This is what your weekly food shop budget says about you as a Royal Holloway student
Are you more bougie bitch or constantly skint?
While most of us know we should budget (it’s like a really handy thing that would make life infinitely easier), most of us are also not scholars of sensibility. It’s like when we promise ourselves that we’ll write that essay due in on the 13th of January before Christmas…it’s a lovely premise and a depressing reality.
Budgets are the same as looming essays: They get in the goddamn way! How you deal with that obstacle decides a lot. Do you confront your bank account and become a budgeting-whizz? Or keep the figures in the dark, lying to yourself until you’ve maxed out your overdraft?
Keep reading to find out what your budget (or lack of) says about you.
Do you keep it under £20?
You’d starve before Ubering to or from Tesco’s, even in torrential rain. Reduced fruit and veg gets you hot and heavy. You see nothing wrong with scraping mould off “otherwise perfectly edible” bread. You buy own brand everything (even if you don’t really need to) and tell yourself that “it really does taste the same!”, as you try not to regurgitate your supersaver baked beans. The idea of entering Waitrose puts the fear of God in you…you’re a passionate cheapskate!
In first year, you most likely live in Kingswood or Reid. You budget out your loan meticulously, setting yourself a weekly stipend (and you might even allow for the occasional/bi-weekly Starbuck but it’s hardly worth it: With each sip, your wallet feels lighter).
You only exceed your budget when you get drunk on Tesco vodka (mixed with tap water, obvs), and your friends convince you to order a naughty takeaway. The next morning your mate messages you to ask if you’re still alive and gently reminds you that you owe them eight pounds for the food. You wonder if they’d accept your dozen tins of supersaver baked beans (reduced to clear) instead of cash. You reply with: “ever bartered before?”.
Do you try to keep it under £20?
You did everything right: You set a budget as soon as your loan came in, you paid your rent for four months in advance so you weren’t tempted to spend the money, you even bought own-brand spirits God-damn-it! Yet you’re hopelessly broke.
When you and your flatmates rock up in Egham central (a far cry from what the London vibe RHUL’s website promised all of us), you hit up Tesco with a shopping cart in toe. About eight minutes in, somewhere around the canned goods section, you begin to lose track. Before you know it, all spice, rice, cheese and chocolate hell has broken loose and your budget is out. You’re chucking 10kg bags of lentils into your trolley and slam-ducking half-price mojito mixes in the search for sanity.
You briefly attempt to regain control by choosing own-brand frozen vegetables. You’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself and your limp vegetables at this point, so when you reach the confectionary aisle, you decide to treat yourself to a bougie Tyrrell’s sharing bag of crisps.
Later, back in your room, you examine your receipt, totalling almost sixty pounds. You can’t remember what exactly possessed you to buy five avocados. You open that share bags of Tyrrell’s and tell yourself you’re only going to eat a few.
Do you pretend to keep it under £20?
It takes you a while to realise that some students aren’t joking when they say they’re poor. After confirming your place at Royal Holloway, you strike a deal with your parents: As long as you pass every module and join the Conservative Society, they’ll wire you however much you want. You bravely refuse the latter term. They send you money anyway. You live in Wedderburn, Gowar or George Eliot.
When someone tells you that they live in Kingswood, you try not to let your poverty radar buzz too loudly, instead you decide it might be cool to diversify. You’re not sure you could ever sleep soundly in a single bed, and you’re not sure how your friends in Reid survive without a fully equipped kitchen.
But for all your privileges, you also have serious decorum. You learn pretty quickly that being openly rich is not a trend at uni. So, you make a habit out of getting touchy talking about your parents’ work, and you defend your trust-funded gap year with talk of cheap hostels and overnight trains. After a while, you decide you’ve felt out poverty enough to give it a go: you start talking about how tight your budget is, too!
Inevitably, you shop at Waitrose. But if anyone asks, you don’t know what the Duchy shortbread tastes like, only 30p Tesco Bourbons for you! It seems you enjoy being ‘broke’ a lot more than your broke friends do.