Money Diary: A Week In Copenhagen On A 43k Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
Today, a ghost-chilli hot dog-addicted copywriter in Copenhagen who gets a major surprise.
Occupation: Copywriter at a digital media agency
Industry: Media
Age: 26
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Salary: £37,500 is my base salary, plus freelance work rounds it up to about £43,000, annually
Paycheque amount per month: £2,006 after taxes (which are very high in Denmark)
Number of housemates: Two (my boyfriend and another girl)
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: £245 (our two-bedroom apartment is £980 per month, which is very cheap, because my family owns the apartment. I split the cost of one room with my boyfriend and then we pay all of the utilities between us.)
Utilities: £24 (£48 split with my boyfriend, and he pays an additional £32 for the internet, because I pay the same for our gym passes.)
Transportation: £45 for a monthly bus card.
Phone bill: £24 for 20G of data! Data is super-cheap in Denmark.
Savings: £245 (I’m planning a big move, so it’s very high lately.)
Groceries: ~£120
Student loan: Varies, but the minimum amount is £32 per month.
Total: £767
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Day One

8am: I eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with milk and chug a cup of instant coffee with a splash of milk. I love the taste of instant coffee and my boyfriend thinks I’m a disgrace, because he’s a European espresso nerd, but it’s way too bitter for me. Need all the sugar.

8.30am: I’m very proud of myself, because I remember to make a lunch. My office provides daily catering but I opted out this month, because it costs around £80, which they take directly out of our paycheques. I make a tuna sandwich with avocado and pack an apple. I already had everything.

9am: I take the bus to work, which is already paid for by my monthly card, but it expires today, so I’ll have to renew it tomorrow.

2pm: I’ve eaten my packed lunch but I still feel hungry. I go and take the work leftovers from the fridge and hope no one notices.

5.30pm: I take the bus home.

7pm: Getting food delivered is extremely expensive, but I have a craving for ramen and the place I like is having a 20% discount on delivery, so I cave. I get a vegan ramen for me (I'm not vegan, just easily swayed when I have the option) and a pork ramen for my boyfriend. It takes two hours to deliver and costs £32. Ouch.

Daily Total: £32
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Day Two

8am: I have my Honey Nut Cheerios with milk again and instant coffee.

9am: I remember to bring food, but don’t have enough time to “make” it. I bring a can of tuna, an avocado, and an apple for lunch.

9.30am: I get on the bus and remember my monthly card is expired. I have an app where I can pay through my phone, so I do that quickly and shamefully, because the bus driver hates waiting. £45, calculated in monthly expenses.

5.30pm: My lunch was weird and I’m starving, so I pop into the 7-Eleven that is dangerously close to my bus stop and buy a hot dog. A ghost-chilli hot dog with chilli ketchup, to be exact. It should cost £3, but I use my "frequent hotdog eater card". It’s my seventh one, so it’s free. I wish I was joking.

7pm: I do a 30-minute workout in my living room to a YouTube video, because I can’t be bothered to walk five minutes to the gym.

9pm: My boyfriend gets home and we smoke a couple bowls. Weed is about £12 per gram here and a gram lasts us about a month. This particular bag, however, we found in the basket of a bicycle outside of our apartment. So... £0

10pm: We eat too many helpings of spaghetti and tomato sauce from the cupboard for dinner.

Daily Total: £0
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Day Three

7am: I roll out of bed and walk five minutes to the gym. I’ve already prepaid for the month, but every time I go in, I end up splurging in the vending machines. This morning, I get a ginseng energy iced tea. £2.40

9am: I take the bus to work and realise I forgot lunch. I stop at 7-Eleven on my way into the office and buy a tuna sandwich. I should have gotten more creative, since that’s what I would have made for myself anyway, but I always stress out about food selections and end up going with the familiar. £4.25

5pm: I ditch work a little early and go shopping. I need some nude heels and I find the perfect pair at Aldo. £48

6.30pm: Take the bus home.

8pm: Boyfriend makes green pesto pasta with salmon and lemon for dinner, his favourite dish and his treat!

Daily Total: £54.65
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Day Four

9am: I wake up very late for work to a thunder-and-hailstorm in the middle of summer. I skip breakfast.

9.45am: I run into 7-Eleven and grab a sugar-free Red Bull and a ham-and-cheese sandwich. £8.52 (seriously).

11am: I drink a cup of tea from work.

1pm: I steal a piece of cake. (Thursday is cake day at work.)

5.30pm: I take the bus home from work. A really sweaty young guy sits next to me and I’m annoyed, because there are plenty of empty seats on the bus.

7pm: My boyfriend gets home with food shopping. I asked him to get stuff to make breakfast burritos for dinner, because I have a bunch of avocados that are going to go bad soon. He buys tortillas, coriander, salsa, eggs, and three different kinds of frozen, fried snack food for our munchies later (mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, jalapeño poppers). Total is £29.62 and I offer to split it, but he says no because I paid for that overpriced ramen earlier in the week.

Daily Total: £8.52
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Day Five

8.30am: It’s Friday, so I woke up way too late for work to go to the gym. I don’t want to go to work at all, because I won tickets for a big festival that’s been going on all week and I wanted to go up on Friday, since it's ending Sunday.

9.30am: I grab an apple on my way to work. I’m so late.

11.30am: The catered lunch is in the office, which I opted out of this month to save that money, but there is SO MUCH extra food. I cave and just eat the work’s lunch — I am the worst! Nobody notices or cares. This could be dangerous!

3.30pm: I boldly go back for seconds, because I just got told I’ll have to stay late for a meeting.

4pm: My boyfriend shows up at work with roses and tells me that I actually don’t have a meeting, he had my coworkers lie to me, because he wanted to surprise me and take me out and he knew I’d leave.

5pm: MY BOYFRIEND PROPOSES TO ME IN A PARK. There were picnic blankets, rose petals, champagne, and cheese. I’m over the moon!

8pm: We go for dim sum and cocktails for dinner. We are running late for the reservation he made, so we take an Uber. I pay. £14.66

8.15pm: I order a cocktail and wonton soup, my boyfriend orders a beer and wonton soup, and we share pork dumplings and duck spring rolls. The bill comes out at £55.73 (you don’t tip in Denmark) and we would have split it, but he won £60 betting on football, so he treats.

10pm: Our friends are waiting for us at a nearby beer-and-barbecue restaurant to celebrate. We pop bottles of fancy beer to celebrate our engagement. I don’t really like beer, so I get a gin and tonic. £10

11pm: We head to a dance club and shake it to some funky house all night. Someone buys both my fiancé and I gin and tonics to say congrats. We accept!

2am: We take an Uber home. I pay again. £19.55

Daily Total: £44.21
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Day Six

11am: We slept in late, because it’s Saturday and we’re hungover and engaged! We’re going to the festival today, which is the last day. We’ll see New Order and LCD Soundsystem! Yas. This means we’ll need to pick up some essentials before we head up.

12pm: We eat eggs and toast for breakfast and call around in order to procure some narcotics.

2pm: I buy another ghost-chilli hot dog with chilli ketchup, because I have no pride or shame. £3

3pm: We buy a gram each of blow and MDMA. The blow is a steal at £60 for a gram and the Molly is pretty standard price at £50 for a gram. We’ll share with people later, so we don’t mind fronting. My half is £55, but my friends pay me £35 back, so £20.

4.30pm: We share an Uber to the festival with two other girls and split the flat fare, which is a special specifically for the festival. My part is £15.26.

5pm: Festival time! One of the girls we rode up with has an artist pass, so she gets everyone a round of free whisky sours.

6pm: I buy a mint gin and tonic, this will be the second and last drink I have tonight. Once I start taking anything else, I usually just drink water. £10

7pm: We see New Order and it is amazing!!

9pm to 2am: This time is just a big blur basically of dancing and music, laughing, smoking, and fun. We see Mø, Shades, Immortal Technique, and LCD Soundsystem.

2am: My best friend and I are the first ones that want to leave. We split an Uber back and let the boys stay and party on. £30.55

2.30am: I shouldn’t be hungry, but am desperately craving salty water, so I boil rice in a little too much chicken broth then squirt Sriracha on it and throw in a few basil leaves. I text my friend a photo of my “rice soup” and we both think it looks very legit.

Daily Total: £78.81
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Day Seven

11am: We are jelly-based rubbish humans. Fiancé got home around 6am, so we will not be doing anything productive today.

7pm: Literally nothing to report before this. At 7, we finally manage to get dressed and go for a walk. We find a little Thai restaurant and decide to sit there and have dinner. I have a large tom yum soup and he has a duck dish with rice. We split the bill, my total is £12.20.

Daily Total: £12.20.
8 of 8
Weekly Total: £230.39.

Editor's Note: All prices have been converted to GBP.

Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women’s experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29’s point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour.
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