Reader, it’s been a minute – almost a month, in fact, since my last money diary. The reasons for this have probably been detailed already, such as in this long blog post about why I’m rubbish at the F45 Challenge, for example, but, y’know: I’ve started a new job that’s full-time and I’ve been really enjoying it and haven’t really wanted to spend a huge amount of time at home, on my laptop. I’ve been doing other things, like reading and listening to podcasts and, er, going to the doctor. Living my best life, in other words.
So what did I spend my money on this week?
This week was a bit of a strange one. Of course, there’s the usual high spend on food and takeaway, but there are also some regular monthly bills, along with an out-of-the-ordinary medical expense. Plus, I did buy myself some earrings.
8am I have to fast today from 9am for an appointment I have tomorrow to have a colonoscopy (delightful!) and the instructions say to eat something low-fibre (the examples they give are “white toast, pastry, plain yoghurt”) so I grab two regular croissants and an Americano in Spar. (€4.70)
8.30am I call my insurance – yes, I’m so organised – to check whether or not I’m covered for a colonoscopy, and I’m told that I’m not covered in the Bon Secours (where I have my appointment) but that, in any case, as I only joined the VHI last December, I wouldn’t be covered for my colonoscopy if it was for a pre-existing condition. A little back story: I’ve had digestive problems since I was a teenager, on and off – and I’ve been to the doctor about it a few times, only now deciding (age 33) that it’s time I figured out exactly what’s wrong. So, while I could maybe get away with pretending it’s not a pre-existing condition, I’ve the appointment made, so I decide to go ahead and pay for it myself. It’s pretty rare that I’d even have that kind of money myself, but I do right now, so I take it as a sign.
12pm Fasting is no fun! I decide not to take a lunch break, as what will I do, go for a walk?! Ridiculous. I drink loads of coffee and loads of water and feel slightly queasy. I could never even do the Concern fast as a child (is that still a thing?!) – I always opted for the sponsored silence instead.
5pm I leave work slightly early – I did, after all, work through lunch – to make sure I get to the pharmacy to buy my MoviPrep (ugh) and to take my first gulp at 5.30pm. (€23)
7pm MoviPrep is actually grand. There’s a lot of scaremongering that goes on about the taste (it’s fine, a bit like drinking liquid Dip Dab) and the after effects are actually okay, too. I mean, the idea is that it entirely clears out your bowels – which it does – but it’s not like when you usually have the runs. There’s no major cramping, just an urgency, and honestly it mostly just feels like you’re peeing out the wrong hole. I’m sorry, but any discussion about this is bound to be a bit TMI. But I appreciated any and all information before I embarked upon my adventure in endoscopy so I do think it’s worth talking about!
Daily total: €27.70
8am I’m starving. I wake up really early for no other reason than to be ready to go and get all of this over with. My parents come over at 9am to drive me – there is something very comforting about having a parent nearby in times of, er, hospital visits.
10am There’s a lot of form-signing going on ahead of my colonoscopy appointment, and, of course, payments to be made. I realise that I brought the wrong bank card, so can only pay a portion of the bill (the total is €1,250) so I have to call another day to pay the rest. (€700)
11am I’m brought in to have my cannula inserted. I have really shitty veins, so the needle has to go in my hand – something I have experienced before, tragically. I used to be absolutely fine having blood taken, but in the past few years it’s started to make me feel really faint. The last time I gave blood, I had to lie down for an hour afterwards until the room stopped spinning. After the needle bit, I go to another waiting room where I sit and read my book (Busy Phillips’ This will only Hurt a Little*) and, try as I might, I cannot stop thinking about the needle in my hand. So I go entirely white, begin to sweat profusely and have to call a nurse, who whisks me off, via wheelchair, to a bed and elevates my feet. I fall asleep, which is a very me thing to do in times of high drama.
12pm I go in for the procedure. (These times are all estimated as honestly, I have no idea what time it was at any stage.) The doctor gives me a “light sedative, which may make you feel a little sleepy” and I watch the monitors, thinking, am I feeling sleepy? No, I’m not. Jesus I’m going to be wide awake. I don’t feel tired at all! Oh, wait, my pulse is dropping slightly, maybe I am sleepy… and then, reader, I wake up.
2.30pm I have no recollection of the procedure. I did not get to watch the film of the camera entering my colon and honestly, I am raging. I miss everything. I’m slightly mollified by the appearance of tea and toast. I love nurses, they’re the best. The toast even comes with a selection of jams and, crucially, real butter. I barely remember eating it, so I suspect it was demolished in no time.
3.30pm The doctor comes to talk to me about my results. “Everything looks fine!” says he. “Have you heard of the low-FODMAP diet?” I have, Mr Doctor. I am dismissed, €1,250 cheaper but at least assured that there’s nothing wrong inside my colon. The pictures look like the inside of a wet pig’s ear. I think I might frame them.
6pm My parents are really taking this “make sure you’re not left alone for 12 hours after your procedure” thing seriously, and we all sit together reading and chatting for the afternoon. I am still starving, so, despite having eaten another two slices of toast when I got in, we order pizza. (I know, I know, you’d think pizza after a colonoscopy would be a bad idea but it was heaven. HEAVEN.) I pay. (€30.49 for three of us)
8.30pm My parents leave. I watch two episodes of The Good Place which, as I write this, I remember nothing about, and go to bed.
Daily total: €730.49
8am I’ve set my alarm to get up and go to work today but, as predicted by my boss, I’m still feeling a bit rough. Mostly, I just feel exhausted – but I also feel very panicked at the idea that I may, at any moment, need to rush to the toilet, so I decide to work from home.
8.30am Work work work. I make scrambled eggs and bacon. Work work work.
1pm For lunch I make a weird salad from the contents of the fridge, but it ends up being delicious. Spinach leaves, mango, fried bacon pieces, feta, avocado all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So. Damn. Good.
6pm My housemate and I decide to order a burrito – we each get a bowl and we also order some chips and guacamole, and a drink. I pay. (€26.75)
Daily total: €26.75
8am Back to work, which means back to my terrible habit of not getting up in time to make breakfast. I grab a bircher muesli pot and an American in Shoe Lane. (€6.45)
10am I remember that I haven’t paid Liam, my podcast producer, for October yet, so I transfer him €100. My Three Mobile bill has also come out today (€60.50). My contract is up in February and, as always, I’m planning on not renewing it and moving to a pay as you go plan with all-you-can-eat data. From what I can gather, I’ll save a tonne. That being said, I always say this and end up opting for an upgrade, to get a new phone. (€160.50)
1pm I meet Liam for lunch and have the hot pot in Póg. It’s delicious (it’s always delicious). Then I buy a Diet Coke and some gum in Spar next door. (€13.24)
5.30pm My mum has come into town and wants help buying a gift for a friend, so we take a little wander around. I don’t want to give too much away because the gift recipient reads my money diaries, but in the process I end up buying a few little bits for myself, including a new phone cover and screen protector for my work iPhone in Pair (€45), a gift for a friend (€13) and a pair of gold studs for myself (€35). (€93)
Daily total: €273.19
8am We’re having a coffee morning in work – and after last night’s brownie-baking debacle, I run into Shoe Lane en route to get myself a coffee and to buy some Danishes to contribute. (Word to the wise: Danish pastries are not a good coffee morning contribution. They’re too big and everyone just goes for the rice krispie buns anyway.) I buy four big pastries and my coffee. (€14.70)
10.30am The coffee morning starts. There is so much food. I contribute what change I have (I never have cash and had totally forgotten to get any in preparation) and scoff a home-made sausage roll and a raspberry white chocolate cupcake. Yum. (€7.50)
2.30pm We finish early on Fridays (it’s the best, although changing soon as we’re moving to flexi-time) so I head home, clean the kitchen, hang out the clothes and then Coileán and I are off to Kildare to vote. I’ve been living in Dublin for seven years and still haven’t changed my vote. The traffic is desperate (Bank Holiday weekend; I should have known) and I vow to change it before the next election, probably in November at the rate we’re going. A friend of mine thinks elections are all a scam invented by the teachers to get extra days off, and honestly I think she might be on to something.
4.30pm It takes honestly an hour and a half to do what should be a 45-minute journey, and when I get back I am ravenous (possibly because all I’ve eaten today is sugar), so I demand that Mother puts on the dinner toot sweet (lasagna, with rice pudding for dessert because you can never have too many carbs). We eat at around 6pm and head to vote at around 9pm – in between which I cut my dad’s hair for him and we discuss the worrying popularity of Peter Casey.
9.30pm Home! I listen to The High Low on my way home; it’s an author special on In Extremis, a new book by Lindsey Hilsum about war journalist Marie Colvin*, which I decide that I will definitely buy when it comes out, but Pandora also talks about a book she’s recently read called Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America* by Beth Macy, so I order that for Kindle then and there. It sounds really interesting, and to be honest there is so much non-fiction written by men that I’m always keen to support women who dip a toe in to the genre. (€8.14)
My bill for this month’s Facebook ads is paid today – I’ve been running a few ads to try to build up my Facebook page, although honestly I’m not sure why as I’m not really monetising any of my platforms at the moment, save an ongoing collaboration with ODEON! It’s € 73.78 for the month, which I very much regret. The Airtricity bill also came out today (€36.91, divided by two). Note: we’ve recently switched to Energia via OneBigSwitch, on the advice of a very financially savvy friend, Sinead Ryan, who said that theirs is the best offering on the market right now. This is not an ad but I do like to pass on any semi-decent advice! (€92.23)
Daily total: €122.57
8.18am I have my alarm set for 8am, because I’ve signed up to an F45 class at 10.20am, and if you cancel a class, you need to do so with two hours’ notice. It’s a bad sign when I’ve my alarm set, not to go do a workout, but in good time to cancel said workout. I cancel said workout.
11am I let myself lie in a bit more and then get up and cook breakfast: the last of the brown bread my mum made, sausages and scrambled eggs with what’s left of our cherry tomatoes. Yum.
11.30am I’m doing some freelance social media work and I need to get scheduling for the week ahead, so I spend about two and a half hours doing that – when I’m doing social media, honestly, I prefer to do it more ad hoc as I think it feels more natural, but when I’m doing it on a freelance basis I need to get ahead of myself (or else I end up behind). This takes about three hours. Gah.
5pm A friend calls around; I’ve got tickets for Little Shop of Horrors in the Botanic Gardens as part of the Bram Stoker Festival. The box office opens at 7.15pm but we’re thinking of going for dinner to the Washer Woman in Glasnevin beforehand. However, I take one look at his face – he’s been going on about this cold he’s had all week, and honestly I thought he was faking – and realise this is not a man who’s going to sit in the freezing cold for two hours. I text my friends, who are also going, to cancel and tell them to pass on my tickets to a friend if they know anyone who’d like to go. (That’s €32 down the swanny, although it’s not counted in this week’s spend as I bought them a few weeks ago, thank God!)
6pm I pop to the shops for some messages: briquettes (if we’re staying in, we’re being cosy AF), sparkling water and sweeties. (€9.93)
7pm We decide to order takeout from Crackbird because we feel like getting a few bits, and settle in to watch a movie with the fire lit. The Crackbird menu is new – so we try a few different things. Little roasted potatoes, sweet potato fries, cheesy potato croquettes, green beans (for the veg, y’know), soy garlic boneless thighs and spicy buttermilk chicken, plus two dips. It’s extortionate, but delicious. I regret nothing. (€45.39)
Daily total: €55.32
10am I wake up early, for me, for a Sunday – lately I’ve been waking up really late. And I mean really; last Sunday, I woke up at 2.30pm! It’s not until later that I realise the clocks have gone back (when I try to walk into the automatic doors in Boots, thinking it’s 12.30pm and it’s actually 11.30am… but let’s not dwell).
11am A lot of faffing around and we’ve decided to go to Two Boys Brew, but my brunch companion, who has a strict anti-flowers-on-toast rule, isn’t quite sure about the menu. “Even the chicken burger is a fancy chicken burger!” so we go to Legit, across the road, instead. I get pulled pork eggs Benedict and he gets baked eggs – he pays, as I got dinner last night. While having breakfast, we decide to go to Krispy Kreme before, having eaten breakfast, deciding not to. What a rollercoaster.
11.30am I try – and fail – to go to Boots for anti-histamines. Hickey’s Pharmacy across the road is open, though, and they have a buy one get one free offer on Berocca Boost so, never one to look a bargain in the mouth, I buy both. (€27.48)
12pm We drop home to pick up some shopping bags (I am henceforth refusing to buy new ones as I own approximately 723) and go to Aldi to do The Big Shop. I haven’t done The Big Shop in a while – resorting to, er, eating takeaway pretty much 90% of the time so it’s a genuinely large shop. (€93.16)
1.30pm I do my bits: bring in the clothes, fold other clothes, do the ironing… I love pottering around the house getting stuff like that done. I also water the plants, move some around, hang a painting… Boring! But satisfying. I make a pot of coffee and sit down to write my money diary, deciding that I’m not going to spend money for the rest of the day; dinner will either be steak, meatballs or a roast chicken (I bought all three, and have kept them in the fridge until I decide which of the lot is freezer-bound).
Daily total: €120.64
Weekly total: €1,356.66
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