Hey there, I’m Alicia and I’m a 20-year-old full-time student in London. I also work a zero hours’ contract in hospitality as well as running a lifestyle/beauty/fashion which you can find at www.aestheticobsessed.co.uk . While working a zero hours’ contract is extremely useful when having a busy university schedule, it does also mean that I often get shifts cancelled on me last minute. As well as having to pay a fine if I must cancel last minute, which is extremely annoying, especially months when I haven’t been able to work a lot and I often end up not getting paid a single penny. Due to being a student I live in London from September until June every year and spend the summer at my mums trying to save up any extra pennies to make it through the first term of the academic year.
- Rent: £696 (this includes all bills such as electricity and internet, and home/gadget insurance)
- Bills: Phone bill- £15
- Savings: £30
- Subscriptions: £4.99 – Apple music student subscription
- Socialising/ leisure: £250 on average a month
- Travel: £150 I have to travel around London for shifts
- Food: £80 roughly, I normally do about two food shops a month
- What does a typical week look like for you? I normally have classes five days a week during the day, and I try to work at least two shifts a week when it’s possible. I have two nights a week in which I go out drinking with my friends, but these are student nights and therefore are often cheaper than the average night out in London. With entry normally costing £5 with transport to the club included, therefore I’ll often hunt out the cheapest bottle of wine with the highest percentage. I will often also order food at least once a week when I simply don’t have the energy to cook. Although I do place a food delivery order twice a month, in which I will normally spend between £40 and £45 to stock up as much as possible and occasionally I can just get away with popping to the local corner shop in order to stock up on things such as milk, bread and pasta. It’s not rare for me to have to travel to the other side of London for work (I live in zone 3 of South West) which costs me a pretty penny in travel costs, which aren’t covered by work. If I finish after midnight though I often get given a £15 taxi allowance in order to make sure I get home okay, this is often only enough to get me part of the way home the rest I have to either do either through public transport or pay for the taxi myself.
- What are your usual guilty spends, what can’t you resist buying over and over? Makeup. I run a blog which includes beauty so I can never resist buying new makeup and while I try to set myself a budget of £20 a week to spend on makeup I often will go over or not spend a single penny. I guess this kind of evens itself out over the course of the month. Although I’m slowly starting to come to terms that I already have more than enough makeup and I don’t have any storage room left for more products.
- What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought? Probably my phone, I bought the iPhone 6 last May out of my student finance payment, I needed a new phone but I didn’t want to get phone contract that would cost me £45+ when I was in the position to be about to buy one out right. By doing this it has meant my phone contract is only £15 a month to cover everything I need (specifically enough data and texts) which is a lot nicer on my budget. My phone is still going strong (touch wood) although I did have to pay to replace the screen the other week as I may or may not have completely smashed it on a night out, I paid the consequences…£79.99 worth of consequences.
- Are you saving for anything in particular at the moment? I’m saving up for a new camera, specifically either the Olympus Pen EP7 or Canon 1200D. While I do try to pay money into my savings account every month, I have times when I struggle to put anything in there. I also recently emptied it out in order to have spending money on my holiday to Croatia, which occurred just before I got my final student finance payment and therefore I was running very low on money.
- If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would go out and buy? I’d buy my own flat in London, so I could live up here all year round, and not have to worry about rent, as I currently live in student accommodation so my rent comes out in three payments around the same time as I receive my student finance. While this may seem useful as at least I know my rent has been paid, they’re often very large payments and will, therefore, leave me really feeling the pinch, especially the first payment of the year which is often the biggest…despite that being the smallest amount of loan I receive.
- If money was no object what would be your dream travel destination? I don’t have just one dream travel destination, I want to see the whole world, but I suppose if money really was no object it would have to be Mexico. I don’t think there is any specific reason why I just like the idea of having bath robes and slippers included in the cost of the hotel. Although I would absolutely just want to go round the entire world.
- What’s the best money advice/tip you’ve ever received? If you can’t afford to buy it twice then don’t buy it. I can’t remember where I heard this but it’s something I’ve lived by since being a student, that and putting all my change into a pot and then counting it up at the end of the year. You don’t ever realise just how much can be hidden in a pot of change until you count it up.
Thanks Alicia for contributing! If you’d like to be featured in a money diary. Leave me a comment and I’ll send you the info.