Money Diaries: Trying To Spend Less

The post Christmas pinch this year was amplified for me, after spending two weeks in Canada playing fast and loose with my debit card. This year one of my goals is to be more financially responsible, and top my savings back up, so I’m spending the first quarter of the year, er, not spending. I say that, I’m not on a complete spending ban, but I am trying to reduce my outgoings, because honestly I spend a lot of money on a lot of rubbish. Since every previous attempt at a Money Diary post has fallen on a week where I’ve ended up with an eyewatering total, I thought it would be interesting to document a week where I’m trying to spend a little less!

Monday.

7.15am – My first ‘normal’ alarm since arriving home from Canada, and oh yes it feels like being woken from the dead. I snooze my alarm for 30 minutes, the absolute maximum without being late, then run around like a headless chicken. Not quite the fresh start for the new year I had in mind. I whip up scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes, which Con and I wolf down at the dining table, before grabbing a takeaway flask of coffee and heading out the door.

11.35am – The scrambled eggs may have been healthy, but I’m hungry, and I’ve already snacked on hummus and carrot sticks. I actually prepped lunch yesterday, so I have a tupperware of quinoa and roasted veggies ready to go. I wolf it down and it’s super tasty, but I wish I’d shoved in an egg or some chicken too because I know it won’t fill me up for long. But hey, better than spending a tenner at M&S Simply Food on my lunch break!

1.00pm – I’ve hit maximum capacity so I head out of the office, my brain humming with the start of a headache. I swing through the Starbucks drive through for an oat milk caramel macchiato fix, coffee is one luxury I’ll never sacrifice. I take my own cup which means a 25p discount, and I’m a Starbucks Gold Member so I don’t pay any extra for oat milk, which definitely helps keep costs down. I top up my Starbucks card by £10, and pick up an oat milk latte for Laura too.

1.30pm – I’m at Laura’s salon to get my nails done, I’ve managed to go nearly 4 weeks which is impressive for me. My autoimmune stuff means my nails break all the time, and last week I broke three pulling suitcases off the baggage carousel. When I go back to uni in September the luxury of getting my nails done will be the first thing to go, but for now I adore that hour and a half spent hanging out with my friend, and the joy of having to sit still and not do anything! Money well spent, and now my nails have stars, moons and little Pisces symbols on them. £30.

3.15pm – I was Laura’s last client of the day, and so we decide to decamp back to mine to hang out. We both are trying not to spend money but predictably, are starving. Normally we’d stop for lunch somewhere or order in, but we make the responsible decision to stop at Sainsbury’s where we buy fresh soup and a crunchy bread roll to share. I also chuck a litre bottle of green juice, and a bottle of caesar dressing in the basket for dinner later this week. Resist the doughnuts. £8.50.

6.00pm – Laura heads home after essentially two hours of trying to stop me napping. Jet lag is real and I can’t seem to shake it. We’ve pretty much just been lying in amicable silence on our phones but aren’t those the best friendships? I pop dinner in the oven (a sausage and veggie traybake) and sit down at my desk to finish a blogpost.

7.30pm – Con and I eat dinner on the sofa, both of us worn out from a full on first ‘proper’ day back. We chat about Toronto, how grey England is, and plans to move away. And then we call it a night and start getting ready for bed by half nine.

Total – £48.50

Tuesday.

5.45am – My alarm goes off and I nearly cry. Take Con to the train station in my pyjamas, with my eyes half open, and am back in bed by 6.10. I hate Tuesdays. Despite being exhausted, it takes me half an hour to fall back to sleep, and I wake up (super late) at 9am.

9.30am – Run out the door (super late) at 9.30am looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. Managed to wolf down two slices of marmite on toast, guess I’m not being as healthy today, and take a coffee in my to go cup. Listen to the podcast Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum on my way in, I’ve been loving this this month.

11.00am – Tearing my hair out at work because the Internet is SO SLOW. Convince the business to order me a few bits for my laptop (an adaptor so I can plug in an ethernet cable and a new keyboard to replace one that was stolen in last year’s break in), and resist the urge to decamp to Starbucks to work. Instead of sitting at my desk, I spend the morning sat in my dad’s office with him because it’s closer to the router and he has the AC on, unlike everyone in my office who has the heating on. We chat about work, plot out content for the next month, and also talk about the logistics of a secret project of mine.

12.00pm – Dad and I eat lunch together, I have a tiny portion of leftover dinner from last night, but it’s fine because I’m grabbing a coffee with a friend later so will eat something then. I get my head down and write out three different articles, and chug the last of my coffee.

1.35pm – The wind has been raging for about an hour and predictably, the power goes out. I take it as a sign to give up with the tricky job I’ve been doing and pack up and head out. It was a good call because the power ended up being out for two hours!

1.45pm – I arrive early to meet my friend Becca for coffee, since we’re meeting at a farm shop round the corner from work. I order an oat milk latte, have a look at the range of plastic free goodies in the shop, and sit down for fifteen minutes peace with my diary.

4.05pm – We’ve lost track of time chatting and the staff are closing up around us. We settle up (£9.25 for my latte and welsh rarebit on toast) and vow to not leave it so long next time! I stop into Tesco on the way home because we’re out of loo roll, and I’m craving bolognese for tea, so I grab mince. £16.

5.45pm – Home and I’m actually feeling pretty rough, weirdly queasy and quite dizzy. I text my sister to cancel our plans for the evening – she often pops over when Con is in London, pull on my pjs and make some dinner. Halfway through cooking I realise we’re completely out of tinned tomatoes and I want to cry I’m so tired and annoyed. It’s pouring with rain and the wind is ferocious outside, I feel crappy and I don’t want to go back out. Complain to Con via text, and he tells me about a local grocery delivery service that delivers within 28 minutes for £1.50. I order two cans of chopped tomatoes, as well as some salty crisps and cans of coke to make up the minimum order of £5, I’m hoping a cold can of coke will make me feel better! An annoying expense that would have cost next to nothing had I realised before I went to Tesco, but the money is worth it to not have to go back outside. £7.15.

6.10pm – Chopped tomatoes arrived, we’re back on track! What a service. I make a big batch of bolognese, eat a serving and a half, and give up my fight against sleep. I tidy up the kitchen, have a shower, and snuggle up in bed to scroll on Pinterest and watch Gilmore Girls til I fall asleep at 9.30.

Total – £16.00

Wednesday.

7.15am – Wake up after the worst night’s sleep. I never sleep well when Con’s away, but add in a storm and my body’s jet lag confusion and things are bad. I was awake from midnight til two unable to sleep, so I add an extra shot to my morning latte.

8.30am – Debate being naughty and stopping at McDonalds for a bagel on my way to work, but restrain myself and throw some wholemeal bread in the toaster. I can’t eat after 2pm today so I already feel like this morning will just be me eating everything nailed down. I make another coffee and take it to work with me.

12.20pm – It’s been a busy morning, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and I have tons to do, so time goes quick. As predicted at my desk I’ve eaten three jaffa cakes, half a share bag of Walkers salt and vinegar crisps, and half a bag of Haribo Gold Bears. Health. My dad produces a slightly odd snack tub of roasted chicken and cubes of cheese that we share whilst discussing some work bits. And good news! After refusing to market my old car for six months and it just sitting at work unloved, a relative has offered me a decent cash price for it. I’m thrilled to be getting rid of it because I’ve been dreading having to market it, and it means for once there will be money going into my account instead of out! I’ll be putting the money straight into my savings account as my contract on my current car ends in October, and I’ll need the money for a deposit on something new. My car is nine years old, but it’s well looked after, and I get a very tidy £2,200 for it. Score.

1.30pm – As is tradition on days when I have to stop eating in preparation for a hospital appointment, my dad and I sneak out of work for a pub lunch. We both order lime and sodas, and I go for the beef bourguignon. It comes with cheesy mash and roasted veggies, and my dad insists on ordering me some triple cooked chips too because “it’ll be hours before you can eat again”. I chug through and eat as much as I can before the 2pm cut off time. My dad won’t let me pay for lunch.

2.45pm – I get home, and start having a bit of a sort out. I want to nap but I power through. I organise some of my dressing table, and put away some laundry. I take some blog photos because for once it isn’t raining. A neighbour knocks on the door, she signed for my Rock N Rose delivery this morning. We chat a little about some building drama, and about my jewellery order. I spotted a necklace while I was in Buffalo from a local company I liked, a gold necklace with star signs on, but typically they were completely out of stock. I got home and googled looking for something similar and found this one on Rock N Rose. I’ve had some jewellery from them before and it’s always lovely, great quality and I like supporting smaller businesses.

6.50pm – I’m really flagging at this point, but I hop in my car to pick Con up from the train station. He’s always tired after two busy days in London, so at least we’re both in the same boat. We get home, he eats my leftover bolognese from the night before, I mope in bed about not being able to eat.

10.00pm – I’m really grouchy about not being able to sleep now. Con and
I agree after the chopped tomato incident we should probably do a big food shop. We start adding things to a Sainsbury’s basket on my iPad, which soon unravels to me lying in bed adding every food that pops into my head to the basket. You should never shop hungry. Con culls my list (apparently we don’t need Dorito’s, Sensations, Walkers AND pretzels, sigh) and goes through the cupboards to figure out what staples we need. We haven’t done a proper food shop since November, so we buy a lot of cupboard staples, and our food shop comes in at an eye watering £75. Con pays, he earns a lot more than me so he tends to pick up the food shopping tab. I fall asleep dreaming about spaghetti and meatballs.

Total – £0.00

Thursday

6.45am – I’m up, brushing my teeth, washing my face, necking a pint of water and out the door by 7am. My dad picks me up (and he’s put the heated seat on in preparation, what a babe), and we head to the hospital. It’s an hours drive, and I spend half of it texting my best friend Daphne who’s sending moral support, and half of it talking with my dad about what I’m going to eat when I’m out of the hospital.

9.30am – The first hour in the hospital passes in a blur of form signing, obs tests (blood pressure, temperature, heart rate monitoring, a pregnancy test amongst other things), getting hooked up to machinery, tagged with hospital bracelets, and swallowing the capsule for the test. I’m shown to my room for the day, my dad gets comfy in the armchair and I lie down on the bed for a bit, my insides gurgling in protest at the camera I just had to swallow. We had big plans to binge a Netflix series, but we end up flicking on daytime TV and critiquing all the shows.

11.00am – The house doctor comes to hook me up to an IV and it does not go well. Five attempts of weaving the needle around in my arm and hand and he still can’t find a vein. I’m teetering on the edge of a panic attack (something about being repeatedly stab has made me freak out, weird that huh), and they decide to give me a break and say they’ll be back in 15 minutes to try again. By the time they leave I’m sweating, shaking and struggling to breathe, and something weird happens where I lose all feeling in my legs, and my hands contract into a weird cramp and I can’t move them. Logically I know that my body is in fight or flight and oxygen is not moving to my extremities as it should, but that doesn’t stop me panicking that I’m dying. My dad springs into action, takes me to the bathroom to run my hands under warm water til I can move them again, and gets me to focus on my breathing. I have a little cry, and a nurse comes back and says they’ve decided to just inject me with the drugs into my butt rather than persist with the cannula. Why they didn’t just do that to start with is beyond me.

2.00pm – After the stress of the needle situation, I pass out for forty five minutes on top of my little hospital bed. When I wake up, my stomach is contracting like mad, so I know the drugs are working. The drugs have also made me feel spacey, like I’m not really in the room, so time is passing weirdly. My dad says the doctor should be in soon to check on me, and I feel so strange that I’ve finally stopped thinking about food.

3.00pm – My consultant swings by to check on me, and look at the footage from my camera and it’s good news! The camera has passed through quicker than anticipating and is sat in my large bowel, so he gives the nurse the ok for me to eat, and says once I’ve eaten something someone will come and detach me from the machine and I can go home! They bring me a cheese and pickle sandwich, and my dad picks me up salt and vinegar crisps and a Twix from the hospital cafe. My dad and I firmly believe in the restorative powers of salty crisps and a Twix.

4.00pm – I’m out! My dad takes me straight to Starbucks for a coffee fix, it’s inhumane that I’ve had to go 24 hours without, and delivers me home. Con tucks me up with a hot water bottle, and I pretty much conk out immediately.

Total – £0.00

Friday

12.00pm – I doze all morning, til Con brings me coffee and a bagel in bed, stays with me til I’ve eaten the bagel and drunk a pint of water. I feel really strange, but eating helps. I spend the rest of the day falling in and out of sleep and watching Gilmore Girls in bed with my hot sloth.

8.00pm – I have a craving for a full fat coke and some fresh air, so Con tucks me up in the passenger seat of the car in my pjs with my blanket, and we take a slow drive to the Mcdonald’s drive thru with the window open. I get a large coke, Con gets a strawberry milkshake and we share a few fries. I pay, it’s the least I can do!

Total – £4.31

Total – £68.81.

Taking out the expense of doing my nails, which I budget for throughout the month, I spent less than £40 this week which I’m pleased with! What I’m less pleased with is the fact that everything else was spent on food. I really need to stop giving in to every food craving, and planning meals a bit better!

Spending less isn’t easy, but I feel like I’m making slow progress!