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Money Diary: A 21-Year-Old Trainee Psychologist On 15k

·10-min read

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.

This week: "I’m a 21-year-old trainee counselling psychologist. In the past year I’ve been working throughout the pandemic and saving bits as I go. I’ve wanted to become a psychologist for years and I have been working towards gaining the relevant experience so when I got onto the doctorate, I was so happy! I feel very lucky that I am on it at such a young age when most people do it when they are 10+ years older than myself with a lot more experience."

Industry: Psychology
Age: 21 years old
Location: Teesside
Salary: This varies so much depending on the shifts I work but around £12,000 last year plus roughly £3,000 student loan which I try to save.
Paycheque amount: £400-600 roughly per month.
Number of housemates: Four: my mum, my stepdad, my younger brother and our new puppy, G.

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £10 per week to my mum. After speaking to others, I realise how lucky I am to only pay this.
Loan payments: £0. I have student loans (my undergraduate and now my doctorate loan) but I don’t earn enough to pay this back yet.
Utilities: £0
Transportation: My car is £114.87 per month. I pay annually for my car insurance including breakdown cover which was £360 this year. Petrol varies depending on travel but approx. £30-40 per month.
Phone bill: £17 for SIM only contract. I recently bought my new phone outright to save on an expensive monthly contract.
Savings? £9,500 in savings for future home (hopefully with my partner J) when I qualify in two and a half years.
Other: Insurance to practise as a trainee is £40 per year and I pay monthly £0.79 to iTunes for extra storage. I try to keep my outgoings as little as possible. I also have a contact lens prescription that comes every three months for £24. I got these because trying to see patients with PPE and glasses is not fun! Also pay approx. £80 per month for therapy for my course requirements (I hate this but I haven’t got a choice).

<strong>Day One</strong><br><br>6.15am: Wake up and back to sleep.<br><br>6.45am: Alarm…ughhh…snooze.<br><br>6.52am: Up and get dressed and ready for a day at placement.<br><br>7.30am: De-ice my car and leave home. I accidentally detour to Costa. They have every hot drink for 50p because of their 50<sup>th</sup> birthday. Wooo, don’t feel too bad about buying now! £0.50<br><br>8.10am: Arrive at placement and start the day. I have my placement as a trainee at a mental health inpatient hospital in an acute setting, which means the patients are really mentally unwell. Lots of meetings today which isn’t fun.<br><br>9.40am: Get distracted and place an order with Arket… I must move my phone while I work. £128.84 for some tops.<br> <br>12.25pm: Stop for lunch – some boring vegetable soup from home – then back to work.<br> <br>4pm: Early finish so go to Boots on the way home to collect prescription I get that lasts me around three months, £9.35. Also go to Asda to collect some pizzas for family (Asda pizzas are life, right?), £12.60. Mum offers to pay but I’m happy to treat them as I don’t do it enough!<br><br>5pm: Arrive home and get cuddles from our puppy, G, which makes my day. Have a shower to wash the day and hospital away, do evening skincare of Drunk Elephant products and do some household bits i.e. wash the dishes and prepare food for placement tomorrow.<br><br>5.45pm: Sit on sofa and do some uni work which takes way longer than it should.<br><br>6.50pm: Asda pizza break and more uni work (this seems to never end). Do some ironing of uniforms for the weekend then cuddle with G. Make a low cal hot chocolate and FaceTime with J (my partner, who’s in my bubble).<br><br>9.20pm: Quick COVID swab (results negative), get into bed and relax/read before falling asleep some time before 10pm.<br><br><strong>Total: £151.29</strong>
Day One

6.15am: Wake up and back to sleep.

6.45am: Alarm…ughhh…snooze.

6.52am: Up and get dressed and ready for a day at placement.

7.30am: De-ice my car and leave home. I accidentally detour to Costa. They have every hot drink for 50p because of their 50th birthday. Wooo, don’t feel too bad about buying now! £0.50

8.10am: Arrive at placement and start the day. I have my placement as a trainee at a mental health inpatient hospital in an acute setting, which means the patients are really mentally unwell. Lots of meetings today which isn’t fun.

9.40am: Get distracted and place an order with Arket… I must move my phone while I work. £128.84 for some tops.

12.25pm: Stop for lunch – some boring vegetable soup from home – then back to work.

4pm: Early finish so go to Boots on the way home to collect prescription I get that lasts me around three months, £9.35. Also go to Asda to collect some pizzas for family (Asda pizzas are life, right?), £12.60. Mum offers to pay but I’m happy to treat them as I don’t do it enough!

5pm: Arrive home and get cuddles from our puppy, G, which makes my day. Have a shower to wash the day and hospital away, do evening skincare of Drunk Elephant products and do some household bits i.e. wash the dishes and prepare food for placement tomorrow.

5.45pm: Sit on sofa and do some uni work which takes way longer than it should.

6.50pm: Asda pizza break and more uni work (this seems to never end). Do some ironing of uniforms for the weekend then cuddle with G. Make a low cal hot chocolate and FaceTime with J (my partner, who’s in my bubble).

9.20pm: Quick COVID swab (results negative), get into bed and relax/read before falling asleep some time before 10pm.

Total: £151.29
<strong>Day Two</strong><br><br>6.45am: Ughh alarm! Snooze immediately.<br><br>6.57am: Finally get out of bed and get ready.<br><br>7.40am: Leave to drive to placement.<br><br>8.05am: Arrive at placement and make coffee ASAP. It's Friday! Have an internal cheer at this (even though I work at weekends). Start my day of meetings, seeing patients and supervision.<br><br>10.30am: Get distracted and accidentally spend £100 on Whistles. Oops! This is what happens when my meetings overrun on Teams with meds talk.<br><br>1pm: Lunch break of toast (my go-to when I cba the night before). Return to work and have a safeguarding incident. Report this and resolve with some support from my supervisor. This was my first real one I’ve done alone so I’m proud I got through this without too much panic.<br><br>4.32pm: Leave placement and go meet a friend for coffee, which is now allowed outdoors (though I opt for a Pepsi Max, £1.29).<br><br>6.15pm: Go home, hoover/ tidy room and do admin jobs before collecting Chinese food with my brother (stepdad pays).<br><br>6.45pm: Shower, evening skincare routine and eat Chinese while watching catch-up TV of Kardashians (reality TV is my guilty pleasure). Have a bit of chocolate and cup of tea but then beat myself up for what I’ve eaten today. This is a bad habit of mine unfortunately after struggling with eating for a long time.<br><br>8.40pm: Read in bed.<br><br>9.30pm: Sleeeep!<br><br><strong>Total: £101.29</strong>
Day Two

6.45am: Ughh alarm! Snooze immediately.

6.57am: Finally get out of bed and get ready.

7.40am: Leave to drive to placement.

8.05am: Arrive at placement and make coffee ASAP. It's Friday! Have an internal cheer at this (even though I work at weekends). Start my day of meetings, seeing patients and supervision.

10.30am: Get distracted and accidentally spend £100 on Whistles. Oops! This is what happens when my meetings overrun on Teams with meds talk.

1pm: Lunch break of toast (my go-to when I cba the night before). Return to work and have a safeguarding incident. Report this and resolve with some support from my supervisor. This was my first real one I’ve done alone so I’m proud I got through this without too much panic.

4.32pm: Leave placement and go meet a friend for coffee, which is now allowed outdoors (though I opt for a Pepsi Max, £1.29).

6.15pm: Go home, hoover/ tidy room and do admin jobs before collecting Chinese food with my brother (stepdad pays).

6.45pm: Shower, evening skincare routine and eat Chinese while watching catch-up TV of Kardashians (reality TV is my guilty pleasure). Have a bit of chocolate and cup of tea but then beat myself up for what I’ve eaten today. This is a bad habit of mine unfortunately after struggling with eating for a long time.

8.40pm: Read in bed.

9.30pm: Sleeeep!

Total: £101.29
<strong>Day Three</strong><br><br>8am: Wake without alarm and relax in bed. I’ve sold a few items on eBay so package these up to post. Get brother from the gym and post parcels (he offers and pays because I picked him up). Home, eat some crumpets, chocolate fingers and have a cup of tea.<br><br>11.45am: Pre-order pizza for later tonight (margherita for me – yes I am boring). £30.50 but only £10.50 was mine and friends transfer me the rest back.<br><br>12.40pm: Do my nails and watch <em>Grey’s Anatomy</em>. I have goosebumps! I didn’t realise I had missed this so much.<br><br>2pm: Watch some research lectures and have Creme Egg from leftover Easter chocolate.<br><br>4pm: Get ready and leave for food with friends C and P.<br> <br>5.15pm: Table, outside, friends, WOW! We have pizza and we chat and have lots of laughs. It’s so nice to be out and doing something! I get a Diet Coke because I’m driving and C pays, which I’m very grateful for.<br><br>7.30pm: Home, shower and evening skincare routine. Get into bed and read.<br><br>9.45pm: Lights out and sleep.<br> <br><strong>Total: £10.50</strong>
Day Three

8am: Wake without alarm and relax in bed. I’ve sold a few items on eBay so package these up to post. Get brother from the gym and post parcels (he offers and pays because I picked him up). Home, eat some crumpets, chocolate fingers and have a cup of tea.

11.45am: Pre-order pizza for later tonight (margherita for me – yes I am boring). £30.50 but only £10.50 was mine and friends transfer me the rest back.

12.40pm: Do my nails and watch Grey’s Anatomy. I have goosebumps! I didn’t realise I had missed this so much.

2pm: Watch some research lectures and have Creme Egg from leftover Easter chocolate.

4pm: Get ready and leave for food with friends C and P.

5.15pm: Table, outside, friends, WOW! We have pizza and we chat and have lots of laughs. It’s so nice to be out and doing something! I get a Diet Coke because I’m driving and C pays, which I’m very grateful for.

7.30pm: Home, shower and evening skincare routine. Get into bed and read.

9.45pm: Lights out and sleep.

Total: £10.50
<strong>Day Four</strong><br><br>6.45am: Up for bank shift as a healthcare assistant, get ready and drive to work.<br><br>7.30am: Arrive at work and commence shift.<br><br>(Sorry not much detail here but I had a loongggg, busy day with some restraints from physical aggression with a patient which is sad. Horrible body image day and want to eat everything so go and see J after work.)<br> <br>9.30pm: Shower, cup of tea and get in bed.<br> <br>10pmish: Sleep, which is very needed.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Four

6.45am: Up for bank shift as a healthcare assistant, get ready and drive to work.

7.30am: Arrive at work and commence shift.

(Sorry not much detail here but I had a loongggg, busy day with some restraints from physical aggression with a patient which is sad. Horrible body image day and want to eat everything so go and see J after work.)

9.30pm: Shower, cup of tea and get in bed.

10pmish: Sleep, which is very needed.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Five</strong><br><br>8.30am: Wake up before late alarm for a uni day. Full of cold and on my period – great combination for a busy week!<br> <br>9.20am: Cup of tea and get ready to start uni.<br><br>12pm: Finish uni. I normally have afternoon lectures but they are off for feedback on assessments.<br><br>Walk J’s dog with him, watch catch-up TV and do some uni work.<br><br>2pm: Take G to see J’s sister's dog in the garden. They love each other and this makes my heart so full.<br><br>3pm: Get home, shower and do skincare routine. Sit and do uni work and get distracted by scrolling on my phone… I am the worst for refreshing Insta constantly.<br> <br>6.50pm: Wraps with fancy guac which is delicious! Have cuddles with G and chat with my mum while doing more uni work. This is so nice because we don’t do this enough, even though we live together.<br><br>7.55pm: In bed and have a few biscuits with tea while completing some paperwork for placement.<br><br>I fall asleep somewhere around 9pm.<br> <br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Five

8.30am: Wake up before late alarm for a uni day. Full of cold and on my period – great combination for a busy week!

9.20am: Cup of tea and get ready to start uni.

12pm: Finish uni. I normally have afternoon lectures but they are off for feedback on assessments.

Walk J’s dog with him, watch catch-up TV and do some uni work.

2pm: Take G to see J’s sister's dog in the garden. They love each other and this makes my heart so full.

3pm: Get home, shower and do skincare routine. Sit and do uni work and get distracted by scrolling on my phone… I am the worst for refreshing Insta constantly.

6.50pm: Wraps with fancy guac which is delicious! Have cuddles with G and chat with my mum while doing more uni work. This is so nice because we don’t do this enough, even though we live together.

7.55pm: In bed and have a few biscuits with tea while completing some paperwork for placement.

I fall asleep somewhere around 9pm.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Six</strong><br><br>7.20am: Wake up and make a cup of tea. Hang washing out and scroll on phone while watching catch-up TV. Post some leggings to sell on a fitness group as I’ve outgrown them with lockdown weight gain (I try to remind myself that this is okay and normal right now).<br><br>10am: I have some therapy for my doctorate course (a competency I have to get) which lasts an hour.<br><br>11am: Thank god therapy is over… Now to start uni. This lecture is on quantitative research methods, which is my worst one. I can’t wait to get it over with.<br><br>1pm: Wooo! Finish thankfully without issues. Go to drop some stuff off at J’s he left and pop to M&S for treats including iced fruit buns which I loooove. My mum pays, which I’m very grateful for. Have a quick bite before returning to uni.<br><br>2pm: Uni lecture on PTSD and CBT for this which is very interesting though I feel I will forget everything I’ve learned today.<br><br>4pm: Finish uni, have a shower and open some parcels which got delivered earlier. Lovely items except one top I don’t like so I’m going to return (+£35). Find out a cardigan is in stock from Arket I want, order this for £64.34. Uni payment comes out (£2,183.78 but this is covered by student loan).<br><br>6pm: Relax and watch some UK <em>Drag Race</em> which I’ve recently got into (how is Tayce that beautiful both in and out of drag, OMG). Book therapy for two weeks' time, £40.<br><br>8pm: Have some food with family.<br><br>9pm: Go to bed and read. Sleep at some point.<br><br><strong>Total: £104.34</strong>
Day Six

7.20am: Wake up and make a cup of tea. Hang washing out and scroll on phone while watching catch-up TV. Post some leggings to sell on a fitness group as I’ve outgrown them with lockdown weight gain (I try to remind myself that this is okay and normal right now).

10am: I have some therapy for my doctorate course (a competency I have to get) which lasts an hour.

11am: Thank god therapy is over… Now to start uni. This lecture is on quantitative research methods, which is my worst one. I can’t wait to get it over with.

1pm: Wooo! Finish thankfully without issues. Go to drop some stuff off at J’s he left and pop to M&S for treats including iced fruit buns which I loooove. My mum pays, which I’m very grateful for. Have a quick bite before returning to uni.

2pm: Uni lecture on PTSD and CBT for this which is very interesting though I feel I will forget everything I’ve learned today.

4pm: Finish uni, have a shower and open some parcels which got delivered earlier. Lovely items except one top I don’t like so I’m going to return (+£35). Find out a cardigan is in stock from Arket I want, order this for £64.34. Uni payment comes out (£2,183.78 but this is covered by student loan).

6pm: Relax and watch some UK Drag Race which I’ve recently got into (how is Tayce that beautiful both in and out of drag, OMG). Book therapy for two weeks' time, £40.

8pm: Have some food with family.

9pm: Go to bed and read. Sleep at some point.

Total: £104.34
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br><br>8.05am: Wake up and go cuddle G. Package up some parcels for posting at post office (the worst errand ever).<br><br>9.30am: Get dressed and do COVID swab (results are negative).<br> <br>10.30am: J picks me up and we head out to Saltburn. Post some parcels including my return, £3.20, and go to a small business café. I get coffee and a pastry and J gets juice and a sandwich, my treat (we usually just take turns paying). £10.30<br><br>12pm: J doesn’t feel well with stomach pains so we go home. My postal vote comes so I fill this in. Walk G and post the vote on the way. Return home and have cuddles with G. J leaves and I start some more uni work.<br><br>3.30pm: Talk with Mum, read the latest Money Diaries and do some uni work.<br><br>6pm: I make food for everyone in the house and then continue with uni work.<br><br>9.15pm: Go to bed and start to read <em>A Little Life</em> (I’m preparing to cry at this).<br><br>9.45pm: Light off, read more Money Diaries and scroll on my phone. Fall asleep some time after this.<br> <br><strong>Total: £13.50</strong>
Day Seven

8.05am: Wake up and go cuddle G. Package up some parcels for posting at post office (the worst errand ever).

9.30am: Get dressed and do COVID swab (results are negative).

10.30am: J picks me up and we head out to Saltburn. Post some parcels including my return, £3.20, and go to a small business café. I get coffee and a pastry and J gets juice and a sandwich, my treat (we usually just take turns paying). £10.30

12pm: J doesn’t feel well with stomach pains so we go home. My postal vote comes so I fill this in. Walk G and post the vote on the way. Return home and have cuddles with G. J leaves and I start some more uni work.

3.30pm: Talk with Mum, read the latest Money Diaries and do some uni work.

6pm: I make food for everyone in the house and then continue with uni work.

9.15pm: Go to bed and start to read A Little Life (I’m preparing to cry at this).

9.45pm: Light off, read more Money Diaries and scroll on my phone. Fall asleep some time after this.

Total: £13.50
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food/Drink: £35.19<br>Entertainment: £0<br>Clothes/Beauty: £293.18<br>Travel: £0<br>Other: £52.55<br><br><strong>Total: £380.92</strong><br> <br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"This doesn’t represent a typical week as I don’t buy clothes all the time. I try and make conscious purchases for clothes that will last a long time. I also only book therapy every other week and don’t often treat my family to food. Though I do treat myself, I like to try to be careful with my money and save when I can. I’m also shocked at the amount I do of uni work because at the time I think I’ve done nothing all week! Overall, I’m happy with my treat purchases and my general week, especially now lockdown is easing."
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £35.19
Entertainment: £0
Clothes/Beauty: £293.18
Travel: £0
Other: £52.55

Total: £380.92

Conclusion

"This doesn’t represent a typical week as I don’t buy clothes all the time. I try and make conscious purchases for clothes that will last a long time. I also only book therapy every other week and don’t often treat my family to food. Though I do treat myself, I like to try to be careful with my money and save when I can. I’m also shocked at the amount I do of uni work because at the time I think I’ve done nothing all week! Overall, I’m happy with my treat purchases and my general week, especially now lockdown is easing."

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