Money Diary Final year journalism student at £ 16,000
This week: “I’m originally from West Yorkshire but moved to Nottingham in 2017 to go to college. Growing up my mom had really bad finances and there were times she would sit and cry over the fact that “she only had £ 28 of her name. I’m lucky my mom never had to deal with any form of debt or arrears, but she often has a very, very low bank balance.” This naturally developed my knowledge of how to cut costs. From an early age I took control of the weekly grocery store, advised her on how to save money and helped focus her financial knowledge. Things have changed in recent years, but the underlying fear of ending up in poverty terrifies me.
I am almost 23 years old and I am in my last year of studies in audiovisual journalism. I originally went to college to study nursing, but dropped out due to many personal and external circumstances that impacted my ability to study. After a few months of finding my bearings, I signed up for broadcast journalism because I thought it was a less demanding and much more enjoyable degree. I also had a student house in Nottingham that I had to pay rent for, so I figured I might as well continue my studies at university.
I struggle a lot with depression and anxiety, which can come in waves at different times of the year. I experience some form of anxiety almost every day, but it doesn’t really affect my ability to function. I wouldn’t say I’m currently suffering from some form of depression, but it does surface sometimes and this is when my life, motivation, and finances are most affected.
After dropping out of college in 2018, I was left with quite a bit of debt because I had to pay off excess student loans and pay rent out of pocket. Since then, I have had financial difficulties, despite having received a maximum student loan and scholarship.
From July to December 2019, I had a zero hour retail contract and racked up tons of shifts. I used my salary to get out of my overdraft and put savings aside. As I was making money, I felt less inclined to waste it. I had a massive drop in mental health in December 2019 and had to get to a really low point to realize that things had to change. I reformed my approach to how I socialize; I realized how easily I could spend £ 200 a week on parties (on outfits, taxis, booze, entrance fees, hangover food the next day, etc.). So I massively cut back on my drinking and partying, and started to find cheaper, less damaging ways to enjoy life.
I’m lucky that before the pandemic I started my new job and was put on leave, which meant I was still receiving an income. I’m in a lucky position now where I don’t feel guilty about spending money because I know when to stop and I know what my limit is. I live in a house that has been converted into a shared flat with another student. However, she is currently not around so my boyfriend was able to visit me as a “bubble”.
Industry: Broadcast journalism
Site: East Midlands
Salary: £ 8.30 per hour part-time + annual student loan of £ 8,800
Paycheck amount: About. Salary of £ 500 / month, student loan of £ 8,800 / year, annual scholarship of £ 1,250
Number of roommates: A