Money Diary: Drag Queen In London Part II

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 catch up with one of last year's most popular Money Diarists, a drag queen in London, to find out what (if anything) they've learned about money in the last 12 months...
Hi fans, it's been a year and I’ve got some news:
1. I got married to a rich Brazilian woman for visa reasons.
2. I had my bumhole bleached for the first time.
3. I got a book deal (they really don’t pay that well, fyi).
4. I turned into a hardcore Tory.
5. I am now disgustingly rich — you’ve heard of the 1%? Well, I am too rich for the one, and thus am just part of the percent. You’ve not heard of us? No, you wouldn’t have. Chances are, if you’re reading and not having someone do all your reading for you, then you’re not even close to the percent. Among the percent I am known for my gorjique sense of style: I only wear money and think poor people are gross and should stay poor because who else is going to do all my shit 4 moi? In our percent we do things like invest in companies and talk about working class people but instead call them "lower class" or, a personal fave, "the underclass" and we look at paintings that we own and say how we are thinking of redecorating and binning our original Klimt because, to quote Charlize Theron in that Dior ad: "Gold is cold."
I should mention that four out of five of those things are a lie and I’m still in my overdraft, but it was fun while that paragraph lasted, because if I’ve solidified any skill in the last year it's lying about stuff and getting money for it. Like I lied to HMRC (oops) and said I didn’t know how to do tax and they let me off a late fine. Truth is, it was desperate financial times and so I wrote a handwritten letter and spritzed it with Agent Provocateur fragrance and kissed it with a deep berry lipstick and sent it and they responded like, "We will let you off your tax fine you lil queen!" And I cried because I wouldn’t have had the money to pay the fine on top of the tax (which I eventually did).
I lied to a bank teller named Kim that I had no idea how I’d gone over my overdraft limit (I knew; it was Just Eat ofc) and sang Whitney Houston down the phone to her because her cat had just died and she literally let me off my fines, so stunning, and I got a round of applause from the people in the bank and Kim and I had a little cry on the phone.
Last year, when I did a Money Diary, commenters expressed concern over some of the money rules I had decided, so here are my revised rules, including responses to those comments:
1. Still no Tupperware. In fact, even less into Tupperware this year because of plastic pollution.
2. On the advice of some commenters I did indeed open a savings account and I put aside some money after I got paid and felt incredibly smug for about a month but then this pair of Balenciaga biker boots went on sale (down from £1,500ish to £450!) so of course I drained my savings and the rest of my overdraft and bought them. It was a good decision, although they’re a size too small and I burned a hole in the inside sole because I dropped a lit cigarette inside them at a house party as a joke but it’s not that funny in hindsight.
3. I have learned to cook one thing — spag bol, lol — and now I eat in the house one night a month! The rest, of course, I spend ricocheting from restaurant to restaurant, spending way beyond my means for no visible benefit other than stretch marks and people thinking I’m very glam.
So when asked to do another Money Diary I was tentative because I realised, appallingly, I have genuinely no new things to tell you about money. Except this: We’re doomed, spend it!
Industry: Drag performer, freelance journalist, just wrote a book!!
Age: 27
Location: London
Salary: According to my tax for the year before last I earned £15,707
Paycheque amount per month: Variable, between £800 and £3,000
Number of housemates: 3
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £532.50
Loan payments: N/A
Utilities: £112
Transportation: £240
Phone bill: £41
Savings? So I was out of my overdraft for the first time in seven years for a month in August but, weirdly, I hit it again yesterday
Other: No
Total: £925.50
1 of 8
Day One

11am: The drag troupe I’m in have just done a month at Edinburgh Fringe, and we are leaving today. We did two shows a day — a kids' show and an adults' show — and I got oddly addicted to going into Harvey Nichols between shows and pretending I was going to buy an expensive bag while speaking in an American accent. Obviously I didn’t end up buying one but pretending was fun, and I did go to the till with a Balenciaga bum-bag once but backed out just in time. Anyway, we have so much stuff so taxi to the station, skip breakfast of course, because then I can justify eating for the whole five-hour train ride back to London by saying "What? I didn’t have breakfast!" Taxi: £7.

12.30pm: It’s a tough choice between two cigarettes in a row and grabbing some food for the train, but I remember there’ll be a cart on the train but no fags (except for me lol) so choose to chain. On the train it is so obscenely full that they close the food cart. Blasted cigs got me again. Sit in disbelief for a long while. Try to sleep but too hungry. Watch Kath & Kim for a bit but then my data runs out. Eventually beg the table in front of me, who have literally bought the whole of M&S, for a cookie and they are so sweet and say yes and I share it with my sisters who also haven’t eaten. One fifth of a cookie. Five hours.

6pm: Finally at King’s Cross. Can’t really see. Go to the outdoor Pret and get one of those egg pots and eat the egg and leave the spinach, a toastie, a coffee and some popcorn. I’m so hungry and also need a ciggie so much that I forget to write down price. Let’s guess: £7.62

6.15pm: Uber home. It’s a long drive to southeast London and I’m still ravenous so decide to order from Just Eat (#ad #lolnotreally). Get home, eat takeaway, embrace beloved housemates and we have a little cry and a big hug. Go downstairs, have a quick wank because I’ve been living on top of four other people for a month so chances have been scarce-ish, go back upstairs and watch Friends and laugh but then of course critique why we’re laughing because we are rad queers. Uber + takeaway: £31.15

Total: £45.77
2 of 8
Day Two

10am: Couldn’t sleep last night for some reason, and have got addicted to this game on my phone (I know, I’ve always been so anti those games, but it helps me switch off when I feel worried about, you guessed it, money/homophobia/the world/feeling guilty for being privileged enough to switch off) but sometimes I can’t get past a level, and you can pay 99p to get over certain hurdles. It’s kind of against my politics to pay your way out of things but I come from a family with very little money and so sometimes it’s nice to feel like one of those rich people who can pay their way out of stuff. Played that all night. Check balance in morning and iTunes bill has come out for the month. £61!!!!! I have spent £61, in a month, on a game. Worry about it so eat a croissant and coffee from shop on my road and play game. £61 + £5.20 = £66.20 :(

4pm: On deadline for something so went and wrote and also watched more Kath & Kim (so glad it’s on Netflix). Had lunch in the café on my road – a cheese toastie with leeks, so unhealthy, so greasy, so stunnique. £6

6pm: Went into town to see a friend who is just starting a PhD and I'm really proud of them. Decide to get us Crosstown doughnuts to celebrate, for which he insists we will split, and I say no because his stipend hasn’t started yet. We talk for ages about Lilly Ghalichi: literally the biggest Instagram mood ever. £6.50

9pm: Went home and ordered some Lily lashes from Lilly Ghalichi’s company. Get the "So Extra" Myknonos (lol was there ever a gayer name?). For some reason decide on the most expensive pair and as I hit confirm I can’t believe it, what am I doing? £31.95

10pm: Skip dinner 'cos eyelashes. Eat what I like to call a 'found meal', very Noma, very in: six mini Cathedral City cheddar blocks and some spicy mango chutney which might be off but tastes really good.

Total: £110.65
3 of 8
Day Three

8am: On deadline again. Go to café up the road. Have a waffle and watch Jane the Virgin while I ignore work and try to ignore game addiction so move to TV addiction. This work session rolls to lunch and so end up having two iced coffees and another cheese toastie. My diet is feeling imbalanced. But I am feeling GLAMOROUS so… kiss me fuck it. £15.50

2pm: Feeling very ill post-Edinburgh so go home and try to nap but end up doing emails and feeling very satisfyingly busy because I have to work through being ill. Think for a while about how it’s strange that we’re so bound up in capitalism, but then decide to take my mind off it by trawling the designer sale sites and there I find a Loewe keychain for incredibly cheap (£44!!) and decide to buy it because I only have one keychain and feel like I need two. I have just been paid an invoice, feeling quids in, deserve the treat. £44

7pm: Have a gig at Vogue Fabrics with queer punk band I’m in. It’s really fun and we get free drinks… but only two. When I’ve been paid I like to buy my friends drinks. They do it too. It feels really nice to be able to buy your friends drinks, and the two I’m there with are both a little broke, so this round is on me. Repeat it twice. £24

1am: It’s late and I’m in part-drag and shouldn’t get an Uber home because it’s far but I’m still too scared to get late-night public transport because I was beaten up in drag about two years ago so decide to get an Uber with flatmates. One’s phone is out of battery and another’s doesn’t load the Uber app so I get it, but then we stop by McDonald’s and they buy that and we buy the Uber driver a strawberry milkshake for his troubles. £24.40 (x 1.9 surge!)

Total: £107.90
4 of 8
Day Four

Feel very ill and tired. It’s a Sunday. Stay in bed. Wake up at 11am. Flatmates are in so we all go to Greenwich Park and have a picnic. My boyfriend (who is one of my flatmates) owes for the Uber so buys the picnic and we are all very grateful. We talk for ages about, what else, gender and roll around the floor and smoke loads and watch clips from Kath & Kim.

9pm: Can’t believe I’ve spent nothing today. Resist urge to play game. Resist urge to online shop. Decide in order to resist urges to go to pub, so flatmates and I go to the pub on our road. It’s really cheap and iconic. £4

Total: £4
5 of 8
Day Five

9.15am: I have some Weetabix! At home!! Feeling dissatisfied, I decide to go to the café on my road to work and have coffee; stay 'til 11.30 and also have another cheese toastie, this time with chorizo. I realise that I am in an eating rut but also I never get tired of melted cheese and bread because I’m WHAT? Sickening. Also get a baked apple mini tart. Really carby. £11.20

12am: There’s a sample sale on and my friend and I decide to go, even though I’m approaching my overdraft. I’m planning on buying nothing but there is a Margiela shirt I wanted from a few seasons ago. Try it on and, of course, it looks… fine… and decide to buy it. Go to the till. It’s £320. For a shirt. I tell myself I deserve it, that this is an act of self-care, that I will wear it every day. As my card slips slowly from my purse, flying in slo-mo through the air, towards the card reader, someone in the queue behind me exclaims that I’ve found a bargain and then I zone out into a different dimension and realise that £320 for a shirt is in no way a bargain and again I am concerned about capitalism, my blood pressure falls, the adrenaline dissolves from body and I say the worst thing you can say at a fashion thing: "Actually, I think I’m going to leave it, sorry." And so, financially triumphant but fashionably outcast, I walk past the glaring eyes of some very cool people who can also somehow afford to be at a sample sale on a Monday and put the shirt back. To celebrate I wander to Harrods with my friend and do the exact same thing with a more expensive Raf Simons shirt.

5pm: We go to Soho for a coffee, which descends into Monday night drinks. I have some dinner which is actually just some tinned vine leaves from a corner shop because they are fucking delicious. They cost £1.17. It’s almost my birthday and so my friend gets the drinks, which is so incredibly kind, and we toast each other and end up getting really drunk and near-fighting with the man on the next table because he is shit-talking about women with his other lad friends. We storm out of the establishment, and then I buy us two shots at Garlic & Shots and we go our separate ways. £11.17

Total: £22.37
6 of 8
Day Six

1pm: A friend is going to America for a while for work so we go and get dim sum to say goodbye. We talk about bi-erasure a lot and I am checked on sometimes erasing the experience of bi people, or assuming it’s not as hard for them as it is for me, which is a very easy pattern to slip into and I promise to do better. We also talk about how glad we are that Lady Gaga is BACK! We order loads. £22.20

2pm: Take friend for a bubble tea to say good luck in America, and I have a taro tea which is like popcorn and delicious. Feel very heavy after, like a potato. £9.50

7pm: Go home and read about bi-erasure. Start to write article about male plastic surgery and gender. Have to leave to go to a friend’s for dinner, which is lovely, and we get very drunk. Buy a cheap bottle of prosecco-ish which I still think is q expensive. No matter how long I live in London, I can’t get over the price difference between here and my home town, in which a bottle of prosecco at a pub is like £7. £10.99

Total: £42.69
7 of 8
Day Seven

8am: Have an early meeting, have run out of cigarettes. Buy cigarettes and a bottle of water because my metal one has started to smell a bit of pond water but didn’t have time to wash it. Feel bad about plastic. I buy breakfast even though I’m meeting a company with way more money than me and like what else is the point of being a freelancer if not for a free breakfast? Fags + water + breakfast: £37.48

1.30pm: Need a poo but am out of the house so have to buy a coffee in a place in Soho which makes me need a poo more but then realise that their toilet is out of order. Peg it to Soho House (mood) and blag my way in and they say yes and then I have a glorious luxury poo. £3.20

2pm: Now going to band rehearsal in Manor Park. I’m wearing some bright coloured pants and a suit jacket and carrying a mini Fendi baguette which I got for £11!! When I come out of Manor Park, a man spits on me because I’m gay and it lands on my lapel. Feel sad for a moment, scared for a moment, and decide to go to a health shop and buy some liquid iron sachets (wtf?) and also a sandwich from the next door shop. £16.20

8pm: It’s my birthday tomorrow so we have a birthday drink thing tonight. It’s actually really beautiful and I feel so loved and we have it at this pub near my house run by this amazing Northern couple from near where I’m from and they moved to London (having never been!) in January to take over this pub and they let us have it for the night. It was wonderful and the horrible spit mark had disappeared and all of us celebrated because queerness and because India legalised gay sex and the thought of 1.3 billion people now being legally allowed to have gay sex is a cause for celebration. I didn’t buy a single drink, thank you to my lovely friends.

Total: £56.88
8 of 8
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £195.26
Entertainment: £61
Clothes/Beauty: £75.95
Travel: £48.05
Other: £10

Total: £390.26 (shiiiiiit)

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