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 26-year-old assistant television producer living in Bristol on 31k a year, although she is freelance and gets new contracts every 4-6 months.
Industry: Television Age: 26 Location: Bristol Salary: £31k Paycheque amount per month: £1,930.79 Number of housemates: 1
Housing costs: £475 rent Loan payments: Student loan (taken before my paycheque) Utilities: £110 Transportation: £12 Zipcar which I hardly use, I usually cycle everywhere Phone bill: £12 for sim only Gym: £35.99 Spotify: £9.99 Savings: It varies but on average £300 a month
Day One 6.30am: Wake up and get my stuff ready for work. Ring my GP and HMRC the second they open at 8am (both of which I have been putting off). Eat my usual breakfast of muesli with milk and half a sliced banana with a cup of tea. 9am: I cycle to work because it's free and more fun than getting the bus. 1.30pm: I’m starting to feel hungry so I take my lentil soup to the cafeteria to heat up. Most weeks we make a big batch on Sunday, which I try to bring for my lunch at least three or four times per week. This is my second time this week (it’s only Tuesday). 3pm: I want to send something to my boyfriend's parents who have just taken us on an amazing holiday to Greece so I browse online for non-gross flowers that I can send them. I find a nice little company and select a bunch. The company is offering free delivery AND I do a sneaky google and find a £10 discount code. Result! £10 4pm: I start to feel peckish again so eat the apple I’ve brought with me. It is a B+ at best but does the job. 4.45pm: I have a splitting headache so decide to buy tea – obviously everybody else in my office jumps on the tea run so I buy four cups. £2 6.30pm: I am absolutely ravenous so leave work and cycle home in the rain. Boyfriend has bought delicious chocolate biscuits as he’s had a bad day at work so I eat three before making dinner. He has also bought gluten-free vegetable pies (one of my favourites for a super quick dinner) and I cook some broccoli to have along with them. Total: £12
Day Two 6.30am: I wake up and cycle to the gym. Get home at half past eight and get ready for work. Breakfast is the usual – muesli, half a banana and milk, accompanied by a bit of The Handmaid's Tale (morning TV is a guilty pleasure). 9am: I cycle to work in the sun! 2pm: I take my lentil soup over to the cafeteria to heat up. Today's portion is a bit smaller than usual so I also eat a very big carrot that I brought from home. 3pm: I remember that I still haven't paid my physio for my session last week. Try not to think about this huge massive expense as I pay him online. £55 4pm: Classic afternoon hunger sets in, I eat the apple I brought from home. It's better than yesterday's. 5.30pm: My colleague gets me back for the tea I bought her yesterday and I drink this on the home run. 6.30pm: I leave work and cycle home quickly – I have a quick turnaround tonight. 6.50pm: We leave the house and walk to our friends' house for dinner. On the way we buy crème fraîche to go with the orange and almond cake that my boyfriend has made for pudding. We also get milk because we’ve run out. He pays. 11pm: It’s now pouring with rain and we are regretting our decision to walk not cycle. It's a 35-minute walk home so I cave and order an Uber, my treat. £7.41 Total: £62.41
Day Three 8.30am: I wake up later than I EVER do and begin the rush for work. Make a strawberry, orange, banana, oat, chia seed and yoghurt smoothie to take with me for breakfast and defrost some chilli and cook quinoa to take for lunch. 2.30pm: I'm getting hungry for lunch after my smoothie so I go and pick up a fork from the cafeteria and resist the temptation to buy crisps. I eat my chilli with quinoa and half an avocado. It is DELICIOUS and I'm pleased I bothered to bring it in. 4pm: I haven't booked an appointment at my doctor's in time and have run out of my pill. Therefore I waste £15 paying for six months' worth using an online doctor when I could have got it for free. True fail. 4.30pm: I've run out of apples and didn't have time to buy any yesterday so my afternoon snack is celery. It is totally uninspiring and also antisocially noisy to eat in my office. 5pm: After sending flowers earlier in the week to my boyfriend's parents, and getting such a great discount, I decide to send some to my mum because she is going through a rubbish time. I select a lovely bunch, but the discount code doesn't work!!! Gutted. Decide to send them anyway and find a much worse discount code that gives me £2 off. Still, she's worth it! £18 7pm: Get home and go to the polling station (woohoo!) followed by a trip to the Co-op to buy some dried mango, apples and an incredibly expensive smoothie for my boyfriend. Total is £6.63, I pay. I eat the dried mango on the way home. 8.30pm: Eat a delicious frittata made by my boyfriend from this week's veg box which arrived today (he pays for this and I buy the rest of the groceries we need each weekend). 10pm: Watch the exit polls and go to bed feeling pretty damn good I MUST say! Total: £39.63
Day Four 8am: Wake up to the great news of a hung parliament. I’m feeling tired today because I couldn’t sleep for hours feeling antsy after the exit polls. It's the weekend tomorrow, though, so I drag myself out of bed to eat my free breakfast again – muesli, half a banana, milk and a cup of tea. 1pm: Time for physio – luckily I pay for physio the week after so this will come on next week’s bill. Phew! My physio also asks if I will write a short blogpost about my treatment for £10 off my next session. I of course agree and know that my future self will thank me for this saving. 2pm: I eat leftover frittata with broccoli for lunch. It's really tasty cold and I feel really smug that I’ve brought lunch in every day this week. 4pm: I do a tea run since it’s Friday and I’m feeling generous. £3 5.30pm: I accept defeat and decide to go home. I’m feeling really tired and headachey but really want to go to my dance class later so cycle back and sit on my sofa drinking lots of water to try and recoup some energy. 7pm: My boyfriend’s dad turns up (he’s staying the night with us as we are going to a family wedding in Oxford tomorrow) and we have tea before I zip off to dance. 7.30pm: Arrive at dance class and hand over a crisp fiver. My boyfriend actually just gave it to me but I will pay him back so will count it as my expense. Dance is super fun as always, and a good chance to catch up with some of my gal pals. I sweat more than I have all year because there was Bikram yoga in here just before us and the fans have stopped working…! £5 8.30pm: Get home after the very steep uphill cycle from dance and drink half a litre of sparkling water and boyyyy does it feel good. I don’t bother with dinner as it feels too late and I’m not particularly hungry. Total: £8
Day Five 8am: I wake up and eat muesli (again!) with half a banana and yoghurt while trying to get ready for the wedding. I get my stuff ready, try to do my hair in a fancy 'do (and fail) and put on some makeup. 10am: Off to Oxford! En route my boyfriend jumps out at one of our favourite coffee shops and buys us coffee and cake (tea for me) for the journey. This is lucky as we are not fed for a very long time at the wedding! 12pm: We arrive at the wedding ceremony which is followed by the reception, which has a free bar so I don’t spend ANY money today. Woohoo! 10.30pm: Leave the wedding and my boyfriend’s dad drives us back to ours in Bristol. I am SO happy to be sleeping in my own bed. Total: £0!!!!
Day Six 8.30am: I wake up when I hear my boyfriend and his dad arriving back from the shop. They have bought ingredients for PANCAKES! I get up and get cooking – buckwheat and banana pancakes with yoghurt, berries and maple syrup aka my dream breakfast. I eat two (they are really thick) and we have some left over so we freeze them, because they will make such a delicious toasted snack further down the line. In the future I will thank myself for this. 10am: We leave the house in cycle kit to meet our friends for a pre-arranged cycle and swim trip. We cycle 17.5 miles to Clevedon and go swimming in the sea pool. It is freezing in the water but sunny outside and I get a cycle shorts tan – unattractive but impressive nonetheless. After the swim it’s lunchtime so we go to a café on the seafront. I eat a goat's cheese and sun-dried tomato panini with chips and a hot chocolate (I’m going all out) and my boyfriend gets cheesy chips, salad and a frothy coffee as big as his face. I pay for both. £20.60 4pm: We get back to central Bristol and on the way back up to our house visit our fave coffee shop again. Boyfriend gets a flat white and some weird vegan chocolate energy ball, I get sparkling water and I pay. £6 4.30pm: Home! We feel exhausted after the 35-mile round trip and naughtily cancel on our evening engagement (which is fine because there are other people going, too). I put a wash on and we sit on the sofa and watch two episodes of Line of Duty. 6.30pm: I eat two slices of toast from the freezer and hang out the laundry. 9pm: Bedtime could not come soon enough. I sit in bed reading my new guide book to the Greek islands and fall asleep. Total: £26.60
Day Seven 7am: Back to work! Breakfast is an orange, banana, strawberry, oat, yoghurt and chia seed smoothie, which I take to work to drink when I get in. 9am: My exec offers to buy a round of hot drinks so I get a free tea, woohoo! 1pm: I eat my lunch which is a veggie sausage, butter bean, red pepper and tomato casserole which my boyfriend made on Friday and froze half of. It’s not quite enough food so I go to the canteen and buy a Wispa. I’ve never had one before and I don’t really like it but I eat it anyway. 70p 7pm: Get home and put dinner in the oven (another delicious pie). We then walk to the Co-op to do a weekly shop as we didn’t have time on the weekend. We buy yoghurt, milk, mushrooms, kale, Quorn steaks (two packs as they are on a deal), avocados, spring greens, asparagus, frozen peas, feta, broccoli, apples, bananas, eggs. I pay. £25.80 9pm: After dinner I order a book online that I really want to read as I read a great review of it this week. £10 Total: £36.50
The Breakdown Food/Drink: £64.73 Entertainment: £10 Clothes/Beauty: £0 Travel: £7.41 Other: £103 Total: £185.41