Money Diary: A Digital Editor In Bath On 71.5k

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.
This week we're with a 28-year-old woman who has recently moved to Bath to live with her partner after doing long-distance for almost four years.
"P has always earned more than me so he contributed to my travel costs when I visited him, and paid for most, if not all, our social outings. I now earn around £10k more than he does, so we’ve balanced it out. We’re looking to buy a house in Bristol at the moment as most of P’s friends live there (my friends all live in London or the North) and it’s easier for travelling to work. P is exceptionally good at saving and has enough money for us to buy a house with ease. But I’ve always been very independent and don't like the idea of not contributing, so have offered to pay around a quarter of the deposit and to cover more of the mortgage after the purchase.
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I’m usually quite good with my money, but I do have certain times (when the seasons change) when I buy lots of clothes. I do countless online orders and tell myself I’m redoing my wardrobe. Then end up returning everything that isn’t monotone.
I never talk about money or salary to my friends as I know I earn more than most of them, and I just end up feeling embarrassed. Most of my friends think I earn around £40k and I still get a lot of ‘You’re so lucky with jobs’ or if I point out something I’d like to buy I get, ‘Well, you can afford it’. I have been working since the age of 16, and my first job was flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant, so I don’t think it’s just sheer luck."
Industry: Self-employed digital editor (currently in the finance industry)
Age: 28
Location: Bath
Salary: £71,500
Paycheque amount: Average £5,500 per month although I get paid weekly (£1,375) – I only transfer myself around £1,800 a month and the remainder stays in savings.
Number of housemates: 1 – partner
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £200 – P’s family own several houses and at the moment we live rent-free in one of them. P doesn’t have a mortgage and doesn’t really want me to pay rent. But I pay him £200 because there are still bills like council tax and heating to cover.
Loan payments: £50 for a credit card. I don’t really like using credit cards, but I got one last year to help with credit rating for when we buy a house. I treated myself to a handbag, and now pay a direct debit of £50 to clear this.
Utilities: £0
Transportation: £220 for fuel
Phone bill: £38
Savings: I currently have around £21,000 in savings. I have a separate saving pot whereby if I have any money left out of the £1,800 I pay myself, I put it towards things on my wishlist. These are things I really like, but are quite expensive. On this year’s list I have a leather jacket from All Saints, Russell and Bromley Chelsea boots, and an Apple watch.
Other? Contact lenses £9 but my dad pays for these even though I constantly ask for them to be transferred over (I can’t do it without him present). Gym membership £18
Committee*: £200
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Total: £708
*A committee is an extended family saving pot. Each week, those who can afford to put in an amount they want, for 100 weeks. So how it works: Each week I put in £50, but in week 10, if I need £5,000 for something, I can take the £5,000 out and keep paying my £50 until the 100 weeks are finished. It’s like a short-term, interest-free loan. I took £5,000 around 20 weeks in and paid off my student loan. The committee ends in July.
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Day One

9.20am: Wake up and lie in bed because I’m too tired to move just yet. P and I have planned a day in London to see friends, although he is working this morning.

10am: Get out of bed and make myself tea as I can’t stomach any breakfast yet. As it’s Sunday, and bank holiday weekend, I treat myself to one of my special teabags.

2pm: The morning passes in a complete blur and I realise I haven’t eaten yet, but we really need to leave for London. We’re going to a friend’s house and we said we’d be there at 4pm. I hate being late to anything, so I don’t mention that I’ve not eaten, just drive with the hope that they have some food for us.

4.30pm: No such luck. They offer us tea though, which I gladly accept.

7pm: I’m at Euston station where I was supposed to be meeting a group of friends. They’ve been dropping like flies all day, so in the end, it’s just me and one other guy (my closest friend in the group). He’s going through a breakup, so I let him pick where we should have dinner. Being in London, where the culinary world is my oyster, I’m sad to say that we end up at Nando’s. But I’m so hungry by now that I don’t care. I offer to treat him because he just looks so sad. I order a starter and a main and a drink. He only orders a main and a drink. It comes to £25.45.

8.45pm: Another friend finally joins us and we end up in a bar at the station. They order drinks, and I have a coffee and one of them pays for it. A mutual friend invites us to a members' only club, I’m so excited as I’ve never been to one before. I do a quick Google and it looks amazingly posh and fancy. My friend says he is too sad to go, so I forfeit this daydream and keep drinking my lukewarm coffee.

11.15pm: Head back to east London to pick up the car and P, and we drive back to Bath. En route, my phone pings to tell me my total charge for using the Tube today is £4.80.

3.45am: I’d forgotten how bad the traffic in London can get on a bank holiday weekend, and by the time we get home, I’m famished. I have a glass of milk and a banana and head to bed.

Total: £30.25
2 of 8
Day Two

11am: Wake up late, and have to rush as we have a house viewing in Bristol today. I have a cup of tea as usual while P has Rice Krispies and a protein shake.

12.30pm: House was not what it seemed at all, but we’re in Bristol and it’s ridiculously sunny so we decide to spend the day, making the most of it. We head to Bosco Pizzeria on Whiteladies Road where I treat P to lunch. We have a pizza each and it comes to £21.50. We walk to Swoon after and I have a cannoli and P has ice cream, he pays. We spend the afternoon lazing about Clifton Downs and getting a tan.

4pm: P decides he wants lamb burgers for dinner so we stop by Asda on the way home to pick up ingredients for dinner and our shop for the week. We pick up lamb mince which is on sale so I buy a few extra packs as I can stick them in the freezer, some fish, vegetables, hummus, wholewheat pitta, fruit, some discounted Innocent smoothies as well as what we’d need for the burgers. It comes to £25.05, I pay.

7.30pm: We have the burgers for dinner. I also make little lamb koftas with the extra mince, which I’ll put in pittas with salad and hummus for my lunch tomorrow and Wednesday.

8.30pm: We meet some of P’s friends to go and see the new Avengers film. I’m so excited, I wear my new Avengers T-shirt that P got me as a present a few weeks ago. We watch all the Marvel films together and it's tradition to go to Krispy Kreme beforehand. We get the ‘pick your own dozen’ and as there’s six of us, we get to pick two each. I pick two Nutella ones. The cashier tells P he has a free glazed dozen reward, so we get that too. After NHS discount and the reward it works out at £2 each, but P pays for me. I have a flask of tea too because it’s the best thing for watching a movie.

9pm: I’ve bought the cinema tickets for everyone as I get a corporate discount. It’s £6 each, but one of the other couples tells me P paid for them last time. So once everyone has paid me back, and they’ve covered mine and P’s tickets, it’s free!

11.30pm: The film was amazing, and I only ate one of my four doughnuts. We get home, make lunches, sort clothes for work and go to bed.

Total: £46.55
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Day Three

6.35am: Back to work today! Eyes open, but still have five minutes until my alarm is due to go off. Lie in bed for a few minutes, then turn alarm off so as not to wake P.

7am: Make tea for my flask and pack the lunch I made last night. Also pack two bananas and an oat bar.

8.20am: Get to the car park at work, and luckily there are still some parking spaces. Spend 20 minutes doing my makeup in the car, and turn my phone back on and check my messages while eating my bananas. Ring my mum too as I missed her call yesterday (we speak every single day, even if it’s for a few minutes).

12.10pm: I go for lunch with some colleagues. My lunch is actually pretty good, and waiting in the 10-minute queue for the microwave is worth it. One of the guys suggests we go for a walk, so we head out after eating. It’s not a very scenic walk, but at least I get some fresh air.

3pm: Afternoon sugar pick-me-up. I finish the tea in my flask with my oat biscuits. It’s honestly one of the highlights in my day.

6.15pm: After sitting in traffic for an hour, I make it home. P will be home soon and we’ll be going to the gym. I quickly make my lunch for tomorrow and also prep bits for dinner. Tonight I’m having grilled cod which I left in a spice marinade overnight, with hasselback potatoes.

6.40pm: Down a glass of one of the Innocent smoothies. Read the label while I’m waiting for P to get ready. It has flaxseeds in it. I don’t actually know what flaxseeds are but I feel smug because they sound healthy.

8.30pm: Back from the gym, stick fish and potatoes in oven. While they’re cooking I decide what condiments I want. I love condiments. I settle for chilli jam. Read my book (Shopaholic Has A Baby – definitely based on someone who could use a Money Diary) and have dinner alone as P has gone to his parents.

9.30pm: Shower and do my full facial cleansing routine as I’m feeling really motivated with life after the gym. P comes home, I’ve set the Xbox up so we can have a game of Overcooked before I head to bed.

10.45pm: One game turns into 10 (I’m going to regret this tomorrow). Set my alarm, put my phone in flight mode, slather my face in Clarins oil and go to sleep.

Total: £0
4 of 8
Day Four

6.35am: Wake up and have pretty much exactly the same morning as yesterday.

9.45am: I have a new dress on today which a few people compliment me on. I have a pact this year to only buy good quality clothes that I know I can keep for several years. This dress, however, was £10 in Miss Selfridge, and it was my favourite colour, black, so I couldn’t resist.

10.30am: There is a full team meeting this morning and I spy brownies and scones. I go for a brownie and make myself a cup of fancy coffee (they only get this out for meetings, usually it’s terrible vending machine coffee, which is why I carry my flask).

11am: During the meeting they mention the snacks and say "for those who want a brownie or scone, please make a donation of 50p to the charity box". I automatically feel so bad as I didn’t realise they weren’t free. Overthink this for the rest of the meeting: 'What if someone saw me and thought I was cheeky for not putting money in the charity box, where was the charity box, do I even have any cash on me?'

11.30am: The meeting is finally over, I run to my desk and luckily find 78p in my bag so stick that in the box. Head for an early lunch and have the same as yesterday. We discover there's a park with a small lake nearby, so we try to find that on our walk today. I see a black swan for the first time in my life, and manage to do 10,000 steps before 1pm! Successful day already.

9.30pm: The rest of the day pans out exactly like yesterday. Finish at 5, drive home, go to the gym and have dinner. The only difference is tonight we have mini jacket potatoes, grilled peppers and baby tomatoes with the fish.

10pm: We check our list for our next Amazon order. P does a lot of pharmaceutical surveys and they reward him with Amazon vouchers. He does this for a few months, and when he has around £100 worth of vouchers, usually we do an order of anything we need for the house (unless he is saving for something he wants specifically, such as his Xbox). For this order we currently have a cooking thermometer, a retractable wall-mounted washing line and wipers for my car. P orders it.

10.15pm: Don’t make the mistake of putting the Xbox on, head to bed on time.

Total: 78p
5 of 8
Day Five

7.15am: Wake up when P’s alarm goes off, I’m working from home today. I have to be online at 7.30 anyway for a work call.

8.30am: Someone on the call this morning mentions croissants and now I really want them so I walk over to the bakery down the road. The bakery is closed today so I settle for Tesco’s Finest croissants. They cost £2.20. I stick one in the microwave so it’s soft and squidgy and the other in the oven so it’s super flaky and crispy, and have them with strawberry jam that I have at home.

12pm: I have every intention to head out for a walk at lunch, but I’ve been working from bed so instead I have a nap for an hour.

2.30pm: I’m going to see my parents in Manchester this weekend so know I need to use up ingredients in the fridge for dinner as when I’m not around, P eats with his family. Look through the fridge and cupboard while I snack on vegetables and hummus. We have a lot of vegetables still and some grated cheese. I decide to make pizza as we have some bread flour too, so I can have it for my ‘treat Friday lunch’ tomorrow too.

4.30pm: Head to town. Return some tops to Zara, and buy some birthday presents for my nephew. I get him a Lightning McQueen racing set and some jigsaws from The Entertainer. £20. I also stop at Marks and Spencer to buy some olives as P loves them on pizza, and buy some yeast and pizza sauce too. £6.90

5.30pm: Head back to the car via Ben’s Cookies which both P and I love, three cookies for £4.87, and the car park costs me £3.30.

6pm: Make the dough and leave it to prove while I pack for the weekend. Chop the toppings and leave them in the fridge so when P gets home we can roll out and decorate our own pizzas.

8pm: The pizzas turn out better than I expected. We while away the rest of the evening eating and playing Overcooked.

10.30pm: Bed.

Total: £37.27
6 of 8
Day Six

7.35am: Eye opens, but still have a few minutes until my alarm is due to go off. Turn off alarm so I don’t wake P. He isn’t working today. I pack a few extra snacks today as I have a four-hour journey back to Manchester after work. So I have my flask of tea, two bananas, oat bar, Ben’s cookie, the rest of one of the bottles of smoothie and my lunchtime pizza!

12pm: Work passes in its usual blur of meetings. I’m really excited for my lunch. One of my colleagues asks "Oooh is that a Domino’s pizza?" and I’m not going to lie my pride hits the roof when I say, "Nope, made it myself, even the base".

3pm: It’s really warm again today, and one of the senior managers buys the team ice-creams to say thanks as we’ve been working on quite a stressful project recently. I have a Feast, I’d forgotten how great they were!

4.30pm: Have most of my snacks this afternoon to fuel me for my journey. Text P and ask him to drop off any leftover vegetables/bread to his friend's house as they will find a use for them. I’m at my parents for a long weekend and by the time I’m back Ramadan will have started, so we won’t be able to make use of the food and I hate waste.

8.45pm: Manage to do the drive without stopping, ringing various friends to catch up and use Sour Skittles that I always keep in my car as sustenance. Come home to a feast prepared by my mum.

9.30pm: I love being in my childhood room, which I share with my sister, as it’s all fairy lights and candles. We catch up on life and she gives me a Tom Ford eyeshadow and a Clarins makeup remover she got free at work. Fall asleep feeling very happy.

Total: £0
7 of 8
Day Seven

9.30am: Wake up and see that my sister has already headed downstairs. Turn my phone on and text my family good morning (as we all live apart, we do this always). My sister responds and asks if I want tea in bed. She brings up tea and biscuits and we stay in bed chatting for a while.

11.15am: Mum asks me to pick up a card and some wrapping paper for my nephew’s birthday. So I pop to Asda to do this and get my dad a card. See the cutest furry pink unicorn sliders which I know my niece will love, so I buy her those too. £12

12pm: My brother texts to ask if I can buy a present from him too as he’s forgotten. I buy some clothes from Next but I know he’ll pay me back. I end up in Topshop looking for different versions of the dress I wore earlier in the week since it received so many compliments. Tell my sister to stop me buying anything black.

12.30pm: Don’t find any of those dresses, but leave Topshop with a black slip dress ☹ £32.

1pm: Go to Harvey Nichols so I can admire a belt I’ve been looking at. Still can’t justify paying £300, so I just stare longingly at it. My sister tells me to "stop being extra and to get a grip" and we leave the shop. Maybe I’ll add it to the wishlist…

2pm: I text P to ask if he’s seen the offer on the Virgin Red app for hot air balloons. I’ve always wanted to go in one but they are really pricy. They have an offer for £103 per person. He texts back to say I’m a spoilsport and he’d intended to buy it for me as a surprise. We agree to discuss further when I’m back in Bath as the offer doesn’t expire until the end of the month. (Hopefully he’ll pay for it and surprise me anyway!)

8pm: Spend the rest of the day relaxing in the garden and spending time with my siblings. In the evening, I help Mum prepare food for dinner. She makes extra of absolutely everything so I can freeze it and take it back with me. She makes me Bolognese so I can make spaghetti easily when I go back to Bath, and a lamb curry and chicken curry. I honestly think I have enough food to last me through all of Ramadan!

9.30pm: After dinner, my brother goes out and gets McFlurries, so we have them and play Scrabble until bedtime.

Total: £44
8 of 8
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £86.75
Entertainment: £0
Clothes/Beauty: £32
Travel: £8.10
Other: £32

Total: £158.85
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