This week is another total shit show, financially speaking. I could make excuses again – I went to Germany! I bought dinner for a friend! – but I’ll spare you and, instead, inform you that next week I am giving myself a €150 budget for the entire week (not including bills, rent etc).
I also wanted to clarify that there are definitely some expenditures I don’t include in my weekly spending, as they’re regular outgoings, including: €7.99 on Netflix (which I’ve just cancelled as my housemate has an account and there’s no point in having two); €60 approx on my phone bill; €100 monthly (approx) on heat, electricity and internet; €700 on rent.
So what did I spend my money on this week?
This week was another food-heavy spending diary, but I also bought some clothes and even indulged in a little Duty-Free spree (entirely unplanned). I got paid by my Monday-Thursday (almost full-time) job, as well as for a few freelance bits I’d done over the past few months – and I also managed to put a good chunk into savings.
A couple of months ago, I paused my pension payments – I still pay my life insurance bits and pension protection (I think?) – so it’s on my list to reactivate those now that my income has standardised a good bit.
I would also like to point out: I don’t really drink. So, y’know, when other people are spending €100 on a night out, I’m, er, spending it on food. The end.
8am I wake up early but I don’t feel super hungry so I skip breakfast. I’ve read a lot about intermittent fasting and meal frequency and the old logic that we absolutely need breakfast is actually not considered as diet Bible any more, so sometimes I just don’t eat until lunchtime. Today is one of those days. I don’t even get coffee on the way to work, because I’m cycling, so I just make it in the canteen.
11am I make my fourth coffee. I didn’t say I wasn’t going to drink coffee. I just didn’t eat any food.
12.30pm I grab lunch at Two Pups of avocado on toast with chorizo and read my book, Liz Nugent’s Skin Deep. I can’t put it down.* Highly recommend. (€14.30)
5pm I’ve arranged to meet a friend after work at the Cake Cafe, but when I get there I get a call from her – she thought the Cake Cafe was where Foam Cafe used to be. (It is not.) Luckily, I’m on my bike today so I nip down and meet her at Fallon & Byrne instead. I have two mini scones and some peppermint tea and then we walk home together. (€5.50)
6pm We walk home together and I invite her in for dinner; I cook chicken skewers and make salad, which we eat on the patio with home-made sourdough my Dad brought over this weekend. Delish.
9pm Love Island! I’ll admit I’m getting kind of bored now; I just love the drama, I don’t care who wins really!
Daily total: €19.80
9am I cycle to work again, so I pop around the corner to Teelings for coffee and a pastry. (€3.50)
11am I make the rest of my coffees at work. We have a really big kitchen with table tennis, but I’ve never played – and I’ve been here for about three months. I know how to play, I’m just afraid I’ll be crap and find it embarrassing. Bah!
1pm I meet a friend for lunch in the Fumbally. I order the daily special pasta, which is incredible, and then get us two coffees and a lemon slice to share, because she, unlike me, has not been paid yet. (€19.60)
7pm Dinner is M&S burgers with salad. I have a craving for some wine so I head down to the off licence and buy a bottle, along with a bottle of gin. (I know I said I don’t really drink, but I’ll have the odd glass of wine or G&T of an evening – probably once or twice a week.) (€38.19)
Daily total: €61.29
9am Back to old habits. (They die hard.) I get granola and a coffee in Two Pups on my way to work. (€9.30)
11am I lately unsubscribed from a load of newsletters, but I still get the Monki* one, and when they tell me it’s my last chance to shop the sale, I feel panicked. I buy a dress, a jumper and three tops. (€84)
12.30pm I grab lunch on my own again; I really want to keep reading my book! It’s Thai noodle salad and an iced coffee from Two Pups. The salad is incredible. 100% would order again. (€14.50)
3pm I’m doing quite well at kicking my afternoon Diet Coke habit, but I’m still mainlining coffee like an insane person. Still, at least it’s free!
7pm I meet my friend, and podcast producer, Liam, for dinner in Boco, and afterwards we go to see Mission Impossible: Fallout, which I meant to review but totally forgot. I may still get around to it! We have a pizza each, share fries and get drinks. Then he buys the cinema snacks. Tickets are covered by my Cineworld membership, which costs me €22.40 a month and is worth every cent. (€40)
Daily total: €147.80
8.30am I’m a woman of habit. Granola and coffee it is. (€9.30)
12.30pm For lunch, I go to Fumbally and have an amazing sandwich with some kind of ham hock, pickled cucumber and mayonnaise. I pride myself on not spilling a drop on my denim dress, until I look down later and realise I clearly dropped a piece of bacon into my pocket and now it appears that my nipple is leaking. Nice. (€7)
5.30pm The day goes by really slowly and for some reason I’ve been really stressed so, despite being off them for a week, I buy cigarettes in Spar on the way home. LAST PACKET. (€12.20)
7pm I didn’t take any meat out of the freezer and I’m going on holidays tomorrow so HOLIDAY MODE. I order Bombay Pantry. (€20 including tip)
9.30pm I forget to watch Love Island. What is wrong with me?!
Daily total: €48.50
8am Heading to Cologne today for the weekend – our flight’s at midday – so I’m planning on leaving by bus at around 10am, but I wake up early because my cleaner’s here so I awkwardly toddle around her, tidying things up and making us coffee. I lost my bank card last week and thankfully it arrives in this morning’s post, meaning I’ll at least have access to money this weekend! (I’m going with my Mum, and it’s a press trip I’m writing about for The Irish Times, so she’s insisting on paying for any extras as a thank you, but I don’t want her to pay for everything.)
10am I used to always get a taxi to the airport but have recently realised the 41 stops right by my house and goes direct to the airport. It only took me seven years… (€3.30)
11am I meet my Mum and we head through departures. I have to activate my bank card (I think I can do it in a foreign country but just to be sure…) so withdraw €20 and then we head to the old reliable Butler’s for coffee and croissants. I pay. (€8 approx)
11.30am Mum tries to buy me a book, but she’s buying one for herself in the buy one, get one half price, section and the one I want (Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects*) isn’t included, so I buy it from Amazon for Kindle instead on my phone. (€5.53)
12.30pm Take-off! I start listening to The Carters’ album* and fall asleep for the entire flight. It’s an hour and a half.
3.30pm It’s 37 degrees in Cologne when we arrive and I have a severe sense of humour failure when I can’t orientate myself and get lost en route to our hotel. Luckily, my mother is one of the world’s most easygoing and patient people, so she doesn’t care. We grab coffees halfway there (it’s a 10-minute walk, but we love our coffee breaks) and she pays.
4.30pm All checked in, I unpack, take a shower and lie on the bed for a while in my underwear to try to cool down. Glam AF.
6pm We take a wander towards a burger restaurant I saw recommended (my Mum loves burgers). We pop in and out of a few shops en route – there are loads of brands that we have here, but also kind of Scandi names like Weekday with standalone shops. I pop into & Other Stories to try to find a dress I’m after*, that I didn’t see in Dublin, but I’m out of luck – so I just order it online on my phone instead. I’ve been thinking about it for ages. (€66)
7pm We get burgers and I have some sort of delicious Pimms-based cocktail. So good. On the way home, we get ice-creams to cool down. I love Cologne! Mum pays for it all. I love Mum!
10pm I’m in bed early. Rock ‘n’ roll.
Daily total: €82.83
10am Breakfast in this hotel goes until 12pm on weekends, which seems incredibly civilised and is something I would like to see brought into Irish hotels to be honest. I have some scrambled eggs with really salty, crispy bacon and some mushrooms – and then I have a bowl of fruit salad and two mini Danishes. When in, er, Cologne!
11am Mum has written herself an extensive list of must-sees in Cologne, and first on her list is Galeria Kaufhof, Europe’s largest department store. It is indeed massive and we wander around for a while – me spending most of my time trying to find the bathrooms, because I drank a litre bottle of water over breakfast and clearly have a tiny bladder. I go twice, at 50 cents a pop. GAH. (€1)
12pm We kind of spend the afternoon wandering around, making our way to Cologne Cathedral via a whole load of busy and meandering shopping streets. It’s not as hot as it was yesterday, thank God, so I don’t sweat quite as much.
1.30pm We grab lunch at a little roadside cafe that does pizza and pasta, but it seems too warm for either of those so I have a chicken salad and a Diet Coke. Mum pays (including tip, it’s about €22 for two salads and two soft drinks).
3pm We take a trip to Cologne Cathedral, which is kind of mind-blowing. The building was started in the 13th century; how would you even go about it?! We do not know. We go inside and sit down for a while; neither of us is especially religious but it’s kind of nice to take a few minutes.
4.15pm Next on the list is Museum Ludwig. Entry is €12 each (Mum pays) but well worth it – the museum houses a massive collection of contemporary art, including some incredible works by Picasso. (Mum: “He must never have stopped!” She’s not wrong.) I’d usually be a big fan of museum gift shops, but I search for a print of some of my favourites from the exhibitions and they’re not there, so we head off, print-less.
6.45pm I stop off in DB, a kind of Boots-style department store, to buy shampoo, conditioner, mascara for my Mum (she’ll only wear brown, which is hard to find these days) and a mini body cream. I pay by cash; I think it’s around €9.
7pm We go back to the hotel and I have a bath. I love a hotel bath! This one is deep enough to cover both breasts and feet, which is rare, so I’m happy.
8.15pm We ask at reception for a restaurant recommendation, and we’re told to try Malzmuhle, which is just across the road, for some traditional Kolsch fare. I pay for dinner – two mains, two desserts and three beers. (€50 including tip)
Daily total: €60
10am We wake up kind of late – we decided not to indulge in hotel breakfast this morning and head instead to one of the bakeries in Cologne for some delicious pastry / bread hybrid. We pack up our stuff and check out; we haven’t used any extras (I am an avid minibar avoider – the expense!) so just have to pay the city tax. (€6.73)
11am We find a bakery right around the corner from the hotel and grab a croissant each – served with the biggest lump of butter you’ve ever seen – and a donut thing. I get two coffees; mum gets a coffee and an orange juice. She pays and we just sit for a while nursing our coffees and people-watching, until two older gentlemen join us and we decide to leave them to it and head towards the station.
12.30pm We still have loads of time – our flight isn’t until 4.30pm – so I get a caramel macchiato and a water for Mum in Starbucks and we sit by Cologne Cathedral for another half hour or so. I finish my last cigarette. This is it. It’s over now. No more. (€8.15)
1.15pm I realise I really need to pee before we get on the train and am enraged when I realise you’ve to pay for it! Bah. (€1)
1.30pm The train to the airport is really straightforward and leaves us right by our terminal – our Cologne travel card covered us for 48 hours so our journey is still covered. German people are clearly very law-abiding because we don’t see any ticket inspectors anywhere and get on and off without any tickets being checked.
2pm We’re at the airport mega early, so we get coffees and Mum buys an enormous Danish pastry that she immediately regrets. She pays.
3pm Duty-Free. My Kryptonite. I buy myself a two-pack of Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Lip Protectant, a three-pack of Clinique mascara, seven Dr Jart sheet masks (for the price of five, bargain) and some jellies for my jelly-loving friend. (€86.20)
4.15pm Time to go home! I buy a coffee and a bottle of water on board – I really like Ryanair’s Lavazza coffee, it’s kind of a filter coffee and so much better than instant. (€8 approx)
6.30pm When we land, my Dad is there to pick us up – with Coilean! We have some major reunion cuddles in the back seat on the way home. There’s a match on at Croke Park so traffic is horrendous and it takes us about an hour to do what’s usually a 20-minute journey.
7.45pm I put on a wash – I always like to unpack and wash clothes the minute I get in, otherwise I’ll put it off for days – and order food from Diep. I have no meat out of the freezer, although we all know I don’t need an excuse to order takeout. I’m giving myself a strict budget of €150 next week, so this is my last hurrah. (€23 – including tip)
Daily total: €133.08
Weekly total: €553.30
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