I have been obsessed with Refinery29’s Money Diaries, each documenting a different woman’s weekly spend, for far too long now – and I know it’s a curiosity I’m not alone in. So I decided that I’d start a new monthly series, where I document exactly what I’m spending and on what.
This weekly spend
I would love to tell you that this week is extraordinary. I don’t usually eat out this much! This isn’t the norm for me! But I’d probably be lying. Writing down my weekly spend has been really, er, horrifying – and I’m hoping that, the next time I give you a weekly rundown, it will be a lot more controlled, for both dietary and financial reasons.
Not to mention the fact that, if I basically cooked my own food for a week, I’d save the money I’d need to buy the bike I want…
9.15am I’m late to work because the car broke down at the weekend and I have to wait for the garage at the top of the road to open, to drop it in. Because of this, I had time to make breakfast but I didn’t – I have got into a very expensive habit of grabbing breakfast en route to work. I get the bus to work; I use my Leap card but it’s running low so I pop into Spar first and pay €10 to top it up. The bus to work is €2.15 each way – it takes about 20 minutes, so that feels like a lot, but I just don’t always want to walk. (€2.15)
9.30am I grab that breakfast I’ve been loving; it’s €9.30 for coffee (I get a 20 cent discount for bringing my own cup) and granola at Two Pups. See? It’s hardly the economical option but it’s so, so good. Granola comes with home-made caramel, dark chocolate chips, pear and apple slices, Greek yoghurt and incredible, nutty granola. I decide to go frugal (lol) and skip the second coffee I usually get to go. (€9.30)
1pm I have to lodge two cheques in the bank, which has taken me about six months to get around to; one is for some work I did filling in at Lift for a week, and the other is for a Kickstarter refund that got sent to my old bank account, so they sent me a cheque for the €24 (it was for a Looncup, but the promised rewards never turned up so they started offering refunds). I get lunch in Páng. I’d never been before but heard that it was good. I pay €10 for two rice paper rolls and a kale slaw and they’re all really, really good even if Vietnamese rolls (the raw ones with the soft rice paper) look exactly like condoms, filled with food. I drop into Spar to buy tampons and a Diet Coke on the way back, but I buckle and get a pack of Smarties as well (€13.90)
7pm I go to a friend’s for dinner and bring nothing because she says not to, but I wish I had! I get the bus there and share a taxi back with Ella, the owner of Siopaella; she pays and I offer to buy her coffee or lunch the next time I see her. She also gives me €93 from my recent consignments! Hurrah! (€2.15)
Daily total: €27.50
9am I get the bus to work again (€2.15). It’s only a 40-minute walk, which is totally doable, but it’s been so warm lately that I’m roasting by the time I get there and feel sweaty and gross. I’ve made juice for breakfast and bring two peaches in to work too, but I have no willpower so I buy a strawberry and white chocolate scone and a coffee in Two Pups for €5.50 – an improvement on yesterday’s €9.30. (€7.65)
11am I made a green juice for breakfast (oops) so I drink it at my desk; while at work I browse Groupon for a good massage offer as my shoulders have been killing me but decide I can’t be bothered buying a voucher and then checking availability. Plus, even if I get a deal for €30, it’s €30 I can’t really afford.
12.45pm I meet a friend for lunch. He orders spaghetti with pesto and I have some kind of weird brain fog and order scrambled eggs with avocado and ham (€10.50), which I immediately regret when I spy his massive bowl of pasta. Mine’s still good though. I follow up with a coffee and a cake (€6.30). I’ve got such a sweet tooth lately and don’t seem to be able to get it under control AT ALL. (€16.80)
5.30pm I finish work and get the bus home (€2.15) but get off a few stops early because I decide to buy a copy of Red magazine in Eason’s. It’s one of the few magazines I still enjoy – it always has great features and it’s written as if it assumes its readers are smart, which makes a nice change. But when I get there, I realise it’s about €7 and that just seems ridiculous. I browse the other magazines for a while – Vogue is on special offer for €2.77, and Elle has a free mascara from Benefit, which I could actually do with – and then get distracted by the books. I buy Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark*, which I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages; the new Karin Slaughter book, The Good Daughter*; and Melissa Hemsley’s Happy Food*. It comes to €47 but somehow I feel better about that than I would have about buying one €7 magazine – plus, I pay with the cash Ella gave me last night. (€49.15)
7pm Despite my indulgence in Eason’s – and the growing enthusiasm I’m feeling for cooking, reading my new cookbook, I order a burrito from Boojum on Deliveroo. I’m just tired and lazy, which seems to be my excuse most of the time. (€13.19)
Daily total: €86.79
8.15am I make myself quinoa porridge at home from Melissa Hemsley’s book*, but I think I misunderstood the ingredients and added too much liquid – which is annoying and the kind of thing that makes me sorry I didn’t just buy granola in Two Pups again. Still, it’s free! And it’s pretty tasty; I top it with blueberries, toasted coconut flakes and a spoon of crunchy peanut butter. It did mean getting up a half hour earlier than usual, but maybe it was worth it.
9am I drive to work; the car had been in the garage for the past few days but I dropped in this morning to pick it up. They’re going to drop the invoice in – I dread to think how much I’ll have to pay to be told the oil was running low (I swear there was no warning light!). When I get into work, I have a call from Noel at the garage to say he left his lunch in the car – but I’m across the city and don’t have time to drop it back over to him, so I order him a Sprout salad and a peanut caramel slice (my favourite!) from Nutshed on Deliveroo.(€17.19)
10.30am I meet my parents for a coffee and I pay; they’re just back from the US, where they’ve been for seven whole weeks, with my sister who just had her fourth child (!). They’re stopping by on their way home to bed – they both seem wrecked but it’s so nice to see them. They take the(ir) car home with them. It’s been really nice having the use of it for the past few weeks but now I’m back to walking or getting the bus. I used to cycle, but I fell off my bike on the Luas tracks about a year ago and got spooked, so I sold my bike. But lately I really miss it, so I’m doing some research and planning on buying a new one when I have enough money (if I got my weekly eating out habit under control I’d probably have it in about a week!). (€9.70)
12.30pm I meet my friend and her baby for lunch. He’s 10 weeks old and going through a bit of a sleepless phase, so she seems tired – but I think she needs to get out of the house pretty regularly. I had actually brought lunch in with me (inspired by Melissa Hemsley, jeopardised by my own lack of willpower), so I’m going to have that for dinner instead. I get avocado on toast with a fried egg and black pudding in Two Pups with a coffee, which is free because I’ve built up enough loyalty points. Finally! (€13.50)
1.30pm On my way back to the office I get a Diet Coke and a caramel slice from Insomnia. I gave up fizzy drinks entirely for about two years there, but I missed them so much so I only reintroduced them recently and am really enjoying my regular Diet Coke breaks. The caramel slice is pretty good, too. (€4.05)
6.15pm I’m covering a lifting class at Lift this evening and, as I leave work, I realise I left the studio keys at home – and I won’t have time to get home and back to the studio, unless I get a taxi each way, which will cost more than I’m getting paid. So I call my housemate, who drives over to meet me with the keys, in rush hour traffic. I seriously owe her one.
7.30pm I eat my Hemsley leftovers for dinner – pesto prawns with roasted sweet potato, courgette and wilted spinach. It’s really good. I used to be really into cooking, but I’ve been really struggling with my depression over the past few months and I’ve got out of the habit of doing a lot of things that I used to enjoy. I must get back to it.
Daily total: €44.44
8.30am I get out of bed too late to make breakfast (er…) so I get my scone and coffee combo in Two Pups and eat in. That scone is just so damn good. Once again, though, I’m proud of my willpower – I don’t get a coffee to go. I’m a saint! (€5.30)
11am We have filtered water at work, and I have this obnoxious looking water bottle I bought in an obnoxious looking sports supplies store that fits 2.2 litres. I fill it every morning and try to drink the lot in work. Most of the time, I succeed; today is a good water day! I’ve really been trying not to buy bottled water and not to use disposable coffee cups and having this on my desk makes getting my water easy.
1pm Once again, I wasn’t organised enough to bring my own lunch (what is wrong with me?!) so I order a salad plate, which is enormous – bulgar wheat, charred cauliflower, a huge scoop of hummus and a slice of sourdough – and a black coffee in the Fumbally. My one bugbear about this place is that they don’t do a loyalty scheme (although, as a restaurateur I know once said to me, “it’s just as well, because you’d eat [them] out of house and home”). (€12.90)
1.55pm I just can’t resist the lure of fizzy drinks and sugar, so I grab a Diet Coke and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange bar in Spar. I usually only really enjoy chocolate if it’s refrigerated, but room temperature will do in a pinch. (€2.10)
5.25pm I nip out of work a teeny bit early to head over to Liam, my podcast producer – we’re recording the latest episode of How to be Sound with Kirstie McDermott tonight. It’s a really fun, interesting conversation, which I knew it would be. Kirstie is one of the smartest women I know, and one of the people I always go to for advice (and cat pics).
6.30pm I walk Kirstie to her bus and we get into a conversation about how I’ve been. I tell her I’ve been feeling miserable, don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself, feel hopeless… She consoles me very matter-of-factly. “Trust me, it will all work out. You’re catastrophising – but it will.” It’s tough love, but I know she’s right.
7pm I meet my boyfriend, still sobbing, and he takes pity on me so asks if I want to go to my favourite pizza place, Boco (comfort eat? me?). I get a moginto (I hate made-up names, but it’s nice all the same) and my favourite garlic oil, pine nut, honey and parmesan pizza (it’s amazing) and we pay out of the joint account.
9pm When I get home, I realise €20 has come out of my account for on-street parking. It’s such a handy way of paying for parking, but you never notice it adding up. (€20)
Daily total: €40.30
9am Our cleaner comes on Fridays and it also happens to be the day I work from home – but I always feel really awkward being in the house when she’s there. I end up helping her, which kind of defeats the purpose – so I usually try to get out. I head to meet my friend Simone at Cloud Cafe on North Strand. We both have the smashed avocado and share a seriously good brownie. I like Simone because she, too, believes in breakfast-dessert. I pay; she can get the next one. (€30)
9.30am To my great shame, the last few months of really struggling with my mental health have meant I’ve given in to one of my worst vices and started smoking again. I’m giving myself until Sunday – one final hurrah – and then that’s it, no more. So I buy my final box (and a lighter, because I never remember to bring them with me). (€13.50)
11am I changed my number a few months ago – I realised that far too many people who should just email rather than calling me had it, and it was kind of exhausting always being on – but I forgot to inform the vet, so we missed Coileán’s annual booster date. So I’ve to go in and start her all over again with her vaccinations. The job lot is €75 and then I buy her a tin of hypoallergenic dog food. She has IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) so she’s on this prescription only dry food, but I feel sorry for her mundane life and want to get her a treat. It’s €78 but I put it on the joint account.
2pm I’m still kind of full after breakfast, but I want something to tide me over until I go over to my friend’s for dinner tonight, so I eat the leftover quinoa porridge from earlier in the week for lunch. I top it with cacao nibs, goji berries, banana, honey and peanut butter and it’s kind of delicious. I must make more next week.
5pm My housemate has started going to morning yoga at YogaHub, pretty near our house – they have an introductory offer for 30 days that’s pretty good value, so I decide to sign up too. I figure, even if I just make four classes in the month (though I’m hoping for more), it’ll be worth the money. Once I’ve paid up, I sign myself in for four classes – on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Start as you mean to go on, right?! (€59)
7pm I go to dinner in a friend’s house and we watch Love Island. She’s not a fan so there’s a lot of explaining involved – how it all works, how the recoupling goes down, how couples get broken up. “So… you have to be with someone, even if you want to be with someone else?!” After a while I just give up. We order Bombay Pantry and she pays, but I promise I’ll get the next one. (There will be a next one; Bombay is my fave.)
Daily total: €102.50
9.15am On Saturdays, I teach Strong (Wo)Man at Lift at 10am – it’s suitable for all levels and drop-ins are always welcome, by the way! I usually arrive early to get set up in good time, and to get a nice coffee at Third Space in Smithfield. While I’m there, I notice that they’re closed on Monday – they’re taking their staff away for the day. It makes me glad to support somewhere that treats their staff well. (€2.50)
11.40am Then I head back to the gym and I put myself through the same session I did in class – 8 set of 8 reps: deadlifts, military press, squat and lat pull down, followed by 2 lengths on the prowler, 50 rope slams, 2 lengths on the prowler and another 50 rope slams. While I’m training I listen to the latest episode of Casefile, which deals with the Elaine O’Hara murder. It’s so interesting – it’s pretty much the only thing that gets me through what ends up being a super tough session. I haven’t trained in a few weeks (plus, smoking…) so my endurance isn’t what it was!
12.40pm I treat myself to a Luas home – I’m absolutely wrecked and can’t walk anywhere. My Leap card is all out so I top it up by €20. (€1.77)
1pm I have a protein shake when I get home; I’m feeling kind of nauseous after the burst of sugar I had, followed by an intense session, but I know I’ll need it (not the calories – just the protein!). Then I have a bath. My muscles are already killing me, which is not a good sign. I decide to cancel 4pm yoga – better not to be too ambitious.
7pm I meet Liam for dinner in Eddie Rocket’s – because I’m not making a lot of money from my podcast (make that, almost none) just yet, every time we record an episode I buy him a meal. It means he kind of gets paid, but it’s a win-win because I get some guaranteed non-work hangout time. I get the M50 burger, sweet potato fries and a chocolate malt. I try not to use a straw with my shake – they’re so bad for the planet, I know! – but it just doesn’t feel right drinking it out of the glass. I might invest in a reusable metal straw, but would people think I’m an asshole?! And do I even care?! (€32.65)
7.40pm We’re going to see Hereditary, and I am of the firm belief that there is no point going to the cinema without snacks. I have a Cineworld Unlimited Black card (as I’ve been an Unlimited member for over a year) which means I get 15% off the snacks – so I pay again. I get Revels and a bottle of water; Liam gets a large popcorn and water, too. (€12.98)
10pm The film is amazing. I walk home, narrowly missing the Taylor Swift crowd (kinda jealous tbh) and clean the kitchen before going to bed pretty early.
Daily total: €56.90
10am I get up pretty late, but in time to make a pot of coffee before going to yin yoga. Yin is a kind of slower, more meditative type of yoga where you hold each of the poses for three to five minutes. It’s great to get a good stretch (which I badly need; I can barely walk this morning) but I kind of need to be in the right mind frame for it, which today I’m not – I just keep thinking about all the things I have to do, which is not relaxing! My body does feel a teeny tiny bit better afterwards, although walking is still hilarious (and don’t get me started on stairs!).
12.30pm We head to brunch at Two Boys Brew. There’s a queue (there’s always a queue!) but it’s worth it – I order corn cakes with jalapeno jam, pickled chilies, two poached eggs and some kind of garlic yogurt that’s insanely delicious. I also manage to neck two black coffees and a slice of caramel espresso brownie. I’m a disgrace. (€23.15)
2.30pm After brunch, my housemate and I decide to head straight to Lidl and get the weekly shop done. I kind of hate grocery shopping, but I know if I don’t do it now I’ll have another incredibly calorific, indulgent, expensive week ahead of me. So I stock up on veggies – loads of fresh spinach and avocado for smoothies, chicken breasts to grill for lunches, and of course loads of coffee. It’s €63 but it goes on the joint account.
5pm My parents come over for dinner. I had originally thought we’d go out to eat – there are loads of good restaurants near me – but I have a cold coming on and, by the time they get here, I’m really sniffly, have a terrible headache and am feeling very sorry for myself. So we order Crackbird on Deliveroo (they pay; I’m 16 years old) and eat, family-style, in front of the World Cup. (I hate football so much.) Afterwards, they offer to take the dog to their house for the week – they live in the country and she loves it there, plus it means we get a break from rushing home from work to walk her / make sure she hasn’t chewed anything important.
9pm I head to bed insanely early – I’m feeling really sick. Not only am I really snotty but everything hurts. I’m hoping it’s just a combination of cold plus overdoing it in the gym yesterday, because the last time I had the flu I ended up on a drip in A&E. The less said…
Daily total: €23.15
Weekly total: €381.58
Pic credit: Victor Hanacek via PicJumbo
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