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!*
Given that I wrote last week’s post from the pub, I might have done a good job of making it sound like I had a relaxed time of it. I did not. It had to have been one of the least relaxing weeks of my life. I was out working on an event we run every year, same weekend, same venue, same mistakes made each time. It’s just one of those venues that is challenging, to say the least. The simplest of jobs become a huge deal.
That mostly explains why I was drinking wine in the middle of the day to begin with!
Also, this week, I experienced a real life genuinely sexist person. I had hoped these were a myth. I sacked him on day one and the look on his face told me he clearly hadn’t realised before making the comments he did that I would be his manager for the week.
Because I’ve been away with work, as I was hoping, I haven’t really had much time for spending money. There was the wine, obviously, but all of my food & drink is expensed when I am travelling, so I’m only covering the cost of a few drinks I forgot to keep a receipt for. I’ve come to an agreement with my manager that this particular event is so difficult, that wine is actually a work related necessity.
So…what did I spend then?
Weekly Spending Review – The Breakdown:
Bills: £510 – This week was my mortgage payment and service charge for my apartment building. I pay £60 each month towards the upkeep of the communal areas in the building and garden. I really don’t mind this, I think it’s a reasonable amount to pay, especially considering my building is small, only 6 apartments, and we have a beautiful garden. I can definitely see where my money is going and all of the apartment owners have a great relationship.
When I was house hunting, I was coming across some very reasonably priced apartments in larger buildings, but all were subject to an extortionate service charge, some were around £200! There is no way that money was going back into the buildings either, with no outside space it was very difficult to see where it was actually being spent.
Groceries: £11.24 – I was under no illusion this week that I would be buying any nice healthy food or cooking any nice dinners. This “grocery” shop was actually nothing more than various cheese and some crackers. That was my dinner the day I finally arrived home and I have never been more satisfied with a meal in my life!
I’m also not planning on doing any sort of a big shop this week, as I am leaving again on Friday (holidays, this time, though!) for another week and don’t want lots of wasted food. We will just pick up little bits we need to keep us going.
Expenses/Car Expenses: £90.78 – This is pretty much all wine, I won’t lie. I had dinner off site one day, and that’s also included, but in general, all of my meals were catered at the venue and I only had to buy my own alcohol.
I’m pretty impressed with how I’ve not filled up my car this week after doing a 450 mile round trip. I was so exhausted when I got in my car to drive home, I completely forgot to make a pit stop at the garage across the road. I only realised around 2 hours later when my diesel gauge was looking pretty low!
In my true frugal fashion, I refused to fill up on the motorway and made it home on the fumes I had left. Since then, I’ve only driven once, and that was coming to my office today. I’ll have to fill up after work as I have another 2-3 hour journey tomorrow.
Lunch: £0 – As with last week, no office days means no fancy lunch! The main thing I miss when I come home from working away is the catering. Even if the food isn’t the best (it’s usually pretty good!), I like having the routine of someone else thinking about my food at a certain time. I get home and wake up every morning wondering who is bringing me my bacon sandwich and what time lunch is served!
Entertainment: £58.86 – The stray round of drinks I mentioned above, since I can never managed to keep a hold of all the receipts I’m supposed to! Plus a rather embarrassing 2 packs of cigarettes. If there was ever going to be a week when I would smoke almost 2 full packs of cigarettes, this was most definitely it. No regrets.
I did realise just how much I drink when I am not at home however, every spare minute of the day seems to be an invitation for beers. It does get pretty boring pretty quickly being away from home and it’s difficult to stay cooped up in a bedroom, usually you will find me in the bar until the last second. I don’t mind this too much I suppose, I don’t drink very much alcohol when I am not away with work so it probably evens out..
My mother would be horrified if she thought this was an average week for me!
Clothes: £0 – So I managed to tear 3 pairs of tights over the space of a week. I planned to replace them with a few dodgy pairs form the garage across the road from my hotel, but didn’t bother when I realised I had just enough pairs to see me through coming home.
I also found out too late that our hotel had a pool/sauna/gym, and so I considered going shopping as soon as I arrived to pick up some gear to take advantage.
Then I reminded myself that I don’t even go to the gym when I’m at home, so why would I pretend to while I’m in the middle of the busiest week of my year?!
I had a word with myself and went to the bar instead.
Toiletries/Beauty: £0 – Nothing this week, but I have got myself booked in for a waxing session tomorrow. I hate how much I need to keep on top of it this time of year! I still haven’t booked a hair appointment. It seems like so much more effort, for some reason. My salon is right in the city centre and I think that’s my problem, I need to find a new one with better parking
Takeaways: £13.40 – OH has also been working away for the past week, he returned home on Sunday and I was still lying in a pile on the sofa pretty much unable to move. We decided against either of us even attempting to stand in front of the cooker, and opted for a takeaway instead. Fish & Chips, absolute winner, so worth it!
Travel: £0 – When I said I was exhausted when I started my drive home and forgot to fill up with diesel…I was genuinely so exhausted I considered just leaving my car and getting a train home. 200 miles. I was prepared to leave my car 200 miles from home because I was too tired to drive. I sucked it up and got through it, but even as I hit the end of the motorway at my town, I was still eyeing up a safe place to abandon my car and get a taxi the rest of the way.
By that stage, I had driven around 195 miles however, and thought it seemed ridiculous to give up there!
Gifts/Charity: £0 – I still haven’t paid for my Mam and Stepdads hotel, which I mentioned last week. They are staying there this weekend so I will have to do it in the next few days! That will be my only gift spending until the end of the month, when I have several family birthdays all come at once.
Misc: £0 – I very rarely have Misc spends these days, which can only be a good thing, I think I’ve done a good job of breaking down my categories so that everything has a place. My spreadsheet has around 25 categories, within the ones I list on my Money Diaries, so there is rarely an item I can’t fit in to one of them.
To be Returned on Expenses: £90.78
Actual Spends: £593.50
Ok, so here I am getting excited about my lack of spending this week, and I’ve actually dropped over £500? But lookit, £510 of that was my bills, so I’ve only really spent like £80 on non essentials.
And of that £80, almost £60 was on totally essential cigarettes and alcohol (sing it!)
Another tenner was spent on, also totally necessary, fish and chips.
I’m happy enough with this, obviously if I hadn’t been so careless, I could have expensed around another £30 of this, but I would almost feel a bit guilty making my work pay for ALL the wine.
This week has started off ok, and I don’t have any plans over the next few days that will involve spending a lot of money (with the exception of my waxing session!). I travel home to Ireland on Friday for a week though and I haven’t really made any plans for the weekend yet, so it could turn out to be an expensive one. I’ve just been given a free coffee in my favourite cafe, as I haven’t been in in a couple of weeks, so there’s £2 saved so far!
Although I plan to buy my new car in England (it’s cheaper!) I’m going to try and get a couple of test drives in with my Mam while I am back home. She likes to feel involved haha! At east it will give me more of an idea of what I am looking at when I do get back to England and actually have time to go car shopping.
I’m still buzzing off this tropical weather we have been having, I can’t quite get used to it as it’s been such a dull, rainy year so far. Working outdoors in 30C was not the easiest, but it was better than the exact same week last year, where I was also working outdoor but it rained from the second I set foot on site until the second I left.
One whole week. Solid rain. I know which one I prefer!