7 days, £10

first_imgTuesday: No caffeine. I compensate with 4 slices of toast for breakfast, which only makes me sleepy in the morning lectures, although I am thankfully full up until 3, when another 2 slices, ever so thinly spread, of course, keep me going until supper. It’s Ace of Clubs at Imperial tonight, but I feign a bout of food poisoning from lunch. ‘Did you eat in hall?’, someone asks. I claim to have gone to Café Rouge, far enough away from college, and blame the eggs Benedict. Sunday: Have resolved not to tell anyone about this project, so cancel pub lunch and head to Sainsburys to stock up on their Basics range. I buy 39p white slice, some butter, and a carton of orange juice. The bare essentials would normally include 20 Lucky Strikes, but I forgo these in favour of a night out. I spend just £1.63, and slouch home, disconsolate at heaving left behind the delicious Duchy Originals pumpkin seed loaf, Tiptree plum jam, and vast array of crisps, olives, grapes, stilton and Bombay gin which usually supplement my cupboard. I am starving by 4pm, but hold out until Informal, gorging myself on bread rolls and asking for seconds at dessert. This is the best way to do it. Monday: Having not bought any tea, I have a cup of hot water. Not the same. The lack of caffeine kick nearly drives me insane by midday, and I nearly get to the front of the queue at Starbucks, fantasising about a Venti Cappucino with hazelnut syrup before remembering my higher purpose. Storm out nearly in tears and bump into Big Issue seller. Glare at him and stalk off. He’s certainly not eating into my budget. Guilt catches me after ten paces and fork out £1.50 for a copy. The price has gone up, and I’ve got £7 to last me the rest of the week. After Formal hall, everyone pre-drinks for Thirst Lodge, but I claim essay crisis. I sulk in my room all night, and am rudely awoken at 3am by my drunken friends arriving back, screeching and cackling with inebriated enthusiasm. Thursday: More optimistic for some reason, although absent myself from the endless debate of Bridge, Cellar or Filth. It’s like a law court, and the defence speeches are admirable, ranging through entrance fees, drinks prices, availability of drugs, proximity to college and likelihood of pulling. Predictably, the college splits into opposing factions, each trying to entice the other over. But by 10pm, it’s split more or less evenly. The ultimate student challenge: to live for a week on a budget of £10. Can it be done? Our anonymous investigator finds out. center_img Wednesday: Can’t do this any longer. The cheap toast, the rubbish margarine, the accursed hot water. The monotony is driving me into insomnia. I walk down the High Street, reading the menus at Quod and The Grand Café, once my favourite haunts, and see the happy faces inside, well fed. I feel like Oliver Twist. I work again tonight, thankfully there’s no big club night, but everyone heads to the college bar. Essay crisis can work again; excuses are best alternated. Friday: I’ve started to feel healthier. Maybe the lack of alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes is helping. I splash out on chips at lunch, which I split the cost of with a friend, and enjoy a chip butty in my room. £6.50 for my night out. Have resolved not to borrow money, but after eating very little at supper, I head to Sainsburys, and buy a £3 bottle of wine. £3.50 will not get me into Filth. I drink the entire bottle myself whilst in a friend’s room, then receive several gin and tonics from various helpful people. Someone suggests a Sambuca shots competition, and I nearly win before a sudden whiff of the shot glass reminds me of a truly horrible incident aged 13 at the local rugby club. I bow out gracefully and we shortly head to Filth. I leave my coat behind, unable to pay to check it, but thankfully I’m blind drunk and don’t notice the cold. After a long queue, I negotiate desperately with a girl who seems unable to understand why I don’t have the extra £1.50. Perhaps my forlorn expression has a touch of emaciation by now, or perhaps I’m too incoherent in my drunken state, but she lets me in, and I spend a happy 3 hours dancing wildly, unaware of anyone around me, and embarrassing myself enough to merit a whole album devoted to me on Facebook the next morning. I stagger back, propped up by friends, and am forced into bed, although make several attempts to break free. Saturday: I have never felt more ill, more ugly, or more unhappy with the world. I eat 6 slices of toast, and amazingly hold them down with 2 litres of water. All my money is gone, but I sit in the Turf drinking soda water with friends, which I discover is a wonderful hangover cure, although I’m desperate for some aspirin. Thankfully, a friend takes pity and gives me 3 Advil, which knock me out until supper. I shovel some more food down to fend off the final hangover hunger pangs, and attempt a bit more works. But the verbs swim around on the page, and my head is too woolly to take anything in. I have an early night, but go to sleep rather happy at the thought of having twice as much money next week. A bottle of Veuve Cliquot is definitely an essential for the shop. I rather think I’ve earned it.last_img

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