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A Week In London On A £25k 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 we begin with a London University PA who prefers to spend money each day on doing things with family and friends rather than prioritising on personal savings for the time being.

Industry: Research
£25,860 including London allowance (Extra allowance for employees living in London – compensates for extra living costs in the capital).
Paycheck Amount (Every Month): £1590.66
No. of housemates:
1 (I live with my boyfriend)

Monthly Expenses

£704 per month
Loan Payments:
Student Loan £50 per month
£150 per month incl. water, electricity.
£50 per month for Oyster (pay as you go)
Phone Bill:
Health Insurance:
£30.99 per month
Netball (Membership in a club):
£280 for the year, approx. £23 per month.

Day One

6.30am: I ate breakfast at home before I walked to work. It’s a 45 minute walk but it means I don’t have to pay for a bus which also takes 45 minutes.

8am: I prepared 2 lunches to take to work, 1 for today and 1 ready for tomorrow and took some yoghurt and various fruits to snack on.

2pm: I was given a free doughnut from a colleague at work as it’s a tradition, if you're pregnant, you bring in doughnuts to announce it!

6pm: Gym – I did a Step class (included in membership) and then walked home.

8pm: Food shop at Sainsbury’s for the week: £23.15 - Salmon, Milk, Bananas, Satsumas, Strawberries, Apples, Greek yoghurt, Falafel, Spinach, Tomatoes, Hummus, Sausages, Feta Cheese, Cheddar Cheese.

Daily Total: £23.15

Day Two

6.30am: I had some Bran Flakes and some water before heading off on a run to the gym. A few squats and lunges later and I am at my desk with strawberries, bananas, and satsuma. I brought these in from home yesterday. I buy a supply of fruit each week to bring in with my lunch to work.

11.30am: One of my colleagues is retiring so I contributed £10 to a collection. As I worked closely with her I felt like this was a good amount to give.

3pm: Snacks – Sports drink, protein flapjack and some banana chips – all for £3.29 at Boots. I had a headache and was getting really hungry at work in the afternoon. Seeing as I'm playing netball tonight I felt like I needed to refuel properly.

8pm: Netball - Free to play, as I filled in for my friend’s social team because they were short of players.

Daily Total:

Day Three

10am: I purchased a train ticket via Trainline ready for the weekend as I am going to the south-west to see friends. I normally book way in advance or travel by coach as it normally works out cheaper. I don’t fancy sitting on a coach for four hours and it didn’t work out that much cheaper this time so I opted for a two hour train journey.

6pm: I went to the gym after work and did a body pump class and ran home. It’s one of the cheaper gyms that I go to: Pure Gym. It’s great for classes but the gym floor is always so busy but that’s what you get for a central London gym.

7.30pm: I took the bus home instead of running like I was meant to.

Daily Total:

Day Four

5.30pm: £10.50 for a Dirty Burger and strawberry milkshake – a delicious takeaway dinner before the cricket as I was too rushed to cook anything and this place in Vauxhall has the best burgers.

6pm: T20 cricket at the Oval. £25 for the ticket which was purchased by my boyfriend as a treat.

6.30pm: £8.50 for a glass of rosé and a bottle of Sprite at the cricket, annoyingly expensive and not worth going back for more however it was hot, the sun was out, and a drink is a must.

9pm: As a post cricket snack I bought granola biscuits for £1.65 from Sainsbury’s. I decided granola was healthier than the chocolate cookie option.

Daily Total:

Day Five

9am: £3.95 – An almond croissant and latte as I got into work from Costa. It’s Friday so I feel like it’s a treat to get to this at the end of the week.

1pm: £7.32 – Cards purchased from Scribbler for upcoming important dates. Father’s Day, my friend’s daughter’s birthday and the most important, an anniversary card for the boyfriend.

1.15pm: £5.55 – I had run out of makeup remover face wipes and the branded ones were on offer in Boots for 2 for £4. I also then bought an egg mayo sandwich and crisps for lunch as I didn’t end up bringing in a salad from home.

Daily Total:

Day Six

7am: £5.65 for breakfast. I was up really early for a train at 7.36am so I bought myself some breakfast from Café Nero – a latte, bottle of water and an almond croissant to eat on my train journey.

12pm: Some shoes for my night out on Saturday were purchased for £14. I forgot to take any heels with me to my friend’s house so I grabbed a cheap pair from Primark which ended up being really comfy!

4.30pm: I then bought some gin, slimline tonic and lemons for pre-drinks before we went out. I shared a bottle with my friend so we paid £6.50 each.

11.30pm: Taxis – £2 – £1 each way into town from my friend’s house. It was a really short taxi ride and there was a few of us to split the cost.

11.45pm: £5.50 – A gin-based cocktail to start the evening off at Monkey Suite in Exeter.

12.30am: My friend messaged the club we wanted to go to ahead of arriving. We managed to get a deal for the five of us – free entry, a table, bottle of vodka and mixers for £40. We paid £8 each.

Daily Total:

Day Seven

2pm: £4.34 - Iced latte and cinnamon bun from Starbucks for a snack on the train back to London.

5pm: £6.55 Sainsbury’s shop on my way home – pancetta, mushrooms, fresh pesto, double cream, garlic bread baguette, and an Oreo chocolate bar. I needed some items to make a dinner for when I got home.

Daily Total: