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‘I earn £500 a month, and my parents feed me everyday – this is how I spend my money’

teenager on a train
teenager on a train

Email money@telegraph.co.uk if you would like to take part in How I Spend My Money. All our subjects are genuine but anonymous.

As a 17-year-old college student earning around £500 per month from my part-time job, trying to manage my finances can be a challenge.

One of the struggles is how little time you actually have to make money when most days of the week you’re at college and studying.

You often find that you have little time to work other than the weekends and your evenings, and if you’re lucky to have a day off, you’ll often be working then.

As I slowly come into adulthood I am realising how important money is and how much things actually cost.

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One of the ways I manage my finances and save money where I can is by making use of loyalty and rewards programs such as Nectar and MyWaitrose/John Lewis.

By using these schemes I’m able to reduce the costs of food, drinks and clothes, and use the points and rewards to get free cinema tickets or discounts at their restaurants and cafes.

At the moment my biggest weekly expense is getting to college. I mostly take the train in and out, so that my parents don’t have to come and pick me up.

I am learning to drive, but parking and fuel would work out to be about the same so I’ll probably keep getting the train.

To help reduce the cost I have a 16-25 Railcard which gives me a 33pc discount on all tickets. As well as my Railcard, I book all my trains through the Uber app as on every purchase you get 10pc of the trip’s cost back in cashback for future journeys.

The cashback feature has also meant that when I travel further afield than my usual journey to college, often to London or Bristol, the amount I earn in cashback from those trips ends up paying for my travel to college the following week.

When this happens it means I can put more money into my savings that week or take a trip out somewhere with friends or even just treat myself to something nice.

Currently I have two savings accounts, one is a stocks and shares Isa and the other is a regular easy access saver.

I split the money that I set aside to save with 60pc going into the Isa and 40pc into my easy access account.

I use my Isa as part of a long-term savings plan that guarantees me a reasonable amount of money to fall back on. This is because it is a five-year Isa which I started when I was sixteen and will cash in when I’m 21.

The plan is that when I leave university or an apprenticeship (I haven’t decided yet what I want to do next year) I will have money for rent and bills while I find a job.

On the other hand, my easy access saver is used for short term things, such as saving for festival tickets, transport, and hotels for longer trips away. I saved £250 this year for flights to Greece in the summer with my siblings.

Vital Statistics:

  • Age: 17

  • Occupation: Post-16 college student

  • Pay this week: £120

  • Money from parents: £30

  • Money into savings: £80

  • Subscriptions: £19.98 (my friends pay me £4 towards Spotify)

Day 1

I put £50 into my savings this morning. It’s good to get into the habit and it’s so easy to do on my phone that it only takes me a couple of minutes.

I get the train to and from college twice today (£3.90 one way) although on the way back the second time, I go to the gym instead, so that only costs me £2.90 as I go to a different station.

I get a meal deal from M&S – a ham and cheese sandwich, a millionaire shortbread and a smoothie for lunch for £5.

The money for my Spotify plan, which costs £14.99 (although I share it with two friends, who pay back £2 each a month) and my Disney Plus (£4.99) goes out today, which rounds out my spending.

Total: £39.58

Day 2

I get the train to the gym for £2.61. I get a discount because of the Uber cashback.

As a bit of a gym bro, I eat a lot. But luckily, I still live at home, and my parents have to feed me or it’s child neglect. I have been known to eat an entire packet of 20 small sausage rolls in the time it takes my mum to unload the car.

They also give me some money (£30) towards transport and food. They gave both of my sisters the same when they went to Sixth Form, but because I go to college instead, I get more choice about what I have for lunch.

Total: £2.61

Day 3

Today is a quiet day. I don’t have college classes on Wednesdays, so I often have work shifts instead, or use the time to catch up on coursework.

I spend £3.50 on a shop snack top up.

Total: £3.50

Day 4

I am back in college today, and at lunchtime my friends and I decided to splash out. Sometimes we go to Greggs or McDonald’s, taking it in turns to pay, but this time we want to have something nicer.

We go to Boston Tea Party, which is a popular cafe near me. It’s got a huge space upstairs with loads of mismatched tables and chairs.

I spend £20 on food, which is a lot for one lunch. But my transport today was covered by my parents – and you’re only a student for so long.

Total: £20

Day 5

It is payday, so £120 lands in my account. I don’t earn enough to pay tax, so I am looking forward to getting an HMRC letter to get all my earnings back at some point before October.

The job I do is based around the rugby season, so in the summer there is less work. But there are always conference dinners to do, so I can keep money coming in.

I am in college again, but I get a lift in and out today, so I don’t have to pay for the train. I grab a meal deal from M&S for food (£5) sticking to my favourite combo.

I need a new jumper, so I spend £24 on one. My elder sister is always teasing me about my clothes, but she dresses like a lunatic, so I think the joke is on her.

I chuck £30 into my savings. I try to do this on payday so that I don’t accidentally spend it.

Total: £29

Day 6:

It’s Saturday. I usually sleep in, which means that I wander downstairs at about 11am, raring to go (to the fridge). I’ve got a cricket match, but my Dad pays the match fee for me. I think it’s £5 because I am under 18.

I spend £4.40 on a sandwich, some Pringles and a drink to keep me going. Cricket teas are a thing of the past, annoyingly.

Total: £4.40

Day 7

I’ve got a day trip planned with my friends, which means I miss my grandparents popping round for a cup of tea. But they only live 10 miles away, so I’ll see them next week.

We’re heading to the seaside on the train. One of the best things about where I live is how close it is to the coast, and it’s really easy for us to get there without needing someone to drive. The train for the day costs £4.20.

I’ve been to this beach more times than I can count, but usually because my Dad dragged me there on a prawning trip. So it is nice to be there with my friends instead. I spend £7.50 on food while we are there, and then get the train home.

My Mum has cooked dinner, and we always eat together on a Sunday.

Total: £11.70

Weekly Total: £110.79