Money Diary: A 22-Year-Old Law Student In London On 12k

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 22-year-old law student living in London. I’m starting my job as a corporate trainee solicitor next year, which will inevitably be intense so I’m trying to enjoy my free time while I still have it! This is easier said than done as exams are looming. I’ve lived in London since January 2021 and got a great COVID deal on rent, which will sadly be coming to an end this month when our landlord puts the rent up by £300. I live with my two flatmates, R and M, who I didn’t know before we lived together but we get on really well. I receive a single lump sum grant from my future firm, rather than a monthly salary. I found this a bit overwhelming in the beginning so I now transfer myself a monthly amount so that budgeting is easier and I can keep track."
Occupation: Student (future trainee solicitor)
Industry: Law
Age: 22
Location: London
Salary: £12,000 (grant)
Paycheque amount: N/A
Number of housemates: Two
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £606 rent.
Loan payments: £27,750 student loan with none paid off. 
Savings? FTSE All-Share ISA savings: £14,000.
Pension: Not currently. 
Utilities: £67 council tax, £13 TV licence, £22 broadband, £47 gas and electric, £22 water. 
All other monthly payments: £20 phone contract. Subscriptions: £5.99 Spotify, £40 running coach, £20 Pret. 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I had a tuition loan but agreed with my parents that they would give me an allowance for maintenance and pay my rent. The maintenance loan I would have qualified for would have been very low and it made more sense, in the long term, for my parents to help me while I was at university and not need to help me as much in the future because of the savings I could make from not paying off a maintenance loan at the ridiculous interest rates. I was also at a university where I didn’t have time to do part-time work. I'm aware of how fortunate I am that my parents were able and willing to help me in this way.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? 
I was always aware of the value of money but it wasn't until my grandparents died and my parents inherited that we actually discussed the importance of investing money and having long-term savings. These conversations were always very open and I feel it came at the perfect time as I had just started part-time work and had my own income.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out at 21 during lockdown and I’m really glad I did. I love my parents and we get on really well. I also really miss my dog, who is still with my parents, but it was definitely time for me to move out and live more independently.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I receive a grant per year from my future employer, which I receive in one lump sum. I received £12,000 last year as well when I was living at home and working part-time in a supermarket. Combined with the total lack of things to spend money on in 2020, this meant I was able to save a decent amount of money. It is only since I moved out in Jan 2021 that I have become financially responsible for myself. I know if I ever needed it, my parents would be able to help me (within reason). 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got my first job at 15 in a local pub. I was paid £3.18 per hour plus tips but I was given no breaks or food on shift. Looking back this was absolutely appalling but I loved it. I got the job as I wanted to have my own income and a sense of independence but there was no massive financial pressure for me to start working at this age.
Do you worry about money now?
I get really bad money anxiety, which is linked to more generalised anxiety. I have been trying to become – and am getting – more relaxed about it. I know this often holds me back from enjoying myself and taking care of myself more generally. My anxiety around money is not always rational, in the sense that I'm careful and have a strong set of savings, so I'm making a conscious effort to be kinder to myself without being reckless.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series