Money Diary: A Senior Software Engineer On 110k

·22 min read

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’m a 29-year-old senior software engineer in London. I moved here after university with my partner at the time but it was an abusive situation and it took me 18 months to extricate myself fully. I didn’t realise that financial abuse was part of the violence and looking back it’s easy to see how I got to where I am now: in a lot of debt. I’m not sure of the exact number but I’ve paid off at least £30k in loans, overdrafts and credit cards over the last seven years. I have learned to have compassion for the woman I was then. It must have been a small way to feel in control and the joy of finally being able to purchase things for myself again without threats or fights or punishment must’ve felt huge. However, a lack of financial education (I didn’t know you could get a credit card from anywhere, not just your bank) meant this quickly spiralled. I fell into a pattern of taking out a loan to clear credit card debt but racking up the balance on the credit card again to make myself feel good.

For most of my time in London my salary has hovered between £40k and £60k. In the last two years my career focus and ambition has landed me some rapid career advancement, pushing my salary from £60k to £110k. At the start of 2020 I had £22k of outstanding debt and now it's below £8k. I chose to learn from failed past attempts and I recognise that for me, having savings and paying down debt at the same time is a good motivator. I’ve tried a number of techniques and this is the first one that has lasted in a sustainable way. I choose to be open so that it reduces the shame and stigma around women speaking about debt. I do still have a tendency for spending and the finer things in life so I love to find new tips and tricks and use a variety of money management tools to keep on top of all my lovely, silly purchases."

Occupation: Senior software engineer
Industry: Tech
Age: 29
Location: London
Salary: £110,000
Paycheque amount: £5,552.29 after pension deductions and ride to work repayment. 
Number of housemates: Two fussy cats.
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £1,650 for a one-bedroom flat with small office space. My company is remote-first so I chose to spend a little more on my rent to have a separate workspace. 
Loan payments: £897.41 across six different loans/credit cards. I recently managed to get my credit score in a place where I was approved for a debt consolidation loan, which will bring down the monthly payments to £250. I will still overpay two years before settlement date but this gives me one set interest rate and flexibility for months where I have a lot of expenses.
Savings? £12,590 in a savings account that requires 90 days notice of withdrawal. I have an ISA that I use for mid-term savings, like the artwork payment plan which is every four months. If the money is easy for me to access I know I will find uses for it. Having a notice account is the first time I’ve been able to properly save. Typically I save £1,000 a month but if I have a lot of expenses, like this month, I'll pause the direct debit and rely on roundups instead. The roundups average out around £100.
Pension? I pay 8% and my employer matches minimum amount. I consolidated my previous employer pensions through an app and that is about £29k.
Utilities: £137 council tax, £27.38 water, £54.90 gas and electric, £13.37 TV licence.
All other monthly payments: £70 phone, £18.26 union dues, £6.99 bike insurance, £14.50 tech insurance, £85 spin membership, £222 set aside for art payment plan. Subscriptions: £9.99 Spotify, £9.99 Netflix, £11.99 YouTube Premium, £6.99 plant care.

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?

As an EU student in Scotland I didn't have any student fees but this meant I wasn't entitled to any bursary or support either. My parents helped me with rent and sent some money but I got a job after first year as money was always very tight. 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?

There weren’t many open discussions about money growing up. I was always terrible at saving my money for big purchases but it didn’t really faze me. My parents bought a house just before the housing bubble burst in our country and ended up in negative equity for many years. Most of my teenage years were spent with that looming over us and while I was away at university there was a real risk they’d lose the house. My mum would confide in me about it and it has left me with a real fear about ending up in a similar situation.
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?

18.
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?

22, after graduating university and moving to London. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?

Shelf-stacking in Tesco. My parents helped where they could at uni but first year was tough as they were in a hard spot financially themselves.
 
Do you worry about money now?

Not now. It makes me sad to think about where I was a few years ago. There were times I would budget and cry at how stuck I was. I always managed to squeak my way out but there was a period where I didn't look at my balance because I was scared of what it said. Sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night in a panic and I felt as if I couldn't name what was happening as it was too big and too scary. Nowadays I make a habit of budgeting every fortnight, looking ahead to the next three months and use a variety of tools (Emma app, Moneybox, cashback apps and a chaotic mix of spreadsheets and notebooks) to track where everything goes and how I can afford big-ticket purchases. I try not to attach a moral weight to my finances – if I decide my bougie spin studio is important to me then I cut something else to keep my free towels and fancy shampoo. 
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

I received €1,000 (~£820) when my grandmother died that I used to help me put together the 2.5x rental deposit I needed for moving out on my own with pets (this was a few years before better laws for tenants came in).

<strong>Day One </strong><br> <br>8am: Wake up well before my alarm. Feel smug and lightly doze while cuddling the cats. <br> <br>10.30am: Aaaaand I slept through my alarm. How is that always the way? I get up and grab some muesli and set up the coffee drip before sitting down to start the day in my dressing gown. Check my balance and last week’s roundups for my savings have come out. £33<br> <br>11.30am: Join my team for stand-up. This is a common meeting within tech. It's a daily check-in where engineers share how they’re progressing on tasks and we identify any blockers to release. <br> <br>12pm: Log on to my spin studio’s website to book classes for the week. I have three credits left and book into two classes with my favourite instructor. I’m sorely tempted by the 90 minute special class but it costs an extra credit. Decide to give it a try despite being slightly intimidated and buy a top-up credit for £17 so I can book my bike. I will hate myself on the morning of, but think of the endorphins!<br> <br>1pm: I spend an hour planning out the code I want to write this afternoon. One hour might seem like enough time to start but coding is similar to creative work in that you need to build up the context and get into a place of deep focus. I try to block out two hours or more to code but that doesn’t always fit neatly within a modern working day.<br> <br>1.30pm: I break for lunch to have a quick shower and do some chores. I have some leftover fajitas in the fridge but decide to have those later before spin. I step out for some fresh air and grab a big salad from the deli, £7. I then top up my glass bottle with shower gel from the organic shop. They only have the expensive stuff in stock today, which is annoying but means I don't have to recycle more plastic. £5.25<br> <br>3.20pm: Manage to get service built quickly so reward myself with an iced latte, £3.70. Take my coffee back to my desk with some mango kefir I bought yesterday and focus on adding thorough tests for the caching logic.<br> <br>4.30pm: Abandon my work as I’m cross with this third party API. Have a moan to a colleague who’s having similar pains while fixing the leftover chicken fajitas for an early dinner. <br> <br>6.40pm: Aaaahhh I'm running late! Wrap up for the day and quickly pack my bag for spin, forgetting my headphones. Sigh. Grab the bus to the studio. £1.65<br> <br>8.45pm: Legs worked, hair washed, post-spin smoothie in hand, £4.50. A tough class but it helps me clear my head. Get the bus home, £1.65, and text my boyfriend to see how his day has gone.<br> <br>10pm: Once I get back I spend an hour cleaning the kitchen and folding some laundry. With the cats fed, I sit down with a cup of tea to play my Switch before bed with a book at 11.30pm. <br><br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£73.75</strong>
Day One

8am: Wake up well before my alarm. Feel smug and lightly doze while cuddling the cats.

10.30am: Aaaaand I slept through my alarm. How is that always the way? I get up and grab some muesli and set up the coffee drip before sitting down to start the day in my dressing gown. Check my balance and last week’s roundups for my savings have come out. £33

11.30am: Join my team for stand-up. This is a common meeting within tech. It's a daily check-in where engineers share how they’re progressing on tasks and we identify any blockers to release.

12pm: Log on to my spin studio’s website to book classes for the week. I have three credits left and book into two classes with my favourite instructor. I’m sorely tempted by the 90 minute special class but it costs an extra credit. Decide to give it a try despite being slightly intimidated and buy a top-up credit for £17 so I can book my bike. I will hate myself on the morning of, but think of the endorphins!

1pm: I spend an hour planning out the code I want to write this afternoon. One hour might seem like enough time to start but coding is similar to creative work in that you need to build up the context and get into a place of deep focus. I try to block out two hours or more to code but that doesn’t always fit neatly within a modern working day.

1.30pm: I break for lunch to have a quick shower and do some chores. I have some leftover fajitas in the fridge but decide to have those later before spin. I step out for some fresh air and grab a big salad from the deli, £7. I then top up my glass bottle with shower gel from the organic shop. They only have the expensive stuff in stock today, which is annoying but means I don't have to recycle more plastic. £5.25

3.20pm: Manage to get service built quickly so reward myself with an iced latte, £3.70. Take my coffee back to my desk with some mango kefir I bought yesterday and focus on adding thorough tests for the caching logic.

4.30pm: Abandon my work as I’m cross with this third party API. Have a moan to a colleague who’s having similar pains while fixing the leftover chicken fajitas for an early dinner.

6.40pm: Aaaahhh I'm running late! Wrap up for the day and quickly pack my bag for spin, forgetting my headphones. Sigh. Grab the bus to the studio. £1.65

8.45pm: Legs worked, hair washed, post-spin smoothie in hand, £4.50. A tough class but it helps me clear my head. Get the bus home, £1.65, and text my boyfriend to see how his day has gone.

10pm: Once I get back I spend an hour cleaning the kitchen and folding some laundry. With the cats fed, I sit down with a cup of tea to play my Switch before bed with a book at 11.30pm.

Total: £73.75
<strong>Day Two </strong><br> <br>9.30am: Wake up with my alarm and scroll through my phone while giving the cats belly scratches. <br><br>10am: Make myself a breakfast of fresh melon and the remainder of the kefir before hopping in the shower. Sit down at my desk with coffee around 10.20am and do some admin work before stand-up. <br> <br>11.35am: Quick stand-up this morning and my meetings for today have been rescheduled, which means I’ve a free calendar. I take some time to insert some focus blocks and then discuss with another engineer some of the problems we’ve been having with this API.<br> <br>1.25pm: Oh man, the weather is so lovely it’s been hard to focus. I finally manage to get somewhere and complete some subtasks so I stop for lunch. I make a curry and regret my choice as this means I spend my hour indoors, looking outside.<br> <br>2.45pm: My Gousto box arrives and I put the ingredients away. I’m not a big fan of recipe boxes, I know they’re more expensive overall and the portion sizes aren’t great. However I had a rough start to the year and in times of stress I can restrict my eating. Recipe boxes are an easy way to ensure I’m fed. I’m feeling more on top of things now so look at my calendar for the next two weeks and decide I’ll be able to meal-plan and buy ingredients. I pause my next box, which saves me £35 this month.<br> <br>3.10pm: Look at the time and realise my local coffee place is going to shut soon! Quickly put on some less obviously comfy trousers and go round to treat myself with an iced latte and some human interaction, £3.70. I’m tempted by some millionaire shortbread for a rare sweet treat, £2.50 (I am a crisps woman through and through).<br> <br>5.30pm: Wrap up and start sorting flat before my boyfriend comes round to help me put up some artwork. I recently made my first big purchase: an oil canvas by an artist I've been following for a while. I didn't think I'd be able to afford something like this but turns out payment plans aren't just for furniture! I still have a significant portion to pay off after 10 months but this is something I've been wanting for years so when the math worked out I went for it. <br> <br>8.30pm: Well I am moodier than I expected… Hanger plus hormones nearly made me cry over realising I'd run out of filler. A touchy two hours later, I am treating my boyfriend to dinner at my local pub to say thanks. Burger, lemonade and pint for me, apple lemonade and pie for him. £43<br> <br>10pm: Home and the two of us are tuckered out. I do my skincare routine, applying a rice milk mask as my skin is feeling tight, and we watch Netflix before going straight to sleep. <br> <br><strong>Total: £49.20</strong>
Day Two

9.30am: Wake up with my alarm and scroll through my phone while giving the cats belly scratches.

10am: Make myself a breakfast of fresh melon and the remainder of the kefir before hopping in the shower. Sit down at my desk with coffee around 10.20am and do some admin work before stand-up.

11.35am: Quick stand-up this morning and my meetings for today have been rescheduled, which means I’ve a free calendar. I take some time to insert some focus blocks and then discuss with another engineer some of the problems we’ve been having with this API.

1.25pm: Oh man, the weather is so lovely it’s been hard to focus. I finally manage to get somewhere and complete some subtasks so I stop for lunch. I make a curry and regret my choice as this means I spend my hour indoors, looking outside.

2.45pm: My Gousto box arrives and I put the ingredients away. I’m not a big fan of recipe boxes, I know they’re more expensive overall and the portion sizes aren’t great. However I had a rough start to the year and in times of stress I can restrict my eating. Recipe boxes are an easy way to ensure I’m fed. I’m feeling more on top of things now so look at my calendar for the next two weeks and decide I’ll be able to meal-plan and buy ingredients. I pause my next box, which saves me £35 this month.

3.10pm: Look at the time and realise my local coffee place is going to shut soon! Quickly put on some less obviously comfy trousers and go round to treat myself with an iced latte and some human interaction, £3.70. I’m tempted by some millionaire shortbread for a rare sweet treat, £2.50 (I am a crisps woman through and through).

5.30pm: Wrap up and start sorting flat before my boyfriend comes round to help me put up some artwork. I recently made my first big purchase: an oil canvas by an artist I've been following for a while. I didn't think I'd be able to afford something like this but turns out payment plans aren't just for furniture! I still have a significant portion to pay off after 10 months but this is something I've been wanting for years so when the math worked out I went for it.

8.30pm: Well I am moodier than I expected… Hanger plus hormones nearly made me cry over realising I'd run out of filler. A touchy two hours later, I am treating my boyfriend to dinner at my local pub to say thanks. Burger, lemonade and pint for me, apple lemonade and pie for him. £43

10pm: Home and the two of us are tuckered out. I do my skincare routine, applying a rice milk mask as my skin is feeling tight, and we watch Netflix before going straight to sleep.

Total: £49.20
<strong>Day Three </strong><br> <br>8.30am: Wake up and chill in bed for a while. I then shower and cut up the remainder of the melon for us to have for breakfast. We bicker about which melons are best. <br> <br>10am: Sit down at my desk with coffee to quickly review some PRs before sprint planning. Pull requests (PRs) are suggested changes to code. We all review each other’s code to minimise issues and bugs going live. <br> <br>12pm: Feeling real tired and lethargic today despite my nine and a half hours' snooze last night so I cba fixing lunch. I feel a bit guilty as there’s food in the fridge but go pick up a flat white and something to eat from my local coffee shop before my driving lesson at half past. £7.40<br> <br>2.30pm: Driving lesson went…okay. They are getting progressively less horrible. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy driving and I love cycling too much but I do want to have options when I’m visiting family as the public transport isn’t as good as the UK. I just wish it was a bit less expensive at £300 for 10 lessons. <br> <br>4.10pm: Remember I need to order more filler after the snafu yesterday, £5.99. I also order more cat food as I’m running low, £37.98. One of the cats is a sensitive soul and requires some fancy food for health issues so it’s not the cheapest. <br><br>4.30pm: The sun has come out so I go for a walk to get an iced latte and a treat. Have to go a bit further as my usual place is shut but I think the walk will help my weepy, distracted mood. £4.80<br> <br>6.15pm: Reeeaaalllly don't want to go to spin. Get ready to be out the door and catching bus by 6.30pm, £1.65. Realise I've no spare socks! I'll have to buy some at the studio. <br> <br>7.15pm: Arrive at studio and buy socks and a shake, £9. I listened to Donna Summer on the way and am already in a better mood. <br> <br>8.20pm: That was great! I feel incredible! I can do anything! What bad mood? She's beauty she's grace she's sweating all over the place.<br> <br>9pm: Grab bus home. £1.65<br> <br>9.20pm: Make a quick dinner of halloumi and bulgur wheat and put fresh sheets on the bed. Take dinner at my desk to carry on working. I feel in the flow so going to see where I get with this (plus I had a realisation about some of the streaming logic while washing my hair).<br> <br>11.35pm: Make myself a cup of jasmine tea and load the dishwasher before returning to work. I really love working at night, even as a kid it was when my brain worked best. <br><br>12.30am: Boy cat sits on my desk and gives me head bumps 'til I yield and turn in for bed.<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£68.47</strong>
Day Three

8.30am: Wake up and chill in bed for a while. I then shower and cut up the remainder of the melon for us to have for breakfast. We bicker about which melons are best.

10am: Sit down at my desk with coffee to quickly review some PRs before sprint planning. Pull requests (PRs) are suggested changes to code. We all review each other’s code to minimise issues and bugs going live.

12pm: Feeling real tired and lethargic today despite my nine and a half hours' snooze last night so I cba fixing lunch. I feel a bit guilty as there’s food in the fridge but go pick up a flat white and something to eat from my local coffee shop before my driving lesson at half past. £7.40

2.30pm: Driving lesson went…okay. They are getting progressively less horrible. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy driving and I love cycling too much but I do want to have options when I’m visiting family as the public transport isn’t as good as the UK. I just wish it was a bit less expensive at £300 for 10 lessons.

4.10pm: Remember I need to order more filler after the snafu yesterday, £5.99. I also order more cat food as I’m running low, £37.98. One of the cats is a sensitive soul and requires some fancy food for health issues so it’s not the cheapest.

4.30pm: The sun has come out so I go for a walk to get an iced latte and a treat. Have to go a bit further as my usual place is shut but I think the walk will help my weepy, distracted mood. £4.80

6.15pm: Reeeaaalllly don't want to go to spin. Get ready to be out the door and catching bus by 6.30pm, £1.65. Realise I've no spare socks! I'll have to buy some at the studio.

7.15pm: Arrive at studio and buy socks and a shake, £9. I listened to Donna Summer on the way and am already in a better mood.

8.20pm: That was great! I feel incredible! I can do anything! What bad mood? She's beauty she's grace she's sweating all over the place.

9pm: Grab bus home. £1.65

9.20pm: Make a quick dinner of halloumi and bulgur wheat and put fresh sheets on the bed. Take dinner at my desk to carry on working. I feel in the flow so going to see where I get with this (plus I had a realisation about some of the streaming logic while washing my hair).

11.35pm: Make myself a cup of jasmine tea and load the dishwasher before returning to work. I really love working at night, even as a kid it was when my brain worked best.

12.30am: Boy cat sits on my desk and gives me head bumps 'til I yield and turn in for bed.

Total: £68.47
<strong>Day Four </strong><br> <br>9.30am: Wake up and allow myself a lie-in 'til 10am after last night. Have a slow start to the day, tinkering around with the local development set-up. <br> <br>11.50am: Spend 30 minutes debugging with the engineer and we make some nice quality of life improvements. We discuss how we can make this easier for the team we're handing over the service to.<br><br>12.20pm: Cancelled plans means I am free for post-work drinks. I decide to get the bus rather than bike as I haven't spent much time with colleagues yet. On the way to the bus stop I get an iced latte and a roll as I haven't eaten yet. £5.40<br> <br>12.20pm: Hop on bus, £1.65. I text my friend H about our long weekend plans.<br> <br>1.15pm: Arrive in the co-working space and see that they’re running a free gin tasting session this evening. I was right to skip the bike.<br> <br>3pm: Come up for air from my debug session and head out for a coffee before a 1:1 with my manager. £3.20 <br> <br>5.30pm: Leave for the pub. The company card is behind the bar and I have a pint in my hand. Everything's good. <br> <br>11.17pm: I've had five (six?) pints and a tequila shot and no dinner so I'm fluttered. I'm pissed enough that ringing my boyfriend who's in bed for his early shift and asking him to come to mine makes sense. He kindly declines and I head home, nodding off slightly on the bus, £1.65. Once I'm home I get a second wind and manage to do my full nighttime skincare regimen (how?), drink a full bottle of water (thank god) and make my bed up with a book to be all inviting. <br><br>12am: I realise how starving I am and order my go-to chicken burger, chips and Sprite on Deliveroo, £16.48. Forgetting all about my wholesome bedtime aspirations I lie on the couch to watch <em>Bridgerton</em> in its entirety, finally drifting off some time around 4am.<br> <br><strong>Total: £28.38</strong>
Day Four

9.30am: Wake up and allow myself a lie-in 'til 10am after last night. Have a slow start to the day, tinkering around with the local development set-up.

11.50am: Spend 30 minutes debugging with the engineer and we make some nice quality of life improvements. We discuss how we can make this easier for the team we're handing over the service to.

12.20pm: Cancelled plans means I am free for post-work drinks. I decide to get the bus rather than bike as I haven't spent much time with colleagues yet. On the way to the bus stop I get an iced latte and a roll as I haven't eaten yet. £5.40

12.20pm: Hop on bus, £1.65. I text my friend H about our long weekend plans.

1.15pm: Arrive in the co-working space and see that they’re running a free gin tasting session this evening. I was right to skip the bike.

3pm: Come up for air from my debug session and head out for a coffee before a 1:1 with my manager. £3.20

5.30pm: Leave for the pub. The company card is behind the bar and I have a pint in my hand. Everything's good.

11.17pm: I've had five (six?) pints and a tequila shot and no dinner so I'm fluttered. I'm pissed enough that ringing my boyfriend who's in bed for his early shift and asking him to come to mine makes sense. He kindly declines and I head home, nodding off slightly on the bus, £1.65. Once I'm home I get a second wind and manage to do my full nighttime skincare regimen (how?), drink a full bottle of water (thank god) and make my bed up with a book to be all inviting.

12am: I realise how starving I am and order my go-to chicken burger, chips and Sprite on Deliveroo, £16.48. Forgetting all about my wholesome bedtime aspirations I lie on the couch to watch Bridgerton in its entirety, finally drifting off some time around 4am.

Total: £28.38
<strong>Day Five </strong><br> <br>7.30am: Wake up and remember spin class at 11am. Ignore all at hand and go back to sleep on sofa, phone dead, lamp on. <br> <br>11.40am: I didn't go to spin obviously. Chide myself as it's money wasted and I really wanted to go. I don't have a hangover thanks to all that water but I do feel knackered. Text H about my escapades and remind myself I'm meeting her later to see an exhibition. Do the time math in my head and figure I need to get up around 1pm.<br> <br>1pm: Five more minutes. The cat's belly is fluffy so need to give him some scritches.<br> <br>1.40pm: Text H I'll be late. Luckily we are both bad with time so she's probably the one other person who understands. Close eyes for five more minutes. <br> <br>2.20pm: !!!!!!! Come on now. Text H I'll treat us and get up to shower and feed cats. I'm impressed I feel good apart from the spin regret. Throw my stuff into a bag along with my essentials of sun cream, Boy Brow and lipstick and head to coffee shop for sustenance. Get myself a muffin so that I've eaten and an iced latte, £6.50. Nothing better than that first sip after a night out. Aaah. Truly medicinal. <br> <br>3.15pm: Get the Overground to meet H, £3.20. I buy another credit and book myself a class for tomorrow as I missed today's. £17<br> <br>4pm: Book into a 60-minute spin class for tomorrow while I wait for H at the station. Maybe it will be good practice for Monday? It's mid-morning so that hopefully will dissuade me from having too many wines today. Pop into Pret for a fruit pot on the way to the V&A. £3.25<br> <br>6.10pm: Exhibition was great and free as H has a membership. Afterwards we go up to the members' bar for a bite to eat and drinks. It's meant to be a light snack before dinner but it ends up being a butternut squash salad for me as I'm hungry, with a scone on the side for a little extra chaos. Top that off with a big bottle of sparkling water and a Campari spritz. I get the bill. £50.15<br> <br>7.30pm: We map out the rest of our night and I finally admit to myself that I won't make the 10am class – way too ambitious. Swap it for one at 11.15am instead. We grab the Tube and Overground back to H's place. £3.20<br> <br>8.30pm: En route back we go via a wine bar for a glass and to buy a bottle. Two glasses apiece later we are feeling ourselves and pick up two bottles that satisfy our differing winebuds, £41. Plan is <em>Mamma Mia</em> wine mom time back at the flat. H has a voucher for Just Eat so we order pizza on the way back to hers. <br> <br>12.20am: One movie, one bottle down. Many heated discussions about the brilliance of ABBA. We're now either in PJs or trackie bottoms. Both of us have gym classes in the morning and so we decide to save the second bottle for Sunday. Spin bike, I'll see you yet! <br> <br>2.20am: Tired but sober so successful night overall I believe. Night bus schedule is sparse so I get an Uber home. £6.81 <br><br><strong>Total: £131.11</strong>
Day Five

7.30am: Wake up and remember spin class at 11am. Ignore all at hand and go back to sleep on sofa, phone dead, lamp on.

11.40am: I didn't go to spin obviously. Chide myself as it's money wasted and I really wanted to go. I don't have a hangover thanks to all that water but I do feel knackered. Text H about my escapades and remind myself I'm meeting her later to see an exhibition. Do the time math in my head and figure I need to get up around 1pm.

1pm: Five more minutes. The cat's belly is fluffy so need to give him some scritches.

1.40pm: Text H I'll be late. Luckily we are both bad with time so she's probably the one other person who understands. Close eyes for five more minutes.

2.20pm: !!!!!!! Come on now. Text H I'll treat us and get up to shower and feed cats. I'm impressed I feel good apart from the spin regret. Throw my stuff into a bag along with my essentials of sun cream, Boy Brow and lipstick and head to coffee shop for sustenance. Get myself a muffin so that I've eaten and an iced latte, £6.50. Nothing better than that first sip after a night out. Aaah. Truly medicinal.

3.15pm: Get the Overground to meet H, £3.20. I buy another credit and book myself a class for tomorrow as I missed today's. £17

4pm: Book into a 60-minute spin class for tomorrow while I wait for H at the station. Maybe it will be good practice for Monday? It's mid-morning so that hopefully will dissuade me from having too many wines today. Pop into Pret for a fruit pot on the way to the V&A. £3.25

6.10pm: Exhibition was great and free as H has a membership. Afterwards we go up to the members' bar for a bite to eat and drinks. It's meant to be a light snack before dinner but it ends up being a butternut squash salad for me as I'm hungry, with a scone on the side for a little extra chaos. Top that off with a big bottle of sparkling water and a Campari spritz. I get the bill. £50.15

7.30pm: We map out the rest of our night and I finally admit to myself that I won't make the 10am class – way too ambitious. Swap it for one at 11.15am instead. We grab the Tube and Overground back to H's place. £3.20

8.30pm: En route back we go via a wine bar for a glass and to buy a bottle. Two glasses apiece later we are feeling ourselves and pick up two bottles that satisfy our differing winebuds, £41. Plan is Mamma Mia wine mom time back at the flat. H has a voucher for Just Eat so we order pizza on the way back to hers.

12.20am: One movie, one bottle down. Many heated discussions about the brilliance of ABBA. We're now either in PJs or trackie bottoms. Both of us have gym classes in the morning and so we decide to save the second bottle for Sunday. Spin bike, I'll see you yet!

2.20am: Tired but sober so successful night overall I believe. Night bus schedule is sparse so I get an Uber home. £6.81

Total: £131.11
<strong>Day Six </strong><br> <br>10am: Naah. I wanna cuddle cats and read my book. Stupid? Yes. Lazy? Also yes. Happy? Big yes. <br> <br>3.15pm: Laze around snacking and reading before going out for milk and iced latte and roll, £5.70. Sit outside with my book for as long as possible. <br> <br>3.45pm: Potter along my local street to buy some books from secondhand store. £8.45 <br><br>5pm: Spend rest of day curled up with book at home before popping out for groceries. £20.33 <br><br>7pm: Reheat some leftovers from earlier in the week for dinner.<br><br>10pm: Sleep.<br><br><strong>Total: £34.48</strong>
Day Six

10am: Naah. I wanna cuddle cats and read my book. Stupid? Yes. Lazy? Also yes. Happy? Big yes.

3.15pm: Laze around snacking and reading before going out for milk and iced latte and roll, £5.70. Sit outside with my book for as long as possible.

3.45pm: Potter along my local street to buy some books from secondhand store. £8.45

5pm: Spend rest of day curled up with book at home before popping out for groceries. £20.33

7pm: Reheat some leftovers from earlier in the week for dinner.

10pm: Sleep.

Total: £34.48
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br><br>10am: Wake up.<br> <br>12.20pm: Wander down to my boyfriend's area to check out bookshops while waiting for him to finish his shift. Grab an iced latte and pastry, £4.70. I stop in the charity bookshop first, finding something that had been on my list for a while. £4<br> <br>1pm: Go to next bookshop that also sells drinks and lets you sit, read and drink for a while. Buy some new books I’ve had my eye on and a beer, £32.77. Feel v. happy basking in the sun and seeing cute dogs.<br> <br>3pm: Get bus back with my boyfriend, £3.30. Pick up some groceries, £4.47, then we laze around the house for a while, watching TV and chatting.<br> <br>8pm: Racked with indecision on dinner, we end up getting schnitzel out. I see a celebrity H fancies and text her immediately. <br><br>9pm: Dinner left us stuffed and we split the bill, £23.91. We grab a nightcap at other nearby local. Boyfriend gets the drinks.<br><br>11pm: Sleep.<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> <strong>£73.15</strong>
Day Seven

10am: Wake up.

12.20pm: Wander down to my boyfriend's area to check out bookshops while waiting for him to finish his shift. Grab an iced latte and pastry, £4.70. I stop in the charity bookshop first, finding something that had been on my list for a while. £4

1pm: Go to next bookshop that also sells drinks and lets you sit, read and drink for a while. Buy some new books I’ve had my eye on and a beer, £32.77. Feel v. happy basking in the sun and seeing cute dogs.

3pm: Get bus back with my boyfriend, £3.30. Pick up some groceries, £4.47, then we laze around the house for a while, watching TV and chatting.

8pm: Racked with indecision on dinner, we end up getting schnitzel out. I see a celebrity H fancies and text her immediately.

9pm: Dinner left us stuffed and we split the bill, £23.91. We grab a nightcap at other nearby local. Boyfriend gets the drinks.

11pm: Sleep.

Total: £73.15
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br> <br>Food & Drink: £284.14<br>Entertainment: £32.77<br>Clothes & Beauty: £14.25<br>Home & Health: £29.99<br>Travel: £26.41 <br>Other: £70.98<br><br><strong>Total: £458.54</strong><br> <br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br> <br>"I'm surprised it's not more, given I had a long weekend. I would usually spend more on clothes and beauty (skincare mainly) and less on going out for drinks and dinner. I am annoyed at myself for wasting the two spin credits but that's not a regular occurrence and I'm just going to chalk it down as a lesson learned (or more revision – that's not the first time I've done that in my life). I knew I had an expensive daily coffee habit and while I could trim this down I enjoy going out and chatting with the staff there as a way to break up my day, given I work remotely. Where I think I could be much smarter is in meal planning and making sure I don't buy snacks or lunches.<br><br>Recording my spend was an unusual experience. I did find that on a smaller level it was useful and reminded me of back when I needed to really tighten my belt and tracked my spend daily in minute detail. This can definitely help to see where money is falling through cracks. I've got some big purchases and trips coming up so I think I'll probably space out my socialising more and find some cheaper alternatives. I won't abandon my fancy wine bars altogether but dinner out with my boyfriend twice a week could probably have some creative financial alternatives."
The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £284.14
Entertainment: £32.77
Clothes & Beauty: £14.25
Home & Health: £29.99
Travel: £26.41
Other: £70.98

Total: £458.54

Conclusion

"I'm surprised it's not more, given I had a long weekend. I would usually spend more on clothes and beauty (skincare mainly) and less on going out for drinks and dinner. I am annoyed at myself for wasting the two spin credits but that's not a regular occurrence and I'm just going to chalk it down as a lesson learned (or more revision – that's not the first time I've done that in my life). I knew I had an expensive daily coffee habit and while I could trim this down I enjoy going out and chatting with the staff there as a way to break up my day, given I work remotely. Where I think I could be much smarter is in meal planning and making sure I don't buy snacks or lunches.

Recording my spend was an unusual experience. I did find that on a smaller level it was useful and reminded me of back when I needed to really tighten my belt and tracked my spend daily in minute detail. This can definitely help to see where money is falling through cracks. I've got some big purchases and trips coming up so I think I'll probably space out my socialising more and find some cheaper alternatives. I won't abandon my fancy wine bars altogether but dinner out with my boyfriend twice a week could probably have some creative financial alternatives."

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