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: “I am a 22-year-old recent graduate from Glasgow. I count myself lucky that I still live at home with my parents, so my monthly expenses are low, but I plan to buy a flat in the next few years so am trying to improve my spending habits to save for a deposit. However, I am regularly caught between trying to save and splurging!
I started my first ‘proper’ job early last year in the construction industry in an office-based role and I took full advantage of earning a full-time salary during the first few months, including paying for a month-long trip travelling around China and Hong Kong, holidays to Cyprus and Switzerland, and building up a collection of expensive trainers and designer handbags. However, I am on a fixed-term contract which is due to end in the summer and although this is likely to be renewed, I still haven’t had any confirmation from the company, giving me another reason to improve my saving habits to give me a safety net if I need to find another job. This hasn’t stopped me planning a couple of holidays for this summer though!”
Industry: Construction Age: 22 Location: Glasgow Salary: £19,500 Paycheque amount: £1,400 Number of housemates: Three – mum, stepdad and younger brother.
Housing costs: £0 (my mum has conveniently forgotten our agreement for me to start paying ‘dig’ money when I started working full time). Loan payments: £0 (being Scottish, my uni fees were covered by SAAS [Student Awards Agency for Scotland] and I covered the other costs of going to uni by working part time). Utilities: £0 Transportation: About £150 for petrol (my car insurance and road tax are paid on an annual basis and I use my savings to cover both). Phone bill: £0 (still covered by my parents; hopefully if they don’t notice it will stay that way forever). Savings? I put £200 every month into a Help to Buy ISA and another £100-200 goes into my Marcus savings account. Any money I make through selling on eBay or Depop is transferred from my PayPal straight into my Marcus account (minus the selling fees) and if I have anything left over at the end of the month it also goes into savings (not that this happens very often). Other: £18 for gym membership and £9.99 for Spotify Premium (the only thing that gets me through commuting to and from work every day).
Are you heading to a festival this summer? Would you be interested in recording your spending for a money diary while you’re there? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
6.30am: Drag myself out of bed to get ready for work. Despite working full-time for about a year, the early starts have never gotten any easier!
7.45am: Arrive at work and make my vital first coffee of the day, using some of the coconut flavoured coffee I treated myself to on payday.
9am: Deskfast time. I eat a bowl of chocolate chip Weetabix brought in from home while trawling through emails.
10.30am: Start to daydream about my holiday next week to Budapest with the bf and realise that tickets to the Szechenyi thermal bath party are nearly sold out. Order us both premium tickets; I cover the cost since he paid my share of the Airbnb. £108
12.30pm: I am minutes away from gnawing at my desk out of sheer hunger. Microwave a box of Quorn Bolognese pasta brought in from home. Feel smug knowing I have saved money by bringing in my lunch every day this week.
1.30pm: Savings-related smugness has disappeared. Order two very cute Powerpuff Girls crop T-shirts through nostalgia for my fave childhood cartoon (also order two more T-shirts to save the £3.95 delivery charge – I can’t be the only one who does this, right?). £41
5pm: Finally finish work and drive to the gym for a yoga class, included in my membership price. This class never fails to remind me how lacking in flexibility I am.
6.30pm: Stop off at Primark on the way home from work to return a pair of trousers bought last week that didn’t fit. My return quickly turns into an exchange as I pick up a printed playsuit, midi skirt, T-shirt dress and a few vest tops that I’ll take on my trip to Budapest next week. £18
7.29pm: Run back to my car to avoid having to pay more than the one-hour parking charge, make it by one minute and save £2! £3.50
8.30pm: Shower, make toast and eggs for dinner and collapse in bed in front of
The Good Place on Netflix (only two episodes in and I can tell this will be my new binge-watch show).
7.45am: Arrive at work and make a coconut coffee and bowl of chocolate chip Weetabix. Check my eBay and see that I’ve won an auction for a denim skirt, pay for it via a cashback website and collect Nectar points on it. Decide that this will be my last clothing purchase for my trip next week. £6
12.30pm: Due to my lack of cooking last night I didn’t have any leftovers to bring in. Buy a cheese and red onion ciabatta from the café in work. My streak of bringing in lunch to save money has lasted a grand total of four days. £2
5pm: Finish work and head straight to the gym for my first leg workout in three weeks, eeek.
7.30pm: Amazingly I survive that workout from hell and drive home. Head for a quick shower and rack my brains for dinner ideas since it feels like an eternity since I’ve last eaten.
8pm: Mum has done a big shop on her day off so the fridge is full of veggie-friendly delights (the more I write this diary, the more grateful I am for living at home, thanks Mum!). I cook up sticky sesame tofu and asparagus with wholemeal noodles and make enough for tomorrow.
9.30pm: Eat the last of my Easter chocolate while watching
The Good Place in bed (had to balance out the healthy dinner somehow).
11pm: Realise I’ve watched a full episode of
The Good Place with one eye shut, decide to call it a night.
7am: Leave for work in casual clothes (it’s crazy how wearing jeans to work puts everyone in the office in a good mood). Realise I forgot to fill my car up last night so stop for petrol and earn Nectar points on the fuel. £20
7.45am: Arrive in work, make a coffee and log my petrol spend in a spreadsheet I have created to keep track of my fuel spend. Have a quick check of my online banking and savings accounts, I’ve noticed that I am less likely to make frivolous purchases if I stay aware of what is in each account.
10.30am: Skipped breakfast this morning so my stomach is now making noises that resemble a whale in distress. Have a banana and a protein bar from my work drawer and continue working/looking at dream houses on Rightmove.
12.30pm: Lunchtime (FINALLY). Heat up leftover tofu and noodles and eat while answering this week’s Joe UK online pub quiz. My bf and I have a competition going and we compete every week for the highest score; I am currently the reigning champion and have been for several weeks. I score 20/25, I’d like to see him beat that!
2pm: Realise that this diary so far could be marketed as a sleeping aid as it is not very exciting (sorry readers).
3.30pm: Early finish! Drive home listening to my new ’80s playlist on Spotify and create a mental checklist of everything I need to do before going out tonight.
6pm: Buy a single ticket and head for the train into Glasgow for drinks with my team from work, our first team get-together since before Christmas. £3.70
9.30pm: Buy my first round for the team in Wetherspoons, since I’ve had drinks bought for me all night so far. £21
11.30pm: Leave Wetherspoons and head to a cocktail bar/nightclub for the rest of the night. Buy two rounds for everyone. £45
2.30am: Leave the club and head to Subway. Buy a foot-long sub and eat while waiting on the taxi home. Heavenly. £7
3.30am: Finally arrive home, pay my share of the taxi (£15), quickly take off my eyelashes and makeup, brush my teeth and head straight to bed. Fall asleep instantly.
Total spent: £111.70
12.30pm: Wake up feeling suspiciously good, conclude that my late-night Subway had magical hangover-preventing powers. Shower, make some toast and coffee for brunch and tidy my room.
5.30pm: Get ready and drive over to the bf’s place. We decide on a recipe for dinner and head to the supermarket to pick up ingredients. He pays (a relief after the eye-watering amount spent yesterday).
7.30pm: Cook up goat’s cheese and tomato tagliatelle with steak for him and a Quorn chicken escalope for me. We eat, watch the whole first season of
Bonding on Netflix, then head to sleep.
10.30am: We wake up, get ready and make scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast while deciding what to do with our day.
1pm: We head out to play mini golf. He pays, yay! And wins, boo!
2.30pm: We walk over to the arcade and exchange £10 each into coins to compete against each other on nearly every two-player game. Win 620 arcade tickets and exchange them for a cow plush toy (totally worth the £20 we spent *rolls eyes*). £10
3.30pm: The temptation of Nando’s becomes too much. I order a super green burger and peri-peri chips and bf a double chicken pitta with peri-peri chips. He pays.
4.30pm: We walk to the shopping centre across the road and head to Primark. Can’t resist the giant
Game of Thrones ale mugs and get one each. I buy a pair of sandals to put away for our holiday in June and bf picks up a few things for going away. I cover it since he paid for Nando’s and mini golf. £40
5.30pm: Drive over to bf’s parents’ house and have a few drinks. They order us a Chinese while we eagerly await the new episode of
Game of Thrones airing at 2am and drink beer from our new mugs.
2am: We made it without falling asleep! Watch
GoT and play a drinking game while watching. Decide that we aren’t tired anymore so stay up and have a few more drinks.
5.30am: Finally decide we should get some sleep and head to bed, although now that it is light outside, falling asleep is a struggle.
12.30pm: We both wake up feeling shattered after last night. Get ready and head to McDonald’s for the first time in months. I order a veggie wrap meal with cheese bites and bf orders a chicken legend and six chicken nuggets, he pays.
3pm: I drop bf at golf then head home. Finish tidying my room and write a checklist of things to pack for my trip in a few days (may have also squeezed in a power nap).
6.30pm: Take my brother to the cinema to see the new
Avengers movie. Buy one adult and one teen ticket. £25 (makes me feel old when I remember the days when it was only £5 to go to the cinema). Buy a medium popcorn for myself with Oreo and Smarties toppings and my brother buys his own. £7. Brought a can of iced coffee from home to get me through the three-hour movie in my sleep-deprived state.
10pm: Drive us home from the cinema feeling proud that I managed to stay awake for the whole three hours. The extra strong coffee must’ve helped. Get home and collapse in bed, fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow.
6.30am: Back to work after a long weekend off, the struggle is real this morning. Can’t complain too much since it’s only a two-day week for me then I’m off to Budapest!
12.30pm: Lunchtime. No dinner last night results in no lunch being brought in from home today. Head upstairs to the work café and buy homemade macaroni cheese, worth every penny. £3.50
2pm: Sell a pair of trousers on eBay! Make £8 after postage and selling fees, transfer from my PayPal to my savings account to avoid any temptation to spend it.
5pm: Home time! This day has felt like an eternity. Head to the salon on the way home to get a well overdue eyebrow wax and tint. £15
7pm: Head to the post office to send the trousers I sold earlier today and to return most of the Bershka order from earlier in the week (the £29 from the return hasn’t been added as it won’t return to my bank account for 10 working days).
7.30pm: Arrive home (admire my new brows in the mirror a few times), have a quick shower and change out of my work clothes before heading to the kitchen to make dinner. Decide on a roasted aubergine and chickpea stew with spinach bulgur wheat and make enough to take to work for lunch tomorrow.
8.30pm: Collapse in bed and instead of packing for my trip, decide to watch more of
The Good Place. Fall asleep around 10.30pm.
Entertainment: £35 Clothes/Beauty: £120 Travel: £42.20 Other: £108
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Nonfiction Has A Woman Problem: Julia Cheiffetz Wants To Change That
Scaling The Maternal Wall: Why Do We Still Underestimate Working Mothers?
I Spent My Entire Life Savings In A Year But I'm Clawing My Way Back