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 29-year-old Italian who moved to London five years ago. She was meant to stay just for a couple of months but three jobs and five houses later, she's still here and has a Canadian boyfriend and friends she considers to be her second family. She loves shopping, reading, discovering new restaurants, travelling (she has already been to five different countries this year) and is seriously addicted to many TV shows.
Industry: Retail, e-Commerce Age: 29 Location: London Salary: 34k Paycheque amount per month: £2,120 Number of housemates: 4
Housing costs: £525 for rent, I share a big ensuite room with my boyfriend in a house we share with three friends Loan payments: None Utilities: £80 for internet, gas, cleaner and water Transportation: I pay as I go, ends up being around £80 Phone bill: £17 Health insurance: Covered by work Savings: Around £100 Other: £61 for Gymbox
Day One 7.45am: Drag myself out of bed and get the bus to work, I really need to get my bike sorted and start cycling again, so that I can stay in bed even longer. £1.50 8.30am: I always have breakfast at my desk, tea from the kitchen and I then alternate porridge or cereals that I bring from home. This morning is porridge! I'm Italian and used to have a lot of biscuits or croissant for breakfast, but porridge makes me feel healthier and I won't snack until late morning. 12.45pm: I walk to the gym for my weekly Ashtanga yoga class, I started doing yoga two years ago and I couldn’t live without it now. 2pm: Lunch at my desk, I cooked couscous with roasted vegetables yesterday. This is going to be an expensive week, so I have to try and save money on my lunches. Luckily we did grocery shopping yesterday so I'm ok with food for the week. 6pm: The weather is nice so I walk home, it takes me around 45 minutes. I stop at Sainsbury's to collect an ASOS parcel – I bought new shoes over the weekend, looking forward to try them on. 8pm: After a quick dinner it's time to book the accommodation for our last two days in Bali in August. Since we didn't pay for the flights (thanks to my boyfriend's company who gave him a bonus to use on flights last month), we decide to splurge on the accommodations. £171 11.30pm: Read for a bit before falling asleep. I need to catch up on American Gods as I want to read the book before starting the TV show, but everyone is already talking about it! Total: £172.50
Day Two 8am: Bus to work. £1.50 8.30am: Breakfast at my desk, a colleague has brought croissants in, but I'm still hungry so I have some cereals as well. 10.30am: We're leaving for Rome on Friday for a friend's wedding so I go on Minicabit and book a cab for Friday morning. Total is £36, but boyfriend will pay half so it works out at £18. We have a very early flight and I can't be bothered taking the public transport at 4am. 11am: Tuesday we get free fruit in the office! Get an apple to use in my porridge tomorrow and one banana. 12.45pm: Vinyasa yoga class at work. My company offers free yoga once a week which is very convenient. 6pm: I run to my IPL hair removal appointment in west London. This is for free as I bought a six-sessions pack last autumn. Going by bus would be even longer so I have to take the Tube there. £2 6.30pm: I get there a bit early, so I check a big Asian food store close by and stock up on instant noodles, seaweed and sheet masks. £8.48 7.30pm: Pop into Zara as I really need some spring/summer clothes for Rome, it's 30 degrees there! £98. Oops. 8pm: Tube back home. £2 8.30pm: Finally home! Cook a quick pasta and overnight oats for tomorrow's breakfast. Watch a couple episodes of The 100 with the boyfriend before falling asleep around 11:30. Total: £129.98
Day Three 8am: Walk to work. 9am: Overnight oats for breakfast. 12.15pm: I walk to the gym for a 30-minutes abs class. I love going to the gym at lunchtime, it breaks my day and the afternoon feels shorter. And let's be honest, I can then eat as much as I want. 1.30pm: I eat a salmon quiche from home and while I have lunch I renew my about-to-expire ASOS premium delivery. £9.95. I'm so used to this and Amazon Prime, I think if I had to wait more than 24 hours for a parcel I'd go crazy now. 6pm: It's been an exhausting day and I'm meeting a couple girlfriends in Soho for a cocktail and some gossip before heading home. It's a buy-one-get-two and we all have mojitos, so pretty cheap. £4 7.30pm: Bus home. £1.50 8pm: Boyfriend cooks chicken and corn on the cob and we then decide to watch a movie as we haven't watched any in a while. We decide to re-watch Mulholland Drive, I love David Lynch and the new season of Twin Peaks is out so I want to get in the mood! Total: £15.45
Day Four 8am: Bus to work. £1.50 9am: A friend is in my building for a meeting so I meet her for breakfast in our canteen, cinnamon bagel with butter. £1.20 12:30pm: Walk to the gym for a pound class. It is so much fun! It combines Pilates and isometric movements, all with constant simulated drumming, so very good to release the accumulated stress. I love Gymbox because of the variety of classes offered, I never get bored! 2pm: Grab a Tesco meal deal on the way back to the office, salmon and cucumber sandwich, yoghurt and a can of Coke. I didn't prep anything yesterday and I forgot to bring my instant noodles. £4 5.30pm: I leave the office a bit earlier as I booked a luxury mani-pedi in Fitzrovia. This was a gift for my bday, so free. It's two hours of complete relaxation and they kept filling my glass of prosecco. I walk out a couple hours after, a bit tipsy and with an OPI goody bag. 8pm: Bus home. £1.50 8.30pm: I get home and no one can be bothered cooking, so we decide to order Thai food on UberEats and have a little feast with the flatmates. £11 Total: £19.20
Day Five 4am: Cab to Heathrow, paid on Tuesday. 5.30am: Porridge and croissant at Pret. £5.50 6am: It's very hot and sunny in Rome, so I buy an SPF at Boots before boarding. £6 11am: We land and we get a taxi to the hotel. When I travel with my boyfriend we always put money together, like £50 a day, it makes it easier as we won't have to divide the bills. £25 1pm: Walk to the Trevi fountain. I've been to Rome a lot of times but it's always beautiful, I could never get bored of this! We get two slices of pizza on the go. £8 2pm: I take my boyfriend to the best ice cream place in the world and we get a cone each. I forgot how much ice cream you get in Italy ordering a medium cone but oh well, I'll have to deal with it. £5.50 7pm: After a power nap at the hotel we have a Spritz and then walk to Trastevere for dinner. £10 10.30pm: After a full dinner including wine, starter, main and dessert we are a bit tipsy and so tired as we only slept four hours, so we walk back to our hotel and fall asleep by midnight. £20 Total: £80
Day Six 9.30am: Get up and have breakfast at the hotel. When I travel, breakfast is my favourite meal. I have croissant, homemade cake, bread and jam and an amazing cappuccino. 10.30am: Check out from the hotel and walk to the Colosseum, it's so hot I'm dying, we get some water and keep walking around. £2 12pm: A few of my friends have arrived in Rome for the wedding, so we meet one of them for lunch. We have pizza and Coke in the same place we went to yesterday. £10 2pm: We go back to the hotel to collect our luggage and get a taxi to the station, we could have walked, but is so warm we can't face it. £5 2.30pm: We get a train to the beach location we are going to stay for the next two days. Since both me and my boyfriend have been to Rome many times, we decided to stay by the beach for the rest of the time so that we can chill and get some colour on before the wedding. £4 3.30pm: We get to the hotel and we both completely forgot we booked this on Booking.com and still haven't paid for it. Unpleasant surprise. £90 4pm: We hit the beach and get a Spritz. They bring it with crisps, nuts, olives and focaccia bread. £10 6pm: We go to a local supermarket to get some goodies for after dinner: bottle of red wine, anchovies, olives and cheese. £12 8.30pm: After a shower we go to a restaurant we found online, it has amazing reviews. We have the most amazing burrata cheese, seafood pasta and cheesecake. Quite expensive, but well worth it. Once we get back to the hotel we are too full, tipsy and tired to open another bottle and have more food, we fall asleep around 11pm. £50 Total: £183
Day Seven 9.30am: Breakfast at the hotel, unfortunately is not included. Once again I have a lot of food, cakes, croissant, tea... £6.50 10.30am: We decide to try another beach, we get lounge chairs and an umbrella and the sun is already very warm. £10 1.30pm: Quick lunch, I get a Caprese salad and a beer, the tomatoes in Italy make all the difference, so good! £10 4.30pm: I get a popsicle and water, it's so warm! £3 6.30pm: Back to the hotel and we finally have all the goodies we bought yesterday. We have a nice balcony, so we have all the food and wine with a nice view. 9pm: We decide to splurge on a final seafood dinner, it's our last night here as we have our friend's wedding tomorrow. I decide to get the bill and not to use the money we have in common for the holiday. £100 Total: £129.50
The Breakdown Food & Drink: £281.18 Entertainment: £0 Clothes/Beauty: £113.95 Travel: £324.50 Other: £10 Total: £729.63