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Welcome to week three of my spending diaries of shame. Honestly, I don’t quite know why I’m doing this to myself – each week that I begin to write these, I think, this week is going to be different! As I’m completing them, on a Sunday night, I’m thinking, would it really matter if I just lied about a few bits?
For me, the whole joy of these money diaries-type posts, however, is the honesty. It’s no fun if the author is lying by omission, or attributing certain spending to other people. Sure, I could pretend that I haven’t restarted the world’s most expensive habit (smoking), or that I cook more than I Deliveroo, but where’s the fun in dishonesty?
So what did I spend my money on this week?
Surprise, surprise – there’s a lot of food in there. In my defence, there’s a meal I bought for someone else, and, er… okay, that’s all I have to say in my defence. What I will say, however, is that I really don’t want these spending diaries to be in any way offensive. I’ve had a few people commenting in what could be construed as an outraged tone (tone in text, as we all know, is notoriously difficult to decipher) – and what I would say to that is, we all have different incomes, lifestyles and outgoings. I may spend a massive amount on food (I know that), but I don’t have kids; I don’t have a mortgage (and if I keep up these spending diaries, probably never will); I don’t have a car; and I’m not going on holidays any time soon.
I know that I don’t lead a frugal life in any sense of the word, and I am sensitive of the fact that not everyone has the same means – this is just meant to be a really honest account of what I do with my money, not an attempt to lord it over those who have less money (or freedom to spend that money) than I do. With that being said, here’s my rubbish attempt at adulting from this week.
8am I leave the house earlier than usual, and I’m cycling, so I’m in early enough to have my granola and coffee in situ in Two Pups. I way prefer eating in to taking out – I hate plastic cutlery, not just because it feels weird on my teeth but because it’s so bad for the environment, too. (See how I justify my exuberance?!) I pay on my Revolut card because, by some miracle, I still have money on it from last week – which could be down to the fact that I kind of forgot to use it. Oops! (€9.30)
1pm It’s a glorious day so I meet my friend Liam and we head down to Salt and Stove for lunch. I have a foccaccia sandwich and buy a big bottle of lemonade for us to share, plus I pay for his peppermint tea. (€13.05)
1.55pm On my way back to work, I pop into Spar to buy tampons. I have a really unpredictable period routine, where it comes and goes, gets heavy and then gets super-light, so I never have the right absorbency tampons with me. I’m outraged because, unlike last week, this Spar doesn’t have any own-brand tampons and a box of Tampax sets me back €4.99. I add a box of Smarties because they’re doing limited-edition orange-only boxes, and those are my favourites. €5.84
3.45pm When I got back to the office, I realised that my period had soaked through my pants. Luckily I’m wearing black jeans. This happens me at least once a month and is THE most annoying thing. I’d planned to go to a lifting class after work, but now (a) my knickers are all bloody and (b) I’m in a total grump, so I cancel.
5.30pm I’m chatting to a friend I haven’t seen in a while; we keep meaning to meet up for coffee but she works down the country a couple of days a week and it hasn’t worked out. I mention to her that I’m grumpy and feeling down, and not going to class as I’d planned, and she asks if I’d like to go to dinner in a new pizza place on Blessington St, Woodfire Cafe. I have a moment of thinking, er, I ate out twice already today… And then I just think, fuck it.
6pm I cycle over from work and, en route, pop into two bike shops to see if they’ll buy my fixed-gear Dutch bike. I’ve bought my racer back from a friend I sold it to (I feel weird, like I’m laundering money through my bike) because she never uses it and I’ve got over my fear, so I want to get rid of this one – it takes up so much space and I don’t need two bikes. But it’s a really specific model and design and neither of the bike shops want it; the nice man in bike shop #2 tells me I should get around €300 for it and to put it on Adverts. Helpful!
6.30pm Dinner! I have pasta and garlic bread, a San Pellegrino and two americanos and they’re all delicious. We chat about therapy and relationships and it’s really nice to catch up. (€23.45)
11.45pm I am wired. Ordinarily, coffee doesn’t really keep me awake – but that must have been special, strong Italian coffee because I am so wide awake. I don’t get to sleep until about 1am and, even then, I toss and turn all night. Feel very stupid.
Daily total: €51.64
8.30am I’m cycling to work again today – but I realise, as I round the corner at the bottom of my hill, that I’ve forgotten my helmet. There’s a lot of conflicting advice around helmet-wearing as a cyclist, but I generally wear mine because I just would hate to be in an accident where a helmet could have saved me. Having an exposed head makes me pretty nervous, but I have to say my hair looks 10 times better when I get in.
9.10am At my desk and I’m eating two hard-boiled eggs I prepared last night with some spinach. It’s not the most glamorous breakfast but it’s tasty and hits the spot. I make myself the first of the millions of coffees I’ll drink today in the work kitchen.
11am An email comes into my inbox inviting me to the next big Dwayne Johnson (aka the Rock) blockbuster, Skyscraper. I have a Cineworld membership so I’m less excited about movie premieres than I used to be, but I know Kirstie loves shit Dwayne Johnson films, so I ask if she’d like to go. It’s not until July 11th but it’s something to look forward to!
12.30pm I brought lunch in with me, but… I go to meet my friend Niamh for lunch in Fumbally. I choose the frugal route (ahem) and have Thai noodle soup, but eschew my usual coffee and cake habit. Hurrah! (€12)
1.45pm My hurrah is short-lived; I pop into Spar to buy my daily Diet Coke and, er, I buy cigarettes and a lighter, too. Okay: I buy a Diet Coke, cigarettes, a lighter and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange bar, plus one for Niamh. I had a few cigarettes over dinner last night and now I just really want to smoke… I’m really disappointed in myself. I’d given up for three years and now, in the course of three weeks, it’s all been for nothing. I’ve just felt so sad lately that it feels like, what’s the harm in allowing myself to have this one thing? But I know there’s a lot of harm. (€16.85)
3pm I discover a square of Terry’s Chocolate Orange I hadn’t realised was hidden at the bottom of the packet and I nearly cry out with joy. I need to add some excitement to my life.
5.30pm Home time! Stephen is at football late tonight, so I’m going to cook dinner for myself a bit earlier. In general, we eat together, but there are a few things I like that he doesn’t, and vice versa, so sometimes it’s nice to just look after ourselves.
6pm I pop to the local vegetable shop to get a few fruits and veggies – flat peaches, raspberries, a huge watermelon, sweet potato and broccoli. It’s €13 and I put it on the joint account. We’re really lucky to live so close to a vegetable shop; it means we don’t really buy our vegges in bulk, and cuts down on waste. And it’s really good value (even though the watermelon was €5.99).
6.30pm I make myself a dinner of grilled pork belly strips and a big salad made of spinach, watermelon, tomato and feta. It’s unreal. I finish the lemonade I bought yesterday at lunch; I put it in the fridge last night and promptly forgot about it, so it’s a nice surprise.
9pm I’m starving, so I have a bowl of berries & cherries muesli from Aldi with Slimline milk and some raspberries. It hits the spot and I munch it while I watch an explosive episode of Love Island. Poor Laura.
Daily total: €28.65
8am I top up my Revolut card by €70, hoping it’ll last me the week. I’m going out for dinner tonight, but I’ll pay for that out of my current account and use Revolut for everything else.
8.45am I had meant to bring in hard-boiled eggs and spinach again for breakfast, but old habits die hard and I end up getting granola and an americano to go in Two Pups. (€9.30)
11am I have a really bad headache and I wonder if it’s because I’ve only had one cup of coffee today. Ridiculous, but potentially true! I make myself a black coffee in the kitchen but it’s just making my head worse so I give up and drink loads of water instead.
1pm I meet my Mum and my aunt for lunch and we go to Gaillot et Grey. They’re both big bread fans and I know they’ll love the sourdough sandwiches – and I was right, even though they both complain about how big it is! (I, of course, have no such issue.) I try a delicious butterless chocolate cake by Bear Lemon with raspberry frosting and a rhubarb and ginger lemonade, which is also delish. My aunt pays – the last time we had lunch, I got it so she insists this time around.
3pm I’m working on building the Pinterest account at work, which I find really relaxing – plus, I can listen to podcasts while I do it! I’ve been listening to the Jonestown episode of Casefile, as well as catching up on my Get it off your Breasts listening.
5.30pm I meet a friend after work and we grab a drink at the Fitzwilliam Hotel. This type of midweek debauchery isn’t my usual style, but I’d received a press release about the Irish Gin & Tonic Festival, saying that Dublin City Gin had partnered with the Fitzwilliam Hotel to give a free G&T to people who asked for “an Irish gin with a Dublin accent” at the bar, from Tuesday to Saturday. We get our free drinks and then order a second and another friend joins us for a sparkling water (so virtuous!). I pay for the drinks. (€27.50)
7.30pm We have a reservation at Hey Donna in Rathmines, so we grab a taxi there; one of the girls pays, because I’d got the drinks, but in hindsight that just made her sparkling water incredibly expensive. I’m going to do a review of Hey Donna because it was incredibly delicious, but we order a whole array of food (bavette steak, lambs’ livers, sausages, cauliflower, roasted beets, carrots… all so, so good) and two of us share a bottle of wine. I pay for two of us; one of the girls just started a new job and hasn’t got paid yet, and wasn’t going to be able to come so I’d said I’d shout her meal. She can get me back next time. (€78)
9.30pm Home time! I’m slightly raging that we timed it so badly for Love Island, but it was a great night of catch-ups. I MyTaxi a cab home for two of us and we say goodnight. (€20.40)
Daily total: €135.20
8.50am It’s my Friday! I get the bus in today and grab coffee and a scone in Two Pups before our 9am meeting. The meeting goes on for an hour and a half and I don’t get to eat my scone until 10.30am, plus I forgot to ask for jam so it’s not quite as delicious as I’d hoped. (€5.30)
1pm I meet a friend for lunch and we stroll to Páng. She, who is 5 ft nothing and a tiny person, orders a single Vietnamese roll; I get the meal deal, which is two rolls and a side (kale slaw), and add a bottle of water. I marvel at her bird-like appetite. (€12)
2pm Clearly on a total sugar bender, I drop into Spar on my way back to work and get my usual Diet Coke and a peanut caramel slice from their in-house Insomnia. (€4.10)
4pm My Irish Life insurance premium comes out of my account. I have a pension with Irish Life but I’ve had it on hold for the past few months because I haven’t felt like I’m earning enough to make the monthly contributions, so I’m just keeping up the insurance payments. But now that I’m writing this diary, I realise that I could just cut down on a few morning granolas and easily make it up. I vow to call the bank next week and restart my pension payments – it seems like so long away, but I remember going through it and realising that, unless I seriously pull my socks up, I am not going to have a lot to live on when I’m retired! (€45.78)
6pm I am starving today, despite probably already consuming my weekly calories. I had brought in bolognese to eat for lunch in work, and I have fresh pasta at home, so I bring the sauce home and devour it way too early in the evening. Then I spend the evening catching up on some social media work, have a shower and chill out before Love Island. Man, am I really living the life!
Daily total: €67.18
8am It’s my day off, but our cleaner comes early on Friday mornings so I’m pretty much always awake early. I hang out a wash (this weather has been amazing for my laundry schedule) and faff around a bit feeling incredibly awkward about it.
9.30am I head into town and meet my friend Simone for coffee at Shoe Lane. She’s self-employed so does a lot of her work in cafes, to get out of the house, which makes me very jealous – that was one of my favourite parts of freelance life! When I get to Shoe Lane, Simone has ordered (and paid for!) a croissant and an iced coffee for me. Very grateful.
11.30am I head over to M&S* and return a few bits from last week’s shop (I deducted them from the total because I knew I was bringing them back, so they’re not taken off this week’s diary!). Two bras I tried on but didn’t really wiggle around in (if I had, I might have noticed that my boobs were totally spilling over the top) and those amazing yellow trousers*, which I love but fear I will never wear, and they cost €77.
12pm I meet another friend for a quick coffee in Póg. I haven’t had breakfast here in ages, and I’m kind of sorry now that I ate that croissant because I’d love some of their protein pancakes! Again, I’m having a very lucky day because she’s already ordered a coffee for me by the time I get there. (Get yourself some friends who know your coffee order – it’s very nice.) I’m kind of upset and she’s spent a lot of years in therapy, so she’s a good person to talk to about it, but it’s also kind of draining so I head home at around 1pm.
1.30pm I nip into Penneys on the way home, but it’s so hot and it’s pretty packed, so I leave just as quickly. I have a love-hate relationship with Penneys; in an ideal world, I think we’d all buy far less disposable fast fashion, and I know that someone is getting a seriously shit deal if we can buy beaded tops for €11, but still it’s sometimes hard to resist.
6pm It’s Friday, so I order Bombay Pantry. (Who am I kidding?! There is no set day on which to order Bombay – if I could, I’d order it four times a week.) I watch Glow until about midnight, then head to bed. (€25)
Daily total: €25
10am I wake up relatively late for me, and myself and my housemate head for brunch at Cloud Cafe on North Strand. I have green eggs – eggs with pesto, feta and spinach – with a side of black pudding and two sausages, and a salted caramel brownie. Both delicious. She pays while I’m in the bathroom.
11.30am We grab some groceries in Costcutter on the way home. I do my “big shop” in Aldi, but they don’t sell brand-name washing powder and dishwasher tablets, and I just don’t think their own brand stuff is as good, so we get those two, and I buy more cigarettes. Because my life is clearly going very well. (€21.97)
1pm I pretty much spend the day watching Glow, finishing Testosterone Rex and starting Michelle McNamara’s I’ll be gone in the Dark. It’s pretty nice to just spend time relaxing; I’ve always loved having time to myself and the weekends are the perfect time to do absolutely nothing.
6pm We order Zambrero on Deliveroo and I pay, as Clare got brunch; I’d never had it before but it’s really good. It feels like a kind of healthier version of Boojum, but is still really tasty. (€25.39)
8.30pm I want to take the dog for a walk, so I use it as an excuse to go to Super Valu and I get Ben & Jerry’s, which is reduced to €3.50 (bargainous!) and a bag of Cadbury’s Nibbles. I eat them both in about 45 seconds flat in front of the TV, worry momentarily about the calories and then decide, fuck it. I’ve had a really low few months where I’ve felt consistently sad and anxious and worried and stressed, and honestly, if I decide to eat 10,000 calories a day for a month, well, there are worse things I could do.
11pm I realise that I have two chicken legs in the fridge that are going to go off if I don’t cook them, so I roast them to have in a salad during the week. It’s really weird, roasting chicken at this hour – the house smells amazing, but after all that ice-cream and chocolate it’s kind of turning my stomach!
Daily total: €47.36
10am I told a friend I’d go to see Adrift with her this morning. In a way it feels blasphemous to go to the cinema in this weather, but it feels equally blasphemous not to get the use out of my Cineworld Unlimited card. Plus, I’m sweating to death in this heat and the cinema has air-con. The tickets are covered by my card, but I buy a bottle of water to drink during the film. (€2.48)
12.30pm The movie was pretty passable (review here) but it was also incredibly sad and I feel really drained afterwards. Some films have that effect on me. I’m also starving, so I run to Tesco for groceries en route – I pick up sourdough, feta, eggs, chilli and pesto, thinking I’ll make a kind of hybrid between Cloud Cafe’s green eggs and Two Boys Brew’s avo on toast when I get in. (€11.42)
2pm I dilly dally a bit making my breakfast and end up eating pretty late; I make a pot of coffee and take my food and my book out on to the patio to eat. I know I’ve been joking about how hot it is and how sweaty I am (both true) but it actually must be so nice to live in a climate where you can just casually eat outside all summer long. Bliss.
3.30pm My parents come over for the afternoon and my dad helps me fix up the tree in the back garden. It means I have even more garden waste to dispose of, but things are finally looking a bit better. My mum’s made an apple tart and also brought over some of her home made brown bread, which is, hands down, the best I’ve ever eaten. It’s so, so good.
6pm I order Sano pizza on Deliveroo for myself, my housemate and my Dad; my Mum is not a big eater and has decided she doesn’t feel like pizza. Sano is a pretty new addition to the Dublin pizza scene, but it’s really affordable – pizzas start at around €8 a pop – and tasty. We each get a can (San Pellegrino for my housemate and me; Coke for my Dad) too and afterwards, we share the apple tart with some whipped cream. I haven’t eaten a green vegetable in about five years. (€36.40)
Daily total: €50.30