MONEY TALK, is something that seemingly is taboo these days. We’re not supposed to ask what our mates earn, what’s in their bank accounts or even, hey hun, how did you afford that gorgeous new West Elm dining table and a holiday in the same month TEACH ME YOUR SORCERY. But money is a very real part of all of our day to day lives, so it’s nice to see the dialogue around it opening up just a little. I’ve been avidly reading Michelle’s money diary posts, as a fellow freelancer it’s nice to see how other people are managing their money, and it inspired me to keep a little money diary of my own last week.
In fact, it was a pretty eye opening experience. As someone who is notoriously bad at money and has obliterated their savings this year with a ton of travel, I want to get better at budgeting, and finding places to cut back so I can put more back into my savings. Let’s just say…it was an eye opening week to pick.
8.15am – I’ve been trying to make coffee at home recently because I spend a small fortune on coffee each month, but desperate Monday’s call for Starbucks drive thru’s! I get a Tall White Mocha with Soy milk, which is normally £3.50, but I took my own cup so I get a 25p discount. I still have credit on my Starbucks card from last week though so it doesn’t feel like real money!
1.30pm – I save money by bringing my own lunch to work, pat on the back Jaye, and even manage to resist the doughnut smell when I pop out to pick up lunch for my mum. So far so good!
2.10pm – My sister pops by work and drops off a prescription she picked up for me, so I transfer her £8.80. I probably spend around £25 a month on prescriptions right now which added up is working out as quite a lot, but there’s not much I can do about it so I thank her and promise to buy her coffee soon.
4.00pm – I pop to the Post Office after work to deliver a parcel to a friend in London. I use the self service machine which tells me it’s a ‘large letter’ and therefore it will cost £2.11. I pay that, and then a staff member comes over and tells me it’s actually a parcel, and charges me £2.34 more. The Post Office is the worst.
4.15pm – My MacBook has a problem with the keys, so I have a Genius Bar Appointment to get it fixed. Thankfully, it’s covered under Apple Care so it’s free, and Con buys me dinner afterwards so I’ve really lucked out here. I do pay £3 for the parking though (seems like the least I can do).
3.00pm – I’m off to get my nails done, and as is tradition, I pick up coffees for Laura (my nail tech) and I. I’m coming from work, so instead of our usual Costa hot chocolates, I go through the Starbucks Drive Thru and get two frappuccinos. I have to top up my Starbucks card to do it, so £10 goes out of my account.
4.oopm – Nails are done and I’m £30 lighter. I used to get acrylics and gels, but now I just have gels on my natural nail plus a hardener. Laura is the Queen of fancy nail art, and my hour with her every three weeks is like therapy!
8.00am – Our gas and electric bill goes out on the first of every month from our joint account, which is today. We pay just over £60 a month for our gas and electric, which seems high but probably isn’t. I transfer the money to cover my share of bills into our joint account as soon as I get paid (last Friday of the month) so really, I’ve already said goodbye to this £30 and I don’t miss it.
10.15am – I’ve been sent home from work because I’ve got a migraine building and I can’t concentrate. I pick up the dog from my parent’s house on my way home and bring him back to the flat with me because I’m in the mood for puppy snuggles. Dog cuddles are, thankfully, free.
5.00pm – Feeling very proud of myself because I’ve not spent a penny all day, then I remember I’ve got a Freddies Flowers delivery coming Friday, so £22 came out of my account this afternoon. I don’t get the flowers weekly, but I do get a bouquet a month, they last really well and it’s a nice post payday treat! (You can use my code JayeR1366 for a free bunch!)
8.45am – I’m feeling much better today so I’m back at work, but I’m still knackered and we’ve run out of oat milk so I nip to Starbucks on the way to work, another £3.25 off my Starbucks card.
12.30pm – My leftovers for lunch aren’t looking too appealing, so a coworker and I take a cheeky trip over the road to the burger van for giant portions of cheesey chips and garlic mayo. I get hers too as she doesn’t have any cash, but that’s cool because I know there’ll be a next time that’s on her. I spend £6 and try not to think of the calories.
7.00pm – I’ve got a banging headache but I’m powering through because I’ve got drinks with a friend who I haven’t seen in ages. I buy the first round of drinks plus a sharing bread board and portion of chips, weighing in at £22. She gets the second round plus desserts. Highlights include Watermelon Sangria and Lemon Lime Creme Brulée!
8.30am – I’m running late for work so no time to stop for a coffee (and I still haven’t bought any oat milk). I grumble about it, and as soon as I get to work fill my Chilly bottle up with icy filtered water. It’s not the same, but the coldness does help wake me up a little.
3.00pm – I’m done at the office for the day, and I’m off into town to meet my friend Sam for coffee. We live a ten minute walk from town so I drive home and walk down to save on parking, even though it makes me a little late. I order an iced dirty chai with oat milk and it costs £4.40 which is pretty horrific when you think about it, but my god it tastes heavenly so I don’t care.
5.10pm – I pop into Space NK to pick up a mini can of the IGK First Class Dry Shampoo to take with me when I go away next weekend. I have a £5 N.Centive on my Space NK Card so it’s £5 instead of £10. I also run into WHSmith and pick up the new issue of Oh Comely, at £6. I’m trying to cut back on magazine spending, but I haven’t bought one in a month so I allow myself this one!
6.00pm – Sam and I get hungry so we nip into Franco Manca for delicious fresh pizzas. I’m always amazed at how cheap it is for such yummy food. I pick up the cheque as it was Sam’s birthday this week and it’s the least I can do. £14.85 well spent.
10.45am – I’m in Portsmouth this morning to see my friend Lauren, who I haven’t seen in ages. I park on a side street by the station which is cheaper than the multistories, but still costs £3.50. I’m increasingly aware that I’m probably going to have to fill up with fuel again soon, and let’s face it, petrol is EXTORTIONATE.
11.00am – Lauren and I meet in Canva, a cute coffee shop we love inside Portsmouth Train Station. I order a dirty chai with oat milk, and can’t resist one of their homemade sticky cinnamon buns. The total is £6.95 and we’re there for just over an hour.
12.15pm – We’re pottering around town in the sunshine. I nip into Lush to stock up on shower gel (a bottle of Plum Rain is £10.95 but will last me six months), and then grab a cold drink and Mac and Cheese from Eat, at £7.95.
3.00pm – I pop into Southampton on the way home to see Kelly for a quick coffee. She buys the coffees which is sweat, but then we nip into John Lewis where we find a West Elm Sale. I end up phoning Con for a quick conference, before buying a side table I’ve had my eye on for over a year. The money comes out of our joint account for homeware, and I keep saying that since it was £249 down from £499, really it would have been silly not to buy it. It’s an expensive trip out of the house for us.
4.00pm – Another £4 on parking. WHY IS HAVING A CAR SO EXPENSIVE.
6.30pm – Con and I head into town for a quick beer with his step dad. A quick beer turns into four and a round of tapas, which Con kindly picks up the bill for.
TOTAL: £33.35 (or £282.35 if you include the side table, which I’m not because it’s stressing me out).
12.30pm – Today we’re meeting friends at a local thai food festival! It’s three pounds each to get in but we quickly realise it’s WAY too hot to be sat out in the direct sun. We stay a few hours, drinking a couple of beers and eating noodles, but then move on to a nearby pub garden with shade!
3.00pm – I buy a round at the pub for everyone, £12 for some cold beers in the garden!
5.40pm – We save money on lunch by dropping in to my parents’ house just as they are dishing up from the barbecue! The food is delicious and it’s a nice way to spend a Sunday evening.
So, what did I learn? Well, let’s face it, most of my money is going on food. I need to be more organised with making lunches to take to work and eating out less. It’s been a particularly busy week, I wouldn’t usually be out and about as much as this, and by contrast as I write this post on Thursday, I’ve only spent £8.60 all week so far, so it really is luck of the drawer. I generally set aside around £100 a week in my budget outside of rent and savings, and I definitely blew that.
I want to make a conscious effort this month to spend less on eating out! Perhaps if you guys enjoyed this post, I’ll do another in a month or so’s time and see whether there’s a difference!
Are you good at budgeting?