My money diary – a week in the life

One of my favourite things to read online is money blogs, whether personal finance, frugality, or how to retire at 30 (it’s totally possible apparently). A fairly recent discovery for me was Refinery29’s Money Diaries, where readers submit their personal spending for a week and others comment on how awful it is that they spend HOW MUCH on coffees and why don’t they donate more to charity?

So of course the logical thing to do is to post my own, here in the safety of my own blog with two readers (hi mum). And so I present to you: My Money Diary…


  • Wake up, go for a run. It’s hot but I wear full length pants because the one pair of shorts I have rides up horrendously. Make a mental note to look for some new shorts and running shoes. 
  • Head out at lunchtime to see if I can get my car key fixed after about 18 months. Turns out it only takes 10 minutes to get sorted and I’m kicking myself for putting it off for so long. £35
  • Check in on budget spreadsheets and bank app. Minor panic about £17 charge to UK Athletics but remember I signed up to a half marathon last night in fit of motivation
  • Pop to Lidl on the way home for essentials (loo roll, chocolate) and a bottle of gin for sister-in-law’s birthday. £17-something
  • Quickly eat, head out for a church meeting, come home to find cat has brought in a mouse. Grateful, but put it back outside again. Crawl into bed and see a message from a Facebook selling group about a desk I want to buy. Arrange to go and see it tomorrow evening.

Spent: £52ish


  • Lunchtime nip to the shop to get cash out for desk man tonight. Buy can of diet coke 78p, but resist ice cream, success.
  • Find an email in my spam folder from Quidco telling me I’ve got £20 cashback waiting from a pet insurance policy I took out and then cancelled when I realised the cover was terrible. Check to see if its legit, and it is. +£20, result
  • Leave work and head to desk man’s house. The desk and chair are fine and he gives me them both for £20. We faff around dismantling the desk and I have to do 2 trips to get them home in my tiny car. 
  • Later in bed, get distracted reading stuff on my phone. See a new laundry detergent pod subscription service called ‘smol’ and sign up for a free trial for that alone. Just have to pay delivery – £1

Total spend: £21.75 but +£20 cashback!


  • Wake up with a dodgy tum. Blame several-days-old beef used in a stir-fry last night.
  • Lunchtime walk to the shop. Buy a punnet of reduced plums and a can of diet coke. £1.67
  • Early finish, woo! Head home and a battery I bought off Amazon for my scales has arrived, but it’s the wrong one. Re-order the right size. £1.79
  • Stomach still feeling dodgy so flake out of a meal out with my netball team tonight. Upside, saved £20+

Total spend: £3.46


  • Leave the house in the morning for 20 minutes to take recycling to the tip. Come home to feathers everywhere and a dead goldfinch in the kitchen. Thanks, cat.
  • Go for a wander round town. Buy 3 books and a belt for £2, and another book for £1 in the charity shops. Sit in the park for a bit and start reading one of the books. Head home for lunch, then to the beach (free parking because National Trust membership). I love summer. Resist buying ice cream.
  • Fill up with petrol as the light is on. £35ish
  • Lidl for salad and veg bits. Also ½ bottle of prosecco and tub of fancy ice cream because Saturday. £18
  • Skype date with husband in Cyprus and we decide for me to book him a flight Gatwick > Newquay so I don’t have to drive to Gatwick again to pick him up in September. Pay extra for luggage. £70.50

Total spend: £124.50


  • Lazy morning. Get suncreamed up and drive to the cliffs for a long walk. Free parking again as another National Trust car park. Walk 6 miles and resist ice cream, again.
  • Spend the afternoon in the park with family and have a look in Co-Op later on to see if there are any bargains. Not today, but do buy hummus and spaghetti hoops. £1.50

Total spend £1.50


  • Wake up, run, work.
  • Pop home to meet letting agents to see about fixing a damp wall in the bedroom. Times like this I feel very glad we rent – no cost to us for tanking and plasterboarding needed.
  • Back to work. It’s hot. Get a diet coke from vending machine – 80p- and boss brings a box of choc ices round, hooray.
  • Home and quickly eat before netball. I’m leading training tonight, and we do a sports day type session to try and keep it fun. Pay for 2 weeks training – £4.
  • Get home to more feathers and a dead baby robin. Grim.

Total spend £4.80


Honestly I forgot to write anything down for this day, but I don’t think any money was spent. Hooray!

Weekly spend: £208.01 LOL

Minus the flight: £137.51 – still ouch…

My downfall for sure is ‘nipping to the shop’ and I know this – it’s partly habit in going for a walk on my lunch breaks, and partly practicality as I prefer to buy little and often rather than having a full fridge and cupboards all the time. And, more excuses, this week was slightly out of the ordinary as I don’t often buy furniture. Or birthday presents. So while it is quite depressing to see my limited amounts of money trickling away, this hasn’t given me any nasty surprises, just made it even more clear that on a tight budget, anything outside of the essentials makes a huge difference!

How do you track your spending? Have you ever kept a diary like this?




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