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!*
This week, I’ve been mostly trying to just settle down and get myself back to normal after having been away from home for so long. It’s been fairly dull by all accounts, I’ve thrown myself head first back into work and spent a lot of time catching up on all of the blogs I’ve missed while I was away.
I’ve been enjoying getting back into the swing of blogging and having a little break, regardless of through choice or not, has definitely got my creative juices flowing! I’ve got tonnes of ideas for various blogs jotted down and approximately 428 half drafted posts waiting to be finished.
Now i just need to extra hours in my day to turn this all into something someone may actually want to read…
Despite what was actually a pretty quiet week, I’ve still managed to spend a fair chunk of money. The first week of the month is always expensive with lots of bill payments, but I can’t use that as an excuse, I’ve overspent! I’ve well overspent!
Weekly Spending Review – The Breakdown:
Bills: £526 – See, I really can’t use this as my excuse this week, I’ve only paid my mortgage and Gas/Electricity bills!
I’m still finding myself dead impressed with the savings my new boiler has provided me with, as this month we literally used zero gas. Not one bit. Since I’m on a set amount direct debit payment, I am now around £100 in credit on my utilities account. This should help out when it comes winter, I like to have the apartment as hot as the Bahamas. There’s also a £3 fee for one of my bank accounts included in this total.
Groceries: £27.60 – After having been away from home for so long, I’ve been on a bit of a healthy eating and home cooking mission to make up for lost time. I find it really hard to keep a good balanced diet in place when I’m away from home as I’m usually staying in hotels and relying on event catering or whatever I can find to takeaway. When I do get to spend some time in my own home then, I am always bursting to whip up a storm in the kitchen!
As usual, I picked up the bulk of our meal ingredients in one shopping trip and OH supplemented with fresh bits through the week as we needed them.
Expenses/Car Expenses: £48.61 – I managed to drive my car until the fuel light came on again. Normally, I’m so anxious about things that as soon as I hit the last bar on my gauge, I fill up straight away. I do realise that none of this makes any difference at all to what money I actually end up spending in the long run, but this is kind of a proud moment for me!
Lunch: £11.20 – Despite being in my office for 4 days, I managed to keep my spending very low. I had lunch with a friend one day and he treated, as I paid last time. It’s been weeks since i’ve seen him as we’ve both been so busy with work and he’s just come back from holidays. He was in Barcelona, which is one of my favourite cities in the world, if you get a chance to visit, jump at it!
Another day, I ordered my toastie and was chatting with the bar staff when the chef stuck his bloody hand out of the kitchen hatch, he had chopped the tip of his finger off while making my toastie! I obviously jumped straight in the car and ran him to A&E, where, after a 4 hour wait, they managed to get it patched up for him.
On my return to work, I was hailed a hero and given a free lunch and coffees all day for my assistance. Really, I did what anyone else would do if someone stuck a hand leaking that much blood in their face. But I’m not one to say no to a free cheese toastie…
I also brought lunch from home with me one day (leftover sticky soy cauliflower and rice, so freakin’ tasty!)
Entertainment: £42.08 – I went to two barbecues at the weekend, I think everyone is trying to make the most of the nice weather before it inevitably breaks and we spend the rest of our summer in raincoats. I made up some side dishes to take along, potato salad, pasta salads and couscous etc. and also some vegetarian bits for BBQing, because no one ever thinks of that!
We had a full bottle of spiced rum at home which we took along for the first BBQ on Saturday, saving us a few quid on yet more alcohol. Sunday was more of a wine day, so I picked up a bottle on offer and OH bought himself some beers.
Aside from this, my week has been fairly boring. There are a couple of new bars opened next to my office which is in a really up and coming area of the city (hence why it’s so cheap, a lot of people comment on how cheaply I can eat & drink in and around work!) so I’ve been eyeing these up all week. I’ve managed to keep myself in check though and I’m trying to cut out my midweek drinking which I’m hoping will save me a little bit of money!
Clothes: £0 – I totally resisted the urge to pop in to Topshop while out shopping at the weekend! I thought I had lost a pair of my current favourite flat, everyday, plain and boring shoes and was prepared to go buy a new pair of the exact same ones. Another downside to traveling so much, if I can’t find something at home, I can be almost 100% sure it’s been abandoned in a hotel room somewhere halfway across the country, never to be seen again.
Conveniently, as I was grabbing my bag from the back seat right outside the store, I spotted my shoes hidden under a coat. I always keep a raincoat in the car and I’d worn the shoes for driving to a meeting last week before changing into my heels when I arrived, so I had totally forgotten about them!
Secretly very thankful, as I know I would never have been able to just pick up those shoes and nothing else in the store.
Toiletries/Beauty: £68.05 – I really do try to cut back my spending in this category, but everything is just so expensive! I had to do an online Mac order to pick up my foundation, there’s £25 before we even start on the rest.
I don’t use particularly expensive, big name products, I just use what I know I like. I have stocked up quite a bit though in fairness, and if the stash of exfoliator and face wash doesn’t last me for at least 3 months, I’ll need to start worrying.
This also includes my hair dye for next time round and some general toiletries, shower gel, toothpaste etc.
Takeaways: £0 – OH tried to tempt me with a chinese takeaway, but I resisted and made up a home-cooked fried rice chock full of veg. Far tastier and healthier than anything you get in a takeaway!
Travel: £47.35 – I paid for our Uber to and from our friends house on Saturday. On Sunday, we got the train there and OH paid for the Uber home.
I also booked some flights back to Ireland for a weekend in September as it’s both mine and my grannies birthdays within a couple of weeks of each other.
I know I bring this up all the time, but I’m just going to do it again…
Return flights from England to Ireland: £24.46.
Return Uber from one side of town to the other: £22.89
How?! And also, bless you, Ryanair. As much as people slate these for their awful business practices and general piss taking, for as long as they will fly me home to Ireland for less than the cost of a takeaway pizza, I will stick with them.
I don’t expect to be able to take a suitcase the size of a small country when I’ve paid £11 for my flight. For that price, I don’t even necessarily expect it to be on time to be honest!
Gifts/Charity: £51 – I’ve sent some flowers this week to OH’s mum, who had a bad fall from her horse over the weekend and spent 3 night sin hospital. She’s home now and on the mend, but feeling rather delicate.
His family live around a 5-6 hour drive from where we live, so although it’s at least in the same country, it’s often much cheaper and quicker for me to fly home to my family than it is for him to see his. So a flower delivery has had to make up for our lack of physical presence!
I also chipped £10 in to a group present for a friend whose wife is about to give birth to their first baby. I’ve already started buying them bits of their gift and have been for around 4 months now, but I didn’t want to be left out of the group hamper too!
Sidenote, if anyone has a friend about to become a parent, I have bought both this “Q and A a Day for Mothers” for pretty much every new mother who has ever entered my life (and a pair of baby Converse because I just can’t deal with how cute they are)! The first friend I bought the book for absolutely loved it, and when she was done with breastfeeding we had a great night over a bottle of wine reading some of her hilarious notes! Warning: You may be unable to show this to your child until they turn 18 themselves.
To be Returned on Expenses: £48.61
Actual Spends: £773.28
Ooh this hasn’t been a great week, has it?! Even knocking off my £520 of bills here, it’s still too much to be spending in one week! I keep focusing on my makeup and toiletries spending, but I know that if I was buying things as I needed rather than stocking up, I would be spending just as much, it would just be more spread out.
At least this way, I’ve got one really bad week, but I know I can turn it around from here on in for the rest of the month. I don’t have any big plans for this week or next, there is no reason at all for me to be spending a lot of money, so I know I should be able to reign it in.
On the plus side, my online order of sports gear hasn’t arrived yet so I’ve still got a great excuse to not go for a run.
This week, I’ve been reading (and secretly celebrating along with these guys!):
Simplistic Steph: From £38k in Student Loans to 6 Figure Net Worth – If you hadn’t noticed, I love reading about other people’s money! Steph & her husband have recently tipped the £100k net worth mark, so I’m looking forward to her monthly updates to see where they go from here!
Millennial Boss: I Hit £3000 per month! July 2018 Side Income Report – I’ve been keeping up with J’s side income reports for so long that I feel like her hitting this milestone means that I deserve a treat. Thanks, J!
The Frugal Cottage: How to Save Money When it Feels Like You Can’t – If you’ve read my latest Financial Goals Review, you’ll know I’ve been feeling a bit of a failure recently due to my lack of saving. It’s quite nice to see established bloggers, like Nicola, who still post about the same struggles I feel, it provides a bit of motivation when I’m thinking I’m totally rubbish!