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 28-year-old working in technology in London. She has worked hard to build her career since graduating from university but is a frugal girl at heart and is slowly adjusting to enjoying the odd indulgence while saving for the future.
Industry: Technology Age: 28 Location: London Salary: £81k, plus bonus/stock Paycheque amount per month: £3,845 on a non-bonus month (post tax/NI and student loan deductions) Number of roommates: One: husband
Housing costs: Mortgage £1,130 (shared with husband). Loan payments: Student Loan, currently a whopping £450 due to income. Due to finish payments in the next 12 months, though. Utilities: £189 on council tax, £125 for gas, electricity and water, £70 Virgin Media (all shared with husband). Transportation: About £30-40 a week on public transport (commuting to the office three to four days). £10 on petrol. Phone bill: None – paid for by work. Health insurance: None – paid for by work. Savings: £1,500-1,750 per month from my salary goes into our savings account. Other: £390 car lease, £14.99 Spotify, £48 cleaner, £50 furniture repayment (all shared with husband).
Day One 6am: Drive five minutes to the gym where I get free parking. I do have a membership but my work pays for both me and my husband. 7.30am: I make porridge when I get back from the gym. Luckily I have all the ingredients already. 8am: I am working from home today so I commute from my kitchen to my study. Naturally, I walk. 12.30pm: Leftovers for lunch. Minced beef, peppers, egg and avocado. A strange but delicious combination, I love working at home! 5.30pm: Book a flight for next month, it’s £92 but it's for a customer meeting so I'll expense it. 7pm: Cook burgers for dinner. I have all the ingredients from last week's shop. Total: £0
Day Two 7.30am: I take the train into central London. £8.20 8am: Meet my colleagues for a quick breakfast and head to a customer meeting. Luckily, someone else pays. Not sure of the cost. 8.45am: I stop to pick up breakfast items for the customer I am meeting. It is £26 but again, I'll expense it. 12.15pm: I take the Tube and I use my Oyster. £2.50 12.30pm: Lunch is on the go so I get a protein pot from Pret and a giant bottle of water. £4.49 5pm: I grab a cheeky KitKat on my way to drinks. It's been a hard day! 65p 7pm: A perk of my job is client dinners and drinks which are either expensed or paid for by the company. I have dinner and drinks and I'm unsure of the final total but it's probably around £100 for my share. 11pm: It's late so I get a black cab from the train station to my house. £6.20 Total: £22.04
Day Three: 6.15am: Whizz over to Paddington to meet an old colleague for breakfast and a catch-up. Train £10.70 7.30am: Breakfast and coffees at a slightly pretentious coffee shop/ café. £17.79 9.30am: Tube to the office. Oyster caps. £2.50 12.30pm: I've brought some leftover homemade curry for lunch, which stinks the office out but I love a hot meal in the middle of the day. 2.30pm: Deeply regretting last night's drinking – the headache's kicked in… buy paracetamol. 70p 6pm: I go to an evening course at a local university on Wednesday nights and I forgot to pack extra leftovers for dinner. Pick up a salad and water from M&S. £5.49 9pm: Travel home. Oyster has already capped so £0. 10.10pm: Black cab home again, it's dark, wet and my feet hurt. £5.20 Total: £42.38
Day Four 6.30am: Finally, a meal at home. Porridge with almond butter and flax. We have a major event today and I'm going to need all the energy I can get. 7.15am: Train to the event. £10.70 11am: I am hungry, so I buy a bagel and enjoy five minutes of peace for myself. I'm at a convention centre so it's totally overpriced. I secretly wonder if I'd be better off bringing leftovers next time. £6 5.30pm: Take 10 minutes to sit down and drink a coffee and relax. The coffee is a bit crap. £2.55 6pm: Head to a drinks reception to see a customer and end up staying for dinner. The cost is covered by work. 10pm: Treat myself to an Uber back to the nearest mainline station. £10.60 (expensed) Total: £19.25
Day Five 7am: Porridge with almond butter and flaxseed at home, no spend. I'm working from home today, too, so no commuting costs either. 1.30pm: I microwave some homemade leftover curry for my lunch. 3pm: I'm heading to my friend's house in Wales this weekend and want to beat the traffic so we hit the road. It's 200 miles away so costs about £30 in petrol. 5.30pm: My friend tells me about a new app which makes it easy to get theatre tickets cheap so I download it and within five minutes I have purchased two tickets to see a show in June. £38 8pm: We order in takeaway, burgers and shakes. A friend provides the wine. £10 Total: £78
Day Six 9.30am: I have 10 hours of sleep and my friend makes me breakfast. Winning! 12pm: We're having a day out at a local museum. It's £9 admission and we make a £5 charitable donation while there. £14 2.30pm: I'm starving and there is just one choice for lunch, the onsite café. It's at a tourist site but still pretty cheap. £6.20 for food and drinks. 7pm: We head to a pub dinner, my share comes to about £18. I'm driving so spend another £2 or so in petrol. £20 Total: £40.20
Day Seven 11.30am: Stop at Tesco to pick up car snacks and a sandwich. My friend pays since we paid for petrol to and from Wales. 12pm: We do the long drive home. Petrol is about £30. 4pm: We've had no chance to get to the supermarket before it shuts so grab a few bare essentials from a convenience shop. £5.50 5pm: A friend is getting married this summer and we've just got all of the details so I book a hotel. Prices seem to range from £100 a night to £34 for the Travelodge. It's a bit further but even with the cost of a taxi will still be half the price of the fancier choice, and who spends time in the hotel room during a wedding anyway! £34 7pm: We cook dinner using what I bought earlier and some meat we had delivered on Friday. We switched from supermarket meat to ordering it in bulk online around three years ago and wouldn't change back. I make five lunches so we have some leftovers for the week. Total: £69.50