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 we're with a 24-year-old who has been living in London for just over a year. She says she is lucky that she gets to live in her parents' flat for cheap (for London!) rent. She is currently saving to try and do her yoga teacher training and, unusually, actually enjoys budgeting and has recently learned that buying loads of stuff doesn't really make her any happier.
Industry: Marketing Age: 24 Location: London Salary: £27,000 Paycheque amount per month: £1,726 Number of housemates: 0
Housing costs: £500. I'm really lucky to live in my parents' flat! Loan payments: Student loan taken out of paycheque – £71 Utilities: Included in rent! Transportation: I top up my Oyster as I go, and go back to my parents' on the train most weekends, which I pay for as I go. Phone bill: £15.70 Savings: Trying to save £500 a month so I can quit my job and do my yoga teacher training. 9-5 life isn't for me. Currently have £0. Other: Apple Music – £9.99, Car insurance – £46
Total left for the month: £654.31
Day One 7am: My boyfriend is staying over so I wake up and make him a coffee and me a ginger tea. I don’t have anything for breakfast as I’ve been back at my parents’ for the weekend so have no food! 9am: Top up my Oyster with £20 which definitely won’t be enough for the week but I can’t face spending any more. Pop to Boots before work to buy a little iced coffee, an Eat Natural bar and a bottle of water which I then eat/drink at my desk. £4.09 12pm: I head to Sainsbury’s to buy a Diet Coke and an apple. Eat this outside with a salad I packed from last night’s dinner at my parents’ house. I think they are used to me always taking their food. £1.30 5pm: Decide to get a different line today because the Central line is hell at this time of year. It takes ages. Pop to Sainsbury’s on my way home and buy cereal, milk, apples, bananas, aubergine, mushrooms, jalapeños, spinach and goat’s cheese. £13.75 7pm: Spend most of the evening making a very strange salad out of these ingredients with some lentils and sweet potato I had in the cupboard. I eat vegetarian during the week to save money and hopefully help the environment. At weekends, I let myself have whatever. 9pm: Spend the evening writing in my journal and watching Love Island. Total: £39.14
Day Two 6.50am: Was meant to go for a run this morning but lie in bed instead, convincing myself I’m ‘meditating’ (I’m not). Get out of bed and eat cereal, banana and milk for breakfast with a green tea. 9.20am: Tube is very delayed so arrive at work about 30 mins late. Grab a little iced coffee from Boots because I’m in a bad mood. I used to get a Pret latte every day but have broken this habit as it’s such a waste of money – although these aren’t much better. £1.80 12pm: Eat the salad that I made last night and an apple. 1pm: Sign up for a last-minute appointment to give blood this evening and instantly regret it as, like everyone, I hate needles. 3pm: Buy a packet of popcorn from Tesco and eat some of my colleague’s dark chocolate. Convince myself I need the sugar because of my appointment later. 80p 5.30pm: Pop into Topshop while hanging around waiting for my appointment. Try a few things on but don’t buy anything even though I desperately need new clothes. I’ve put a few things on eBay and am refusing to buy anything new until they sell! 7pm: Donate blood then catch Tube home and watch Love Island. Don’t feel like eating anything after all the biscuits at the donation centre. Write in my journal and convince myself that I will go for a run tomorrow. Total: £2.60
Day Three 7am: Wake up, shower, banana, cereal, milk and coffee. Don’t go for a run. 9am: Iced coffee and an Eat Natural bar at my desk that I bought from Boots when I got off the Tube. £2.79 12pm: More of the salad I made on Day One and an apple. I also buy some popcorn and an overpriced Graze box ‘to be healthy’, then get annoyed that there’s not enough chocolate in it. £1.99 4pm: Book into a hot yoga class for next week with my friend. I get £5 off for referring her. I usually have a membership for this but cancelled it before I went on holiday as I wouldn’t be able to make any classes. £9 5pm: Get changed at work and get the Tube to netball – it’s a bit far away from my flat but I don’t really care as it’s nice to see a different part of London every now and again. Buy a bottle of water before, which makes me feel a bit guilty. £1 7pm: Play netball then get the bus home. I need to get two buses but I decide to only get one and then walk the rest of the way – it’s 40 minutes but sunny so I don’t mind. 9pm: Home and Love Island is on so just have cereal for dinner as I don’t want to miss any of it by going to the shop! Terrible, I know. Total: £14.78
Day Four 6am: Wake up, down a coffee and some water and head out for a run. I end up doing 4 miles because I go a weird route, so only have 20 mins to get ready for work. 7.30am: Bowl of cereal and a banana. I read a news article last night about plastic and waste so decide to stop buying so many little coffees and the odd bottle of water. 10am: Work very boring, very hungry. Lion King soundtrack keeps me entertained. 12pm: Eat the final portion of my weird sweet potato and lentil salad. Very glad it’s finished because I was getting a bit sick of it. Also buy some popcorn and an apple from Tesco. My week is just snack after snack. £1.40 1pm: Buy a bar of dark choc which I share with my colleagues (I eat most of it) and a Nakd bar. I’m not hungry, I’m just bored. Convinced that when I get a job I like I will stop snacking so much. £2.39 5.30pm: Get the Tube a couple of stops north to meet a friend. We go to a really cheap bar and take it in turns to buy rounds, I have four gin and tonics and end up pretty drunk. My Monzo gets declined because I spent all the money on it so I need to use my normal account, which I try to avoid doing. £11 8pm: Top up my Oyster with £20 to get home. Meet my boyfriend and he has bought beers and chocolate. I bail on the beer but eat the chocolate and we watch Love Island. Also defrost some sweet potato coconut curry that I made a few weeks ago for tomorrow’s lunch. Total: £34.79
Day Five 7am: Wake up with a baby hangover. Eat my cereal then drag myself to the Tube station. Despite vowing not to anymore, I buy a little iced coffee because I have a headache. Decide this is my last one and the next thing I buy will be a reusable coffee cup. £1.80 1pm: Go outside because I have a phone interview for another job. It goes well and I get called back for another one, yay! I only eat half of my curry because my stomach is jittery with nerves, then I eat some popcorn and an apple my colleague bought me from the shop. I transfer some money to him because he won’t accept it otherwise. Vow that today is the day I will stop snacking. £1.50 6pm: I arrive late to the station so don’t have time to get a ticket home. The train was too crowded to bother searching for the ticket man and we get to my stop before he comes round…I’m not overly upset about this. My sister picks me up from the station and I eat dinner with my family. 10pm: There is a bat in my room. My dad sets it free. Spend the next couple of hours lying in bed learning about bats. Total: £3.30
Day Six 7am: Wake up horribly early and go for a walk with my sister around a couple of fields. 9.30am: Drive to meet a friend for breakfast – my petrol light is on but I can’t face filling up, which I know is awful. Leave it for later. I have a latte and avocado eggs on toast. It was good but think I could have made it better at home! £8.65 12pm: Spend the rest of the day lazing around and eating everything in sight. 6pm: Pick my boyfriend up from the train station and we go to Tesco to buy snacks for my friend’s party. Get peanuts, crisps, prosecco and wine. He pays but I know I’ll have to pay him back at some point! I also put £20.07 of petrol in my car. 6.30pm: Arrive at my friend’s and she’s made a huge dinner for about 15 of our friends! We all get hammered and I don’t sleep until 5am. Total: £28.72
Day Seven 10am: Wake up with a hangover and head home after a few cups of tea! 12pm: Spend the rest of the day snacking, drinking tea and playing card games with my family as it's raining outside! As far as hungover Sundays go, this one is pretty good! 8pm: Eat dinner at home, make a sandwich for my lunch tomorrow, then get the train back up to London with my boyfriend (who also feels awful). Use a return ticket I bought ages ago but never actually used. 9.30pm: Stop at Sainsbury’s so he can get something for dinner. I buy milk, apples, bananas and cereal bars to have as snacks for the week. £5.69 10pm: Back to the flat, and straight to bed. Total: £5.69
The Breakdown Food/Drink: £59.95 Entertainment: £0 Clothes/Beauty: £0 Travel: £40.07 Other: £29 Total: £129.02