When 39-year-old Katie (not her real name) did her last money diary, reactions were almost entirely positive – if you don’t count the woman who thinks both myself and Katie are obnoxious which, frankly, I don’t. So I thought I’d ask her back for a little update.
So what did I spend my money on this week?
This week, taxis were to Katie* as takeaway food is to me: i.e. very plentiful.
Monday, how did that happen? I bus it to work (€2.15) and eat brekkie in the kitchen (French press coffee and peanut butter on toast (free).
My Outnet** order arrives! I am so excited – I’ve bought a new handbag, my first bag purchase in nearly five years. I do subscribe to the idea that you should a) buy ‘investment’ pieces and b) also use what you buy so I’ve been cycling through the same three or four bags for the last few years but the time has finally come for something new. I open the parcel. Oh. It’s fucking tiny. I have a habit of buying doll-sized items online due to my careless inability to even slightly understand dimensions. As the tiny dollbag was a cool €366, it gets sent straight back. It wouldn’t even fit a fecking lipstick, FFS.
I usually meal prep for lunch to save cash, but didn’t get a chance yesterday so lunch is Deliveroo. I get a salmon and brown rice salad from Cocu (€13.49) which I order from when I am feeling saintly. There is FAR too much raw kale in it and I get a pain in my face chewing it.
Bus home (€2.15), with a stop-off into Tesco for dinner ingredients (€34.25) including an aloe plant for future murdering. I am probably the only person in the world who buys Tesco’s plants. I want it to put into a vintage-style tin I bought a few weeks ago and when I get it home, the plant is too big. Lads, it’s not a good day for me and size-based purchases.
I refrain from spending any more money, make dinner (chicken wrapped in bacon and veg), make an adulterated spag bol thing for the next three days’ lunches, watch Killing Eve (soooo good) and call it a day.
Daily total: €52.04
I have a PR meeting first thing so I get a bus into town (€2.15) and have a look at fancy things coming into the shops for Christmas while drinking a free Americano. I truly love this part of my job (TBF, who would not enjoy this?) as it involves being lovely and being given lovely things for zero pee.
I don’t get to do it very much any more (though this week will give the lie to that) as one of the things about climbing the career ladder is that you are invariably chained to your desk worrying about business goals, KPIs, targets, and basically whether you’re going to get fired that week, or will it possibly be next week instead? The imposter syndrome, does it ever leave?
I get a taxi into the office from the meeting (€8) and power into the insane pile of stuff I need to get done. Lunch is leftovers from last night, along with a nectarine and an apple and costs, therefore, no money.
After work, I have a press event to go to, so I get a cab (€11.20) to it. Then I meet a friend to go to another gin-based press event (earlier today day someone had hesitantly said to me, “I’m… I’m… surprised you’re going to the launch of a gym,” and I had laughed HYSTERICALLY and said, “no no, gin, GIN”). That costs another €11.20 but I make sure I drink two free cocktails to compensate. I now also have two goody bags, containing, variously, gin and scented candles, so I’m up, somehow?
Next, we go to a book launch and er… get another taxi. I pay (€11.40). After all these larks, we’re starving so we nip to Crackbird and split a soy garlic chicken, fries and dips. I have a glass of house white as well and my share of the bill comes to €25.
SORRY BUT I GET A TAXI HOME. It’s… €14.
Shit with taxis really went pear-shaped, didn’t it?
Daily total: €71.75
More Christmas press events this morning and more taxi business (€15 – scandalous due to taxis not being able to use College Green until 10am). I then am late so need to – you’ve guessed it – get a taxi to work (€10.80). In some grasping-at-straws money saving, I have free coffee and fruit straws at the event so that’s breakfast.
Lunch is my spag bol effort (zero pee) and then it’s back to my desk for an afternoon of work, work, work.
At some point today, my Leap card auto-topped up by €30, which happens every time it goes below €10.
Guys, I am sorry to report that I am not going home on the bus after work. Instead, I am going on a jolly to The Ivy. It is currently The Rules that all press junkets be held in The Ivy – at one point nothing new had been built in Dublin for so long due to our impoverished recession sate, and everything, ever, was held in The Dylan to the point that I wanted to be taken out and shot rather than ever go there again.
Now, at least, what with the Boom Being Back and everything having to be Instagram-friendly, the roll-call of PR-friendly event spaces changes up monthly. Right now though, I feel like I know the inside of The Ivy better than I know my own living room. I know – mustn’t grumble. Obviously, this was all free (#jammy) and I get the Luas home afterward (€2.50).
Daily total: €58.30
This. Is. The. Longest. Week. Of. My. Effing. Life.
I cannot peel myself out of the scratch this morning despite not touching a drop last night so yes, I MyTaxi it to work (€13.20). Breakfast is a freebie: I have two slices of wholewheat toast from the free kitchen offering, topped with my desk peanut butter stash and glug some coffee, and start work.
Suddenly it’s lunchtime: I’ve brought mine, haven’t I? Yes. Spagish Bolish and an apple sorts me out. The rest of the afternoon is meetings and work – I’m on deadline and mildly panicking – but I make sure to leave at 5.30pm because I am on a mission. Specifically, a mission to get to TK Maxx to buy tacky glass Christmas decorations because I am moderately-to-severely obsessed with them.
I pick up three (a burger, a cat and a whale, €14.97) and then decide to nip to Brown Thomas to check out the Christmas Shop because it’s definitely a good time to be obsessing about Christmas, months in advance. I spend another €18 here and on the way down Grafton St, spot a pair of earrings in Accessorize** I’m pretty sure I’ve seen on queen Katie Jane Hughes, so I buy them too, of course (€12.99).
I take myself home on the Luas before I can do any more damage (€2.50). Dinner is chicken ‘n’ veg from previous shopping and then we watch a couple of episodes of Gotham before bed, which would be lovely and calming except I get to wondering if there’s any erotic fan fic about Oswald Cobblepot and Edward Nigma. There is. Don’t look it up.
Daily total: €43.66
In this, the continuing tale of the longest week on record, I take the bus in (€2.15), have a bowl of All-Bran in the office kitchen and a coffee (free) and then crack on with work. As I made three days of the boring spag bol, I have to eat it again today for lunch, even though the rest of the office is throwing caution to the wind and ordering all sorts from Deliveroo. Sigh.
I get my period today and need to stock up. That’s €3.99 for a pack of Tampax Compak Super Plus and €3.99 for a pack of Super, because I am not a person who can do her period on one strength tampon. Handily I got a whopper bottle of painkillers in the States recently, so don’t need those, but it makes me think of the brouhaha online recently about free sanitary products being provided in DCC community centres and libraries – and what a fantastic and positive move this is if you’re not a narrow-minded man.
Because sure, it’s perfectly affordable for me to spend €8 on having my period (I had panty liners from last month so didn’t need to re-stock those – and I haven’t even mentioned the underwear and pyjamas I regularly bleed into, ruin and need to replace) but this isn’t actually affordable for anyone on the poverty line or who is young and vulnerable and not being minded at home. I just can’t and don’t buy this smug dismissive bollocks about using cheap protection, or always having an alternative – if you have heavy periods, you need decent protection and it costs money.
Dinner is fast and made by my fella (a ready meal he picked up in M&S on his way home) because we’re going out. I get the taxi (€12.80) and he pays in for me. We’re meeting friends at Protex, a Belfast band which is very much forgotten-except-by-a-few and completely amazing. Basically, think of them as The Number Ones’ dad, musically speaking. You’ll find them on Spotify. I buy a few rounds and come home around €55 lighter.
Daily total: €77.93
We take the cat (pictured, on right) to the vet for a check-up (the cat has cost us €600 already this month due to a variety of illness-based factors but I love this cat with every fibre of my being so he is worth it). He’s fine and they only charge us €6.20 for some tablets, so for that relief, much thanks.
I finally, finally have made time to get my hair done. My hairdresser is a saint and never gives out to me for leaving zillions of months between appointments. My roots are the priority, she de-witchifies me and we decide on some balayage too. (€140).
I have a quick look around the shops, see a couple of things I’ll have a think about, but don’t buy anything.
Instead, I pick up some pizza and pasta in M&S** and treats for telly-watching (€38) and head home for a night on the couch – all I have any intention of doing tonight is lying on the couch, eating crisps and watching rubbish. Bliss. If I had my way, I’d do all my food shopping in M&S – I realise it appears that I do.
Daily total: €184.20
We’re going to Belfast today so I can buy a lamp I want in Oliver Bonas**. I’d promised my boyfriend breakfast in a local café he likes before we left, but I get a call from the bank to tell me one of our cards has been skimmed. That takes so long to deal with that breakfast out transforms into sausage rolls and coffee at the services at Lusk. Glamorous! (€10.80).
I get my lamp. I also get a plant pot, print and cat doorstop and spend waaaay too much. My share of this comes to £140/€157. We have a potter about Belfast for another hour or so, nip to Nando’s for some lunch (he pays) and then decide it’s time to head back home.
On the way home, we stop off at our local Lidl (where I actually do do my food shopping) to get food for the week and stuff for lunches for work. That comes to €50.51 and I pay cos it’s my turn. I then refuse to spend any more money this week, sit my arse on the couch and watch telly (free).
Daily total: €218.31
Weekly total: €706.19
*Katie’s name has been changed for reasons of shame, I suspect.
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