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: “I’m an operations director working for a tech company and living in central London with my boyfriend, R.
R and I bought our dream flat last October and are still in love with it! We agreed that I would contribute £40,000 towards the deposit and pay for all the furniture, decorations etc. and he would cover the rest. I’m comfortable with money and like to have a balance between enjoying life, treating myself and saving for emergencies every month but really need to get into the stocks and shares game. R and I have been together for four years; he has been there during the worst times in my life and is my absolute rock. He has a high-profile job that provides him a lot of financial security. We both travel for work a lot and pre-COVID we would either be lucky and cross over perfectly in the US or Singapore or would be at the opposite ends of the Earth. Lockdown was kind of a blessing for us as in the past four years we have never been in London together for more than two months consecutively. We didn’t think that at the start though! R was stuck working in the US when travel restrictions went into effect so I went through the beginning of lockdown alone until he made it over in April.”
Paycheque amount: £7,642
Number of housemates: One, my boyfriend R
Housing costs: £0. R covers the mortgage.
Utilities: £500 into joint account for gas, electric, housing insurance, council tax (£1,560 paid yearly), broadband + TV, service charge.
Transportation: £400 in a pot in Monzo every month to cover taxis, petrol, trains, congestion charge etc. but with COVID this has nicely accumulated.
Phone bill: £15 (SIM only).
Savings? I have just over £9,000 in bonds which I don’t touch and leave to enter the draw every month. £42,000 in a standard savings account to which I contribute a minimum of £2,000 every month, this covers emergencies to holidays.
Other: Car insurance £126, Netflix £11.99, Amazon Prime £7.99, Spotify £10, Audible £10, Glossybox £12.95, charity donation £350, Nourish Fit Food £38 weekly. Any money left over at the end of the month I transfer across to my savings.
5am: I want to smash my Alexa. Roll out of the bed and get my gym gear on. Walk down to the gym in our building. It royally sucks waking up so early but working out early in the morning does absolute wonders for my mental health.
6.30am: Head back upstairs (via lift) and crack on with my morning routine of shower, skincare, five-minute journal and breakfast. For the past four years I have eaten the same breakfast of turkey rashers in a bagel and scrambled eggs.
8am: R brings me a coffee. We are hosting a dinner party with four friends on Friday night (this was while this was still allowed!) as R is heading back to the US for work on Sunday and will be gone for at least five months. It’s two days away and we still don’t have a menu so haven’t got any food in for it. We settle on Mexican and I go for my morning cigarette, then head to my study to start the day.
2pm: Jam-packed morning full of back-to-back meetings and emails. Go heat up my lunch while having a cigarette and jump onto Amazon to order a 3L water bottle with a straw as I just don’t have time to keep filling mine up. £14.99. Miso cod today and it is delicious! I get a delivery of meal prep every week for lunch as I don’t have time to cook lunch every day.
5pm: It’s been one of those days so go for a walk before a late call with the US team. Stop by the corner shop for a packet of cigarettes, £10.50, then M&S and grab two rump steaks and frites for dinner, £16.55, and a decaf coffee from Starbucks (praying for a placebo effect — it’s way too late for real coffee), £4.55.
7.30pm: I’m done and have dinner waiting with a glass of merlot (bf goals). We unwind and talk about our days. R has had a really busy day of calls as well and says he is sick of smiling. Today was so much for me so I clear my calendar for tomorrow morning so I can have a lie-in and catch up on some more work.
9pm: Exhausted, we both jump into bed and put on an episode of Euphoria (I am obsessed! Why have I only just discovered it?) and fall asleep during it (lol).
5am: Forgot to change my alarm for my lie-in so tell Alexa to STFU and wake me up at 7am.
6.55am: I wake up from R kissing me, which I can’t really complain about. We spend an hour in bed just talking. It’s hitting me really hard this time that he’s leaving. We have done it before but I think not being able to visit him and also him getting stuck last time has left me super anxious.
10am: Workout and routine all done. Shit myself thinking we haven’t ordered food for tomorrow night so call R to get a list and to my surprise he’s on top of it. Put £60 in our joint account to go towards the shopping.
1pm: A 30-minute meeting finished in 10 minutes (result) so I go for a cigarette and quickly devour my lunch — steak salad today.
4pm: I get a Slack off a colleague saying “Shall we meet outside at 7?” and my heart drops. Completely forgot I was meant to meet some people from work for drinks tonight. Get double-sided guilt of not spending the evening with R before he goes but also don’t want to cancel. Call R to check when he will be home and he says late, meaning he’s out with his mates, so guess I’m off for drinks.
6.30pm: Take myself from a 4 to a 7 in just over an hour. I’m excited to see everyone but my social anxiety is hitting as I haven’t seen some of these people in person in over six months. Uber £11.
8pm: I forgot how amazing it is to be in the same room as people after months of Zoom. R comes up in the conversation by someone I’m not really close with but my boss/bestie S shuts it right down. Phew! Because of R’s job, people have a lot of questions but we are really private about our relationship. Buy a round. £47
10pm: We all leave very drunk so grab a McDonald’s. Order a large six nugget meal, hamburger and mozzarella dippers. So good, I eat it all in five minutes. Order an Uber home and start drunk texting R. £15 Uber, £8.49 McDonald’s.
10.30pm: I’m home, pyjamas on, remove my makeup and into bed. Give R the biggest cuddle and fall straight to sleep.
8am: No no no, I do not need to hear Lin-Manuel Miranda shouting “my shot” while hungover. R has already left for work so I blast the Euphoria soundtrack on the speakers to wake me up and get in the shower.
9am: Down water, coffee and vitamin C supplements with my breakfast and sit at my desk “ready” to start the day. Look like an absolute slob with my hair in a bun, gym leggings and one of R’s massive grey jumpers. It’s Friday so no judgment please.
11am: Have a companywide call which requires no cameras or mics on so use it as a chance to go to the gym with the hope of recovering. Dial in from my phone and go cardio heavy to sweat out this hangover. It’s Friday so order Chipotle for lunch to arrive at 12.30. Get a veggie salad bowl of rice, lettuce, extra peppers, salsa and corn with a side of chips and salsa and a plain wrap. I find all the meat is too spicy for me so always have pure veggie meals from Chipotle. £11.50
3pm: Lunch was delicious, finish up all my work for the week and call it a day but keep my work phone on me in case anything needs my attention. Text R to pick me up a pack of cigarettes and send him £10. Take the chance to have a shower and get ready for tonight.
6pm: All ready and R is home and ready so we crack on making all the tapas dishes for tonight (well, R does, I can’t cook). I start making all the cocktails.
7pm: Our guests arrive! We have S and T and J and C; S is my manager/ bestie. R and J grew up together and all six of us went on holiday together last year and have become a real couples group, the type that will moan about work and life but still drink like we are 17.
9pm: The food was incredible! To celebrate (mourn for me) R going back to work we make another round of drinks, grab some blankets and go sit around the fire pit outside and play some card games.
11pm: My stomach is in pain from laughing so much. S, C and I start discussing engagements and when S and I could be expecting it, hmm. S gets a bit emotional as her and T have been together for seven years and he knows she wants to get married, so C and I give a drunk girl power speech to pump her up. I think it worked but can’t remember what I said.
12.30am: Everyone heads home and R and I stumble to bed. I down some water, take my makeup off and fall into bed.
9am: Wake up still a bit drunk and in need of coffee and food so R and I decide to head out. Walk into the kitchen to grab some coffee, get a waft of tequila and run for my life. Shout at R that we have to leave right now to get coffee and breakfast as I can’t set foot in that kitchen again.
10am: Take a long, rainy walk to Covent Garden dressed in an oversized jumper, cycling shorts (it’s 11 degrees) and the biggest sunglasses you have ever seen. Find an adorable coffee shop, I get poached eggs with bacon and an almond latte and R gets eggs Benedict with a latte. £15 for my share but R insists on paying and the coffee hasn’t hit me yet to fight him so he pays and we head home.
12pm: Back home and quickly clean up, I’m still a little bit sensitive to the smell of tequila so put a mask on while cleaning. All done, we jump on the sofa with one goal in mind: finish Euphoria! We have three episodes left and only watch them together so it’s now or never.
2pm: One episode left! I’m heartbroken that it’s about to end because I love it. Feeling extra bougee today so we order Burger & Lobster for late lunch. We both get the lobster roll meal deal, £32.50 each.
3.45pm: Finished it, I need season two like, now. Both go for a cigarette and spend over 30 minutes discussing the cinematography and directing of Euphoria. After disagreeing on the meaning of the final scene, I go for a lie down and scroll through TikTok (am I too old for this?).
6pm: Get ready as we are off for dinner tonight. Open a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and blast the Euphoria soundtrack.
7pm: Get an Uber over to The Ivy Asia for our booking at 7.30pm (so early but 10pm curfew). £13
8pm: We start off with cranberry elixirs before we sit down to eat. Order a variety of sushi and Wagyu beef accompanied by many more cocktails. When the bill comes R insists on paying and I insist on splitting. We get into a mild argument over it but settle on R paying.
10pm: We leave and jump in a taxi home. £17
11pm: Spend the evening on the terrace talking about the next couple of months and how we will communicate, and also plan some virtual dates.
12am: Head to bed to enjoy our last night together.
6am: R gives me a wake-up call to remember. Smother him in kisses and cuddles before he leaves. The minute he leaves I go for a cigarette and find myself feeling super numb/trying to deny the emotions.
8am: Have a bath and level myself up. We are talking a curly blow-dry, fake eyelashes, heeled boots, Chanel sunglasses and my Louis Vuitton bag. Have a day of retail therapy ahead with my best friend J to make me feel better.
9am: Pick my bestie J up, she is an angel and has got me an almond latte from Joe & the Juice (my fav). We start talking about our game plan on our way to Bond Street.
10am: First things first, brunch! I get the French breakfast and latte at Côte brasserie. We talk over breakfast about J’s new boyfriend. I can see how happy she is and it makes me really happy but also miss R a little more. I grab the bill for both of us. £32.64
11.30am: Innocently go into YSL as there was a bag J wanted to have a look at and I fall in love. This beautiful cross-body black bag was calling my name so I had to bring it home, with the matching card holder as well. £1,015
4pm: I can’t feel my feet. When I go shopping, I don’t play games and my bank account is reflecting that. After the designer spend up, I went on to buy Dr. Martens, £149, glass Tupperware in Zara Home, £30, a variety of jumpers and leggings in Primark and three umbrellas, £59.93, benefit brow kit and blusher set, £86, some dresses in Zara, £86.67, and my favourite perfume in Boots, £106.
5pm: Dropped J home and now back at mine, it just feels so empty. I decide to give it a nice clean and get some washing on so I’ll feel better when I look through all my shopping. Put everything away and settle for a nice long bath while starting Emily in Paris.
9pm: R calls! He’s just landed and tells me about the pain of trying to sleep with a mask on. I realise I haven’t eaten since brunch so raid the freezer and settle for a Chicago Town pizza and some chips.
10pm: Exhausted, I jump into bed and set my alarm for 4.30am, disgusting. I’m off to my parents’ in the morning.
4.30am: I head down to the gym for my workout and take a glucose shot as I just can’t today.
7.45am: Put makeup on with one of my new dresses and boots and I’m feeling super cute. Grab my laptop, charger, notebook. Get in the car and blast a cheesy song playlist while driving.
8.30am: Get super hyped when I pass a Costa drive-through which I have never seen before. Grab a large almond milk latte with two extra shots and a bacon roll. £9.53
11am: Finished a couple of meetings so sit down and speak to my parents. I try to come and see them once a month. My dad goes and collects my post — I send most of my post here as in the last place R and I lived, post kept going missing (I think stolen) so I would rather be safe than sorry.
2pm: Mum has cooked spag bol. I’m convinced there is nothing better than a homemade spag bol — delicious! We catch up on life, she’s loving WFH after over 30 years of commuting into London but misses seeing a lot of her friends.
5pm: Finish up work for the day and I’m feeling super overwhelmed about life and work. Head to a superstore supermarket to fill up the freezer and fridge as much as I can and also fill up on petrol as it’s drastically cheaper in Kent than London. I get 4x bagel thins, 4x chicken breast, 3x turkey mince, 3x rump steaks, a variety of fresh fruit and veg, frozen chopped peppers, coffee, eggs, 4x Ben & Jerry’s (it’s half price), 7x almond long-life milk and a ton of other little bits. £112. The evil looks I was getting, people must have thought I’m stocking up for another lockdown. I promise I’m not! Fill up my petrol tank and grab two packs of cigarettes, £76, then head back home.
8pm: Shopping unpacked, ready meal all heated, I get myself on the sofa ready for EastEnders. R FaceTimes me so I have to pause, he’s super bored as he’s in quarantine and is complaining about the food.
10pm: No luck with EastEnders as we just came off FaceTime. With an aching body and in need of more sleep, I set my alarm for 6 and find a yoga workout to follow online. I did my bedtime routine while on FaceTime so straight to sleep it is.
5.57am: Why have I woken up exactly three minutes before my alarm? So annoying! Put on my cutest gym gear and go straight to the terrace for some yoga.
7.30am: Other than the fact that it is freezing outside and I had to wear a massive jumper, I feel so zen. I never really believed in meditation and yoga but I really feel the effects of it now.
9am: Still freezing but the sun is out, making it a crisp autumnal day which is my favourite! I decide to wrap up in a blanket and work outside.
1pm: The zen feeling is growing. I feel so on top of work today and I think it’s due to how I started the day. Use my lunch to look into yoga a bit further and decide to book a class for Friday morning (first session half price), £15. Have a tuna salad bowl for lunch today.
5pm: Done for the day and feeling good. Go back and forth on what to cook for dinner but settle on stuffed chicken breasts with veg. Before I do that, quickly pop out to grab two packets of cigarettes, £24. I’m trying to stockpile so I don’t have to keep going out to buy them.
7pm: Jump on FaceTime with my besties L and S as we decided we want to go away this weekend. About 15 minutes later, flights and hotel are booked to Stockholm for this Saturday! £452 but I use a BA travel voucher so…free? I have missed the adrenaline rush of last-minute holidays!
8pm: Virtual date night with R. Tonight we’re watching Enola Holmes on Netflix party and also on FaceTime together.
11pm: That film was amazing! And the virtual date went so well, only just got off. Jump into bed and scroll through my personal emails to see Ann Summers has a sale so take advantage and order a wand I have wanted for so long but could never justify the original price, £52. Go to sleep feeling grateful for next-day delivery.
“I spent a lot. In all fairness, I only go shopping like that two or three times a year so this isn’t a weekly thing! But from looking over how I was feeling mentally, I really do use shopping as a form of therapy. Minus all the shopping I think I did really well. I’m not super surprised at how much I spend on food as I love going out to eat and also entertaining so this is an expense I’m pretty happy with. I really didn’t realise how little I use my car! Considering all the money I pay to be able to drive it in London, you would think I’d be driving everywhere and not getting a ridiculous number of Ubers every week. This I really need to look into!”
Originally published at https://www.refinery29.com.