Money diary #4

In the last few days of 2017 I thought I might do the ultra frugal month challenge this month and then I looked over my 2017 budget and realised that for many categories, I’d made rather unrealistic spending targets. Sure, I’d known at the start of the year that I had a fairly lucrative side-hustle that would fund some of that spending but I really wanted to be able to budget more accurately for 2018. This week’s money diary means that I’ve got a more accurate picture of what I would spend in a month where I was dating, socialising and living the way I’d like to carry on doing through 2018. The only thing that isn’t quite reflective of how the rest of the year might go is that I’m not drinking at all. Here’s what I spent last week.


I wanted to go to a niche tech conference in East London – partly to support the organisers and partly to hang out with a friend who was also planning to be there. It’s certainly the cheapest I’ve ever spent on a conference ticket but wound up being wasteful because neither my friend nor I made it to the conference in the end. £15


I had been invited by a friend to Malta and ‘uhmmed and ahhed’ for a couple of days because I’d originally planned to go see my parents in the same week. On Tuesday morning I said “sod it and fuck yeah” so I will be going to Malta for the first time sometime in Spring. I’ve only got the flights for now and the tickets cost £67.30. I was starving on my way back from work so stopped at the grocery store and picked up some frankfurters I could eat on the way as well as a few other bits like rice, cheese, eggs etc (£9.70). I’d planned to make an egg sandwich at home but forgot to pick up bread. That was a bummer!


I started off the day positively because I got some cashback from my mobile phone people (£55.20). I’m planning a trip to San Fransisco soon. I got in touch with someone I used to work with years ago who recently moved there to find out if there was any chance I could crash on her sofa because the Airbnb prices I found for my dates were disastrous for my budget. Turns out she’s not got a spare room so I paid a deposit on a hostel instead(£19.84).

I also met up with the person of interest. She had a softball meeting at a pub in the city so I sat next to her and caught up when they weren’t discussing financials, schedules, etc. I hadn’t expected to stay out with her through the meeting so wound up buying a burger and fries (£12.00) while I watched Chelsea lose to Arsenal. Boo!


I spent all day with my colleagues at a planning workshop. We got free breakfast, lunch and since I wasn’t drinking when we went to a couple of pubs afterwards to celebrate life and the end of a couple of colleagues’ time with us, I had a pretty cheap day (£0).


It was the second day of the workshop and the free lunch was even tastier. I also found myself drinking all the soda – first time I’ve had any this year(£0). The person of interest came over for dinner. She’s doing Veganuary so I picked up some ingredients for a vegan pasta dish from the grocery store on my way back from work. Having failed to pick up some bread two days in a row, I was thrilled to finally make the egg and cheese sandwich I’d been craving all week for dinner(£4.75). How’s that for a frugal date?


I had quite an interesting Saturday morning. I watched Wozniacki beat Halep in the Australian open final. I’d been rooting for Halep but Woz deserved her victory in the end as she played an inspired game at times. It was great to discover that the person of interest is also into tennis. We had tea and she snacked on nuts and a banana. I’m doing the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet so couldn’t have my cheese sandwich until about noon after she had left to get some studying done(£0).

I stopped off at the bank to deposit some cash that I was supposed to have paid in for my mate on Thursday, then went to get the keys to my friends’ digs that I’m house-sitting for a few weeks. I had a nap in their bed because I was knackered from being up at 6 and then went over to the place that they are dog-sitting at for dinner. We had a delicious spicy peanut stew with rice and edamame bean salad. I only drank sparkling and still water. This was an amazing way to hang out with new friends and it was such a lovely night eating, drinking and listening to music(£0). I thoroughly enjoy socialising at (mine or other people’s) home and didn’t go out to catch up with some other mates at a club afterwards.


I finally made it to my 11-a-side team and trained / went on the subs bench for the first time since last September when I got injured. We lost 2-1 and were under the kosh for most of the match so I wasn’t brave enough to play but I think I’ll be ready to give the legs a whirl next week. After the match I popped home and got changed then went with my mate to play some outdoor mini-golf (£10). It seems like I’ve got a bit better at playing because I made one hole one under par and finished only 7 over – this is compared to my last two +13 finishes at Swingers in the city.

A different mate cancelled on plans for dinner with her so after mini-golf my mate and I decided to use a pair of my free Club Lloyds Cineworld vouchers to catch a showing of Early Man. I can’t believe I didn’t choose Coco instead. We lasted about  20 minutes of the way through Early man, tried to see the Greatest Showman and discovered that all the kids also wanted to see that too. I don’t know if the large popcorn I ate was worth the trip (£5.45) but overall it was great hanging out and catching up. Note to self, avoid Sunday afternoon movies unless they are expressly non-kid-friendly.

Wrap up

I ‘m mostly disappointed that I made some decisions about spending that then turned out to be rubbish but overall I’m not too displeased with the way the week went.

  • Total budgeted for the week: £55.04
  • Total spent: £154.04

You can catch up on Money diary #1, Money diary #2 and Money diary #3 too.

NB: All the diary entries are only my discretionary spending and exclude savings, housing, utilities and other more fixed costs.
NB2: All the things in green were budgeted for / in budget and the stuff in red was unplanned (for this week) or higher than budgeted.

5 thoughts on “Money diary #4

  1. Pingback: Money diary #5 | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

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