Money Diary: A 24-Year-Old Trainee Lawyer On 45k In London

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 24-year-old trainee lawyer living in London...
"I recently graduated and am now a trainee lawyer at a swanky firm in London (yes, I have sold my soul to the corporate world). I try very hard to avoid keeping track of what I spend (usually an obscene amount on ASOS and Deliveroo). I am very generous with money and find stingy people very hard to deal with. I live with my boyfriend in London who is also a lawyer. We spend a vast amount on drinks with friends after work and food. It's not all fun and games though. We can never predict how late we will be working and sometimes this includes all-nighters. It is also highly stressful and there is a lot of pressure. I regularly spend periods of time sitting at my desk mooting the idea of packing it all in and moving abroad. Alas, I don't think I would be able to survive on a reduced salary."
Industry: Law
Age: 24
Location: London
Salary: £45,000
Paycheque amount: Around £2,580
Number of housemates: 1 (my boyfriend)
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £745 (my half)
Loan payments: £135 student loan repayment – I am probably one of the very few "fortunate" ones who will end up being able to repay my student loan in full.
Utilities: Cut in half to share the cost with the boyf: £67.50 council tax, £12.50 water, £12.50 electricity plus some unknown amount for the heating, which we haven't paid yet as the flat is a new-build and the landlord hasn't sent out the bills. Internet is included in the rent.
Transportation: I pay my train fares using my Amex every day to get into work. I haven’t done the maths about whether it would be more affordable to get a season ticket and I probably never will.
Phone bill: Yes, I am 24 and yes, my mother still pays for my phone bill (love you Mum). We have agreed that she will continue to pay until my contract is up in a year's time.
Savings? £200 into my Help to Buy ISA; £450 into another savings account; £50 Stocks and Shares ISA. I also contribute to my pension but this is deducted before my take-home wage so I haven't included this.
Other: £80 for gym membership and this price is highly subsidised by my employer. It is a very nice gym which means I am actually tempted to visit it once in a while. There is also a branch very close to work, which is a godsend. £9.99 for Spotify, £15 for Beauty Box (I pick seven of the latest beauty products which are delivered to my door monthly. It is my favourite thing ever). £10.42 The Times subscription. £2.49 iTunes subscription so all my photos can be held on a cloud somewhere.
Total: £1,790.40
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Day One

8am: Roll out of bed and look at the gym bag I packed the night before with such good intentions. Promise myself I'll go tomorrow instead.

8.50am: Leave the house and jump on the Tube to work. £2.65. As I sit on the Tube, I decide it is time to buy a fan for our flat. As a new-build it is great in the winter as it really retains the heat, but not so great during this glorious weather. I buy one on my boyfriend's Amazon Prime and add it to our app where we split every household purchase. £21.44

9.20am: Arrive at work and decide to pick up a Pret breakfast. It's an expensive (not to mention unhealthy) habit which I resolve to kick. Happily munch down on a cheese and tomato croissant and a skinny latte. I buy a green tea and peach water to get me through the morning. £6.35

11.30am: Finish reviewing an urgent contract that needs to be sent out. My colleague buys me a cupcake to say thank you. Result.

12pm: I pick up lunch in the subsidised canteen. Lately, I have been very good at sticking to soup and salad but the lasagne and garlic bread looks too irresistible today. Also get a Coke Zero. £5.15

12.30pm: Attend a compulsory training lecture. My mind drifts to my imminent holiday and I end up on the Zara app purchasing holiday sandals. I also see some cute shoes which would be great for work. Spend over £50 and get free delivery. Uh-oh. £85

3.30pm: Back at my desk and I am seriously flagging. Message my two colleagues to meet in the canteen for coffee. £1.50

7pm: Our department is really quiet at the moment so I escape the office and make the most of an early finish. Get the Tube home. £2.65

Total: £124.74
2 of 8
Day Two

8.50am: Leave the house without going to the gym (again). Boyfriend has already left to go to the gym. I feel very shamed. Get the Tube to work. £2.65

9.20am: Bagel in the canteen and an orange juice. So much cheaper than Pret! £3.20

12.30pm: Decide that I'm in the mood for sushi so venture out of the office to Wasabi. I spend a good 10 minutes choosing between the variety packs and eventually opt for a set which is made with brown rice (I am so healthy!!). Also get a lemon San Pellegrino. I sit outside the office eating my sushi with work colleagues. The San Pellegrino makes me feel like I'm on holiday. Almost. £8.10

7pm: Can't believe my luck that I have made it out of the office two days in a row at 7pm. To celebrate I have a drink outside work with some other trainees at a pop-up bar. £6.50 for a small glass of wine. This should shock me but it doesn't. Welcome to London.

8pm: Move on to another bar close by (conveniently where my boyfriend is also having drinks with his colleagues). Someone in my boyfriend's department is leaving and so a Partner buys a few bottles of wine. It would be rude not to…

10pm: Sufficiently tipsy, I drag my boyfriend to the train station and we get the Tube home. We arrive home and fight the urge to order Deliveroo. I make pesto pasta and salad instead (I can't be a lawyer AND a culinary goddess). £2.65

Total: £23.10
3 of 8
Day Three

9am: Feeling a little delicate this morning. Definitely no gym today. Tube to work. £2.65

9.30am: I get a cooked breakfast and orange juice in the canteen to make me feel human again. I thank my lucky stars that I have a good metabolism. £3.20

12.30pm: Try to make up for my sins from the night before so pick up chicken noodle soup, a small salad and a can of Coke Zero from the canteen. £3.45

4pm: Why did I only eat soup and salad for lunch? Delve into my emergency supply of rice crackers that I keep in my desk.

6pm: Determined to go home early and watch Friday night TV but my team decide it is sunny and therefore it is time for drinks. Luckily my supervisor pays and once again I end up tipsy. Meet some other trainees for a drink afterwards. Someone has already bought a bottle of prosecco and we share it.

9pm: Tube home. Can't fight the Deliveroo temptation this time and so me and my boyfriend order Franco Manca. My boyfriend pays. £2.65

Total: £11.95
4 of 8
Day Four

8am: Up early to head to Cambridge with my boyfriend for the day. £16.10 for a return ticket.

9.30am: I buy a panini and fizzy water at the station. Eat this on the train while marvelling at the countryside (ooh look, a cow!). £5.50

11.15am: Arrive in Cambridge and we meet up with my boyfriend's parents. We sit in the sun and have a coffee at a cute little café. They insist on paying.

1pm: We wander around beautiful Cambridge until we get hungry. We end up at a little tapas place and order copious amounts of dishes. My boyfriend and I try to pay but his parents won’t hear of it.

3pm: We say goodbye to my boyfriend's parents and spend the rest of the afternoon together in Cambridge before meeting up with them again for dinner. We buy a bottle of prosecco and sit beside the River Cam. Heavenly. £13 and I put it on the app to split with my boyfriend.

7pm: Meet with boyfriend's parents and wider family for dinner at a fish restaurant. We sit outside and I order mussels and a glass of white wine. We have a beautiful dinner which abruptly comes to an end when my boyfriend's 2-year-old cousin decides it is time for bed. My boyfriend's uncle insists on paying. So generous.

9.30pm: Head back to London, very full and a teeny bit sunburned. Crawl into bed at 11.30.

Total: £34.60
5 of 8
Day Five

10.30am: Finally a half-decent lie-in. We get up and my boyfriend makes coffee with his new fancy coffee machine while I raid the fridge and make toast and scrambled eggs.

11.30am: We get out and I finally make it to the gym! I run 7k and feel very smug indeed. We chill out in the spa area afterwards which has incredible views of the Thames.

1pm: Gym done, we walk to M&S Simply Food to do the weekly food shop. If you get the deals then M&S is not too expensive and the quality is infinitely better. They have a brilliant three for £10 fish/meat deal, so we get that and a few salads and fruit. We also can't resist the £10 meal deal which includes a bottle of wine! £31 in total, I pay and split this on the app.

1.30pm: Go home and sunbathe on the balcony for the rest of the afternoon.

6pm: Fajitas for dinner (goddess!) but no wine tonight, Sunday is detox time.

Total: £31
6 of 8
Day Six

9.30am: Tube, bagel and orange juice, not that I'm predictable or anything. £2.65 + £3.20

2pm: Have a very busy morning as everyone is rushing to get docs signed by 6pm. I don’t manage to grab lunch until now. I buy a pasta salad dish and Coke Zero from the canteen. £5.10

5.30pm: Docs all signed, I manage to leave the office for the London Legal Walk 2018 (a 10km walk raising money for free legal advice).

7pm: I meet up with my boyfriend who is also doing the walk with his firm. We stop for a quick drink with some others near Hyde Park before completing the rest of the walk. £4.50

8pm: Walk finished, we meet up with some of our friends from law school also doing the walk and stay out until late using up (free!) drinks vouchers. Perhaps the best perk of the job is rarely paying for drinks.

Midnight: Go home and make a rushed bowl of pasta before going to bed. £2.65

Total: £18.10
7 of 8
Day Seven

9.30am: Tube, bagel and orange juice. £2.65 + £3.20

11.30am: One of my best friends who has been travelling for six months in South America persuades me to go for bottomless brunch at the weekend (I really needed persuading). She finds Groupon vouchers and buys for the two of us. I transfer £17.

12.30pm: Salad and soup for lunch! £3.45

4pm: We are snowed under with a huge deal. Apparently it has been leaked to the papers. We have to rush to finalise the deal tonight. It is going to be a long one… I buy coffee to keep me going. £1.50

8pm: Still working on the deal. I order Wagamama's to the office and expense it. The only bright side of working late.

1am: I finish doing my last task and get a taxi home, which the firm kindly pays for. I crawl into bed, exhausted.

Total: £27.80
8 of 8
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £124.90
Entertainment: £0
Clothes/Beauty: £85
Travel: £39.95
Other: £21.44

Total: £271.29

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