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 31-year-old woman who has moved back in with her parents and is very much enjoying it. She still manages to make it up to London a fair bit and enjoys socialising with friends. But with Christmas, a 30th birthday and a green tea addiction to feed, will her spending stay under control?
Industry: Finance Age: 31 Location: Solihull, West Midlands Salary: £40,000 Paycheque amount: £2,629 Number of housemates: Live with parents and younger sister
Housing costs: £300 rent Loan payments: Student loan: £200 Utilities: £0 Car: £300 Transportation: £180 Phone bill: £20 Savings: £700 Other: Gym £20, Insurance £10
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Day One 9am: Woohoo! It's Friday and nearly the weekend. Sadly my flu is back and as I have a busy weekend, I treat myself to a subsidised coffee from the work canteen. Not a great start. £1.80 12.30pm: As Fridays are relatively quiet, I decide to head into town at lunchtime. This is never good for my bank balance but I have a friend's 30th this weekend. I decide to splash on some earrings and a card. £43. Realising I have no lunch, I quickly pop in and grab something, but get enticed so easily by all the goodies. Today is an expensive day. £8 2pm: The day is dragging and I decide to have a look online. I end up seeing the shoes and dress I wanted to buy for Christmas dos. Hopefully it all fits. I spend too much of my spare time returning online packages. £50 7pm: As I am off to London, I decide to cancel going out plans and save some pennies by staying at home. Leftover homemade soup from the night before. Total: £102.80
Day Two 10am: End up having a lie-in after a busy working week and am in a rush to get ready now. Living at home definitely has its perks, like my lovely dad dropping me off at the train station. I am lucky as I am only an hour and 30 minutes away from London and at £29.90 return, it never seems too expensive to just pop down for a weekend. Sadly as I missed breakfast, I am now starving and need some brekkie to survive. £1.80 12pm: Arrive into London Marylebone and make my way to Covent Garden £2.40. As much as I miss not living in London, I certainly do not miss the stuffy Tube. 2.30pm: Stuffed and ready to leave the restaurant, we surprise my friend with a cake and I decide to pay for both of us. It’s not every day she is 30. £90 4pm: I love hot chocolate and want to check out a new one which has an overflowing burned marshmallow on top. I think for £4.60, once is more than enough. My friend ends up eating most of my marshmallow. 6pm: We spend our time wandering around London and enjoying the Christmas markets and lights. Freezing by this point, we decide it’s time for tea. My friend pays, while we carry on gossiping. 8pm: Tube back to my friend's £2.40. Heading back, we start feeling a bit peckish and decide to stop off for dinner. £10.45 10pm: Getting back to my friend's flat, we retire on the sofa and catch up with tea. Total: £141.55
Day Three 10am: Another deserved lie-in later, I get ready, say goodbye to my friend and head to meet my sisters. £2.40 11.30pm: My sister got the time wrong for the exhibition so I am now early. Hungry, I decide to get a flat white and chocolate croissant. £3.50. I also decide to transfer the money for the exhibition while I wait. £6 2pm: Feeling cultured, we decide to go to try out a new tea shop, which serves latte teas. Interesting experience but I do not think I will be going back. £3.40 3.30pm: Starting to feel a bit peckish, we decide to have a look at lunch spots. As we are in Angel, we decide on Turkish and pop into a cute little restaurant. £19.80 6pm: We make it back to Marylebone and just about get the train. £2.40 7.30pm: My sister and I are travelling back together and as our parents are out we decide to Uber back. She pays. I normally drive her everywhere. 10pm: Not very hungry, so just have a green tea before bed. Total: £37.50
Day Four 9am: Actually arrive to work on time today, but feel rubbish. The flu has not gone. Decide to treat myself to a cappuccino and croissant. £2.50 12pm: Decide I need some fresh air today, I pop out for lunch. End up picking up some lunch £3.29. Suddenly realise I need biscuit boxes for Christmas; not wanting to carry too many I just buy one. £5. It’s a musical box. 7pm: Being away on the weekend, I didn’t get time to shop, which is probably a good thing for me. I decide to look through my cupboards. Even though I live with my parents, I enjoy cooking for myself and all of us. However, tonight I’m eating on my own and decide to use my aubergines, which have seen better days, to make a curry. Green tea and I’m ready for bed. Total: £10.79
Day Five 8am: I decide to make granola with leftover bits. Will need to go for a food shop at some point I think. 12pm: Starving, I decide to head to the canteen. My parents are having people over for dinner, so I decide I will have soup today. I do enjoy having soup in the colder months and it’s such a bargain compared to the hot food. £1.50 with a bread roll. 3pm: My friend texts me about booking tickets to see Sleeping Beauty by the Birmingham Royal Ballet in February. We have been theatre buddies for a while and always plan something every few months. She wants to book Tuesday which is a bit cheaper but sadly I cannot commit due to work. We decide on booking for Thursday, which is an extra £10. Super annoying. Better be worth it! £44 7.30pm: Long day and I finally arrive home. It’s nice to know food is all ready for me to eat. Pros of living with your parents. They always make sure you are fed. I flop in front of the TV while I eat. 10pm: I seem to be more tired tonight, so get my green tea and head to bed. Total: £45.50
Day Six 9.30am: Running late today so I forget breakfast. However I bought a pack of granola bars a few weeks ago and still have some left. Hurray! This will keep me going till lunch. 11am: My sister messages to say she has found some Ed Sheeran tickets at Wembley. I tried to get tickets when they first came out and failed, so very happy she has found these. £90 1pm: Finally get some time between meetings and head to the canteen. Decide to get hot food today and end up picking up a chow mein. Not sure if I will be getting it again. I don’t think it's value for money. £3.50 7.30pm: Dinnertime and luckily I have my aubergine curry left over in the fridge. Woohoo! 9pm: It’s time for green tea and The Apprentice. I tend to buy in bulk so have enough green tea until mid-2018 I think. Total: £93.50
Day Seven 9am: A morning full of meetings requires granola and yoghurt from home. 1pm: Decide to pop out to the shops and to get some air. I am always popping into the pound shop for bits and bobs. You can find some bargains in there. End up picking up a biscuit box for work. Everyone else has been coming in with biscuit boxes. Get a protein pack too. Oops! £10.50 7pm: I am away tomorrow, so have a look in the fridge to see what I can put together, before packing and bed. Total: £10.50
The Breakdown Food/Drink: £154.44 Entertainment: £140 Home Supplies: £10 Clothes/Beauty: £50 Travel: £40 Other: £47.70 Total: £442.14