“I don’t have many outgoings as I live at home with my parents who cover my food and phone bills, but I pay for my own entertainment and clothes. I got a car for my birthday in February and so now I also have driving lessons, road tax and insurance to pay for. My parents paid the insurance annually so I could get a cheaper rate, and I pay them back monthly which costs me £80. It’s a small car, so the road tax is only £20 a year.
Generally, my aim is to end the month with more money than I started with. I’m on a zero-hours contract as a part-time sales assistant at a sportswear shop – the job started as a Christmas temp position but after that they offered me regular hours around my A-Levels. I earn £5.35 an hour, plus commission on certain sales. I have some savings from family inheritance and presents, but I try not to touch that money – it’s for the future. I’ve also recently found out that I have a Child Trust Fund which I’ll get access to when I’m 18.”
Morning: Took the dog for a walk and chilled out at home. At the moment, due to Coronavirus restrictions, we only have to go into school for lessons. My timetable gives me every other Monday off school, so I try to get a shift at work.
Afternoon: My dad gave me a lift to the retail park where I work – today’s shift is 2pm-8pm. I sell shoes, so I talk to customers find out their needs, get the shoes from the stock room and stay with them whilst they try them on. I also cover the tills occasionally and make sure the shoe wall is fully stocked and tidy.
Evening: Dad picked me up from work and I had dinner when I got home. Took the bins out – my chore every Monday – then played FIFA on the Xbox with some mates online – we chat at the same time because we don’t go to school together anymore.
Going out and eating out: £0 – made a sandwich to take to work for my break so that I didn’t have to buy any food.
Travel: £0 – Dad gave me a lift to and from work.
Remaining weekly budget: £45
Morning: Up early this morning for a driving lesson at 7.45am (£30). We practised bay parking – apparently my method is different to my instructor’s, but it works so it doesn’t matter! We tend to end my lesson at school, where the traffic is quite busy – it makes me nervous of seeing friends as not many of them are learning yet! I’ve had six lessons so far and I also practise in my car during the week with my mum.
Afternoon: Ate my packed lunch and then had a double business studies lesson. It’s a BTEC rather than an A-Level which is good as it means it’s coursework based, so I don’t have any exams. I’ve already completed a couple of modules and got a distinction, which is like getting an A at A-Level.
Evening: Costa was running a cold drink offer so my older sister and I went after school and got a drink each (£0.50). I also bought some sweets (£0.40). Once we got home, I booked my driving theory test online (£23). It’ll be my second test as I failed it previously. Asked mum to go halves with me as it was my second test and she said yes, which saved me a bit of money!
Going out and eating out: £0.90 – Costa and sweets.
Travel: £41.50 – driving lesson and my half of the theory test.
Remaining weekly budget: £2.60
Morning: Double politics and double business studies this morning! Politics is my favourite subject – I only started it at A-Level but I’m hoping to study it at university because I find it really interesting. I’ve just started looking at universities – I’m hoping to go somewhere in the Midlands like Derby, Nottingham Trent or Lincoln because I will also be able to go and watch loads of football games at the weekends!
Afternoon: Had my packed lunch and bought a chocolate bar from the canteen (£1). Every Wednesday and Friday afternoon is compulsory sport at school so loads of us play football. We organise ourselves and just play in the sports field. It’s usually pretty rough but a laugh!
Evening: Went to football training for a local team with my mates (£2). We’re a new team and I’m goalkeeper, but I don’t know if I’ll carry on next year as I want to watch Cheltenham (my team) on Saturdays and work on Sundays, so I won’t have time.
Going out and eating out: £1
Travel: £0 – got lifts.
Other: £2 – footie training.
Remaining weekly budget: -£0.40
Morning: Lessons all morning! I had economics first thing, which is my hardest A-Level. I got a D back for my latest assignment, which is ok, but hopefully I can get it up to a C next year.
Afternoon: I had two free lessons before politics, so I did some homework and went over my notes – this way I don’t have to do much in the evenings. I prefer working at school as I don’t get distracted. I’m so over working at home after a year of it!
Evening: My mum cooked an early dinner for me and my younger sister as she goes to the gym with my older sister on Thursdays. I watched Erin, who is 11, until they got back – luckily, I don’t have to do anything with her, she just stays in her room and I’m in mine! I had to renew my Xbox Live membership – it’s £17.99 for three months. Back in primary school I once accidentally spent £80 of my mum’s money when I bought gems for an online game, as it was linked to her bank account. It’s made me really careful about making sure the games I play are on the right settings.
Going out and eating out: £0 – packed lunch and ate at home.
Travel: £0 – got a lift to and from school.
Other: £17.99 – Xbox Live membership.
Remaining weekly budget: -£18.39
Morning: My school lessons don’t start until 11.30am on Friday so I practised driving to school with my mum supervising me. We picked up my friend, too, so there was some added pressure – thankfully I didn’t stall! On the way I had to put some petrol in my car as it was running low (£10). When I pass my test and can drive myself to school my parents will give me a petrol allowance as they won’t have to drive me or pay for buses.
Afternoon: Once I got home from school I ordered some new trainers (£55). I bought them through TopCashBack which saved me £2.50. I really recommend using cashback sites when you’re shopping online – if you use them regularly your savings add up quite quickly, but obviously it’s important you only buy things you actually need!
Evening: Worked a 5pm-8pm shift. It’s a really quiet shift, so I was on the tills for a while then tidied up ahead of the weekend and talked to my co-workers and the security guard who patrols the retail park. Got a lift home and had dinner with my family.
Travel: £10 – petrol.
Other: £52.50 – trainers after cashback.
Remaining weekly budget: -£80.89
Saturday: Had a lie in until 10.30am and then mum gave me a lift to work. I was on the 12noon-7pm shift, working on the shop floor, which involves tidying the shoe wall, putting shoes away in the stock room and tagging shoes with security tags. I like my job – some of my friends have better paid jobs but mine is easy and I get on with everyone. My mum picked me up after I finished and when I got home I sold an Aston Villa 1994 home shirt on Depop for £70 – not a bad profit given I bought it on eBay for £40!
Sunday: Woke up early and went to a car boot sale with my mum. I go along to try and find things to sell online, especially football tops and computer games – I often find video games for about £4 which I can sell at CEX for £16 (you can check the trade-in price online, so I know what to buy and what will make me profit). Today’s sale was a disappointing – I didn’t find anything that would make me profit. It is hit and miss, so you just have to keep going and trying.
In the afternoon I played football with my team. We won, which makes a change – we’ve lost the last few! After than I had a roast at home with my family and my sister and I washed-up. Spent the evening playing FIFA.
Going out and eating out: £0 – took lunch to work and ate at home.
Remaining weekly budget: -£80.89
Going out and eating out: £1.90
ACTUAL SPEND: £125.89
PREDICTED SPEND: £45
OVERSPEND OF WEEKLY BUDGET: £80.89
16 hours @ £5.35p/h: £85.60
Profit from selling footie shirt on Depop: £30
TOTAL EARNINGS: £115.60
“Despite spending quite a bit more than you budgeted for this week, your earnings almost match it – and it’s great that alongside your part-time job you’re also finding other clever ways to make money, such as buying and selling those footie shirts. Your driving theory test and Xbox live subscriptions aren’t weekly costs so hopefully your next few weeks’ spend will come in under budget and things will balance out, but in the future you could also consider delaying bigger purchases like your new trainers until you’ve had a few weeks of coming in under budget. That way, it’ll feel even more like a treat, and you won’t have to play catch-up with your bank balance.”
If you have a job, try not to spend your wages before you get paid! I’m not too strict about my spending but I try not to go over what I’ve earnt most months, and usually aim to save at least half of what I earn. In the school holidays I’ll work more hours, too.
Sell your old clothes, games and gadgets on eBay or Depop – it’s like free money for things that you don’t use anymore. You can also buy things to sell online, as I do at car boot sales – check charity shops and Facebook Marketplace for things you can make profit on and do your research to check what you are likely to make before buying.
Take lunch to work and school rather than buying meal deals. I want to keep all my earnings so take food from home. It doesn’t have to be boring sandwiches, either – sometimes I make chicken goujons or take left over pasta.