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!*
When I was in primary school, my teacher banned us from using the word “nice” to describe anything in our work. I have been trying to think of a different word to use in its place to describe my week, but I really can’t.
I’m sorry, Mrs McGuinness, but my week was really very nice.
I have been more content with myself than I have in some time, I’ve wrapped up two big projects at work, which have been in the works since the beginning of the year. These had been particularly stressing me out after being ill last week and not feeling up to getting much work done.
My company is buying over another smaller company and I have been working behind the scenes on new structures and procedures as we will be branching into a couple of geographical areas which we don’t currently operate in.
It’s all been very exciting and finally, the cat is out of the bag and it’s all hands on deck!
Aside from that, I’ve had a visit from my friend with her newborn baby, who is just the tiniest cutest most squidgy wee thing I have ever seen and I think I’m in love! I’m not usually the broody type, maybe it’s the thought of my 30th birthday looming over me!
I also had a full weekend off work, so myself & OH went to a gig. It was kind of cheating as it was a gig run by my company, but that meant we had free tickets, free accommodation on site (it was a 2 hour drive from home) and access to the backstage catering and drinks.
Lots of great free entertainment this week, but I’ve still managed to do my fair share of spending…
Weekly Spending Review – The Breakdown:
Bills: £0.79 – This is just my ICloud storage fee for the month, very rare a week goes by that I don’t have a few bills to pay so this has been a nice change!
Groceries: £17.49 – I’ve tried out a Gousto box this week, which I absolutely love! It can be quite pricey when you think of it, but I tend to order when they have special offers on. The box is usually £35 for 4 meals for 2 people, but I got this one half price.
For me, the best thing about these meal boxes is that I don’t have to spend all day thinking about dinner! Usually, the dinner planning process begins first thing in the morning, and we often don’t end up eating until around 9pm as it takes us so long after work to decide on what we want!
This week, I’ve had a halloumi burger & smoked fish gratin which have both been super tasty! I’ve got a chickpea curry and a vegetable miso dish left to try this week and I am actually excited to eat it all.
If you’re thinking of giving these a go, you can get 50% off your first two boxes if you sign up using my link. (If you are coupled up or have a friend who wants to get in on the action, you can then refer them and double up on your goodies!)
Expenses/Car Expenses: £0 – I’ve only had to travel one day this week and it was relatively close to home, so my car didn’t need filling. I should have had a £4 toll bridge charge included here but since I forgot to pay that on time, that, (likely along with the impending £80 fine!) will be among next weeks payments. While I silently scream in my head everytime I think about it.
Lunch: £15.10 – This seems quite high considering I didn’t even have any very exciting lunches this week. The cold weather has returned so I have upped my coffee/tea/hot chocolate intake to compensate, this is probably the main reason for this!
I have mentioned one of the venues that I work with before, which is located in the grounds of a university. I adore my cheap lunches there! This week when I visited, I had a baked potato with tuna and salad plus a bottle of apple juice for £2.59. How does that even work?! Not complaining, mind you. A word of warning to the students – appreciate this while you can!
Entertainment: £47.03 – I had a pretty quiet week really, my weekday evenings were all rather dull and filled with work and generally chilling out on my sofa. My friend came to visit with her new little baby, they live across the country but her fiance’s parents live in the same city as me, so I get to see them quite often as they visit loads.
I had already got a bundle of gifts for the Wee One so didn’t spend any extra on this, but we did pop out for a sneaky beer while she slept and OH very cautiously hovered over the top of her for 60 minutes straight in case she disappeared into thin air or a cat appeared out of nowhere and sat on her face or some other equally ridiculous disaster. I treated, it’s the least I could did considering she has just recently squeezed a watermelon out of her vagina.
The rest of this spending was at the weekend when we went to a gig (Brian Wilson, literally a dream of mine to see him! He is amazing and every bit the gentleman you would hope for!).
We had pretty much all of our costs covered through the show, we ate and drank backstage and I nabbed us a room in the staff accommodation on site too.
As usual though, a couple of hours after the show ended the stage crew were starting to flag, so I volunteered to take one for the team and do the Beers & Ciggies run. On most of the events I oversee, I make sure to get a case of beer in for my crew finishing up at the end of the night so I think when they saw me appear on site (regardless of me not working!) they were all secretly hoping for the same treatment.
Clothes: – £9.64 – My refund came in from my Adidas shop recently, and of course, instead of just taking the money and running, I went shopping for clothes! I’m still technically in the minus figures, my refund was around £66 and I spent £57ish.
I’m pretty pleased with my purchases though, and should hopefully get a lot more wear out of them than I would have one with my running gear (hahahahahahaha!)
I’ve been after a coat similar to this one for ages so I’m happy to have picked it up using a discount code too!
Toiletries/Beauty: £30.55 – This was actually more of a “Health” spend than beauty, but I will lump it all in together here as “Personal Care”. I’m trying to shift a bad cough at the minutes, so picked up a cough bottle for that, as well as collecting a repeat prescription. I also bought some eye drops as I have always been cursed with dry, sensitive eyes. Now that I spend half my day looking at a laptop screen, it’s only getting worse. I live for my eye drops!
Takeaways: £0 – There is a very good chance we would have succumbed to our weakness on Sunday, but I had made up a pasta bake before we left for the gig on Saturday and we had loads left over. It was actually quicker and less effort to heat that up than to order a takeaway.
Travel: £0 – Nada, I rarely spend much on travel as I either walk or drive everywhere and this is usually covered within my car expenses.
Gifts/Charity: £0 – I have actually technically donated £30 last week, but the payment has not yet left my account. Some of my family are raffling off a ticket for the All Ireland Football Final next weekend in memory of my grandad, with proceeds going to the local hospice charity. Since none of them have a clue how to “do the internet” (actual quote from my aunt), I have volunteered to run some Facebook promotions for them.
I couldn’t possibly take money off them for this, so have told them to consider this my donation!
The post is still running currently so I assume I won’t be paying for it until the end of this week, or possibly even next week.
Misc: £3.99 – I’ve become totally obsessed with Marian Keyes books again. I’ve read all of her books several times over the years, but have just rediscovered them and I’m engrossed! I’ve got all of the books in my Mams house in Ireland, but have bought one on iTunes this week to read on my phone. I’m unsure where to categorise this really, I don’t buy books for myself very often, I get lots given to me as gifts and swap and share loads with family and friends too. “Misc” seemed appropriate as it’s not something I buy often…
To be Returned on Expenses: £0
Actual Spends: £129.75
I’m pretty happy with this week!
So as always, let’s look at the downsides before I justify them to myself and head off happy in the knowledge that I’m a model money spender (HA!)
I did not need that new coat. I have got a winter coat. This is not even a winter coat. That’s how I’ll justify this purchase actually.
I don’t have a coat for the inbetweeny seasons stage. When it’s not quite cold enough to be fully wrapped up, but you need more than your light jacket? Bingo! Now I do!
The meal box is a bit of a sticking point among myself and my friends. Some of us are totally on their side, some of the other can’t believe we would be so lazy as to not even bother preparing our own meals.
You can guess which camp is full of “nine to fivers” and which, like me, is made up of those who do not have regular working hours. As I mentioned above, I spend a lot of my day just thinking about what to eat.
OH and I argue about this all the time. I spend all day in work making decisions and calling the shots. Sometimes, I’d like to get home and just be told what I am eating.
None of this “I’ll have anything, what would you like?”, “No I really don’t mind it’s up to you.”, “Well at least tell me what kind of thing you want!”, “But we had rice yesterday” and “ I don’t mind, whatever you fancy!”
It honestly saves me time, sanity and arguments.
Also, given that I don’t normally buy these boxes at full price, if you can show me your 8 meals for £17.50, I’ll hold my hands up and admit fault! And probably still go for a Gousto box as they measure out the ingredients for you too.
I am justifying this one hard!
So my question to you is: What are your thoughts? I know a lot of my readers are US based but I assume you have a similar meal box delivery service. I am very well aware that I could buy all of this and measure ingredients in advance myself but again…time!
This week, I’ve been reading:
The Frugal Fellow: Why Early Retirement isn’t for Everyone – Bob raises some really great points in this post, which I hadn’t thought of before. For me, I am aiming for Financial Independence. I’m still not sure on the Retiring Early part of FIRE, but it’s early days yet, and I would like to have the option!
Emma Drew: 10 Ways to Support Bloggers – There is such a great community within PF bloggers, and I like to show my support where I can! It’s the little things that count for every single blogger out there, one share, one like can make all the difference!