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A Week In London On A £72k Lawyer Salary

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. Today, a law graduate with a salary that allows her to both spend and save...

Industry: International dispute resolution
Age: 27
Location: London
Salary: £72,000
Paycheck Amount: I get £3184.20 after tax each month
No. of roommates: 1

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: £950
Loan Payments: £126 (my car)
Utilities: £52.81 (gas/electricity) + £5.08 (Sky) + £8.66 (BT Internet)
Council Tax: £76
Cleaner: £72
Contact lenses: £18
Graze (snacks by mail): £3.89
Netflix: £8.81
Gym membership: £99
Savings: £600

Total: £2,020.25

Day One

9:00 am: I make myself some scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast. I try to always have some bread in the freezer for those mornings where you just need carbs.

10:00 am: My friend picks me up and we drive to another friend’s parents’ house where she is celebrating her birthday. Although the weather isn’t great we make the most of being in the country and play football and some tennis (badly) before tucking into a picnic that her parents have prepared for us.

8:00 pm: Back in London and I go straight to the supermarket. I usually try to do my grocery shopping on Sunday and do some meal prep. Due to being out all day the only thing open is Tesco Express so I will have to rely more on what is in the cupboard. Meal plan for the week is: Overnight oats for breakfast when I have been to the gym, if not then a smoothie, tuna and lentil salad for lunch, and Joe Wick’s “Build-Up Bagel” for dinner after I've played sport. Otherwise, it's a soup.

Unfortunately, I get to Tesco’s hungry and also pick up two frozen pizzas that were on offer. I eat one of the pizzas and then when I went to put the other one away I found some ice cream in the freezer so finished that off as well. After my binge I can’t face prepping any of my meals so I sneak off to bed, vowing to be better in the morning…

Total amount spent: £26.23

Day Two

9:30 am: …I am not better in the morning. Instead of making my smoothie I go to Pret and pick up a bacon sandwich. £3.84

11:00 am: Sudden realisation that it is my mum’s birthday tomorrow and I have not bought her anything yet. Quickly scour the internet and decide to book a spa day for the two of us. £99

1:00 pm: Today is our monthly team meeting over lunch, where we are given sandwiches and a packet of crisps (very school pack lunch) – save some money.

7:00 pm: I stick to my meal plan (finally) and have some of the soup that I bought from Tesco. I also prepare my overnight oats for tomorrow morning and my lentils for my salad.

Travel: Instead of buying a travel card I use my contact credit card on pay as you go all day. Most months this works out cheaper than a monthly travel card. £4.80

Total amount spent: £107.64

Day Three

9:30 am: I go to the gym and then eat my overnight oats. Today will be a good day!

12:45 pm: Although I have brought my salad in for lunch I am persuaded to go out and meet a friend instead. As a compromise, I suggest we go to Itsu for healthier food. £7.44

18:00 pm: A work colleague and I have been invited by a barristers’ chambers to their Summer Party, which is held at the Tower of London – that is definitely one of the perks of the job. While the champagne was flowing very freely, the canapés were harder to find. I am so hungry on my way back home that I stop off in KFC and buy far too much chicken. £6.28

Travel: £4.80 pay as you go

Total amount spent: £18.52

Day Four

8:30 am: No gym this morning so I make a smoothie. My freezer also always contains left over fruit and veg that is about to turn (I hate throwing things away). This morning’s smoothie has banana, strawberries, blueberries, some acai powder, flax seed and coconut water.

12:45 pm: I have my lentil and tomato salad from yesterday for lunch.

2:00 pm: I get a reminder to renew my travel insurance and even though I don’t have any holidays planned until September I will probably forget to do it if I don’t do it now. £78.74

7:30 pm: I played netball this evening this so supper is a build-up bagel at home.

Travel: £4.80

Total amount spent: £83.54

Day Five

9:30 am: After an early morning swim, I have my overnight oats.

2:00 pm: Today is England’s first Euros football match so I have a late lunch in the canteen at work to watch it. Our canteen is pretty good and I have confit duck with braised lentils for just £4.

8:00 pm: Carrying on the football theme, I crash another department's client event and watch the Germany match over pizza and beers.

Travel: £4.80

Total amount spent: £8.80

Day Six

8:00 am: After all the beers last night, I can’t face going to the gym, so I make a smoothie with bananas, peaches, raspberries and almond butter.

12:45 pm: I have the rest of lentil and tomato salad.

5:00 pm: Most Friday evenings, I go with my work colleagues for a few drinks at the pub around the corner. I buy one round of drinks. £30.20

7:00 pm: With only a smoothie and a salad to eat all day, I start to feel ravenous after a few drinks and I am persuaded to go to Patty & Bun for an amazing burger. £11.45

Travel: £4.80

Total amount spent: £46.45

Day Seven

8:00 am: I get a Boris Bike up to the local branch of my gym and go for a long swim. £2

11:00 am: I cycle back and pop into my favourite local brunch spot for a much need bacon and egg baguette, Americano and fresh orange juice. £8.55

12:00 pm: On my way back home, I notice that my local running shop is closing down and is having a sale. 10 minutes later, I walk out with two bags of sports kit. £164.51

3:00 pm: I have a late lunch at Wagamamas with a friend who just got engaged (so wine was obligatory). £30

5:00 pm: I pop into Paperchase for a card and some wrapping paper before Father’s Day tomorrow. I also pick up some really cute note cards £7.75

8:00 pm: I have a bagel out of the freezer for dinner as I watch more of the football.

Total amount spent: £212.81