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How One American Expat Spends In London In A Week

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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 single American expat who is working as a Strategy Manager in London, seeing gigs and eating out "way too much".
Industry: Media & Information Services
Age: 29
Location: London
Salary: £75k
Monthly Salary: £3700
Household: Currently looking for a new flatmate.

Monthly Expenses

Rent: £1820 for a two-bedroom, two bath; I pay £950
Loan Payments: None! While I officially have no student loans, I pay back my mother monthly £530
Utilities: £120 including internet, electric, council tax
Transportation: £124.50 (£32 / week)
Phone Bill: I pay my family’s cell phone bill back in the US – £88
Health Insurance: N/A
Monthly Subscriptions/ Donations: Hulu, Spotify and WAMU – £22

Total: £1834.50


Day One


9am: Work from home this morning and make myself a Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk. Head into the office around 11am.

12pm: I’ve spent the last two weekends travelling (Tel Aviv and Rome respectively) so have had zero time to grocery shop and cook at home. Lunch out it is. Truffle stuffed ravioli at the Italian deli – £6

4pm: And sometimes you need an afternoon snack of gelato to remind you of warmer days – £4

5pm: I order Hello Fresh and used a coupon code for three free meals, first order arrives Saturday. £20.

6pm: Quick pit stop (pun intended) to pick up deodorant for £3.

9pm: Uber home after a late night at the office – expensed! £0

9.30pm: Necessary run to Tesco for sausages (protein) and vegetables, check and check £17.

Daily total: £50


Day Two


7am: Every Wednesday I do morning yoga with friends at their home gym. We take turns paying and it’s my turn this week – £50

10am: Need to replace my foundation and swap Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup (my first foundation ever!) for Naked Skin One and one with SPF for £25. Then I head into the office late. Thank goodness for flexible work schedules and East Coast colleagues.

12pm: Another lunch out. £6 for lamb and halloumi from Leather Lane Market

6pm: Headed home to meet potential new flatmates, ged distracted reading etc. and skipped dinner.

Daily total: £81

Day Three


8am: Do a morning pilates class I bought as a package a while back.

9.30am: Feeling lightheaded since I haven’t eaten since lunch yesterday, so drop by a café for a cappuccino and a poached egg, with avocado and toast while doing some emails – £8

11.30am: Pick up a dress I had altered for £10 and then head into the office.

12pm: Purchase tickets on Sofar for a gig on Sunday that a friend’s playing. Tickets were £12.50.

4pm: Late lunch of ham & cheese sandwich from Eat – £3. I buy food out way too much.

8pm: Meet up with a friend’s sister who I met a few weeks ago, had a great time getting to know one another and disappointed we only met so late on her trip. Treat her to dinner at Saager & Wilde for £64.

11pm: We then went to a "members only" club in Soho – the friend grabbed drinks for us both.

Daily total: £107.5


Day Four


9am to 5pm: Work from home today and make lunch here.

7pm: I decided to meet up with a coworker before a concert... someone had the munchies so we went to McDonalds. He paid for this bad decision. £0

8pm: Rocked out at the Leon Bridges concert in Brixton. Had bought the ticket previously, and decided not to drink.

11pm: Headed home with a friend? A friend with benefits? Not sure, but going with the flow.

Daily total: £0


Day Five


10am: Tube home from friend with benefits' place (as long as there are benefits!) Shower, change, "put my face on" as they say.

11am: Stop by my local French bakery and grab a £3 cappuccino before another trip to Brixton, this time during the day to check out the market.

12.30pm: Catch up with a friend who is currently completing her masters. Treat her to Thai for lunch, which costs me £20.

1.30pm: Wander around Brixton market and picked up a Matt & Nat wallet and a cute black skirt from The Keep – £61. Then I tube it over to Borough Market.

4pm: Need another coffee, so face the queues in Monmouth for a £3 cappuccino.

5pm: Left my friend and made my way home, stopping by Waterstones to buy books for friends. Nothing brings me greater joy than sharing my love of literature with those I love. £27.

Stayed in Saturday reading and watching the Masters tournament on the telly, made a late evening dinner of eggs, tomatoes, and toast.

Daily total: £114

Day Six


10am: Slept in and it was great. Woke up and hung out in my PJs reading the New Yorker on the couch.

12.30pm: Brunch (split delicious ricotta hotcakes, courgette fritters, tuna and avocado and a brown rice salad) at Granger with friends – a couple who recently moved here from Singapore – £23

3pm: It’s been nearly a month since my last climbing session and it feels so good! I catch up with my regular climbing partner who I haven’t seen in months. I bought an 11 session package ages ago – £0

5.30pm: Stopped by Tesco to buy some necessities £6

6.30pm: Received my Hello Fresh order! And baked a frozen pizza to eat before I head off to another concert.

8pm: Saw a friend’s band, Nova Neon, playing a SoFar gig in London – super fun experience as always. Chatted up the MC and got his number, started texting and making plans for something later in the week.

Daily total: £29


Day Seven


10am: Stopped by my local coffee spot for a cappuccino and croissant, before heading into the office – £3

1pm: Soup for lunch costs £3.50, plus some fruit for a snack, which is £3.

2pm: I have a friend visiting from Geneva who books us ballet tickets for Wednesday. She owes me for our most recent trip to Rome so I don’t need to pay anything.

7pm: Left the office, faffed around on the Internet reading nonsense, snacking on bread and hummus – uni diet much?

9.30pm: Put in another hour of work before hitting the sack.

Daily total: £9.50

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