Money Diary: A Couple In London On 85k

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 couple who met 4-5 years ago (depending on who’s counting) and since then have lived separately, together and on the other side of the world. They’ve spent a lot of money (and had a lot of fun) on dating, holidays and travelling adventures. In doing so, they've also learnt how to save, too – via joint bank accounts and savings accounts. They've recently stepped into the next stage of “adulting” and become homeowners, which is scary, exciting and deceptively expensive.

The couple have a shared savings account, which they use to pay for the “sensible” things, and their bank accounts for “fun” money. They also split “sensible” outgoings evenly, and aim to split “fun” outgoings evenly, too – call it Going Dutch.

Occupations: Art Director and Designer
Industries: Creative
Ages: 33 and 29
Location: London
Salaries (separate and combined): £40,000 + £45,000 = £85,000 combined
Paycheque amounts per month: £2,629 + £2,673
Number of housemates: Zero

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: Mortgage £641.67 each = £1,283.34 in total
Loan payments: Student loans paid off
Utilities: Council tax £161, Internet £30, Gas & Electricity £60, Water paid annual
Transportation: We both have bikes and try and cycle to work 3-4 times per week to save money, unless we have work meetings where we need to be smart. At the weekend it's mostly walking, or an Uber.
Phone bill: £18 + £18
Savings: £1,000 + £1,000 per month to pay for building work and house DIY we are in the middle of.
Other: Gym membership £18 (each), Spotify £9.99 (each), Netflix £7.49, Adobe £45
Insurance: House insurance £20 (each) and life insurance £20 (each) is part of buying a house and getting a joint mortgage.

Total: (£882.57 + £1,000 savings) + (£935.06 + £1,000 savings) = £3,817.63

Available to spend for the month: £747.03 + £737.43 = £1,529.43

Day One

Her

6.30am: Working from home today but I have some freelance work to finish off and send out so still get up early. But first coffee free.

10am: Porridge and banana breakfast, also technically free.

3pm: Working from home breaks up routine, late lunch and starving = Sunday's homemade leftover soup.

7pm: As we were away at the weekend, Monday is ‘Big Shop day’ (exciting!). We generally buy our own lunch supplies (different dietary requirements) and split essentials. Again, ‘sensible’ and ‘fun’. But there is always an argument over who buys the toilet roll – mostly because neither of us wants to carry it home. £23.55

Total: £23.55

Him

It's Monday. Brrr. Cycling to work helps me avoid all potential coffee shop joints on the way to the studio and the cost of public transport.

12.30pm: Monday lunch is always super quick due to the start of the week workload, Veggie Pret it is. £4.80

6.20pm: After being a Sensible Sue all day I decide on the way home "THIS WILL BE MY PACKED LUNCH WEEK" so hit Sainsbury's and muster up some ideas for the week. £19.20

Total: £24
Day Two

Her

6.30am: 30 min run and circuits before work.

8.15am: Porridge and banana breakfast.

1.15pm: Lunch of leftover homemade soup + coriander. £0.59

1.40pm: Feeling really in need of coffee. Leave to go and find coffee. Forget it is half term holidays. Abort coffee mission. Remember that I’m reading a book about ‘Getting Your Shit Together’, buy a 2018 diary online to be more organised for next year. £9.98

6.30pm: Tube to central London for my friend's launch party. £4.80

10.30pm: Three glasses of free prosecco, one gin & tonic my friend bought for me, late-night Mexican salad £7 (BF paid), late Tube home. £3.90

Total: £19.27

Him

8.20am: Toxic Tuesday is upon me and with the promise of an early week school night out, I walk to the studio. This means a fancy coffee is needed; well, more essential than needed. £2.40

3pm: My packed lunch makes me feel I've conquered life but afternoon snack for Mr Fatty takes place at a generous 80p a hit. Breaking the bank. Oops, online shopping o’clock! Buy new T-shirt. £12

6.45pm: An evening round of drinks in Soho hits me but that packed lunch totally makes me feel like I've 'deserved to do what the hell I want tonight'...right? £12

9pm: TfL £3.80

10pm: Dinner £15.70

Total: £46.70
Day Three

Her

7.30am: 30 min run and circuits before work.

8.30am: Porridge and banana breakfast with coffee.

1.45pm: Delicious and satisfying Greek salad packed lunch.

6.15pm: Tube to south London for dinner at friend's house £4.80. You can’t turn up empty-handed, stop at Sainsbury’s £6.30. Late Tube home £3.90. Starting to actually realise how much transport adds onto a 'cheap date' when it’s too far to cycle.

Total: £15

Him

8.15am: Hump day. But the promise of another evening out. Rebellious. Another essential coffee takes place on the walk in. £2.40

12.45pm: A scrumptious Bel Air health hit for lunch takes the toll on my Monzo... the only thing that's good about knowing how much you spend in such detail is the glorious colour of that card. £6.40

6.10pm: Evening drinks with a friend could have got out of hand – luckily we head back to his after a bottle of red to drink for free. Everyone loves a free drink, right? Shit, I totally forgot to make packed lunch. I've failed at life, again. £26

Total: £34.80
Day Four

Her

7.30am: 30 min run and circuits before work.

8.30am: Porridge and banana breakfast with coffee.

12.30pm: Homemade salad lunch.

1pm: Tube into central London for meeting and research trip. £4.80

6pm: It’s raining sideways and I need to do a meeting debrief. Costa coffee is the nearest, soya cappuccino £2.90. Work as quickly as possible to escape the beige and brown interiors.

6.30pm: En route to visit friend and her new baby. I am starving from early lunch. Humous and falafel snack pot £1.50. Take mum, minus new baby, for a drink. Two proseccos. £9

9pm: Train home. £2.40

Total: £20.60

Him

8.15am: How my plan to make lunch for myself fails me again I'll never understand. Maybe the escape from the office at lunch is just too tempting for my ever-sleepy brain. Oh wait, IT'S THURSDAY – this means we're only 48 hours away from the weekend, which means it's 204% coffee morning. £2.40

1.10pm: Lunch offers soup... £4.20

9pm: ...but dinner = pizza. Fatty wins yet again, but no alcohol takes place – a rare event, which will surely cause my downfall on Friday night. £9

Total: £15.60
Day Five

Her

Day off!!! It’s super sunny – feeling smug to have booked this day off.

10.30am: Meet friend for trendy breakfast and coffee; we haven’t been able to catch up for over a year. £15.30

12.30pm: Train to Kew Gardens to meet Mum. Forgot to bring water bottle from home – new water £0.90. Entrance to Kew Gardens free as Mum has membership. It's awesome and autumnal. Stop for pot of tea. £2

6pm: Looking at amazing plants is thirsty work – take Mum for a glass of vino to say thank you! Two glasses and peanuts £13. West London always feels expensive.

7.30pm: Train back east for friend's birthday £4.50. Two G&Ts for me and birthday boy. £9.20

12am: Accidentally walk past BF's friend's new cocktail bar – it would be rude not to. Two Negronis (BF pays – free?!).

Total: £44.90

Him

8.20am: TFIF. Today is going to be GREAT. Another walk to work and yes... you guessed it... another coffee of joy. But hey, it's Friday – throw in a croissant, mate. £4.80

12.15pm: After a night off the booze, another healthy lunch is needed in preparation for a boozy Friday 30th birthday. £6.40

6pm: Post-work drinks. £12

7.30pm: On to dinner at the birthday finished with cocktails at a friend's new bar = all the drinks. £40

Total: £63.20
Day Six

Her

8.30am: Wake up for life coach appointment. Tired and a tiny bit hungover so buy a coffee en route. Oat milk cappuccino £2.40. Bus to appointment £2.20. Saturday life coach £62.50 (but paid for all in bulk last month).

12.30pm: Meet boyfriend and builder to check in on the building work we have been saving for. Nothing to report.

1.15pm: I am starving because all I have had is coffee. Stop at Sainsbury's for snacks: sushi, etc £3.65. Get Tube to head to exhibition. Exhibition is sold out for next three hours – I hate the fact that you can’t do anything cultural spontaneously in London anymore. On the plus side we’ve saved £15 each. Decide to mooch around Shoreditch instead, looking at new stores and all the nice things. Couldn’t resist earrings that I saw months ago and they still have £15. Another coffee (BF pays, free?!).

4pm: Meet friends for afternoon pub drinks. Guinness and wine £9.90. I have more drinks bought for me from friend and BF. Everyone seems to be celebrating payday – it’s not mine yet!

Total: £33.15

Him

11.45am: Good morning hangover, good morning walk around town. TfL £4.20

2pm: Coffee needed £5.50. Think I'm noticing a trend with this coffee thing.

5.20pm: Afternoon pub drinks £12.60 followed by snack £4.50 and dinner £28. Wrap me up for an early night and hopefully a productive Sunday... I really need to cut the coffees.

Total: £54.80
Day Seven

Her

8.45am: 20 min circuits to start Sunday off and celebrate a free extra hour of sleep.

10am: Homemade breakfast with coffee.

1pm: East London Sunday stroll to meet friends. Opt for pint of soda in pub as it's free.

4pm: Everyone else is hungry for lunch but luckily still full from breakfast. (I might have stolen some of my BF's chips.)

5.30pm: Stock up on basic extras to make packed lunch for the beginning of the week – technically I can add this to next week's budget, right?

7pm: Dinner at home also free. Also, no-booze Sunday.

Total: £0

Him

Autumnal chill day is here. Breakfast at home followed by a Sunday walk to the flower market equates to ultimate chill. Fish and chips for lunch £11.30 followed by a slow walk home and dinner in means Sunday WINS on the cheapest day of the week. Unbelievably, no coffee was consumed in the making of this day.

Total: £11.30
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £44.59 + £105.30 = £149.89
Entertainment: £31.20 + £88.50 = £119.70
Clothes/Beauty: £15 + £12 = £27
Travel: £30.90 (it all adds up when you have a week without cycling) + £8 = £38.90
Other (or should we say Significant Other): Coffee = £22.80

Total: £121.69 + £236.60 = £358.29