How much do you earn and spend? The student: ‘My biggest worry is affording healthy food’

Although her parents pay for her accommodation (£115 a week for 43 weeks; weekly bills are included) and her phone bill (£35 to £40 a month), she still struggles to juggle her finances. She says she has a ‘strict budget of £50 a week’, but admits, ‘When I look at it written down, I’m not keeping to it.’ Over two weeks, Bhullar spent £180.12.

She says her biggest financial worry is not being able to afford healthy food. She shops at Tesco and Aldi, spending between £30 and £60 weekly. Now, instead of trips to Starbucks during the day, she makes packed lunches, and rather than buying alcohol on a night out she drinks at home first.

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Bhullar says she tries not to think about her student loan, because ‘I know I’ll just end up panicking’; instead she focuses on her day-to-day spending. Every week Bhullar takes out her money for the week, using a card only in emergencies. ‘I made the decision not to get an overdraft.’ She hopes to get a summer job to help pay for a holiday to America with her boyfriend’s family, for which she has already saved a couple of hundred pounds. She also plans on going away with friends.

‘I liked the independence when I first got here, but soon I realised that my quality of life was better when I was living with my parents,’ she says. ‘You’ve got to get used to things not being as good quality, like food. But it gets you ready for when you’re out there on your own.’

SIMRAN’S TWO-WEEK SPENDING DIARY

Thursday February 12

£3.50 meal deal at student union shop

£11.48 two tiger toys and an ice lolly at Chester Zoo (admission plus travel free)

Friday February 13

£47 food, Tesco

£10 cinema ticket and drink

Saturday February 14

£4.50 two hot chocolates, Pret A Manger

Sunday February 15

£13 crazy golf for two people

£12.50 two Tango Ice Blast drinks and candy-floss

Monday February 16

Nil

Tuesday February 17

£7.62 food, student union shop

Wednesday February 18

£19.98 gym clothing

Thursday February 19

Nil

Friday February 20

£5 nightclub

Saturday February 21

Nil

Sunday February 22

Nil

Monday February 23

£30.66

Tuesday February 24

£6 food, drink, magazines, student union shop

Wednesday February 25

£8.88 food, drink and magazines, student union shop

HOW OTHER HOUSEHOLDS LIVE

The family with children

The couple without children

The single mother

The young worker

The pensioner

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