Money Diaries XL: March Review

So guys, here we are, my second full month of posting my Money Diaries!

I hope you’ve been enjoying it as much as I have. If nothing else, it’s given me another outlet for my money obsession, rather than bending the ear off poor OH. - march xl money diaries – March Money Diaries XL


I feel like some of my habits are definitely becoming clearer, and as I’ve mentioned in the past, almost immediately after publishing my first Money Diaries post, I became more mindful with my spending.

Even if no one actually reads it, there’s just something about baring your spending so publicly that kind if shames you into second guessing that Uber, sneaky curry or trashy magazine!


March has been about as successful a month as I can hope to have. I’m pretty much in awe of my savings rate, but I think there may be an explanation for that…

Generally, I keep my savings across a few different accounts. Recently, due to the pitiful interest rate on my ISA, I closed that altogether. This may be controversial, but considering I will not be reaching the £1000 personal interest allowance any time soon, I’m much better off opting for high interest regular savings accounts or current accounts, which I’m currently drafting a post on too.


As well as closing my ISA, I have also been rejigging some of my regular payments to come out of different accounts. This is because one of my main “bills” accounts is actually one of the highest interest earners available, so I want to focus on that account for saving rather than paying bills. More on that later!


And also, I have opened a new account for saving. Again, more on that later!


All of these things combined over the past month have left my finances a bit up in the air.


It’s likely that my savings were miscalculated last month and so has made this month look better, as that was when I began moving everything around. I also had my expenses paid early in March, and so I didn’t “zero off” my current account like I usually do at the end of every month. Normally, my salary and expenses are paid on the same day so it’s very easy to manage where the cash should be sitting. At the whim of my employer however, it can sometimes change!


Entertainment has been fairly high this month, but looking back, quite a big chunk of this was some concert tickets for a band both myself and OH have wanted to see for ages, so totally justified! Also, taking into account this month included both St Patrick’s Day weekend and Easter weekend, it’s not actually that bad at all!


I am still pleasantly surprised by how much I spend on lunches and coffee during work. I think I had this grand idea in the back of my mind that fancy coffees were my downfall. If I could save money by cutting those out I’d be a millionaire!


That’s what they say, right? Bring a packed lunch to work and you’ll be rolling in it! Leave out the lattes and you can retire to the suburbs at 40! Not that easy, unfortunately.


Turns out, that one tiny thing I have to break up the working day is not worth giving up.


On the whole, I’m doing alright really. Realising now that my Money Diaries are probably a bit dull to read. Surely for most people, the exciting thing about Refinery29 Money Diaries is when you get someone who spends money like you could never afford to?!


However, and this may just be me, I do love to see reports from people earning a similar wage to me, I like to see how different people prioritise their spending, how that same wage can result in a huge variety in lifestyles across different areas of the country/world.

It’s also interesting to see how people live within their means, and by that, I mean that when their salary goes up, so do their outgoings. Even those who are earning twice or three times as much as I am, often still seem to be struggling or pinching pennies in one area or another.


This is something which I think happens almost unintentionally. I know personally, in the past, I have been in the situation where I have just had to live off pennies. And I got by. Now, on the wage I am earning, I can’t imagine how I would deal if I was earning less. However, in saying that, less than 2 year ago I did take a hefty pay cut for a new job, and that worked out fine.


It’s very easy to say that if I earned more, I would save more, but in reality, is that how I would do it? I am gunning for a pay rise at the end of this year, and the plan is that any extra income will be paid straight towards my mortgage principal, and I’ll carry on living off and saving the same as I do now.


I’d love to hear others opinions on increased earnings vs outgoings. Has anyone else done similar to what I hope to do, and just acted as though they never had a pay rise?


I suppose it comes down to “keeping up with the Joneses,” opting for the bigger house, the better car, the nicer clothes. These just aren’t things that have ever appealed to me. I grew up in an extremely low income household and have never had expensive clothes. When I got my first job and had a bit of pocket money to spend on whatever I liked, I did splurge a bit on clothes, but very quickly realised that past a certain price point, you are no longer paying for quality, you are paying for the label.


As far as having a big house is concerned, I am happy to have been able to purchase any house at my age, and while I do want to upsize at some stage, I don’t want no mansion y’all! When I see a huge house I’m like “Yeah it’s beautiful….but imagine having to clean this!”

Always thinking practically!


And nice cars, don’t even go there, despite having been driving since I was 19, now 29, and never having had an accident, I still don’t fully trust myself as a driver! Just another area of life in which I refuse to accept adulthood.

If I had a nice car you can bet your bottom dollar that I would have my first accident within about 5 minutes. Murphy’s’ Law!


From May onwards is where I’m really interested to see my spending, and generally over the whole summer. This is when I travel most with work, I spend very little time at home or working from my office, so in theory, a lot of my costs should drop quite significantly. I’m thinking groceries and lunch. I usually end up running out of clean clothes while away from home though, and a last minute Primark trip is often on the cards. So there’s a good chance my spending will just shift from one category to another.


I feel like I am getting very off topic, I’ll wrap this up here otherwise I may ramble for days.

I said it last month, but I would still love to compare my spending with someone of a similar age/salary. Can someone even tell me if I am spending a silly amount of money in any one area?!

3 thoughts on “Money Diaries XL: March Review

  1. We make similar, right?! I’m sure converting pounds to American money would put us in the same category 🙂 BUT, I do combine my finances with my spouse. That’ll skew the comparison, so I’m getting excited for nothing 😦
    I, too, thought once I’d make more I’d save more. BAHA. Once our incomes went up, I got a new car… with a car payment… so dumb. I like to think this was “pre smart steph” phase.
    Now, I’m working overtime, and I’m happy to say the extra income does get funneled into investing or savings! I’ve learned my lesson with this car note.
    I’m excited to see your Summer Edition! It sounds like your job gets even more exciting (how is that possible?!?!) If you guys are hiring, let me know 😉


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