My Week on £15

CHARLIE BOOTH puts Ian Duncan Smith to shame as he attempts a £15 week

I must confess that £15 is not usually my weekly budget.

But it was a challenge and an easy excuse to save myself some money, so “why not?” I asked myself.

At first I thought this would be an easy feat, but by Tuesday I was already beginning to panic. I realised this was going to be much more different than the usual of eating lunch at the terrace, going out and having more than spaghetti hoops for supper…

Gourmet meal

But with my bank balance on my mind, I took a deep breath and began my cheap week…


As a student, going out is something we feel we must do weekly. However, with tickets to nights costing up to 10 pounds I was in no position to buy one of these golden tickets.

So where could I go?

‘Quids In’ at Halo seemed to be my best option. One pound didn’t seem too bad at that point. Then it came to pre drinks. What could I buy? I had to resort to a bottle of cider from ASDA that was around £2. When in Halo, not only did I find I wasn’t that drunk, but extremely bloated and being constantly shoved by other students raising their hands in their air because they go to Leeds Met. Great. By 1.30 I had had enough, and then had to embark on a very chilly walk home. No taxis for me.


Mid-week with no food in the cupboard was sure to not help matters. I went to the supermarket repeating the mantra “Buy only necessities”, but I found that when I got there, not only was I surrounded by delicious chocolate, meat and snacks, but that I couldn’t even save money where I usually would. By this, I mean buying the 2 packets of chicken for £5 or even the unavoidable 2 for £2.50 Sainsbury’s ‘snack boxes’ of cookies. However, I had to be strong and try only pick from Sainbury’s basic range. As I was attempting this shop, I realised that I could not be alone in this impossible task. It was Wednesday and I had already spent £13. It was safe to say things weren’t going well.

Sainsbury’s induced despair


Lunch at Uni is safely one of my more enjoyable moments in the day. A break from lectures and chance to relax. This week it was an hour of jealousy and bored  taste buds as I tucked into my toasties made from Sainsbury’s basic bread and ham. I was even jealous of my friend enjoying their budget meal deals from Essentials.

Counting ‘dem pennies


When I usually try to save money, I usually find there is one random large payment that I usually have to pay and that I didn’t think I would have had to. Every week. I’m sure many a student could relate to this problem; whether it’s a train ticket, fixing your drowned or lost phone or yet another birthday dinner. This week, however, I happened to be in desperate need of a haircut. And with around £2 left, I had to use my resources. A pair of clippers, and my housemate. I can’t say it is to ‘The End’s’ standards, but on this budget, it had to do.

Prison-style haircut

All in all, although it was tough – it is achievable. However, I wouldn’t try this unless you’ve hit the limit of your overdraft. As students we complain a lot about money; but we don’t take into account the overspending we are ridiculously criminal of. Copious amounts of money goes to waste on lunch at the terrace, tickets and vodka. Whilst £15 was a particularly hard goal, my week of being broke showed me that I could definitely save money.

However, I know, along with every other student – it’s never going to happen.

Think you can do better? Send us your student saver tips at [email protected]