Money Diary: A PhD Student In Leeds Under Lockdown

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 fully funded full-time PhD researcher living in Leeds. I have only four months left of funding, so I’m manically trying to get a good full draft of my thesis completed by September and then I can start applying for jobs (all being well).
 
A year and a half ago I moved back in with my parents following a relationship breakdown. To cut a long story short, I had a mortgage with my ex-partner and got bought out. This was a huge financial strain as the buyout agreement wasn’t good, so I hardly got any money back. I was in a position where I had to save for a house pretty much from scratch again, so moving back with my parents was the only viable option for me. They are really relaxed with board payments because my income is about to run out and they want me to be able to save as much as I can so I can buy a house again once I have a full-time job. I’ve had months where I’ve not paid any board at all. Again, I know this is a very privileged position – I’ll be eternally grateful! 
I’ve worked really hard to build my savings up over the past year and a half and pretty much went cold turkey for a while and pursued a 'no buy' lifestyle. That meant I wasn’t allowed to buy anything that was not classed as an 'essential' outgoing, e.g. bills, emergency bills, such as vet fees, etc. I’ve not always been perfect as this money diary will highlight, but I have massively changed my money mindset and would describe myself now as a super frugal person. I’ve always been quite good with money but sometimes fell into the trap of impulsive buying. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been more on a 'low buy' journey, as I’ve felt I needed to make some necessary purchases, but they are now always very considered and not impulsive. Trying to get back to my 'no buy' ways now!" 
Industry: Higher education/research 
Age: 26 
Location: Leeds
Salary: £15,000
Paycheque: £1,251 (I don’t pay tax as it’s a research grant). Every three months I also get an additional £375 for social media work I do, but this goes straight into my savings.
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £100 board payment, which I am paying in lockdown. 
Loan payment: £0 
Utilities: £0
Transportation: I pay for my tax and insurance annually but I would spend around £30-£50 on petrol monthly. 
Phone bill: £36 (I think this is FAR too expensive and will go much cheaper when I can renew my contract).
Savings? I currently have £16,000 in an ISA. I’m saving to buy a house again once I qualify and have a full-time job. I plan on saving a substantial amount so I have a lot left over in my savings once I have bought a house. I’m saving £1,000 per month at the moment as I’m making the most of not having to go anywhere. Pre-COVID I saved £800 per month, sometimes less depending on the outgoings that month (e.g. car insurance, other unanticipated costs like vet fees). 
Other: £10.88 cat insurance, £3.99 Amazon Prime, £1.96 Women’s Equality Party. 
If you are interested in doing your own money diary, drop us an email with a bit of information about yourself at moneydiary@refinery29.uk

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