so well. Tell A and text my mum and dad. I am so pleasantly surprised and proud of myself. <br> <br>10pm: Once again, so grateful for my fan. Replace the chiropractor video with the <em>Cat Marina</em> sleepcast from Headspace and fall asleep. <br> <br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£103.02</strong>
Day Three

6am: Woken up by my sunrise alarm clock (this has transformed my mornings). Standard morning routine before heading downstairs to make myself an almond milk iced coffee to drink with my breakfast of Aldi cereal. I can already feel the temperature is hot.

7.20am: Drive to work and take delight in a field of sheep who have an umbrella set up for them over their water trough to ensure they are shaded. I absolutely love sheep and am working on cutting down on the amount of meat I eat in the long term (I’ve already cut out lamb). However, I’ve suffered from disordered eating in the past and know I need to make this manageable for myself.

7.40am: Arrive at work. Open up and go to check on our school guinea pigs. They’ve disappeared! Message the staff WhatsApp chat, deeply concerned they’ve been taken by a fox or hawk. Fortunately someone has just taken them home to a more shady location, phew. Safe in the knowledge that the guineas are alive and well, I set up my classroom for today. I teach the younger children so make sure we have lots of water-based activities in our shaded outdoor area.

8.45am: The children arrive and the day begins. Although my job can be stressful, I absolutely love it and the children are truly the best part. We have a morning of trying to complete as much learning as we can while keeping as cool as we possibly can (not an easy feat). The children go home at lunchtime today due to the red weather warning.

12.15pm: During lunchtime I get a notification from my university learning platform saying our grades have been released for our previous module. This was a statistics module, which I found really challenging, and I’m nervous about getting the grade. Annoyingly, the grade is nowhere to be found! See on our forum that others are having the problem too and cross my fingers that it will be there soon.

5pm: I leave work and have never been so glad to have air-conditioning in my car. I get £20 cash out on the way home to pay for some Facebook Marketplace bargains I found for my classroom, which I need to pick up tonight.

5.50pm: After picking up my bits I head to Tesco to pick up hummus, pittas, sun cream and some faux potted plants. It comes to £25.50, which I pay for on my personal account as the majority of sun cream was for me and the plants were my choice.

6pm: Ugh, time to fill up with petrol. Just over three quarters of a tank comes to £57.52. Gone are the days when I could fill up this car for £40.

6.40pm: Finally home and A has cooked pork belly, couscous and a giant feta and pomegranate salad. It’s delicious!

7.30pm: Tidy up from dinner and have a tepid bath to cool down. Finish The Spanish Love Deception in the bath – a 4/5 from me. Log my book on Goodreads.

9.30pm: Get a notification saying our grades have finally been released. Charge upstairs and check my laptop to find I got 75% – a distinction! Feel entirely overwhelmed with relief and shock as I did not feel the assignment had gone so well. Tell A and text my mum and dad. I am so pleasantly surprised and proud of myself.

10pm: Once again, so grateful for my fan. Replace the chiropractor video with the Cat Marina sleepcast from Headspace and fall asleep.

Total: £103.02
<strong>Day Four</strong><br> <br>6am: Slightly less enthusiastic to wake up this morning. Snooze for precisely 24 minutes before beginning my standard morning routine.<br> <br>7.40am: Arrive at work and my classroom feels significantly hotter than it did yesterday. Open windows, shut blinds and try and make it cool where I can. <br> <br>8.45am: The children arrive and tell me they love my dress and I look beautiful. When people ask me why I teach primary, the daily confidence boosts are undoubtedly part of the answer! I’m modelling a phonics lesson for a colleague this morning in my role as phonics lead. I’m a bit worried how the kids will find it in the heat but luckily they’re amazing and it goes really well. <br> <br>1.15pm: Meeting done and time to spend the afternoon getting my classroom ready for September. <br> <br>5.15pm: Arrive home with grand plans of completing the week’s uni work as this is one of my only free evenings. Tell myself I’ll just sit down for five minutes. Fall asleep on the sofa while scrolling through TikTok, oops. <br> <br>5.30pm: A wakes me up and we cook dinner together: chicken skewers with salad and air fryer new potatoes. Yum. <br> <br>6pm: Finally go upstairs to make a start on this week’s uni work. I usually sit at my desk to work, however sit on my bed tonight so I can be in front of the fan. This week’s content is all about forensic psychology and it is fascinating. I’m absolutely loving this module and it reminds me why I’m putting myself through the joy of a master's. I make a start on my mid-module assessment, which is due next Monday. <br> <br>8.30pm: Finish uni work for the evening and go for a cool shower. <br><br>9pm: Settle down on the sofa to make a start on a new book. As a child I read loads but got out of the habit as I grew older. I got back into it in lockdown as a way to distract myself and have found it incredible for my mental health and work-life balance. The only downside of this is the amount of money I spend on books. <br> <br>9pm: TV with Aldi’s rip-off of a Magnum – it’s pretty good! <br> <br>10pm: The usual drill: skincare, brush teeth, chiropractor video and sleep. <br> <br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Four

6am: Slightly less enthusiastic to wake up this morning. Snooze for precisely 24 minutes before beginning my standard morning routine.

7.40am: Arrive at work and my classroom feels significantly hotter than it did yesterday. Open windows, shut blinds and try and make it cool where I can.

8.45am: The children arrive and tell me they love my dress and I look beautiful. When people ask me why I teach primary, the daily confidence boosts are undoubtedly part of the answer! I’m modelling a phonics lesson for a colleague this morning in my role as phonics lead. I’m a bit worried how the kids will find it in the heat but luckily they’re amazing and it goes really well.

1.15pm: Meeting done and time to spend the afternoon getting my classroom ready for September.

5.15pm: Arrive home with grand plans of completing the week’s uni work as this is one of my only free evenings. Tell myself I’ll just sit down for five minutes. Fall asleep on the sofa while scrolling through TikTok, oops.

5.30pm: A wakes me up and we cook dinner together: chicken skewers with salad and air fryer new potatoes. Yum.

6pm: Finally go upstairs to make a start on this week’s uni work. I usually sit at my desk to work, however sit on my bed tonight so I can be in front of the fan. This week’s content is all about forensic psychology and it is fascinating. I’m absolutely loving this module and it reminds me why I’m putting myself through the joy of a master's. I make a start on my mid-module assessment, which is due next Monday.

8.30pm: Finish uni work for the evening and go for a cool shower.

9pm: Settle down on the sofa to make a start on a new book. As a child I read loads but got out of the habit as I grew older. I got back into it in lockdown as a way to distract myself and have found it incredible for my mental health and work-life balance. The only downside of this is the amount of money I spend on books.

9pm: TV with Aldi’s rip-off of a Magnum – it’s pretty good!

10pm: The usual drill: skincare, brush teeth, chiropractor video and sleep.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Five</strong><br> <br>6am: Snooze the alarm for half an hour today as I’m shattered. I love the summer term but it is so tiring. Today we have transition day with our new classes, which I’m really looking forward to. <br> <br>6.30am: Up and getting ready for the day. My psoriasis on my face has started to flare up again after stopping my steroid cream, boo. Cereal and iced coffee again for breakfast. <br> <br>8.50am: We’re practising the leavers' service for Year 6 this morning. The children leaving this year were my first class in my NQT year so it all feels a bit emotional. The service goes well and hopefully the real one will on Friday! <br> <br>9.30am: Time to ship my current class off to their new teacher and welcome my new children. They’re such a lovely bunch and so happy to be starting school. This isn’t their first transition morning so we’ve already started to get to know them. <br> <br>12pm: Welcome my old class back – they tell me what an amazing time they had and how much comfier the chairs were. Fair enough! <br> <br>12.15pm: Leftover salad and new potatoes for lunch today. <br> <br>1.15pm: It’s my PPA (planning, preparation and assessment) time this afternoon. Usually I’m lucky enough to go home for this but we’re having a staff meal tonight to celebrate the end of the year so I decided to stay. Spend the afternoon sorting out my classroom for next year. Nothing makes me happier than a clean, tidy, decluttered classroom with empty display boards ready to go. <br> <br>6pm: Staff meal time. Our head has kindly treated us to Chinese. I love having takeaway with a group as I get to try lots of different things that we wouldn’t usually have at home, it being just the two of us. Have such a fun night with my work friends. <br> <br>9pm: Home in time for a catch-up with A and some TV.<br> <br>10pm: Later shower and skincare for me tonight, wild. Start a new book in bed called <em>Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead</em> by Emily Austin. I try to read every single day, even if it’s only for five minutes, as it’s amazing for clearing my head. Find the book scarily relatable to some of the times I’ve had over the past few years. <br> <br>10.30pm: Lights out and sleeeeeep. <br> <br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Five

6am: Snooze the alarm for half an hour today as I’m shattered. I love the summer term but it is so tiring. Today we have transition day with our new classes, which I’m really looking forward to.

6.30am: Up and getting ready for the day. My psoriasis on my face has started to flare up again after stopping my steroid cream, boo. Cereal and iced coffee again for breakfast.

8.50am: We’re practising the leavers' service for Year 6 this morning. The children leaving this year were my first class in my NQT year so it all feels a bit emotional. The service goes well and hopefully the real one will on Friday!

9.30am: Time to ship my current class off to their new teacher and welcome my new children. They’re such a lovely bunch and so happy to be starting school. This isn’t their first transition morning so we’ve already started to get to know them.

12pm: Welcome my old class back – they tell me what an amazing time they had and how much comfier the chairs were. Fair enough!

12.15pm: Leftover salad and new potatoes for lunch today.

1.15pm: It’s my PPA (planning, preparation and assessment) time this afternoon. Usually I’m lucky enough to go home for this but we’re having a staff meal tonight to celebrate the end of the year so I decided to stay. Spend the afternoon sorting out my classroom for next year. Nothing makes me happier than a clean, tidy, decluttered classroom with empty display boards ready to go.

6pm: Staff meal time. Our head has kindly treated us to Chinese. I love having takeaway with a group as I get to try lots of different things that we wouldn’t usually have at home, it being just the two of us. Have such a fun night with my work friends.

9pm: Home in time for a catch-up with A and some TV.

10pm: Later shower and skincare for me tonight, wild. Start a new book in bed called Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin. I try to read every single day, even if it’s only for five minutes, as it’s amazing for clearing my head. Find the book scarily relatable to some of the times I’ve had over the past few years.

10.30pm: Lights out and sleeeeeep.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Six</strong><br> <br>5.55am: Wake up before my alarm. It must be the penultimate-day-of-term adrenaline striking me. Morning routine as normal. <br> <br>7am: Stop at the supermarket on the way to work to get some ingredients for our DT cooking lesson today. We’re making salads so I pick up a variety of ingredients for the children to try, which I will expense. <br> <br>3.15pm: Wow, what a manic day! It’s been great fun though. I was slightly dreading cooking with a group of 4 to 6-year-olds but they were truly amazing. <br> <br>3.45pm: Head home early to carry on with uni work. I try to do this once a week so that I can keep my weekends as free as possible. <br> <br>4.15pm: Home. Grab myself a packet of Skips and some carrot sticks and shut myself away to work on my assignment. I really love essay writing (bizarre, I know) and find it weirdly cathartic. <br> <br>6.30pm: A arrives home and makes a delicious tomato and veg pasta for tea. I am so grateful for how supportive he’s been with my uni work, particularly this week when things have been so busy. <br> <br>7pm: A quick break from assignment writing to pop to the supermarket with A to buy our teaching assistants some end-of-term gifts. I cannot express how amazing my TA is and how incredible she’s been throughout the year. I spend £35.06 on a thank you card, giant bar of Galaxy and a bottle of flavoured gin for her to say thank you. <br> <br>7.30pm: Back to my assignment but my head isn’t in it and my earlier flow state has been disrupted. Decide to call it a day for now and finish over the weekend. Clean up from dinner before having a shower – it’s hair wash night, using the Revolution Olaplex shampoo and conditioner dupes from Superdrug. They’re not bad but nothing compared to the real thing. Sadly, I think this is one of the circumstances where you get what you pay for.<br> <br>8pm: Hair plaited, skin slugged with Vaseline post-skincare routine and settled on the sofa with my book.<br><br>9pm: Find a massive bruise on my thigh. I think it’s from the festival at the weekend but could just as easily be from bumping into something around the house or at work. I’m dyspraxic and constantly finding new ways to injure myself. Fortunately it doesn’t hurt too much. <br> <br>10pm: Bed. <br> <br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£35.06</strong>
Day Six

5.55am: Wake up before my alarm. It must be the penultimate-day-of-term adrenaline striking me. Morning routine as normal.

7am: Stop at the supermarket on the way to work to get some ingredients for our DT cooking lesson today. We’re making salads so I pick up a variety of ingredients for the children to try, which I will expense.

3.15pm: Wow, what a manic day! It’s been great fun though. I was slightly dreading cooking with a group of 4 to 6-year-olds but they were truly amazing.

3.45pm: Head home early to carry on with uni work. I try to do this once a week so that I can keep my weekends as free as possible.

4.15pm: Home. Grab myself a packet of Skips and some carrot sticks and shut myself away to work on my assignment. I really love essay writing (bizarre, I know) and find it weirdly cathartic.

6.30pm: A arrives home and makes a delicious tomato and veg pasta for tea. I am so grateful for how supportive he’s been with my uni work, particularly this week when things have been so busy.

7pm: A quick break from assignment writing to pop to the supermarket with A to buy our teaching assistants some end-of-term gifts. I cannot express how amazing my TA is and how incredible she’s been throughout the year. I spend £35.06 on a thank you card, giant bar of Galaxy and a bottle of flavoured gin for her to say thank you.

7.30pm: Back to my assignment but my head isn’t in it and my earlier flow state has been disrupted. Decide to call it a day for now and finish over the weekend. Clean up from dinner before having a shower – it’s hair wash night, using the Revolution Olaplex shampoo and conditioner dupes from Superdrug. They’re not bad but nothing compared to the real thing. Sadly, I think this is one of the circumstances where you get what you pay for.

8pm: Hair plaited, skin slugged with Vaseline post-skincare routine and settled on the sofa with my book.

9pm: Find a massive bruise on my thigh. I think it’s from the festival at the weekend but could just as easily be from bumping into something around the house or at work. I’m dyspraxic and constantly finding new ways to injure myself. Fortunately it doesn’t hurt too much.

10pm: Bed.

Total: £35.06
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br> <br>6am: Good morning world, it is the last day of term! This day always feels surreal and I can’t believe I’m at the end of my third year of teaching. Have a moment to reflect on everything I’ve managed to do career-wise in that time and everything I’d like to achieve in the next few years. Food for thought! <br> <br>8.50am: The children arrive at school and I receive some lovely gifts. I always feel weirdly guilty when families buy me presents at the end of the year as I’m just doing my job, but I’m really grateful. Have some gorgeous messages in cards which make me want to cry. I vow to save them to look back on when inevitably challenging days come next year. <br> <br>11am: Have our own little leavers' service within the class for the children who are moving up. We say a few words about each child and give them a small gift from us. Present my TA with her present and I manage to make her cry with the card. She gives me the most amazing present back – a pair of shoes I’ve wanted for ages! Talk about over and above. <br> <br>12pm: Last lunch of the year with my colleagues. I have a big bowl of leftover pasta from last night, which tastes amazing. <br> <br>1.30pm: Time for the Year 6 leavers' service. It’s a lovely service and I manage to make it through without sobbing uncontrollably. <br> <br>3.15pm: SUMMER! Say bye to everyone and jump in my car and head home. I know that teachers' holidays are a bone of contention; I completely acknowledge how lucky we are to have them and will forever treasure the feeling of the first evening of the holidays. We’ve got lots of different travel plans this summer and lots of friends to catch up with and I can’t wait. <br> <br>4pm: A arrives home and we have a massive hug to celebrate making it to the end of the year. I feel like I’ve neglected him massively this week with my uni work and other outings (he tells me it’s okay, he’s managed to play lots of <em>Football Manager</em>) so we decide to have a chilled evening in together. Debate going to the beach for some fish and chips or going for a drink in a beer garden but ultimately decide to have a takeaway and cosy night at home. We decide 4pm is possibly too early to have a takeaway so we FaceTime our parents, shower and get in PJs. <br> <br>6pm: Finally it is an acceptable time for takeaway. Spend a good amount of time debating what to have before finally settling on Chinese. Even though I had one the other night, I genuinely very rarely have Chinese and it feels like such a treat. We order chicken chow mein, chicken balls, kung po prawns, crispy chilli beef and some chip, all to share. Thoroughly aware this is too much food but it will make a great lunch tomorrow. £15.10 for my half. <br> <br>7.15pm: Utterly defeated. We consider playing <em>Sports</em> on our Nintendo Switch but decide to watch the final episode of <em>Game of Thrones</em> instead. I’m still wildly disappointed at the ending – Daenerys deserved better! <br> <br>9pm: Usually by this time on a Friday evening at home, I’d be fast asleep on the sofa. A makes me a gin and tonic and we watch some more TV. My relationship with alcohol has changed massively for the better over the past few years. I don’t drink anywhere near as much or as frequently now and the impact on my mental health has been incredible. <br> <br>10pm: Neither of us can stay awake any longer. We take great delight in switching our alarms OFF for the summer and fall asleep happy! <br> <br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£15.10</strong>
Day Seven

6am: Good morning world, it is the last day of term! This day always feels surreal and I can’t believe I’m at the end of my third year of teaching. Have a moment to reflect on everything I’ve managed to do career-wise in that time and everything I’d like to achieve in the next few years. Food for thought!

8.50am: The children arrive at school and I receive some lovely gifts. I always feel weirdly guilty when families buy me presents at the end of the year as I’m just doing my job, but I’m really grateful. Have some gorgeous messages in cards which make me want to cry. I vow to save them to look back on when inevitably challenging days come next year.

11am: Have our own little leavers' service within the class for the children who are moving up. We say a few words about each child and give them a small gift from us. Present my TA with her present and I manage to make her cry with the card. She gives me the most amazing present back – a pair of shoes I’ve wanted for ages! Talk about over and above.

12pm: Last lunch of the year with my colleagues. I have a big bowl of leftover pasta from last night, which tastes amazing.

1.30pm: Time for the Year 6 leavers' service. It’s a lovely service and I manage to make it through without sobbing uncontrollably.

3.15pm: SUMMER! Say bye to everyone and jump in my car and head home. I know that teachers' holidays are a bone of contention; I completely acknowledge how lucky we are to have them and will forever treasure the feeling of the first evening of the holidays. We’ve got lots of different travel plans this summer and lots of friends to catch up with and I can’t wait.

4pm: A arrives home and we have a massive hug to celebrate making it to the end of the year. I feel like I’ve neglected him massively this week with my uni work and other outings (he tells me it’s okay, he’s managed to play lots of Football Manager) so we decide to have a chilled evening in together. Debate going to the beach for some fish and chips or going for a drink in a beer garden but ultimately decide to have a takeaway and cosy night at home. We decide 4pm is possibly too early to have a takeaway so we FaceTime our parents, shower and get in PJs.

6pm: Finally it is an acceptable time for takeaway. Spend a good amount of time debating what to have before finally settling on Chinese. Even though I had one the other night, I genuinely very rarely have Chinese and it feels like such a treat. We order chicken chow mein, chicken balls, kung po prawns, crispy chilli beef and some chip, all to share. Thoroughly aware this is too much food but it will make a great lunch tomorrow. £15.10 for my half.

7.15pm: Utterly defeated. We consider playing Sports on our Nintendo Switch but decide to watch the final episode of Game of Thrones instead. I’m still wildly disappointed at the ending – Daenerys deserved better!

9pm: Usually by this time on a Friday evening at home, I’d be fast asleep on the sofa. A makes me a gin and tonic and we watch some more TV. My relationship with alcohol has changed massively for the better over the past few years. I don’t drink anywhere near as much or as frequently now and the impact on my mental health has been incredible.

10pm: Neither of us can stay awake any longer. We take great delight in switching our alarms OFF for the summer and fall asleep happy!

Total: £15.10
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br> <br>Food & Drink: £156.74<br>Entertainment: £0<br>Clothes & Beauty: £0<br>Home & Health: £25.50<br>Travel: £71.02<br>Other: £20<br><br><strong>Total: £273.26</strong><br> <br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"Wow, I need to spend a bit less on food and drink. This was nowhere near a normal week for me. I spent a lot more at the festival than I’d hoped (but had a great time) and could have chosen cheaper meal options when we ate out when we were away at the weekend. That being said, I do find the weekends are where I spend most of my money as I travel a lot to see friends around the country. Petrol was a huge expense this week but luckily one I have to shell out for only every two to three weeks. I also had the gift for my TA, which doesn’t happen every week. This diary also made me realise that I need to ensure I’m fitting in time for exercise during the week. I got into a great routine with going to the gym and swimming but this easily drops when things are busy at the end of term. Going forward, I definitely want to try to continue to prioritise spending money on experiences rather than material things and carry on trying to gauge a balance between having fun and building up my savings."
The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £156.74
Entertainment: £0
Clothes & Beauty: £0
Home & Health: £25.50
Travel: £71.02
Other: £20

Total: £273.26

Conclusion

"Wow, I need to spend a bit less on food and drink. This was nowhere near a normal week for me. I spent a lot more at the festival than I’d hoped (but had a great time) and could have chosen cheaper meal options when we ate out when we were away at the weekend. That being said, I do find the weekends are where I spend most of my money as I travel a lot to see friends around the country. Petrol was a huge expense this week but luckily one I have to shell out for only every two to three weeks. I also had the gift for my TA, which doesn’t happen every week. This diary also made me realise that I need to ensure I’m fitting in time for exercise during the week. I got into a great routine with going to the gym and swimming but this easily drops when things are busy at the end of term. Going forward, I definitely want to try to continue to prioritise spending money on experiences rather than material things and carry on trying to gauge a balance between having fun and building up my savings."

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