For the first time in my adult life I am unemployed.
During my undergrad years I was fortunate to receive a few scholarships and always kept a part-time job for ‘fun money’. Here in Edinburgh, I do have a scholarship and I could work part time but have decided instead to focus on my classes and learning – yes, those are two distinct processes, which at times even seem mutually exclusive.
Not having a slush fund means I’ve had to budget my money a lot more closely. Plus, rent is not cheap in Edinburgh centre! I am very fortunate to have a very caring partner with whom to share costs, so I thought I’d give you a rough idea of our Edinburgh budget:
Rent (2 bedroom flat) : 800£
Home insurance: 10£
His TechCube coworking space to telecommute: 150£
Monthly groceries at Sainsbury’s for 2: 200£ (but ideally 160£)
Mobile plans with Vodafone for 2: 40£
His (and my) allegedly ‘fast’ Internet with Sky: 20£
Gas/electricity with Scottish Hydro: 20£
Lothian Bus tickets: 30£
His Starbucks addiction: 40£
My ECCI soup addiction: 20£
Pub trips or eating out (once a week): 50£
We keep costs down by planning meals in advance and writing out a grocery list. We turn off the lights not in use and keep our refrigerator relatively full so that we don’t waste energy cooling air. Our heating is set on a timer at a lower temperature so that the flat heats up quickly when we’re both home and doesn’t run when we have work/studies. We buy our bus tickets using the mobile app and make sure to use day passes whenever cost-effective. If we want to eat out, we try to find places that charge around 10£ for two – see Sara’s article below for more tips!
On top of all these costs, we are also adventure-seekers. At least once a month, one of us gets an itch to travel and we have to plan a day trip or overnighter somewhere. We tend to prefer the train to Glasgow because of it’s comfort, but for longer distances we use Megabus or easyjet. Most trips in the United Kingdom cost us less than 100£ together since we are willing to travel early in the morning and late at night, the off-times, to get a better deal and spend the night with friends/family. We pack snacks and food from home but treat ourselves to bottled water because, frankly, we are too inconvenienced to carry heavy bottles all day. The environmentalist in me is of course less than content with this practice, but I try to make up for it daily by using my GeoSciences water bottle in Edinburgh 😉
The other ‘cost’ in our lives is health insurance. We both have plans from our home country that we paid for outright before moving here. It gives of peace of mind knowing we’re covered wherever adventure takes us. Health is wealth!