I really tried this week to chalk up a few “no spend” days (other than my PAYG travel) but I kind of had the worst luck in terms of my health and injuries so Monday turned out to be the only day I didn’t spend. I had to cancel a trip to Oslo in favour of dedicating the time to my side-hustle (nailed it!) and spent some intentional time with friends. In spite of the rubbish run of luck, it was a rather decent week. Here’s what happened:
I didn’t forget to take my lunch in and I socialised by having a friend round for dinner. I’d made my favourite one-pot spicy rice the night before so that we could heat it up and eat so ’twas a rather frugal day (£0).
This was the start of my run of ill luck. I played badminton in the morning with my friend at our local leisure centre. I’d bought tickets for us to see Hannah Gadsby in February so she’s deducting my half of the court fees from the balance she owes me for a few weeks. I did something to my Achilles so after a bit of icing, I stopped off and got an ankle support from Boots on the way to work (£17.99).
I got assigned a buddy this week – a new joiner in the HR team – so I took her to coffee and paid for us both (£5.56). We got some free Clipper tea and vegan organic dark chocolate on our way back to the office. Free is always awesome (£0). I subsequently dropped out of my football game later that evening (saving me £11) but honoured my appointment do some basketball training with my mate. We lucked out and got some decent courts (£0) but I fell and got a couple of blood blisters. Ouch!
It turned out that someone had nicked the contents of my ankle support and I had to go back to the store to get a new one so I took a bus to work after. In a moment of stupidity, I decided to hold my little wallet and dozed off on the bus ride. Woke up and forgot that I had it in my hand so I lost my Monzo card, driver’s licence and the full loyalty card that I’d completed with the coffee purchase from the day before (boo! lost a whole free coffee there). Thankfully I anticipate this foolishness so I have all my other cards and stuff in my big wallet which is always safe in my backpack.
The bad luck carried on. I developed a cold sore and wasn’t sure that my Blistex (which I carry around because I’m so susceptible) was still in date. I popped into Boots and got some Zovirax and multivitamins to minimise the damage (£6.97). I met a friend after work and we went to the Picturehouse members’ bar. Since I’m doing Dry January I didn’t drink anything(£0) but as a member, I didn’t have to buy anything to hang out in a beautiful space. This membership is arguably the best thing I bought in 2017! Sadly, i couldn’t resist the urge and stopped to get some takeout on my way back home (£7.35).
This was a relatively uneventful day. I spent 3 hours in the afternoon in a kick-off meeting and we got given a very British lunch of sandwiches, salad and crisps (£0). I was beginning to get anxious about the cost of Oslo especially since I was unlikely to have any fun and the loss of my Monzo card meant that I would deal with Lloyds bank’s rip-off rates and fees for foreign spending. My friend came round for dinner and brought a delicious dal over with her. It was great on a bed of rice. We watched Wynonna Earp on Netflix for a luxuriously thrifty night in (£0).
I woke up feeling rather tired but it wasn’t until halfway through the day that I realised that I wasn’t just tired, I was coming down with something. I kicked myself for not picking up that the cold sore always means that I’m rundown and since I’m susceptible to colds and flus, I should have been on the lemon and ginger tea earlier in the week. A friend of mine had gotten dumped earlier in the week by some idiot man so in spite of my feeling very poorly, I went over to hers to hang out and listen to her woes. I had to stop at Tesco on the way to pick up some Lemsip max (£4) since there had been talk of going out dancing. Luckily we all stayed in, listened to music, raged against men and the others had drinks. Another luxuriously thrifty night of socialising (£0). Tick!
I woke up fairly early and prepped a lunch of rice, broccoli and chicken with a sauce as well as some sweet corns on the cob to snack on while I was at work (£0). Went to the office and made amazing progress on the presentation for the course that I’ll be giving next week. I was able to finish it and send it off to the course director. My friend got a tax refund and decided to treat a few of us to a night at the cinema (£0). I used one of my free Picturehouse tickets to bring the total down by £6.50.
We went to dinner at this nice Japanese restaurant in Soho (£10.20) and then saw Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. We were able to grab drinks (water for me) in the members’ bar before we sat in the super comfy seats for the performance. It wasn’t light entertainment but it was a beautiful, moving story and Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell were amazing.
Ah! I had to wake up rather early even though I really wanted to spend all day in bed. I have friends who live in St Albans (£8.60) that I hadn’t seen since their civil partnership in September so I went to catch up with them. We played badminton which they very kindly paid for in return for my making the effort to go to them (£0) and then they made me roast chicken, sweet potato and cherry tomatoes for lunch (£0). Utterly delicious! I went to Costco with one of them – my first trip. I saw loads of things that I’d love to pick up if I can figure out a way to get them home – my preferred Original Source shower gel, peanut butter, Andrex, prawns, and tons more. I limited myself to some Swedish meatballs (£3.99) and Viakal (£1.93 but from the house account) to get rid of the watermarks in our bathroom.
My mate was kind enough to leave me at Watford Station which was an 8 minute drive away but this backfired on my budget because a ticket to Milton Keynes and then home from there cost me £23.20 instead of the £15.80 it would have been if I’d just gone back to London first via St Albans city station. My Milton Keynes friends offered me lunch (£0) and we hung out talking and playing FIFA 18. This was my first attempt at it and it was pretty great. I’ll need a bit more time on it to figure out what they changed with the passing and dribbling. We played six games and won three each so enjoyed a totally fun and luxuriously thrifty bit of socialising (£0).
Losing my card on Tuesday meant that I didn’t get capped for transport on my second card after I’d already spent £8.30. Not great.
I was pretty proud of some of the work I put into meal prepping and frugal socialising that I did this week but was derailed by all the medicine and injury related purchases that I made this week. It also wasn’t great losing the cost of my flights to Oslo and the Stansted express ticket I paid for last week but I’m gambling on the effort I made on Saturday (with my side hustle) paying off with a few more opportunities to teach later on in the year. Hopefully, next week goes a little better in terms of unplanned expenses.
- Total budgeted for the week: £160.04
- Total spent: £142.19
You can read last week’s money diary too.
NB: All the diary entries are only my discretionary spending and excludes savings, housing, utilities and other more fixed costs
NB2: All the things in green were budgeted for / in budget and the stuff in red were either not planned for (this week) or higher than budgeted.