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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 17 May 2022

How I Spend My Money: A student on €9,840 aims to cut down on food spending at college

A grant and a college scholarship help with her monthly expenses

TheJournal.ie reader

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie that runs on Wednesdays and Sundays and looks at what people in Ireland really do with their cash.

We’ve asked readers to keep a record of how much they earn, how much they save, if anything, and what they spend their money on over the course of one week. 

Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a week in their shoes.

Last time, a property surveyor on €45,000 recorded how he usually dips into his savings in order to provide for his family. Today, a student on €9,840 walks us through her week, which involved trying to cut down on buying food on campus. During holidays and term breaks, she tries to work extra shifts in order to save for her monthly expenses.

 imageOccupation: Student/part-time work at the weekends
Age: 20
Location: Dublin
Salary:  €6,000. I also receive a grant which is €2,340 a year and I have a scholarship which is €1,500 a year. (Total: €9,840.)
Monthly pay (net): €820

Monthly expenses

Transport: €120
Rent: €500
Household bills: €40
Phone bill: €20
Groceries: €50
Subscriptions: €5 for Netflix



8:00am: I get up shower and then I’m out the door. It takes an hour to get to college.
10:00am: My lectures begin and last until 2pm.
2:00pm: I eat my lunch which I brought from home and top up my leap card by €30.
3:00pm: I have a really hectic lab after lunch.
6:30 pm: I'm finally finished college and I’m out the doors feeling deflated.
7:30 pm: I arrive home to find my roommate has made fajitas for dinner. We usually try to cook big batches for two days to save time.
9:30 pm: My boyfriend comes over to stay as he works just down the road from me.

Today's total: €30


7:00 am: I get up and get ready for college. I take the bus and it's raining outside so the traffic is a nightmare.
9:00am: I arrive at college and attend my lectures for the day.
2:00pm: I eat my lunch which I brought from home.
6:00 pm: My lab finishes on time and I head home.
7:00pm: I arrive home and make potatoes and a veggie burger for dinner. I wash up and catch up on some college work before heading to bed.

Today's total: €0


10:30am: I wake up late and get the bus into college. I’ve missed my first lecture but make it in for my second at 12.
1:00 pm: I go to the Students' Union shop and get popcorn, chewing gum and a permanent marker (€2.70) and have lunch which I brought from home. After, I head to the library to catch up on the lecture I missed and prepare for my lab.
3:00pm: I have another lab so I run to that.
6:00pm: I finish college just before 6pm and head to the bus.
7:00pm: For dinner, I eat the leftover fajitas and my roommate and I have a chat over tea.
9:00pm: I do some college work until I’m ready for bed.

Today's total: €2.70


7:00am: I get up and get ready for college.
9:00am: I arrive at college and attend my first lecture.
12:00pm: I head to the library and catch up on notes and prepare for my lab later. After my lab, I grab a lunch meal deal in the Students' Union shop (coffee, a wrap and crisps) for €5.
3:00pm: I attend another lab and everything goes to plan so I’m feeling confident that I understand the theory behind it.
5:30pm: I finish early as I had a lot of the write up done before I went in.
6:30pm: I go into town to exchange a pair of boots and meet my boyfriend. We go back to mine and make a chicken curry with the ingredients he bought earlier in the week.
8:20pm: We decide to go to the cinema so we buy snacks (€2.60 each) and a cinema ticket (€10 for 2 on the Three deal).
11:00pm: We head home and prepare for Friday.

Today's total: €17.60


7:00am: I struggle to get out of bed but I eventually do and shower before heading to the bus.
9:00am: I make it into college in time for my lecture.
10:00am: I head to the library to do some more work.
12:00pm: I head for the bus to my parents’ house. It's great to head early and miss the traffic.
2:00pm: I grab a coffee before I walk to work. I used to get the bus, but they changed the bus times and it’s just easier to walk.
10:00pm: I finish work and my nanny gives me a lift from work back to my boyfriend's house. I usually get a lift from her at the weekend as she lives very close to my work and would rather I got a lift than the bus at night.

Today's total: €0


11:00am: I have a lie-in and make some breakfast. 
1:00pm: I go to my nanny’s for lunch, it has become a tradition once a week as she makes a roast.
3:00pm: I head to work which is just around the corner from my nanny’s house.
11:oopm: I finally finish work and head back to my boyfriend's house. We don’t stay up for too long and head to bed.

Today's total: €0

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12:oopm: I spend the morning with my boyfriend watching TV.
6:00pm: I head home as I’ve to get groceries for the week and college work is calling.
7:00pm: I arrive at Tara Street and decide I’m too hungry to cook dinner do so get a Boojum (€6.65 - but I use an All For One voucher). After, I head to Tesco to get food for lunch (€6.90). I head home and make a stir fry with the ingredients for lunches.
9:00pm: Eventually, I get to sit down and do some college work.

Today's total: €6.90

Weekly subtotal: €57.20


What I've learned:

  • I didn't learn very much as I already knew where I was spending my money. One thing I could cut down on would be spending money in college on food. I don’t always have the time to make food at home and sometimes you just want a treat.
  • I wish public transport was cheaper. A large amount of my income goes to transport, which usually is late.

About the author:

TheJournal.ie reader

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