Money Diary: A 24-Year-Old On 24k Working Multiple Jobs 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: "Just your typical 24-year-old millennial here. Still debating what career path I should take and so I've picked up multiple jobs along the way. I make just enough to get by. I am super bad with money but when it gets down to the last £20 of my overdraft at the end of the month, I surprise myself by how far I can stretch that out."
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Industry: Freelance photographer and writer / tech startup
Age: 24
Location: London
Salary: £24,000 + freelance work average £100 a month
Paycheque amount: £1,600 (with tax deducted)
Number of housemates: Two
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £500 (I refuse to pay anything more)
Loan payments: Student loan comes directly out of my wages – about £50 each month. Oh, and the staggering overdraft: £900. If I have one regret in life, then it's getting an overdraft during my first year at uni. Three years later, I am still in it.
Utilities: My bills vary each month so there's no exact amount. Cleaner £13.34/month, gas £70.73 every three months, council tax £35.35/month, internet £13.42/month.
Transportation: £30/week
Phone bill: £35
Savings? £0.14 (well done me!)
Other: Spotify £4.99, ClassPass £25, Format website £9.99, Netflix £5.99
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Day One

6.45am: I press the snooze button 902 times before actually starting to make a move out of my pit. But it's Friday and I have a date after work!

8.40am: What glorious weather, still can't believe it's 18 degrees. Can you believe it? (Also super worrying...) I grab an oat latte on my way into work. I feel like I am still in a half-sleepy mood. £2.80

10.18am: Finished all of my to-do list for the day and I am pretty bored. This is my second week here and I am already bored. That's bad, right? Or is it just me? I help my colleagues with their workloads, and get it done before noon.

1.30pm: Lunch! Today we are off to Pizza East as it's the hiring manager's last day. I order a salami pizza with a beer. I realise I forgot to bring my purse when we're in the restaurant, and pray it's on the company card...

3.30pm: Yes, work paid. Wahoo. To be honest, I can't really afford to eat out (even though I am doing it tonight) until I get paid on Tuesday. This will be my first paycheque since November after my redundancy – you can imagine how short I am.

5.30pm: Company-wide meeting and G&Ts to wrap up the week. During this meeting, we talk about investment, startup culture, and say goodbye to my colleague. They even do a special welcome shoutout to me, as I'm the new kid on the block.

6.40pm: Eek, meeting went on for ages and I am very much late for my date. But then again, am I ever early or on time? I hop on the Tube to Piccadilly Circus where we plan to meet at Bill's. We haven't been talking that long, about a week or two, so I don't know much about him – apart from he lives in Clapham, goes skiing a lot and has a dog. Just your average Hinge guy (minus the tweed jacket).

7.15pm: Get to Bill's. Got lost on the way, and hate anyone who stands in my way. I can't see him in the restaurant. There's a lot of people. The waitress asks who I am meeting and I go blank. I forgot the guy's name. Shit. I look up, trying to find a familiar face, and suddenly a hand goes up. Phew. It must be him.

7.30pm: I still feel very, very full after my pizza but I should eat if this is going to be a heavy night or I'll regret it tomorrow. I order the fish and chips. He orders the steak. Small talk is made and slowly we both come out of our shells a bit and joke around. I find out he's actually a pretty decent guy. Even though he is already suggesting we go to a bar near his...

8.45pm: We split the bill. I have never and will never let a guy pay for everything on a date. I truly believe in equality, whether it's the first date or not. £17.40

9pm: We decide to go to a pub in Oxford Circus, The Shaston Arms. It's quaint and cosy. We have to share a table with another two lads as it's rammed. He buys the first round of drinks. We both order double G&Ts.

11.35pm: We take it in turns to pay for rounds. The two lads start talking to us and say if we are on our first date or not. One of them says we are, whereas the other one says: "It looks like they've known each other for years." (I think that's a good thing!) I pay for two rounds, he pays for three. That's a lot of gin. I am feeling tipsy, happy and would quite like to go home now before I make a fool of myself and regret something. We part ways with a cheeky kiss. I might see him again, who knows? I arrive home at midnight, like Cinders. £27.20

Total: £47.40
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Day Two

8.30am: Wake up to the builders outside, who are changing the garages in the basement into flats. My head hurts a bit. Why is this happening? I try and go back to sleep.

11.10am: Didn't get much sleep after I woke up. I need coffee and something good to eat. Ideally bacon and avocado on toast. But I don't have anything. I don't have any food in whatsoever. Joy. I go hungry and decide to tidy and start packing as I'm going home for one night to see Mother and my two favourite four-legged friends. I book a return to the Midlands. £32

1pm: I text my mate saying I'm going to be late to meet her, I'm getting a lash lift for the first time. Super excited for this, as I won't need to spend five minutes each morning putting on mascara.

1.15pm: I leave the house in a rush, grab a croissant and a large coffee on the way. Meet my friend at hers in east London (I miss the east so bad). £5.50

3.30pm: New lashes completed. We catch up a bit before I dash over to King's Cross St Pancras and end up running and dying just to make it to the 4pm train. £25

5.30pm: Arrive back in the Shire. Hello, countryside, non-polluted air and unlimited amounts of food. Mother picks me up from the station and we have a good old gossip about life, especially after the unfortunate family events that have happened recently.

7pm: Mother treats me to an Indian takeaway. I order the vegetarian balti with rice. We curl up on the sofa together and watch The Girl on the Train. Clapham boy messages me and asks if I'm around tonight, if not tomorrow to go round to his or something. I won't respond just yet...

Total: £62.50
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Day Three

10.30am: Finally a lie-in, with no noise. This is bliss. I fall back to sleep for an extra hour.

12pm: I cook myself a banging English fry up with all the trimmings. Save two sausages for the dogs.

12.30pm: I slowly get ready and take the dogs out with Mother. We end up going on a wee hike around the park. It's a beautiful day for it. We discuss what my next move is. Going back and forth from getting a new job, going part-time, or going completely freelance, or even going back to school to do a master's. The choices are endless and I am very confused about everything. All I know is, I am not happy with my current job. I know I haven't been there long, but it's a gut instinct that this is not right for me. Do I dare break the nine-to-six, Mon-to-Fri work pattern? Can I survive on pennies? Is it even worth it?

4pm: I go back to bed and have a short afternoon nap. I am very tired after the walk, and I think I'm coming down with a cold. Not good.

5pm: Mother cooks a Sunday roast. Sunday is made. Country walks and a roast dinner. On top of that, Mother's friend pops by to say hello – she also gives me £20 as she knows how poor I am. What more could I ask? I love being at home and appreciate everything.

7pm: Catch the 7.20 train back to London, go straight home and watch Netflix for the next hour or so. Really not looking forward to Monday.

Total: £0
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Day Four

7am: Ah, the lovely wake-up sound of my alarm. How I adore that sound. I feel like today is going to be a long day. Mondays are really blue. But got a busy evening to make up for the blueness. Let's have a good day.

8.30am: Grab a coffee. Even though I am now down to my last £25. I hope we get paid on time tomorrow. £2.80

10am: Bash through my workload. Mondays are always the busiest as we're catching up with all the sign-ups over the weekend. Le sigh. But I'm pretty positive I can finish it all before lunch.

12.30pm: Wahey, look at that. Done. I treat myself to a Pret even though I am skint and meeting up with an old friend later tonight. I really should have made lunch last night. But I didn't. £4.80

6.10pm: Work over and out! I dash to a house viewing. I've been casually looking for the past month, but not seriously looking. This house is much further east than I would like but the rent is cheap as chips, so why not?

7.32pm: Super late for this house viewing. Delays and rush hour is not a good mix. However, I manage to get there. The downstairs is beautiful. However, my potential bedroom is tiny. Probs won't work 'cos I have a lot of furniture. The housemates are super sweet though, they offer me a glass of white wine while we chat about things. Unfortunately, they are a little bit too sweet for my liking. I know I am being very analytical and critical, but the people matter a lot to me. I want a long-term home. I know within the first five mins of talking they are not my sort of people. Imagine the girl in Mean Girls who says, "I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy." They're exactly like that. Yeah... No, thanks.

8.08pm: Another text from Clapham boy as I also said I may see him tonight. But I never got back to him because he kept telling me how big his dick is. Just a little bit off-putting, y'know? Thinking about ghosting him.

8.49pm: Arrive at the pub to meet up with an old friend. Now, this isn’t any ordinary friend. I used to see this guy for about a month or two until he went off to America. It's strange seeing him again and a tiny bit awkward. I am also very hungry. I need to eat. So I order chips, mac and cheese and a bowl of gherkins, oh and a pint of beer. Deffo on a carb diet right now. He doesn't eat and happily watches me eat everything. £15

9.20pm: We’re still drinking, (me) eating and conversation is a bit off. To be honest, I don't really understand why he wanted to see me again, especially after so long. Turns out he has a girlfriend now and he's happy. I'm happy for him too. He deserves someone nice!

10pm: We wrap it up and go our separate ways. I get on the Tube and think about the people in the carriage with me. What are their lives like? What stories do they hold? Then I play a game with myself and guess what stop they are going to get off at. Matching people up with destinations is a good Tube pastime.

Total: £22.60
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Day Five

9am: Another day, another dollar. At least it's not Monday anymore. I arrive at work early so I can write and catch up on personal messages from friends and finally reply, saying I am alive and let's catch up.

2.30pm: Make the second trip of the week to Pret. God, I love that place, but it doesn’t do great things to my bank balance. I am definitely down to my last £10... When will I get paid?

4pm: The Lord has spoken, I have just got paid. I am walking on cloud nine. I immediately transfer £600 to my savings account, that's for my rent and bills. I also transfer money to my unsocial and moody flatmate who has been pestering me for money to pay for the goddamn yearly water bill, which is due in three months. Who even pays a bill that isn't due for three months? I need to move out, it's settled. £137.35

6.20pm: I am out of here, and attend a Blast HIIT class in Moorgate. This is my first class in months. I am dreading it, but also excited. I love working out but am worried that I may die.

8.30pm: It's okay, I am just alive. Sweaty and red. How glorious. I am also shitting hungry. I still don't have any food in, apart from a bag of kale that is out of date in the fridge. I top up my Oyster on my way back so my travel is sorted for the week. £32

9pm: Debating whether to go to Tesco and get some groceries or just stop by Nando's. Nando's wins. I happily order a medium butterfly chicken burger with peri-peri salted chips and a salad to make myself feel less guilty. Thanking Mother's friend for the £20. I knew this would come in handy. £15.50

9.30pm: I am very happy. Workout completed, stomach full and now – another date on the cards tomorrow night! This is very spontaneous. I accept as we've been talking on and off for a good four months. He's so lovely over text, I wonder what he's like in person. Oh and guess what, he is another boy in the south of London. But this time Brixton. I swear the majority of boys on Hinge live in the south.

10pm: I binge on Gossip Girl and evaluate my budgets for the month. I transfer £100 to my Revolut card, which is going to be used for fun money. Coffee, drinks, food, stuff I do not need but like to spend.

11pm: Goodnight London. XOXO.

Total: £184.85
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Day Six

8.30am: Wake up to very sore legs. Can I move? I don’t think I can get out of bed. Ouch. I arrive to work early to catch up on freelance work, pay for my bridesmaid's robe for my best friend's wedding and scan AngelList for potential jobs. I also grab a coffee and a juice on my way, 'cos why not? £5.50 + £15

11am: Wow, today is going slow. I am making a lot of effort towards my new colleagues, they're a cool bunch but so very cliquey. They have their own WhatsApp group (to talk about work) without me. I am very much alone at work but am positive this will soon pass. The new kid feels.

1.41pm: I ask my colleagues if they want any coffee. It's a nice day and I am intrigued to see what Portobello Road has to offer in terms of food. After all the options I have to take advantage of, I decide to grab a Tesco meal deal. I then go to Nero and pick up vanilla iced lattes for my team. I pay out of my own pocket. I don't really expect them to pay me back. Lunch £3. Iced coffee £12.75.

6.45pm: Arrive at very traditional London pub. Again, I am running late. I should really advertise on my profile: "I will be late to our dates, I am sorry." Brixton boy is sitting outside in the beer garden, wearing a hoodie and baseball hat. Kinda cute and casual. He has already bought me a watery gin and tonic. I down it in 15 mins.

7.30pm: Conversation is going well. He's very much a talker, where I much prefer to listen. This is going to work well if we see each other in the future. We discuss Brexit, how living in London is so expensive, his job, my job, family, friends and everything else. I buy the next round of drinks. This time: a double non-watery G&T for me and a pint for him. £8.60

8pm: It's getting quite nippy so we head inside to carry on with the drinks and conversation. I am also getting quite peckish. So we leave another round of drinks and hit the road to find somewhere to eat. In the meantime, I get a text from my line manager saying she wants a team meeting at 8.45am tomorrow. Yay.

8.33pm: We walk for a bit, talking, laughing and generally having a good time. Neither of us has any idea where we are and we can’t be bothered to get out our phones to check Google Maps. So we walk with no destination or direction in mind. We walk past a whole load of kebab shops and shish places. I tell him to pick out the next place. He points to the first one he sees, which is on the corner. Turns out it's a Lebanese restaurant where no alcohol is served. We share a curry with rice and naan bread. The perfect amount for both of us.

9.41pm: Brixton boy kindly pays for dinner, even though I offer to split it. This is probably the cheapest date I have ever had. We walk out still nattering away until we get lost and have no idea where the nearest Tube station is.

10pm: Hurray, we found Marble Arch station. We both know it's the end of the night. In some way, I wish it wasn’t and it wasn’t a school night. I enjoy his company. But alas, we hop on the Tube to Oxford Circus as we both need the Victoria line. We kiss on the escalator and smile. It's cute and I feel like a 16-year-old all over again.

Total: £44.85
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Day Seven

7.30am: Leave the house, I am tired and it takes about an hour to get to work. But the weekend is on the horizon. I grab a black Americano on my way, to get me ready for this morning meeting. £3.10

10.20am: Meeting finished. Goodness, that was a long one. Mainly it was just us having a good old gossip for 40 mins. Turns out our team is moving office so we have our own separate room away from the sales boys. It's my job to search for furniture and plants. First responsibility and I know I can pick out some good bargains. I head back to my desk and crack on as usual.

1.30pm: Lunch, I heat up a can of chicken and mushroom soup that I've been keeping at my desk for the past week. Today is much cooler, and I am in the mood for soup! I also have a Nando's salad. Very healthy. I then browse Ikea for furniture and deco. Manage to come up with a quick list of items and prices.

6.15pm: Finished with work for the day and have another class tonight, this time Pilates. I still feel pretty sore from my HIIT class. My thighs are so stiff and I can barely walk, plus cold symptoms have reached level three on the scale, not cute at all. Think about skipping it, but feel bad as I really need to get back into shape.

6.20pm: When walking to the station, I decided not to go. So I cancel my spot 40 mins before the class starts. I know I am going to get charged so I swap my payment details to my Monzo card, which I don't use and only have £1 in. This way, when they do charge me, they won't be able to take any money out. Super bad of me but also genius. I recommend this tip a lot.

7pm: Quick shop in Tesco, I know what I'm going to have. Pasta. It's always pasta. I pick up the sauce, lardons and double choc-chip cookies. Hopefully, I will have enough for my lunch tomorrow too. No more Pret. £3.75

7.15pm: Call Mother while cooking pasta. Happily eat while I watch Gossip Girl for the next two hours.

Total: £6.85
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The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £127.70
Clothes/Beauty: £40
Entertainment: £0
Travel: £64
Other: £137.35

Total: £369.05
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