A Week In London On A $122,500 Salary

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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 lawyer who makes $122,500 per year. This week, she spends some of her paycheck this week on ingredients for banana bread. Editor's note: All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Media
Age: 29
Location: London
Salary: $122,500
Paycheck (1x/month): $6,200
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,450 for my half. (I split equally with my boyfriend.)
Student Loan Payment: $730. (Nearly. Done. YES.)
Credit Card Loan: $560 for bar exam prep course fees
Savings: $1,100 split between an ISA, funding circle, and a holiday account. (Once my student debts are paid off, I'm going to be paying much more into savings.)
Wine Delivery Service: $28. (Don't judge.)
Phone: $54
Gym: $54
Netflix: $8.45
Spotify: $14
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Joint Account: $2,100. (My boyfriend and I both contribute to this account each month to cover the below expenses, as well as our groceries and the occasional nice meal or holiday.) Internet, TV & Landline: $57
Council Tax: $138
Mortgage Insurance: $88
Gas & Electricity: $65
Boiler Breakdown Cover: $27
Water: $45
Household Insurance: $30
House Cleaner: $112

Day One

7:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. Hurrah, it's Saturday! Have a bit of a lie-in and catch up with my boyfriend, who has been away for work for the past week. He makes coffee while we listen to the Today radio show and get ready for the park run. It's a lovely day and we leave at 8:50 to get to the start line. There are so many people here today – and we try to participate every Saturday morning if we can. While it might not be the first thing I want to do on a Saturday morning, it sets me up for the day and makes me feel pretty smug. Trying to improve my personal record each week is a good incentive – and it's free!
10:30 a.m. — Feeling fab, although my run today was 10 seconds slower than last week's personal record. Maybe next week? I take a long, luxurious shower and then have a breakfast of peanut butter and mashed banana on toast with another cafetière of coffee. Manage to fend BF off my second slice of toast and he makes himself more; he is an eating machine. Usually, we have our Ocado groceries delivered at this time each week (it's sort of like Whole Foods, but online), but because I wanted to make a nice meal for BF when he returned from his week away, I had everything delivered a few days ago. We spend about $120-$140 on food shopping per week, which comes out of our joint account.
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12 p.m. — Pop into the center to pick up a bag that was being mended at L.K. Bennett. This is the second time I've bought this bag, and the strap broke. Not a happy bunny. Sadly, as it was three years since I'd bought it last, I couldn't quite wangle a replacement or a refund. Tip: Take things back within six months of purchase if they're broken (a.k.a. don't buy stuff and leave it at the bottom of your wardrobe for two years). However, they did fix it for free. You win some, etc. While we're out and about, we pop into Hatchards bookshop and buy three greetings cards ($10.10). We also pop into M&S to buy eggs because I have grand banana bread-making plans ($5.60). $15.70
2 p.m. — Home! And HUNGRY. (BF perhaps more than me.) Thankfully, we have a pile of leftovers from last night's North Thai feast, which I made with a spice delivery box we were gifted when we booked a holiday. We have coconut chicken noodle soup, spicy pork sausages, prawn crackers, pickled pak choi, pak choi leaves, cucumber, and baba ganoush. Yum! We settle in on the sofa and my boyfriend watches rugby while I attempt to plan a friend's hen do. We're nearly there but organizing so many other people is a challenge! She is one of my best friends, though, and I am really happy to be doing it for her. The wedding is this summer and we are all really excited! Wed-min is briefly interrupted by a phone call from my best friend, who shares some very exciting news with me. Whooping ensues.
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4 p.m. — Whooping over, I scour the internet for shorts to buy for our forthcoming trip to Costa Rica. My boyfriend and I are going for two and a half weeks, and I can't ruddy wait! I haven't had a proper long holiday in a long time. I find a pair on sale from Lululemon and buy them ($19.71), only to be dismayed 20 minutes later when I receive a message telling me that my order is cancelled. Apparently, they are out of stock. They need a better stock notification system! Brokenhearted, I continue to scour the web but, alas, none are as good. I decide to leave the shorts for now.
6 p.m. — Food time! We're going to have to be quick, as we're heading to my boyfriend's friend's birthday party later. I heat up leftover fish curry I made during the week. We're still pretty full from our lunch feast so after eating, I hastily slap makeup on and get changed. We leave bearing a bottle of gin from our booze shelf and take the train way down south of the river. We get to the party and my boyfriend's friend is making cocktails (read: pouring glasses of tequila). I have a great time! His friends are great but the tequilas prove a little too much for BF's friend and he throws up in the garden.
3 a.m. — Tequila, limoncello, espresso martinis, and god knows what else consumed, it's time to go home. Party host is passed out in an armchair. We share a taxi up to North London with a friend. The ride makes me pretty nauseous, which I mistakenly vocalize, and then spend the rest of the (ruddy long) taxi journey convincing the poor driver that I will not vomit all over his car. Mission accomplished. We arrive home, no chundering done. BF pays for the Uber, though to be honest, I can't remember ordering it anyway. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and fall into bed with a bucket on the side. I don't throw up, but the world is spinning.
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Daily Total: $15.70

Day Two

7 a.m. — Oh great. I'm awake. Not feeling anywhere near as bad as I should but still very, very tired. BF brings me Berocca and coffee, and I doze whilst listening to BBC Radio 4. (It makes me feel safe.)
9:30 a.m. — I finally haul myself out of bed and make an avocado toast and green tea, hoping it will sort me out, and continue scouring the internet for shorts. None are as good as the ones I couldn't buy yesterday. Also, why are all the things I like are so blooming expensive?! I resist any ridiculous leisurewear purchases and put on my running clothes.
11 a.m. — Finally out of the door and running around the park. Being outside feels good, although I don't feel like I have much in my legs! That'll be the tequila. I am cheered on by all the lovely dogs out for their walks in the park. Once I'm home, we eat baked sweet potatoes, blue cheese, and salad bits left over in the fridge. I also open a tin of stuffed vine leaves in the cupboard because I am hungry!
2 p.m. — We settle on the sofa again and BF watches rugby. I have a delightful nap, and then get up at about 5 p.m. and start making the aforementioned banana bread. BF assists as sous chef. Still hungover, tired, and therefore hungry, we make a very classy dinner of chicken Kiev (food of the gods), some sort of vegetable-y quinoa packet, and salad-y bits. We then have our Sunday night ritual of watching Countryfile (no apology), but this time with delicious chocolatey banana bread.
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7 p.m. — We make our lunches for the next day (falafel salad) and get our bags organized for the week. I spend a bit of time researching further exams I want to take, and see if I can find a way of getting work to fund them. We get into bed at approximately 8:30 p.m. (PARTY CENTRAL), and read our books until we pass out. It's been a busy weekend.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

5:15 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I'm supposed to go to a body pump class at the local gym but I'm not feeling it. Decide I'll go for a run instead. Reset alarm for 6:30. 6:30 comes. Still not up for it. Boyfriend gets up and ready for work and brings me coffee.
8 a.m. — Boyfriend leaves for work. I appear to still be in bed. Decide I'm going to work from home today. I finally haul myself out of bed at 8:45 and go for a lovely long run in the beautiful sunshine.
9:30 a.m. — Back home and showered. I eat peanut butter banana toast and drink coffee, and then sit at my desk (a.k.a. dining room table) going through my emails, still feeling Saturday night. Today is going to be fun. The two-and-a-half-week holiday that I have coming up means that there is a slightly scary amount to do before then. Not helped by a judgment that came out last week, which completely threw off the case strategy of a related matter I'm dealing with.
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3 p.m. — I think about taking a walk in the sunshine, but it doesn't happen. Grab my lunch out of the fridge and work whilst I munch.
7 p.m. — Still working but think it might be time to make dinner. Boyfriend has meetings in another town today and will be home late, so I start on with dinner without him. I make tofu pad Thai but realize we're out of noodles, so am excruciatingly middle class and use quinoa instead. Settle down with a bowl of quinoa Thai on the sofa watching Don't Tell the Bride. So trashy, but so satisfying. Boyfriend is finally home, so I warm up some of my masterpiece for him and we catch up on our days. We make our packed lunches for tomorrow (leftover quinoa Thai, salad, tzatziki, and stuffed vine leaves) and have banana bread and herbal tea. We hit the sack at about 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

5:15 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I get up, chuck my gym clothes on, throw my lunch in my bag, and am out the door and on the bus! Get to the gym at 6:30, and do gentle jogging on the treadmill. Then I take a 30-minute killer HIIT class. Afterward, I shower off and meet some girlfriends for breakfast at 7:30. I order green baked eggs and a cappuccino and we catch up on life. We realize we haven't seen each other for ages, so we get our calendars out and make plans to meet for dinner on the following Monday, as this is the only time that will work before I go on holiday. $20.15
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8:45 a.m. — I'm in work mode and there is a lot to do. I prepare evidence (which I love doing) and field emails and calls from clients.
12:45 p.m. — Stop for lunch with some colleagues. We go down to our firm's café and catch up on our weekends and lives. Back at my desk, I see that I'm scheduled to do a presentation on the judgment I mentioned earlier. Add this to my increasingly long to-do list. Still working on the evidence. (I will be for days.) Text my boyfriend to ask when he'll be home. He replies saying he'll be home before me, so I task him with making pancake batter. Decide I'm not going to make it until dinner, so I go down to the café and buy a slice of banana bread. I feel a bit sorry for the poor banana bread sitting at home, but at least the one I made is better. $3.50
7:15 p.m. — Take the train home, where it's pancake time! I had grand plans of making fancy pancakes but by the time I get home, I can't be bothered to make a fun sauce. We settle for cheese, sriracha, and cured beef that Ocado had in its flash sale. BF has been a superhero and baked salmon that was in the freezer for lunches whilst he was waiting for me to come home. I repay the favor by making salmon salad for lunch for tomorrow. Too full for more banana bread. We're in bed by 10:30 and asleep pretty soon after.
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Daily Total: $23.65

Day Five

5:45 a.m. — I have been awake since 4:45. Excellent. Finally get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 5:15, chuck lunch into my bag, put my gym clothes on, and head to a barre class at 7 a.m. It's tough, but enjoyable, especially since the teacher is playing really aggressive hip-hop. Once I'm showered and dressed, I walk to work.
9 a.m. — Breakfast time. I usually get a free coffee at the gym, but the machine is broken (it tries to serve me a cup of hot milk), so down to the office café I go. To be fair, they have really good coffee, but it's just a bit pricey for an office coffee shop. I get a coffee and a bircher muesli. Back at my desk, I do my usual email-fielding and evidence prep. $5
2:30 p.m. — Meeting with my boss and a junior to discuss evidence in this tricky case. Boss is clearly as flummoxed as I am by the recent judgment. We spend three hours trying to work out what to do. Thankfully, our meeting is in the partners dining room, so I take advantage of the free coffee, sweets, fruit, and biscuits, and leave feeling slightly sick ... but like we might be getting somewhere with the case.
6:45 p.m. — Get back to my desk, write up a few drafts, and then realize it's nearly 7 p.m.
8 p.m. — Finally home, and BF has defrosted and heated beef stew from the freezer, which we eat with brown rice and parmesan on the top. Yum. BF washes up, I make packed lunches, and we're in bed by 10:30 with our books. I am exhausted and pass out pretty quickly. Gosh, we are an exciting couple.
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Daily Total: $5

Day Six

5:15 a.m. — Ruddy alarm. Time to get up! I am bone tired but aware of the stack of work I have to do. So I throw myself out of bed, get dressed, and am out and on the bus by 5:45. Get to the gym for a 6:45 HIIT class. I'm feeling tired and it's not my best one. I struggle through as best as I can and am grateful when it's over! Into the shower and get dressed.
7:45 a.m. — At my desk, preparing my presentation for lunchtime today. Joy. Make a pit stop at the office café and get a cappuccino and a bircher ($5.05). Take a break and see that Lululemon's "We Made Too Much" page has been refreshed — and they have excellent shorts. In my size. AND IT'S PAYDAY! I also pick a pair of cropped workout leggings and two new pairs of socks. ($127...whoops!) $132.05
12:30 p.m. — Presentation time! It goes fine, although I hear myself volunteering to do a case note for distribution to clients. Sure, yes, I'll do that. Have a really interesting discussion about various issues that the judgment has raised, and get back to my desk at 1:30 to eat my lunch. I receive a text from my dentist reminding me about the I checkup booked for this evening. Good job they did, as I had forgotten.
2 p.m. — Someone left a pile of candy out in the office. The dentist trip later is not enough to deter me from polishing off approximately 10 delicious, chewy sweets. My mouth hurts from the sugar.
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4:30 p.m. — A colleague swings by and asks if I would fancy a coffee. I could do with a break, so I thankfully agree. We pop out with another colleague and I buy them both coffee since they usually buy mine. Get a lemongrass tea for myself, as I am coffee-d out. I eat roasted nuts and dried apple with it, and get back to the office for an in-depth chat with a partner about a case we're working on. $12
6:45 p.m. — Crap, it's time to go to the dentist! I have been going to a private dentist for a few years now because I just couldn't find an in-network one in London whom I trusted. The one I've found is amazing and not completely extortionate, the only problem is that the office is down in South London. I hop on the Thameslink and get there by 7:30. Have a great chat about how I'm a tooth grinder (and wear a fairly heavy duty mouthguard at night – sexy stuff), but often find myself clenching my jaw during the day. She does an X-ray of my teeth and says that I haven't done myself too much damage, but perhaps I should try yoga or meditation. I had prepaid part of my appointment, so only pay for the X-ray. $25
8 p.m. — Hop on the train, then Tube home, and arrive to find that my boyfriend made one of my favorite guilty pleasures: Linda McCartney deep-filled country pies, with sweet potato chips and baked beans, plus mayo and sriracha on the side. Food of the gods! Then it's our usual routine of making packed lunches for the next day, packing bags, and getting in bed by 10. Extra snaps to BF for putting a hot water bottle in the bed when I wasn't looking. He's pretty brilliant. Asleep pretty quickly, since I am exhausted (as always).
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Daily Total: $169.05

Day Seven

6 a.m. — FRIDAY! I'm up and out the door for my spinning class. The instructor put on some banging tunes, and I really go for it. Shower at the studio and have a brief chat with the instructor in the changing rooms. We bond over our love of the same Brazilian booty cream. I get home and see that BF left me half a cafetière of coffee. I boil the kettle, pour half a cup of black coffee, and top it up with hot water. Then I start working, reading through the legal news and case law updates and tackling my inbox.
11 a.m. — The door buzzer sounds: It's Ocado! Run down the stairs and let the delivery man in. We ordered mixed peppers, chicken thigh fillets, little gem lettuce, zucchini, onions, mozzarella, blueberries, asparagus, yogurt, radishes, green beans, spinach, cherry tomatoes, milk, cheddar, carrots, avocados, sugar snap peas, a cucumber, leeks, hummus, baby sprouts, chicken sausage, pancetta, flaked almonds, quinoa, granola, crumpets, canned chickpeas, eggs, roasted nuts, canned butter beans, sweet potatoes, artichoke hearts, gochujang chili, Braeburn apples, chicken gyoza, and edamame beans. Every week, we also include a $7 contribution (which Ocado matches) to a local food bank. This food ($109 total) will last us for the week, plus some meat I have in the freezer from previous Ocado flash sales. I'll probably use the few hours I have free on Saturday to do some batch cooking for the week.
11:30 a.m. — I'm hungry, so I make avocado toast. The avocado is slightly on the unripe side and mashing it up is a bit of a challenge but I'm game. I sit down and get on with further work. This morning, it's time to go through all of my bills. It's painful as usual but it has to be done! I have a call with a junior about a case we are working on, and work through the drafts the juniors sent through to me over the last few days. I love this part of my job because I really enjoy working with others and the teaching aspect of it. It's so rewarding to see people improve and develop. It also keeps you on your toes – you have to know your stuff!
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3 p.m. — I'm hungry. It's time for my packed salmon salad. I found dried wakame in the cupboard last night, so I put that in it too. Salad is followed by a cup of tea and banana bread. We have a dinner reservation at 7 p.m and I don't want to starve until then?
6:15 p.m. — BF is home, and it is OFFICIALLY THE WEEKEND! I get changed out of my comfy clothes and into a nice dress. Put on minimal makeup, and we walk down to the restaurant in Stoke Newington. I have been wanting to try this place for ages – it's a seafood tapas restaurant, serving seafood sourced from Scotland. We gorge on oysters, garlic prawns, patatas bravas, squid, tortilla, tomato bread, fried eggplant, and pig cheeks, and manage to fit in a cheeky chocolate brownie for dessert. We share a bottle of wine, too. At about 11 p.m., we roll home, make herbal tea, and get into bed. We've got a busy weekend ahead, so it's time for some shut-eye! $52
Daily Total: $52
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