Although money remains one of the biggest concerns we as students have, we are not good enough to talk about it. Budgets and managing personal finance is still too much of a struggle for the average student while talking about money can be a taboo. This is why Roar News, inspired by media outlet Refinery29, is aiming to start the discussion about money on campus.
How are we going to do this? By asking King’s students to write a diary detailing their income and expenses over the course of a week.
On the third week back to university, third-year Politics student B takes us back and forth to her native Norway, an excruciating interview experience, essay writing and dinners with the boyfriend (having a boyfriend who pays for dinner seems to be a good reason to get one).
Student Loan: I receive approximately €26,000 from the state each year, which goes to pay both my rent and tuition.
Parents: Am both happy and unhappy to say that I get nothing from my parents in terms of income. However, that is not to say that do not receive anything; I travel with them on vacations and am set when I visit home.
Savings: I save my income from jobs during the summer, yet this is most definitely spent throughout the following semesters. I have a savings account from before uni that I tell myself I will not touch, but it has happened every year, usually around May.
Salary: I do not have any paid work during semesters, I rather have an unpaid research position. I earn money during the summer and try to spend as little as possible to save for when the semester starts. I am Norwegian, so because the salaries are higher there, it can last quite a bit when in London.
Bills: Usually pay around €250 every six months for water, while electricity and heating bills vary a lot.
Rent: My rent is €875 each month: I pay sixth months upfront in September and then pay for three months in February. I have lived with my boyfriend in the same flat for the time I have been at uni (currently on my last year), and we have been lucky to negotiate a nine-month break clause, so we do not have to pay over the summer.
Oystercard: I do not have an Oystercard. I walk to and back from uni every day, which takes about 1h 45m in total. In the instances where I need to take the tube or bus, I pay the full fee, but it rarely happens.
Netflix and other services: For streaming services, I use my parents’ accounts. I do not have a gym membership, as I tell myself that walking to school is enough and that I at some point will pick up the weights I bought for home to substitute a membership.
School fees: €9397.5 each semester.
The Money Diary
06:30 AM: So, this day is a bit unusual as I wake up in Oslo and have an interview in the morning. Being at my father’s house, I eat breakfast for free and otherwise get ready for the interview.
08:15 AM: I nervously take a completely packed bus to the location where the interview will take place (€3.00 for bus fare).
11:45 AM: Being absolutely exhausted after an intense interview, I take the bus back home to eat more free food, watch meaningless videos on YouTube, and cry a little bit over how terrible the interview went (€3.00 for bus fare).
16:10 PM: These latter activities apparently take a long time, as I am not out of the house until four hours later. My father drives me to my mother’s house, where I eat dinner with my mum and sister, before falling asleep early.
8:30 AM: Wake up and lay in my bed scrolling on the phone until about 9:00 AM. Still eating free breakfast and since I have a plane to catch, I pack my stuff and get ready.
10:15 AM: Was planning on walking the 30 minutes to the train station, but it was pouring outside so I had to take the tram (€3.00).
10:40 AM: I take the airport express train and pay for a student discounted ticket (€8.30)
11:15 AM: At the airport, I am always very early and always very stingy. I buy yoghurt and banana, as well as an obligatory coffee (€5.60). I try to finish my uni work at the airport.
13:15 PM: On the plane, still trying to finish work. Had free tea and water on board.
14:35 PM: The plane lands in London, and I quickly get to the tube. The tube takes so much more time than taking the airport express or an uber, but it is also a lot cheaper. Luckily, it is not rush hour, so it is not that packed (€3.10).
16:15 PM: I stumble into Waitrose with my luggage after taking the tube to buy groceries for dinner and lunch for the following days. I get teased a lot for Waitrose being my local supermarket, but it is the one closest apart from M&S (which is even more expensive!). I sometimes walk to the nearest Tesco (15 min), but habits are hard to break (and Waitrose is so nice and has some much good fresh produce and dishes!). I buy two fresh soups for dinner and one for lunch. (€6.75).
18:45 PM: I get out of the house to meet my boyfriend and to join him on his walk back home from work. He orders a pizza for himself, because I had already eaten. We pay the water bill (€242 divided by two, so €121 for me). It is a large bill, but fortunately, it is paying for water until April, so overall it is not the worst. I go to bed quite early.
8:30 AM: Wake up, shower, and eat my usual (and arguably boring) breakfast of oatmeal, and drink a ton of coffee. I begin my walk to school around 10:00 AM.
10:45 AM: I buy a white filter coffee at Pret (€0.99). I unfortunately forgot my cup, so I am both paying more and being less eco-friendly. I have a meeting with my boss (I work as a research assistant) at 11:00.
12:15 PM: The meeting is over, so I head to the 8th-floor café at Bush House. I am going to an office hour at 13:00 AM in the same building, so I am preparing for this. I buy another coffee (yes, I am addicted) at the café (€2.00).
14:15 PM: I eat the lunch I prepared the day before, and contemplate whether I should buy another coffee and whether I should include the fact that I cried on Monday in this diary. This somehow concludes in me buying a coke zero (€1.00).
14:45 PM: I take a walk with a friend before heading to a meeting at 16:00 with my personal tutor along with all his other tutees.
17:00 PM: My boyfriend was very kind and said he would take me out to dinner, so I bought him some of his favourite candy at Sugar Sin in Covent Garden (would highly recommend) as a thank you (€4.50).
20:00 PM: After dinner, we were a bit buzzed and I decided we needed more beer, so I bought us two each at an apparently very expensive pub. Oops (€28.00) … Went home to bed afterwards.
8:30 AM: Same as yesterday – breakfast, shower, coffee, and walk to school.
10:00 AM: Arrive at the library, working on essays and readings until I have class at 16:00-17:00. At the library, I buy an americano and a coke (€3.00).
17:30 PM: Head to The Vault and grab a few pints with my friends (€6.40).
19:00 PM: Head to the Lyceum Tavern to grab another pint with the same friends (€4.10).
20:30 PM: Take a ViaVan and eat something I have at home (€3.75).
8:30 AM: Same old boring morning routine.
12:00 PM: Lecture and seminar until 14:00 PM.
14:10 PM: Walk back home to pack my bags; I am going back to Norway to celebrate a close family member’s birthday and have a plane tonight (I promise I don’t usually fly this much; this is very unusual).
16:30 PM: I take the bus to Victoria station, where I meet my boyfriend at 17:00 PM to catch the Gatwick Express. At the airport, we share some nachos (€1.50 for bus fare, €21.30 for Gatwick Express, €3.40 for nachos).
22:30 PM: Arrive at in Oslo and my father picks us up. Go home to sleep afterwards.
The whole day was spent preparing for the party at home. I didn’t spend any money.
11:00 AM: Wake up very hungover, using the fact that we have a plane to catch in the evening as excuse to not help cleaning up as much hehe. Eat breakfast with my family and start packing again.
15:00 PM: Take the train with a student discount (€8.30) to get to the airport.
18:45 PM: Plane takes off and we land at Gatwick airport 20:05.
20:45 PM: The earliest train to arrive was a local train, so we took that back to Victoria (€10.05).
22:30 PM: Arrive back home very tired and hungry as we didn’t eat anything after breakfast. We ordered Honest burger and it’s the best choice I’ve ever taken. Went to bed (€12.50).