A Week In London On A $41,863 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a communications manager working in PR who makes $41,863 per year and spends some of her money this week on green juice. Editor's note: All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
Occupation: Communications Manager
Industry: PR
Age: 26
Location: London, UK
Salary: $41,863
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $2,588.47
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $570 (I live with my boyfriend, T. I don't pay half, but this is my contribution to the rent, bills, and car. T. earns a fair bit more than I do, so he only asks for this amount.)
Student Loan Payment: $139.54 (This comes out of my paycheck.)
Advertisement
Train Pass: $644 (This includes travel by train into London throughout the week and unlimited underground travel seven days a week.)
Phone: $57
Netflix: $7.59
iCloud Storage: $1
Savings: $650 (This changes every month depending on what I've earned — I've had three pay raises this year — and what else I have going on for the month. If I have a holiday to pay for, I won't save. I currently have around $5,100 saved.)

Day One

6 a.m. — Up for work. It's so hard getting out of bed when it's pitch black outside and my boyfriend's still cozied up in bed.
7:20 a.m. — Walk 10 minutes to the station. (My total commute takes about an hour and 10 minutes.)
8:35 a.m. — Early for work, so I grab a coffee from Starbucks. I usually drink black coffee and I'm not fussy, but since I have a gift card, I treat myself to a toffee nut latte with almond milk. It's bloody good, actually.
10:15 a.m. — I was supposed to meet an old friend for a drink after work to catch up, but she just texted me to cancel. I pop into Liberty on my home instead to get some Christmas decorations. I'm a bit extra when it comes to Christmas.
1 p.m. — Head out to Pret for lunch. It's so hard to resist when it's so close to my office. I buy a red Thai chicken soup with a bread roll and a peach and green tea drink. I spot a tasty looking brownie on my way out, so buy I that, too, for an afternoon snack. $9.90
Advertisement
3 p.m. — Scroll through ASOS whilst eating and order three grey jumpers (they're all really different, I swear) and a mug for my work Secret Santa. $69.09
6 p.m. — Leave work and make my way to Liberty. I pop into H&M en route, since I spotted a nice jumper on Instagram from there the other day. (I'm not obsessed with jumpers, and I don't actually have any — hence the need to buy some.) I end up buying one jumper and two work tops ($80.10). I won't keep all six tops, though. Then, I wander around the Christmas shop in Liberty and buy three decorations ($21.36) — one is for T.'s mother, as she loves shiny cute things and I could use the brownie points. Can't get on the Tube, as they've decided to "temporarily" close Oxford Circus station...perfect. Takes me two hours to get home. My boyfriend, T., has made me a pizza for dinner, which is ready the second I walk through the door. I inhale it and then get in bed to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians (my guilty pleasure) before falling asleep. $101.46
Daily Total: $180.45

Day Two

6 a.m. — The struggle is real. I don't do mornings. Leave for work at 7:20. Walking is currently my only exercise, as I cancelled my gym membership since I have to leave for work so early and I get home late. I buy a green smoothie from Starbucks ($3.55) using my gift card on my way to work. When I get to the office, I make Marmite on toast in the kitchen for breakfast. I don't usually eat breakfast, but since it's free and available, I sometimes make myself a piece of toast.
Advertisement
11 a.m. – Someone is doing a Starbucks run, so I order another toffee nut latte with almond milk. Somebody else is paying, so I can't resist.
1:30 p.m. — Head out for lunch to the nearby food market. I opt for a vegetarian Caribbean curry, which I really enjoy. $7.60
5:30 p.m. — Bar night with coworkers tonight. I end up drinking four cocktails and two glasses of wine, so I leave before it gets too messy.
8:30 p.m. — Get to the station, and I've got 15 minutes to wait for my train. I'm meeting T. at McDonald's when I get back, as we need dinner and it's late, but I end up buying a small cheeseburger and Coke Zero from McDonald's while I wait, since I'm STARVING and it's the most cost-effective option nearby. $2.50
9:15 p.m. — Meet T. at McDonald's and don't tell him I've already been… I order a chicken nuggets meal with a Coke Zero (and blame the alcohol for this behavior). $5.90
Daily Total: $16

Day Three

6 a.m. — Get up and feel knackered, but not hungover, thankfully. I pick up a cheese and tomato croissant with a mango and pineapple smoothie. Toast isn't going to cut it this morning. $5.80
1:30 p.m. — My colleague asks if I want to join her for lunch, and we head to a local deli. I get a make-your-own salad, which I fill with goodness ($7.60). Take it back to the office, and get a can of Coke Zero from the vending machine ($0.63). $8.23
Advertisement
4:30 p.m. — We get to leave early today, so I head home to my mum's, as I'm babysitting my little sister tonight. My mum bought me a pizza, which I don't fancy, but I have a few slices of it with a glass of wine while I watch a film with my sister and do my online food shopping to pick up on Sunday.
Daily Total: $14.03

Day Four

10 a.m. — Wake up early but lay in bed for a few hours. I live for sleeping in. I spend the morning chatting with my parents, who I haven't seen for a while.
12:30 p.m. — T. picks me up and we drive to IKEA. We have Swedish meatballs for lunch. $8
1 p.m. — We pick up a small chest of drawers and a plant ($14.25 for my half — bargain!!). Then we drive to the supermarket to pick up a Christmas tree ($15.50 for my half). Lastly, we pop into town to do some more Christmas shopping. I buy two candle gift sets ($27.88, using a coupon for part of the cost), a skirt for myself ($25.34 using another coupon), and cocoa butter ($5.95). Head home and finish off some work to send over to my boss. $88.92
8 p.m. — Date night at a restaurant that we have a $100 voucher for! We share three starters, order a main each, and share a dessert, plus we each have a few drinks. T. pays.
Daily Total: $96.92
Advertisement

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — Wake up with a headache. Damn cocktails. Finally get up around noon and jump in the shower. Then I make a black coffee and feel 100 times better. I head to the local shop to pick up some snacks for the afternoon ($6.95) while T. drives to the big supermarket to pick up the food order I placed. We've got enough food for dinners and lunches throughout the week, plus snacks and drinks ($53.25). (I pay a third of all our groceries ($17.75), and T. covers the rest.) $24.70
2:30 p.m. — We eat beans on toast for a late lunch and then decorate our Christmas tree. Then I clean the flat and we eat the snacks I bought while watching a Christmas film for the rest of the afternoon — a perfect Sunday.
8 p.m. — For dinner, I make us chicken wrapped in pastry with pesto and veg. I also bake pesto pinwheels out of leftover pastry for snacks — am I a domestic goddess, or what?
10:30 p.m. — Bedtime, ready for work tomorrow.
Daily Total: $24.70

Day Six

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I get ready for work. When I arrive, I make coffee, eat a breakfast bar I brought with me, and put my head down — I've got a tight deadline, so it's a busy day.
1:30 p.m. — Break for lunch and eat a salad I made in the kitchen — lettuce, chicken, pine nuts, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes. Then I order a lipstick for my mum's Christmas present online. $30
Advertisement
6:10 p.m. — Finish work and head to the pub to meet an old friend. Order two large glasses of wine for us both — $21.50 (ouch). We have a great catch up and she buys us a round before we get the train home. At home, I cook tortellini with sauce for T. and myself, and we eat and catch up on The Apprentice before getting in bed. $21.50
Daily Total: $51.50

Day Seven

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off. Get ready for work and walk to the station. I arrive at work 15 minutes early, but I force myself to walk past Starbucks and into the office, where I get myself a coffee and peanut butter (crunchy, obv) on toast from the kitchen. I eat at my desk whilst working. Hoping to get my first big project out this week, so I need to make sure it's good!
1:20 p.m. — Pop out to the shops, where I buy a Christmas gift for T. ($8.18) and the rest of my Secret Santa present ($5). I also pick up a chicken snack and green juice ($4.10). I eat my salad from home and chicken snack once I get back to work. $17.28
6:15 p.m. — Finish work and head home. T. made enchiladas for dinner — yum! We treat ourselves to melted chocolate and strawberries for dessert. Then I paint my nails ... and immediately chip one.
10:30 p.m. — Get in bed feeling grateful that I'm taking work off on Friday and only have two days left this week. Woooo!
Advertisement
Daily Total: $17.28
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 behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here. Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Have you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series

Advertisement