The Money Diaries: A politics student with a babysitting gig

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 first week back to university, third-year Politics student K takes us through her first week of lectures and London-life since exam season. In addition to babysitting Monday through Thursday to earn some much-needed cash, she gets her final paycheck from her summer job this week. However, a WiFi-bill, a house party and a camera-purchase made this week more expensive than it was supposed to be. 

INCOME

Student Loan: I get around £13.000 from the government each term. With today’s currency value, half goes to rent, half goes to school fees, and nothing is really left for other expenses.

Parents: My parents give me £200 each month.

Savings: I use money from summer to fund my life in London. I try to take out around 200 pounds a month from my savings account. Usually, I end up taking out more.

Salary: Varies. I babysit for a family whenever they need me, and I freelance for a newspaper, so it depends on how much work I get each month.

EXPENSES

Bills: Depends on when they arrive – we don’t have any fixed bills each month, or any fixed amount each time.

Rent: £800 per month, which we pay for six months at the time. It’s less to worry about from month to month, and since I get my student loan around the same time rent is due each term, I don’t mind.

Saving: Lol. I try to leave my savings to account undisturbed as much as possible, but it is normally not possible. I also have £2500 that I saved up during my gap year in a fund that I plan to use on a flat at some point in my life once it has accumulated a lot…

Oystercard: £94

Netflix and other services: I use my parents’ accounts…

School fees: £9250 a year. I pay half each term.

The Money Diary

MONDAY

8 AM: wake up. Read emails and watch youtube videos in bed for a solid 40 minutes.

9:17 AM: Make coffee and leave home for the first lecture of the year. Take the tube to Temple (£2.40)

11 AM: Lecture finished. Am starving, so grab a ham and cheese croissant (£2.20) from the Strand Cafe with a friend, and sit down to finish my literature review which is due in an hour. I really am not supposed to spend money this week, as I have none, but it was an emergency!

12 AM: Meet my friend J and head to her new flat where our friend and her flatmate has made us lunch. We take the tube there (£2.40).

3 PM: Leave my friends in their gorgeous new flat to go pick up the kids I’m babysitting from school. I hang out with the kids, ensure they do their homework and put them to bed (last part is tricky…)

8:20 PM: The dad comes home from work and I leave the family. Take the tube home (£2.40), and catch up with my flatmates over a cup of tea when I get back. We review each others Hinge-profiles and go to bed. Sweet dreams!

TOTAL: £9.40 

TUESDAY

8:15 AM: Wake up the first time. Hear the rain. Go back to sleep.

9 AM: Wake up and realise I might be late for my 10 AM… take a shower, make coffee and hurry out of the house.

9:45 AM: arrive at the tube station, where it turns out the District line is cancelled until further notice. Am so pissed off (£2.40).

10:12 AM: Email my seminar leader to let her know I will not be able to make it to class on time because of the tube. The bus will take an hour, which means I won’t arrive to class before after it ends… get on the Metropolitan line, which isn’t struck by signal failure to King’s Cross, where I am having lunch with a friend later.

11:40 AM: Work from the cafe until my friends arrive for lunch. Have an avocado toast with a poached egg, yes, I am basic, and a cappuccino (£12).

2:59 PM: leave the coffee shop to pick up the kids I am babysitting from school. Take the tube (£2.40).

8:30 PM: The dad comes home, and I leave the children to him. Take the tube home (£2.40).

TOTAL: £19,20. 

WEDNESDAY

8 AM: Wake up. Stay in bed a little while before getting out to answer emails and other work-things. The event I’m organising through my internship is going online today, so I create the Eventbrite, Facebook-link etc. I get my paycheck today, so I pay my Mastercard-bill (£190). I often use the credit card when travelling for insurance purposes, so the bill has accumulated for some time now.

10 AM: I make coffee and have some cereal. I freelance for a newspaper, so I work on some research for some articles I am thinking of writing while eating. Pitch an idea to my boss, which he likes, so email the source to confirm an interview.

11 AM: Since I got paid today, I can finally pay for my gym membership! I pay nine months upfront which is cheaper than paying monthly, but still a big chunk of money to disappear from my bank account in one go (£250). I also buy the cheapest vacuum on Amazon for the flat because our old one is broken (£34.99, but we’re splitting it so my part is £8.75).

1:15 PM: Go to my first gym class in four months, and it. is. dreadful.

2 PM: Am dead, but somehow get home without collapsing. Make some scrambled eggs with tomatoes and eat with my flatmate who just came home from her lecture.

3:15 PM: Leave to pick up the kid I am babysitting from school. I can finally afford to get my Oystercard, but there has been a lot of expenses today and it hurts to see all that money that just came in leave so suddenly (£94).

8:17 PM: Leave babysitting and head home. The tube is free now that I have my Oystercard, kinda!

10:37 PM: Get in bed, and transfer my flatmate for the WiFi-bill from now until December (£37). Sleep.

Total: £542,75.

THURSDAY

8 AM: Busy day ahead! I wake up and prepare mentally for going to the gym at 8:30. Why did I sign up to that again?

8:25 AM: I can’t move, the gym class yesterday knocked me out and everything hurts. Cancel the class.

9:11 AM: Go to pick up the camera I ordered from Argos recently, which I need for work later today (£219, which I get back through my tax returns later).

10 AM: Get back home. Put on makeup, have coffee and test the new camera, which is good! My flatmate and I both have class at 11 so we’ll take the tube together.

1 PM: A friend and I grab lunch together at Somerset House before our next class starts. I get the cheese omelette with prosciutto (£9.50).

3 PM: My final class ends, and I sprint to the tube to get to South Kensington and pick up the kid I’m babysitting at 3:30. I get there on time and get the kid home.

5 PM: Leave babysitting to cover an event for work. Arrive at the event. Realise none of the people my editor is interested in show up. Oh well, there’s a free bar.

10 PM: Leave the event and buy cigs and a small bag of sweet popcorn (£12.54), then take the tube home. I had fun, even though there wasn’t a lot of work to be done.

Total: £22, since I am not really paying all of the camera myself.

FRIDAY

9:30 AM: Wake up. Email my editor to tell him there was no one interesting at the event, and ask if there’s anyone they want me to get in touch with regardless.

11:36 AM: Slowly realise that my legs won’t be able to get through a gym class today. Cancel the one I booked, and drink tons of coffee. My editor likes my pitch, and I get to work (deadline Saturday!).

2:24 PM: Leave to get to my seminar. Maybe I’ll make it on time today! My flatmate and I go together, and take the tube.

4 PM: The seminar is over, and I go to the Bush House cafe to work on the article. Realise I haven’t eaten today, and get a sandwich and more coffee (£7,25).

6 PM: Head home. Meet my friends at Sainsbury’s to get drinks, we are having a house party tonight. We split a lot of alcohol in four ways, so pay my share (£13,35).

9 PM: People are arriving! And won’t leave for a good 8 hours…

Total: £20,6.

SATURDAY

10:30 AM: Why did I wake up already? Feel like shit, but have to finish up my article today… My flatmates suggest we go for brunch, and I shower, get dressed and join them.

11 AM: We are still drunk, but at brunch and having a great time. I have poached eggs with spinach and hollandaise sauce, and we share two arancini (£12).

1 PM: Am back home, do a quick phone interview, and I finish writing up the article. Send it to my dad to see what he thinks, and he likes it, so I send it to the editor.

4:14 PM: After dying at home (and working), one of my flatmates and I get an Uber with the speakers we rented for yesterdays party (she pays), and head to the place where we rented them from to return them.

6 PM: We take the tube back and stop by Tescos on the way. I get Iced Tea and some pesto and pasta (£7,45).

6:12 PM: We need food. Head to a place close to where we live. I get a burger and fries, then go home to eat (£9).

8 PM: In need of snacks. Head to Sainsbury’s, get caramel popcorn, Haribos and a beer for a friend’s birthday party I am supposed to go to tonight.

9:30 PM: Manage to crawl out of bed, get dressed and go to the party. Will go home early, I’m getting too old for partying two days in a row!! Stop by Sainsbury’s on the way to get the birthday girl some flowers (£4).

1:30 AM: Get a ViaVan home after a nice, but chill, birthday celebration (£11).

TOTAL: £43,45.

SUNDAY

10:30 AM: Wake up without a hangover, which is great. Make some coffee and chat a little with my flatmates. We still haven’t cleaned up after the party, so I do the bathroom quickly before I have to head for work.

12 PM: Go to cover an event for work. The bus takes ages.

5 PM: Work goes well, and my editor likes my ideas. I get some snacks at the place, and a coffee, and some food I will cook for dinner for my flatmates since they probably have cleaned the house by the time I get home and I feel bad (£15).

8:30 PM: Am home, cook dinner for the flatmates and we eat together in the living room.

11:30 PM: Finish transcribing today’s interviews, the actual write-up I will do tomorrow. Go to bed.

Total: £15.

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