Because I’m a nosey parker, I love reading ‘spending diaries’ on other websites and blogs (check out Refinery29’s series, for example), taking a peek at what other people blow their cash on.
I therefore thought I’d create my own – for me and for any fellow nosey parkers out there.
I also thought it might make me more ‘mindful’ – overused word, sorry – about what I spend my money on. So here goes.
A note about our current £££ situation
While I won’t go into the nitty-gritty about our incomings, because I’m British and we’re weird about discussing money and earnings, my current income is nowhere near what it used to be, pre-Ted.
At the moment, I usually have two full work days a week to work around Ted, and I’m taking on less client work, currently, as I attempt to write more and create more and figure out what I really want – and yes, I’m aware that’s a big privilege.
So it means that Graham is picking up the financial slack right now – when it comes to ‘treats’ at least, i.e. takeaways and meals out. (We still split bills and mortgage etc.)
I’m lucky, therefore, that he is happy to do this…and while my income is currently low, I’m conscious that I shouldn’t be spending money willy-nilly like I used to.
And if I think about it, I don’t NEED to spend money willy-nilly anymore either.
(Obviously no-one NEEDS to spend money willy-nilly. Yes, it can be fun, but I used to do it for no reason other than because I COULD. And as a ‘reward’ for working my arse off.)
Anyway, I think what I’m trying to say is that, because I’ve mostly stepped off that WORKWORKWORKPLAYSPENDPLAYWORKWORKWORK treadmill, I feel I’ve knocked my old, frivolous spending habits on the head.
Mostly. At least I think I have. But let’s see, shall we?
(I made a note of what I spent over a fortnight, rather than over a month like the R29 one, otherwise we’d be here all day!)
Sunday 27 January
Me ‘n’ Ted met my sister in the park, then went for lunch. My sister treated us and paid the £22 bill – we usually take it in turns to pay whenever we meet for coffee or lunch.
I then drove over to my mum and dad’s for a couple of hours. Mum had made a lasagne for me to take home and have with Graham (who was in bad books after coming home very late and very drunk) – but when I got home, G decided he wanted a takeaway to help his Sunday night hangover. He spent about £14 on pizza and chips.
I almost began the fortnight with a spend-free day but then made a last-minute online purchase of a ‘create your own flatlay’ kit for my blog, which was £7.
Admittedly, I’ve bought a few things like this recently to help with my blog – photo filters etc – that I haven’t ended up using…perhaps I should have learned my lesson by now?
Sure, it’s only £7 but it all adds up – as someone who is clearly wiser and more frugal than me once said.
Total spend: £7
Monday 28 January
I took Ted into town in the morning, to a new playgroup at the library. Parking in town was £1.90 for 5 hours. The playgroup was free.
Afterwards, we went to Boots for a new eyeliner, and it was buy-one-get-one-half-price on the No 7 range, so I got a lipliner too (one that I always use and have re-bought about 20 times), plus two tubes of toothpaste because they were on offer (exciting times, I know). I spent £15 in total.
We then went to Superdrug, where I bought 4 bottles of Nivea eye make-up remover (4???!) because it was buy one get one free. I always buy the same eye makeup remover, so reminded myself that I was saving money. Hmmmm. I also bought two toothbrushes for Ted (also buy one get one half price). And some mouthwash which wasn’t on offer – I spent £17.
Total spend: £32
Tuesday 29 January
Tuesday is normally a work day for me, but my mum wasn’t feeling well so instead I took Ted to a playgroup in the morning, which was £1 (and included free snacks!) We popped into Sainsbury’s on the way home for bananas and bread and a few other bits = £7.
We drove to ‘big’ Asda in the afternoon, where I bought groceries and a few bits and bobs, including an espresso cup and saucer set for Ted… he only ever drinks milk when we’re out in cafes so I thought I’d try to recreate a babycino at home with the little cups. I managed to spend £25 on not much at all. (And Ted wasn’t impressed with the cups – £5 down the swanny!)
Total spend: £32
Wednesday 30 January
Me ‘n’ Ted popped into ‘big’ Tesco in town, where they have a Max Spielmann photo shop, so I could print out some photos to send to my Auntie as a belated thank you for Ted’s Christmas present.
I made the mistake of browsing the kids’ clothes section and saw a coat for Ted that I couldn’t resist. He didn’t really need it, but the lovely Sainsbury’s duffel coat he’d been wearing went all bobbly, so I could justify it.
I also picked up a cutlery set for Ted (£2.70 – half price), plus some other bits and ended up spending £33, instead of the £1.50 I was meant to spend on photos.
In the afternoon, we went to the hospital for our first baby scan, then went for a late lunch afterwards – G paid. Which was just as well, as I then renewed my car tax and insurance (approx. £300) and decided to do an online Pinterest course for £30.
Total spend: around £360, but this included annual car insurance and six months tax
Thursday 31 January
Poor Ted wasn’t feeling well, so we stayed at home all day and I didn’t leave the house until about 4pm, when my mum popped over and I went to pick Graham up from work.
We popped to Aldi on the way home for a few things for Ted, but G paid – I’d left my purse at home! (I think he only spent £3.)
I then went out for tea with my friend, which cost £26 (I paid the full amount because neither of us had cash; I’ll hold her to returning the favour!)
Total spend: £26
Friday 1 February
I didn’t leave the house, again. Ted had perked up a bit and went to my mum and dad’s for a few hours while I tried to catch up on work and various things. Graham treated us to a takeaway curry.
Total spend: £0
Saturday 2 February
Another hermit day while Ted recuperated. Graham went to Sainsbury’s and bought chicken wings and pizza for a ‘fake takeaway’ tea.
Total spend: £0
Sunday 3 February
I spent £20 on petrol, and Graham paid for tea out.
Total spend: £20
Monday 4 February
Me ‘n’ Ted went to a(nother) new playgroup at an indoor climbing centre (£3). I had to pop in Tesco to spend £5 in order to park there for free, but also popped in Superdrug for a few ‘bits’ and spent £14.
We went to Aldi later in the day, where I spent about £25 – but got sensible groceries that will feed us for the week, rather than falling for any Middle Aisle Tat.
Total spend: £50
Tuesday 5 February
It was a work day, so I spent nothing. Hurrah.
Total spend: £0
Wednesday 6 February
Me ‘n’ Ted went to the park, then into town to meet my mum for coffee. Mum paid for coffee. I spent £7 in Tesco, which also covered parking.
Total spend: £7
Thursday 7 February
A work morning, and then to our usual Thursday playgroup in the afternoon (£1!). Picked up a few groceries on the way home.
Total spend: £5.50
Friday 8 February
Another work day = zero spend.
Total spend: £0
Saturday 9 February
Me ‘n’ Ted met my mum and sister for a wander in town and lunch. I paid for lunch – Mum usually insists on paying when we eat out, but I refused to let her this time. Plus it was my turn to treat my sister after the previous weekend.
I was tempted by a few things in Primark but have vowed not to buy anything else until I’ve cleared out my wardrobe (maternity dungarees are the exception).
I spent £2 on parking and went into ‘big’ Tesco for the 1347th time this fortnight – I bought a baby ready meal for Ted and a couple of other bits.
Total spend: £32
I’m actually quite impressed with myself at how few impulse buys and unnecessary purchases I made during the fortnight.
If I’m really serious about tightening my proverbial money belt, I can see that I have a slight problem with ‘popping into’ Tesco and Superdrug (which are both usually en route if we’ve gone into town), and therefore need to plan properly so I don’t need to go into those shops – I fall into that common trap of popping in for something that costs a couple of quid and before I know it, I’ve spent £20.
However, bar Ted’s coat and a few other bits, I didn’t buy anything that I didn’t really need or won’t use – the make-up and toiletries are things I stocked up on while they were on offer.
And I only had one social occasion, if you don’t count going out with Graham and Ted, or with family – which is probably quite representative of my (barely existent) social life at the moment. Woe.
However, logging all of my expenditure has given me comfort in realising that I really don’t need to spend all that much, as I currently navigate life as a part-time stay-at-home-mum and part-time self-employed person.
When I worked in offices in big cities, and even when I worked full-time for myself, going to tons of meetings regularly, I spent lots on lunches and coffees out, and on taxis.
I now spend about £10 a week on petrol, and that’s mainly because we pick Graham up from work three nights a week. And working from home with fewer client meetings means far fewer opportunities to be swayed by impulse buys. Hurrah for zero spend days.
I know I could be even more frugal, and be smarter with how we shop for groceries etc, but I think our balance is about right for now – if I’m honest, I don’t want to spend more time than I do now planning and preparing meals, for example. (Again, I’m aware it’s a luxury to be able to say that!)
But I’ve wittered on about spending for long enough now, and my head hurts from adding things up (just call me Carol Vorderman), so I’m off to grab a cuppa…one that costs a penny or so to make at home rather than a £3 shop-bought one, FYI.
Bye for now x
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Hello, I'm Laura. I write about parenting, life, style, building a business and finding success on your own terms.
You'll find plenty here to get your teeth into. (Useless pun very much intended...) X
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