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 newlywed who got married last month, who reckons she's pretty good with money as saving for the wedding (and buying a house before that) made her fairly strict. Saying that, she's also looking forward to having some disposable income and is sure that after Christmas is out of the way she'll start treating herself.
She doesn't live in a busy city so her weeknights are pretty much all the same, which means she doesn’t tend to spend a lot during the week – although at the weekend when she's out socialising she spends a lot more.
Industry: Marketing Manager Age: 26 Location: Derbyshire Salary: £30,200 Paycheque amount per month: My pay differs slightly from month to month as my job involves some evening and weekend work but luckily I get paid for this. My standard pay is around £1,960 but as I tend to do the same amount of overtime each month for events I have to attend, I often pick up around £2,160/pm after paying tax etc. Next month I’m going to start paying into my pension so I’ll see this go down. I wanted to wait until after my wedding as that extra £100 or so each month that I’d be contributing to my pension pot helped me when saving for our wedding. Number of housemates: One. Me and my husband bought our house a little over two years ago.
Housing costs: Our mortgage is £550 a month and we go halves. What we do is each put £700 into our joint account every month and we know that will cover our mortgage, household bills and money for food shopping. Then we pay any other bills (phone contract, gym) separately. Loan payments: I pay £100 on my credit card. I had the worst luck with my car last Christmas and ever since I’ve been chipping away at my credit card. Only £500 to go...sigh. I also have a £116 bank loan repayment that I took out to buy a new car. The bad luck I had last year resulted in me packing it in and buying a new car, which I took out a personal loan for. Student loan: £110 Utilities: £11 gym Transportation: I spend £80 on average on diesel a month. Phone bill: £36 Savings? Before we got married we were saving £320 each a month for the wedding. Some months were harder than others but we managed to be strict and commit to saving that amount each and every month. We want to keep this good habit up so we’re putting aside £250 each a month now.
Day One 6.50am: I wake up and have a shower and a cup of tea while I’m doing my makeup before I leave for work. 8.30am: It takes me 40 minutes to drive to work. Work is fairly quiet today and I spend the morning catching up on emails. I get to work and make the first round of teas and coffees for my colleagues and have a yoghurt I brought in from home. 12pm: I have a meeting shortly so I have an early lunch and end up eating at my desk. I really shouldn’t eat at my desk as it feels like I have no break at all, yet I do it more often than I should as I’m always trying to keep on top of my emails. I eat some sandwich thins that I made the night before and some grapes. When I go to the loo and catch my reflection, yikes! I’m clearly not yet accustomed to the fact that I’m no longer on my honeymoon where a slick of mascara alone will do. 1pm: Have a meeting at the on-site coffee shop at work and have a caramel cappuccino. £2.20 5.30pm: I finish work and head home. My husband commutes for work and won’t be home until 7.30pm so I prepare dinner. We have bulgar wheat rice, chicken and broccoli. We’re watching The Sinner on Netflix so watch two episodes of this before we make lunch for tomorrow and go to bed at 10pm. Total: £2.20
Day Two 7.20am: I wake up a little later today as I have an event tonight so won’t be heading into work until a little later. Seeing as I have some free time at home in the morning I make a point to go downstairs and actually sit down and relax. Normally I’m up and out the door, so it’s nice to have this time to myself. I have two slices of toast with jam and a cup of tea and watch the TV for 20 minutes. This is really good and I need to make the time to do this more often. 10am: I arrive at work and instantly regret coming in late as I feel like a tonne of work has hit me and I have a manger from a different department asking me for a document I’ve been working on that relates to tonight’s event. Mad panic at the printer as it's being so S-L-O-W. My smug feeling of contentment from my relaxed morning at home has left me. 11.30am: Having toast for breakfast instead of my regular yoghurt has made me hungrier than I’d usually be by this time and I am already wanting lunch. I ask two of my work friends what time they fancy getting lunch and they say half past one!! I really wanted an early lunch today as a distraction from my work but I make it to lunchtime and we meet in the communal area of our offices and we all eat lunches we’ve prepared at home before a quick stroll around the block to stretch our legs. 7pm: I’m now at my work event. I’m here to do live social media coverage. The presentation is an hour and a half long but after this they serve a buffet and I take an orange juice from the drinks that are being passed around but I’m too busy and never make it to the buffet table. Gutted! 9pm: As I drive home I phone my husband and ask what shall we do for dinner that night. Neither of us feel like cooking and by this point I am tired and hungry. He offers to pick up a chippy (his treat – I knew there was a good reason I married this man!) and I couldn’t be happier to come home, eat and not have to think about cooking or cleaning up the kitchen. Total: £0
Day Three 8.30am: I’m looking forward to getting to the office this morning and recapping last night’s events. The “big boss” of the company, who was guest speaker at last night’s presentation, actually comes in to the office I work in and says hello to me and the team (this never happens) and says how pleased he is with how it all went and the reception we got. I am super pleased and it gets my day off to an amazing start. I have a drinkable yoghurt and crack on with my morning. 12.30pm: Yep you guessed it, another packed lunch for me. I have a jacket potato and an apple and some grapes. It’s my brother-in-law's birthday next week and I need to get him a present. I do some online shopping on my lunch break as it’s Black Friday. I get him a shirt off ASOS. I have a £5 voucher from the points I’ve added up so I use this on the order I place with free next day delivery (hello ASOS Premier), £35. I then buy myself a knitted dress and scarf as my wardrobe is seriously lacking good-looking but practical pieces for this cold weather. After spending a small fortune on clothes for our honeymoon last month, where it was scorching hot, I need to quickly pull together a winter wardrobe but I don’t feel like I can afford it, especially with Christmas right around the corner. £47 5pm: I take a quick detour on the way home and buy a housewarming gift for my friend as I’m visiting her new house tonight, £14. I also pop into Boots as I lost my tweezers recently and my eyebrows are looking questionable. I only go in for one thing but end up spending £16. I don’t realise it's 3-for-2 on makeup until I get to the counter and the girl behind the till tells me. She says she’ll hold my spot while I go and pick something else. Not wanting to pick something expensive I panic and pick the shittest but cheapest thing I can find; a clear Barry M nail varnish. I obviously don’t perform well under pressure. I think the girl takes pity on me as she is very complimentary of my choice when I reappear. I instantly regret it and the polish is still at the bottom of my handbag. Maybe it’ll come in handy if my tights ladder... I then pop into a supermarket and pick up crumpets (£2) for the morning and a litre bottle of Baileys (£15) – 'tis the season! £17 on our joint account (already accounted for above so will leave out of total). 8.30pm: I head over to my friend's and see her stunning new house and show her some of our wedding pictures we’ve got back. We spend the night catching up (I haven’t seen her for six weeks – since my wedding day in fact) and it’s midnight when we realise the time. I drive home and realise that I skipped dinner tonight but don’t feel particularly hungry so go straight to bed when I get in. Total: £112
Day Four 8am: Wake up and have tea and crumpets that I bought the night before. 10.30am: Ever since my wedding when I had acrylics on, my nails have really been paying the price and they feel so weak and brittle. I go and get my nails done as I figure they won’t peel if they’re painted (that’s what I’m telling myself at least, also having a ‘treat yo' self’ moment). It only costs £10; I'm surprised how cheap it is! After my nail appointment I grab lunch with my sister, who is in town. We go to a tapas bar and split the bill. £13 While in town I once again venture into Boots and aimlessly spend £20 on razors, fake tan and a new tanning mitt. My justification for this I suppose is that I feel like my honeymoon tan has drastically faded and I want to try a new self-tanner for my work Christmas party in a few weeks' time. 5pm: I’m back home and my husband is cooking a lovely and spicy chicken jambalaya for our dinner tonight. We’ve never had it before but we love spicy food. I do some jobs around the house like putting in a load of washing and generally potter around the place. 7pm: Seeing as my husband has been in the house all day we want to get out so we go to the pub. I drive us there, so I have half a cider and get my husband an ale. £6.75. On his round I get a pot of tea and we stay in the pub until 9pm. Total: £49.75
Day Five 10am: We head out in the morning to do our weekly food shop. We try and stick to our Sunday routine and always do a full food shop every week. We tend to spend less this way and it ensures we have lunch prepared for every day to stop us spending unnecessarily buying lunches out. We buy pretty much the same food each week: milk, broccoli, leeks, avocados, red and white onions, new potatoes, three lots of meat (typically mince, pork loins and some sort of chicken) – this way we can make up different meals from the ingredients depending on what we fancy that night. A weekly food shop costs us around £45 and we pay this on the joint account. After doing our food shop and seeing as we’re already out and running errands in the car I ask if we can go and pick our Christmas tree. Everyone seems to be decorating earlier this year and I’ve seen so many trees on my Instagram feed already, I want to get in on the action. We buy a real 6ft tree for £12 from the joint account. 1.30pm: By this point we are hangry! We quickly dash to Tesco and buy some chicken from the deli counter, which we wolf down in the car (very messy but delicious) before heading home. £4 paid for on the joint account. 2pm: Unpack the shopping and quickly put up the tree but we don’t have time to decorate it. I have to jump in the shower as we have a family meal later this afternoon and I’m already short on time. I get my husband to drive us there (even though I’ll be driving us back as I know he’ll want to have a drink) so it gives me a bit more time to do my makeup in the car. I shouldn’t be this rushed but because we went up the loft to fetch Christmas decorations I wasted a lot of time when I should have been getting ready. 3.30pm: We arrive at the restaurant and my parents are already at the table. They say they’ve set up a tab and insist we put our drinks on it. We order and pay for our food ourselves though. £40, which I split with my husband. 6pm: All my family come back to mine and we crack open the bottle of Baileys I bought on Friday night as we put on some Christmas music and decorate tree. 8pm: Family leaves and we don’t feel hungry enough to cook after a big meal at the restaurant so instead we open a box of Celebrations my sister brought over and we watch a documentary on Alcatraz after I listened to a really interesting podcast the other day about it and wanted to learn more. Total: £20
Day Six 6.50am: It’s Monday morning and I do not feel like going into work. I’ve had an almost-but-not-quite cold for the past few weeks and I feel like I just need to either have a full-blown cold and get it over with or for this annoying tickle in my throat and wheezing chest to go away. I’m feeling sorry for myself. Waking up is hard today. This afternoon I’m holding a workshop for my team and I have A LOT to squeeze in before then. 9am: I’m at work and remember I promised to go along to an online training session my colleague is delivering this evening as a spare pair of hands. I quickly get the notes from my colleague and scrub up on what it is we’ll be covering tonight and read through this over my morning cup of tea. We have a tea fund at work where we each give £2 a month and that provides us with milk, coffee and teabags. 12pm: I have chicken, roasted peppers, falafel and hummus (all shop-bought) for lunch that I made the night before. It is delicious and I make a mental note to do this more often. It’s as easy as making a sandwich for a packed lunch as all you have to do is throw on some seasoning and whack it in the oven for 40 minutes and it’s far more satisfying (and healthier) than two pieces of bread. I dash into town quickly to pick up some snacks for everyone in the workshop. £6 6pm: I finish the workshop and quickly head back to my desk to check emails before I set off for tonight’s training session I’m now helping deliver. The location is half an hour away in a different town but I leave with time to spare for traffic, which is a good idea as I end up getting lost and having to phone for directions. I’ll expense my journey. 8.30pm: The training session ends – I actually really enjoyed it. So much so I agree to do another one next month. When I get home my husband has cooked for us again. I feel so bad that I’m working so much lately but it’s a busy period for me at the moment with work. We have several bottles of champagne in our house following our wedding so we decide to pop one open as we watch a YouTube channel we recently discovered of a married couple who basically travel around the world and vlog it all. It’s envy-inducing to watch but it’s giving us some travel inspiration for sure! Total: £6
Day Seven 9am: I have a yoghurt at my desk for my breakfast that I brought in from home. I’m working on a project at the moment that will begin next week so I spend most of my day making phone calls, trying to chase people and tie up loose ends. 1.30pm: I decide to have my lunch at my desk because I still want to be on my emails and I have the same lunch as I did yesterday as both me and my husband remarked on how good it was. 4.30pm: I leave a little earlier today as I have a hair appointment at 5.30pm and I know the traffic will be bad at this time of day. 5.40pm: I arrive (late!) to my appointment and my hairdresser sits me down straight away. I’ve only been going to her for the past six months but I can definitely see myself sticking with this one. She really gets what I’m saying when I try and describe what I want. £60 8pm: Fortunately for me, my husband has been working in London today so he doesn’t arrive home until after me so I get a head start on preparing dinner as I’ve felt bad I’ve been out most of the week and he’s been home alone and making dinner for us. I make a spaghetti Bolognese and for dessert we have some leftover wedding cake I got out of the freezer the night before. Total: £60
The Breakdown Food/Drink: £47.95 Entertainment: £0 Clothes/Beauty: £188 Travel: £0 Other: £14 Total: £249.95