Money Diaries: 30th April – 6th May - Money Diaries May 6th - Inspired by Refinery29

Throughout 2018, I will be tracking every last penny I spend, and sharing it here weekly. I’m a (late) twenty-something lady, living in the North of England with my Other Half, commonly referred to as OH. I travel regularly for work, and often spend more time on the motorway than in my own home, which can often account for my fluctuating Car Expenses and entirely random Grocery costs!  By the end of the year, I’m hoping to have a better overview of where my money goes to each month, and have a realistic retirement savings plan in place (as well as the many other savings plans I have in my head, but you can read more about that here). You can also read the full series of my money diaries here.I’ve built myself a personal money tracker spreadsheet, I am armed with my bank statements and a monthly budget spreadsheet and I am ready to rock!*

(*Input data)

In a week where the Tories “won” an election by losing 33 councillors, North & South Korea shook hands and Donald Trump considers “closing up” the USA, I have managed to spend over £1000.

I know, right?

Everything is on it’s head!

I have had a pretty busy week, catching up at work after having a couple of days off and also preparing to have some more time off next week.

I’ve also been to a concert with OH on Saturday night, although we had to call it an early night and leave as soon as the performance finished as he was working super early the next morning. As much as I wanted to stay out and enjoy the post-gig atmosphere, this was probably for the best, as I also had lots to do the following day!

And another busy couple of weeks coming up, myself and OH are off to spend a week in the countryside with his family to celebrate his dad’s 60th Birthday. Between now and us leaving on Friday, both of our schedules are jam packed, so I’ve had to try and squeeze in some holiday shopping this weekend while OH was working. Before that, I’m also travelling with work for one night.

We are still pretty disorganised though, we have yet to pick him up a gift, and his grandmothers birthday also falls within the same week…as well as his sister having just gotten engaged a few weeks back, so we have got a lot of gift buying to do!

Weekly Spending Review – The Breakdown:

Bills: £692.96 -Like most people, the first week of the month is always the most expensive for bills, all but two of my direct debits come out between 1st – 6th. I prefer that though to having them spread out, as I’d rather just get rid of each payment as soon as my salary hits my account.

This now means that my mortgage, all utilities, council tax and phone bill are sorted for the month, leaving me with just another £75 to pay out at the end of the month.

Groceries: £28.70 – Instead of my weekly “big shop”, I’ve done a “mini big shop” (medium shop?) as we are leaving early Friday morning to drive the 5 hours to our cottage in Wales. With only having 4 dinners to account for until then, I’ve been strict with sticking to a meal plan when shopping.

I’ve got the ingredients to make a vegetable pasta bake, which will last us for two days, and will use any leftover veg to whip up with some fried rice or noodles which should cover us both for one nights dinner, plus OH for the night I am away. On Thursday, I’m planning to use a voucher we have for a free Dominos pizza, to cut down on cooking and cleanup time.

We will inevitably leave all packing and preparations until the last minute, so this is my way of planning in some damage control!

Expenses/Car Expenses: £18.97 – I spotted a laminator in Aldi and picked it up for the office as it’s one of those things we forget we need! This was a great deal, and came with loads of laminating pouches, so I had to take it.

Lunch: £17.90 – I spent 2 days working from my office this week, and this covers coffees and meals for both. It’s made me realise that I would never be able to afford to eat lunch like this if I worked there 5 days a week, I’d be hitting £40-£50 per week easily! Hurrah for work-from-home days!

Entertainment: £61.95 – At the weekend, I went to a concert which OH had bought me ticket for at Christmas. Despite it technically being my present, I ended up paying for drinks and our dinner out as OH had forgotten his wallet! Convenient…

Clothes: £60.07  – This takes into account a £47 refund I received for a pair of gutties/trainers/sneakers (however you like to say it!) which I bought a couple of months ago and only just got around to returning…

I picked up quite a bit really, some t-shirts in H&M for both myself & OH, and a few summers bits for me, as I basically live in black shirts/jumpers and jeans. I’ve gone to the opposite end of the scale and probably my favourite buy was this YELLOW top! I know, yellow!

A couple of months ago I was given a university email address from one of the venues I work with. I only needed it to access their internal server, but of course I took advantage and sorted myself out with a student discount card. I ended up saving around £30 on my clothes shopping using that.

I totally did not fully appreciate student discounts when I was a legit student!

Toiletries/Beauty: £53.54 – Another bigger than usual expense, but also includes quite a bit. I’ve stocked up on hair dye and makeup and general toiletries, as well as buying extras so I can keep a wash bag packed for travelling over the summer. I’ve changed the name of this category as I am only just getting round to paying for my first waxing session of the year*, and didn’t think this really fitted into a “toiletries” category. I have yet to have a haircut this year, and to be honest, it’ll probably be another month or so before I bother, but when I do, I’ll also include that here.

Takeaways: £16.40 – I’d hoped not to have any takeaways this week, but we went for a walk on the beach near our house one evening and pretty much couldn’t resist the fish & chip van. Not a great excuse but hey ho.

Travel: £6 – I paid for our Uber to the concert, OH paid for the trip home.

Gifts/Charity: £79.23 – This is a new category, as I realised I donated and spent quite a bit on gifts this week, and it’s an expense I really should be tracking seperate to my own outgoings. A few weeks ago, my best friend announced that him and his wife are expecting their first baby! I’m super excited for them as I know they have been hoping for this since getting married two years ago. I picked up a couple of bits for them this week, including this cute journal, Q and A a Day for Mothers. I’ve bought this for a few other friends in the past and they have all loved it, it’s just something a little bit different to the usual Baby Books!

As well as this gift, I also donated £30 to a friends fundraising campaign. Last year, a mutual friend of ours had a pretty major stroke, and it’s left him in need of hugely expensive rehab therapy. Despite not yet having his memory or speech back, he is due to leave hospital in the coming weeks, after which all rehab will be a cost the family are liable for. He is a very well known and loved chap, so we have no doubt that we’ll be able to raise enough to make the situation a little bit easier on him and his family.

Misc: £3.99 – So with my summer events all about to kick off, I obviously need to buy some nice new stationery to see me through. I spotted this  Motivational Notebook on Amazon while I was browsing for gifts earlier in the week I couldn’t resist buying it!

(bargain though, at £3.99!)

Total: £1063.02

To be Returned on Expenses: £18.97

Actual Spends: £1042.05

I’m a little disappointed in myself this week, while I’m usually really good at justifying shopping trips to myself, putting it down here in black and white has gotten me a bit annoyed.

I’ve worked out that of the money I spent, around £200 of this was spent on non essentials. So when I take my bills out of the equation, I am left with £345 spent. Approx £150 was on essentials such as groceries, travel, basic toiletries etc. and I consider gifts and charity giving an essential expense in this instance. It’s certainly not something I will beat myself up over!

Looking at it like that, I suppose I haven’t really done terribly. With this £200, I’ve got my hair dye in for another few months, make up & additional toiletries for traveling through the summer. Both myself & OH now have actual presentable summer clothes.

The takeaway and eating out were unnecessary, but now I’ve talked myself down to only having to beat myself up over £35 rather than £1000, I’m just going to let that one slide.

* I have had a waxing session, but it was paid for in full before Christmas! - Money Diaries Week 15 May 6th

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