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 an 18-year-old who is an apprentice for the Education Service at the Houses of Parliament. She loves working in London and didn't think it was something she'd be able to do for another couple of years. Luckily, she is still able to live with her family in Essex, which makes things a bit easier.
Industry: Administration Age: 18 Location: Working in London, living in Essex Salary: Around £15-16,000 Paycheque amount per month: I get paid every two weeks – if I got paid monthly it would be around £1,300 after tax Number of housemates: Three – my family!
Housing costs: £80 a month to my mum. I am very lucky that my parents do not charge me a lot for rent. So £80 basically covers everything for me, including food and living, etc. Loan payments: I haven’t been to uni so don’t have anything to pay off or have a credit card yet! Utilities: £0 as I am still living at home, this is down to my parents to deal with. Transportation: £16.55 for my train return so £82.75 a week (thank GOD for the 16-25 railcard!). I pay roughly £25/30 a month for petrol as I do not drive a lot. Phone bill: Thankfully my parents still pay for my phone bill – until my upgrade in December, then it’s all down to me. Health insurance: £0? I don’t think I pay for health insurance, my parents probably do though. Savings: I transfer £100 to a savings account for car insurance, which I pay annually, and £50 a month into a savings account for holiday funds. I also transfer £50 a month into my ISA for when I want to move out in a couple of years. Other: £4.99 for Spotify, £41 gym membership.
Day One 6.25am: Wake up and cry a bit because it's Monday and I just want to lie in bed and sleep all day. Quickly get dressed – thank God I picked my outfit out the night before. Eat a bowl of Lucky Charms with some milk. 8.10am: I get off the Tube and think about going to Tesco before work and grabbing a meal deal but take a chance and decide I'll see what's on the menu at work beforehand. It's payday this week so I'm running low on funds; I really need to stop spending all my money on shoes when I get paid. 10.30am: Finish my morning shift in Westminster Hall. Then I pop to Boots to buy a new lip balm as I lost mine and my lips are ruined from the cold. £2.69 11.20am: I always get so hungry before lunch so I make some toast. The slices are so tiny so I have three, the loaf was only £1 and I always keep butter in the fridge at work. 12pm: Get so hungry again I eat a packet of crisps from my bag. I also send over my boyfriend some money that I owed him. £8 2pm: Head for lunch at the work cafeteria and buy a peri-peri chicken wrap with veg and a peach melba pot dessert thing which is surprisingly nice. £4.75 5pm: My boyfriend picks me up from the station, because my mum can’t pick me up on Mondays so I guess that saved me £2 on the bus. He arrives with a box of Lindt chocolate! 6.30pm: Get home and my dad cooks spaghetti for the family, so thankfully costs nothing. 10pm: Shattered from my day at work, so I get into bed and eat some of my Lindt and go to sleep. Total: £16.44
Day Two 6.25am: Same old wake-up – get ready and eat some Lucky Charms for breakfast. 8.10am: I get off the Tube and pop to Tesco on the way. I grab a chocolate milkshake for a breakfast treat because I really need it. £1.37 10am: Time for my toast break. Make three slices of mini pieces of toast with butter. 1.45pm: Go for lunch at the cafeteria, I have roasted tomato soup with croutons and a bread roll. It's surprisingly filling and really nice! £1.25 2.10pm: I then pop to Tesco to get some snack supplies (ahem, Starburst sweets and some chocolate biscuits, £1.99). Then we go to Caffè Nero to get our free Tuesday hot chocolate. 3.15pm: Start to get hungry again so I eat a pack of Wotsits from my bag, which will keep me from getting hungry until dinner. Hopefully. 3.30pm: Start online shopping and buy a new coat, which I’m really excited for! It is soooo fluffy! £29 7pm: Get home a bit later than usual because I had to go to the dentist, which my mum paid for. For dinner I have a jacket potato with cheese and beans. 10pm: I eat some more of the Lindt and have a shower and get into bed, I spend most of my time in bed really because I get so tired from work. Total: £33.61
Day Three 6.25am: I wake up, get ready – for breakfast I have waffles with Nutella which is amazing. 8.30am: I get to work and decide to make some toast because I know I won’t have time to eat until lunchtime now, and it’s better than eating chocolate. I am going to the gym tonight and I haven’t been for a while. Whoops. 12pm: I get back to my desk after being away for a while in the hall, and eat some chocolate biscuits I have in my desk. I always have snacks in there in case I get hungry, so I don’t have to buy chocolate and sweets all the time. 2pm: We go for lunch in the cafeteria. I have veg minestrone soup with croutons and a slice of bread. I then buy an Eton mess dessert pot, similar to the peach one. £3.30 6pm: My boyfriend picks me up from the station again because I am staying round his and we go to the gym with another friend. It costs me nothing since I have a membership but costs him £6. I use £1 for the locker. 7pm: We drive back to his house where he cooks some southern fried chicken and potato waffle things because we are actually children. I want chips but he doesn’t have any and this is the next best thing. I help him sell some of his old T-shirts and we get about £200. I should have taken a commission fee since I did all the work! 10pm: I have a shower and chill for a while and end up going to sleep at around 10.30pm since I am so tired. Total: £4.30
Day Four 7am: As I stayed at my boyfriend’s I get a later train. On the way into work I pop into Tesco and grab a Ribena since I forgot to bring a drink with me. £1.25 8.45am: Since I only had a yoghurt for breakfast, I make some toast with butter. I also need to buy my mum and dad's birthday presents soon, it's payday tomorrow so I’ll probably wait 'til then. I know it doesn’t look like I have spent a lot this week but over the last few weeks I’ve spent about £300-400 on clothes and shoes and random things so I have really needed to cut down. I am saving up to buy a Louis Vuitton bag soon so I have been selling a lot to put towards it and trying not to waste my money. 10am: I snack on biscuits and a few Starburst during the day to keep me from getting too hungry. 2.30pm: I go for lunch at the cafeteria and have a tandoori chicken brioche bap. I pair it with a packet of Wotsits I have in my bag. £3 6pm: I go home and have fajitas for dinner, which my dad cooks. I have a shower and put a few things on Depop to sell. I also send my mum some money from posting my parcels earlier on in the week. £9.50 10pm: I get into bed as usual and chill and watch some Fresh Meat on Netflix. I eat some more of the Lindt chocolate. Total: £13.75
Day Five 6.40am: It's Friday!!! And also payday for me which is great! I eat a waffle with Nutella for breakfast and leave at 7am. It is a super-exciting day as my boyfriend is meeting me after work and we are going to the Louis Vuitton store to have a look at my bag, with a mind to possibly buy it! 8.10am: I pop into Tesco as usual to grab a drink. I pick Ribena and also grab a yoghurt with passion fruit. It is on offer. £2.05 10.15am: Since it's so quiet we decide to go down to grab some breakfast from a work cafeteria. I can justify it because it's Friday and also payday and I’m very unhealthy – oh well. I get a fried egg, sausage, two hash browns and some beans. So good and very much needed. £1.65 11am: I eat my yoghurt with the passion fruit I bought earlier. 2pm: Meet my boyfriend for lunch and we go to one of the cafeterias. He has wedges, wings and ribs and I have peri-peri chicken in a brioche roll again. He pays for lunch even though I offer. I'll get the next one. 4.30pm: As I am leaving work my boyfriend texts, asking me to buy him a bottle of water. I get one from the vending machine. It gets stuck but I get it out thankfully. 75p 4.45pm: We get on the train at Westminster and get off at Sloane Street. I use my contactless Oyster card on the Tube. It costs me £2.40 5pm: We go into the Louis Vuitton store and I finally decide to buy my bag. I don't want to include this purchase because it won't be an accurate idea of my spending as it is not something I would normally buy and won't again for a long time. I actually paid for it on a separate card so it doesn't affect the money I am spending at all. 5.45pm: We get the Tube to Piccadilly Circus to meet someone to pick something up. I use my normal train ticket. We then get a taxi to the main station since we had so many heavy bags. We half it so I pay £8. 6.20pm: Arrive at the main station. For dinner we buy Burger King since we are in a huge rush to get to The Kooks gig. We get nine onion rings, 20 chicken nuggets and a large Fanta. I pay. £9.50 7pm: I arrive at my train stop, I buy my weekly tickets for next week. I buy a return from my stop to any underground stop in zones 1-4. I get a third off because of my railcard. £82.75 8.30pm: Finally get to the gig venue. Tickets were pre-paid months ago so I buy a 7up for us. £2 12am: We finally get home, the gig was amazing! I am so tired, so we literally go straight to sleep back at my boyfriend’s house because we are shattered. Total: £109.10
Day Six 8.45am: Wake up pretty early as I need to drive to get my lashes infilled. Eat some toast and drive to my appointment. I'll see my boyfriend later on when he finishes work at 6. 10.15am: I get my lashes done, I get them infilled every four weeks. So nice to have a fresh set. £27 12pm: Pop into Sainsbury's and buy a Ribena. £1.25 12.30pm: I arrive at my nail salon with my cousin. My nails have nearly fallen off so it's much needed! I get infills that only cost me £15 and they're amazing. They are very glittery as usual. 1.45pm: We have a break between nails we grab a McDonald's. I get a medium nugget meal and a Diet Coke. £4.69 6.30pm: My boyfriend comes over and we eat a cheese and tomato pizza my dad cooks us and watch a movie for the rest of the evening. 10pm: We book a hotel in Shoreditch for July. We have a discount code so it only costs us £64.50 for one night. I pay but he will pay me back later. So exciting to go again! 11pm: We go to sleep around 11pm. Probably going to go to the gym in the morning if we can bothered. Total: £112.44
Day Seven 9.30am: We wake up quite early but don't actually get out of bed 'til about 10am. We go down for breakfast, my boyfriend has Lucky Charms and I have mini pancakes with Nutella. 11.15am: We go to the gym. Mine is free again but it costs him £6.20. We do the typical workout and I nearly die because I’m so unfit. 12pm: We drive home from the gym and get ready quickly as we are going scouting in our local charity shops for stuff to sell on Depop. We are mainly looking for vintage bits but we will see where it takes us. 1pm: On the way into town we pop into Costa where I treat him to a caramel latte and me a peach iced lemonade. We scout the shops in town and there isn't much really. So we drive further out but don't really find much, besides a vintage Levi's shirt and a pair of YSL jeans which are probably fake. We almost go for a Pizza Express but we hold back. £6 3pm: On our way back home we go into the KFC drive-thru where my boyfriend buys lunch. A mighty bucket for one and a lunch box for me!!! I’ve eaten so badly this weekend I am so ashamed. 3.20pm: Arrive home and eat our KFC in the garden and talk with my parents for a while. 7pm: He leaves to go home. So I have the rest of the evening to do my own thing. I just chill on my phone and listen to music. 8.45pm: I buy my boyfriend a good luck card since his exams start on Wednesday, and I am so nice. £3.04 9.30pm: I need to buy my mum and dad's birthday presents. I buy my mum a Jo Malone perfume gift set and my dad wanted a Lacoste mini bag. My sister is putting £30 towards them together and my boyfriend is putting £30 as well. They send the money over so I don’t actually spend as much as I thought I would. £54 10pm: I’m shattered so I fall asleep early ready for another week at work! Total: £63.04