This week, I set myself the challenge of sticking to a €150 budget. It will surprise no one to learn that I didn’t succeed. Budgeting is hard, you guys! I mean, I bought expensive cinema tickets; I paid a deposit for something I’m not even getting until next week, so maybe that shouldn’t be in this week’s budget; and I also paid some money to an artist I wanted to support… But excuses, excuses. I failed, okay?!
So what did I spend my money on this week?
See above. Expensive cinema tickets, patronage (De Medici style) and, of course, food. Oh – and a nice teapot. LET ME LIVE!
8am I am ridiculously excited about the idea that next weekend is a bank holiday, so I have zero issue getting up early and into work this week – just four days to my four-day weekend! I decide not to bother having breakfast; I used to firmly believe breakfast was the most important meal of the day, but a lot of recent research suggests that we actually don’t need it. So if I wake up and I’m not hungry, I won’t eat until lunch. I’m trying to cycle to work a lot more this week, too, so I save on both my morning granola habit and my bus fare. Win-win!
9am I get into work and make myself a coffee at the snazzy coffee machine, then get to my desk. I’m working on editing a lot of content for a soon-to-be-launched website, which is kind of tedious but also straightforward.
1pm Lunch! I go to Two Pups for lunch and have the avocado on toast. It’s so good. I even skip the regular coffee and make it at work instead. (€9.50)
5pm I’m meeting a friend after work for dinner and realise he’s going to be really early – or I’m going to be really late – so I grab a taxi home. The driver is so chatty, which sometimes I’m into but today I just want to stare at my phone. He tells me that MyTaxi no longer rates customers (phew!) and that I’m a VIP “because you use the service a lot”. Er… Oops! (€12.10)
6pm Meet my friend for dinner and we go to Kim Chi. I have sushi and a kim chi pancake, which I cannot describe but is insanely delicious (and massive). I leave about a third of my food behind, which always really bothers me. He pays and I leave whatever I have in my bag as a tip – which he tops up. I feel very scabby. (€2)
7pm We take the dog to the park and get chatting to an older man who tells me that he throws birthday parties for his dogs each year. “I roast a chicken, cook some sausages and give them a pork chop.” I’m really glad Coileán can’t understand him, because I don’t even know when her birthday is! I feel like a really bad dog mom.
Daily total: €23.70
8am I’m a bit peckish today but again, trying to stick to my €150 budget, so I have granola at home with yoghurt, a little maple syrup, almond butter and cinnamon. Delish. I’m almost finished the massive batch I made a few weeks ago so I’ll have to make some more at the weekend (isn’t that what Bank Holidays are for?!)
8.30am Feeling lazy, I decide to get the bus; I pop into Spar on the way and top up my Leap. (€20)
9.15am In work, I make the first of probably three coffees I’ll have before lunchtime. I gave up coffee for about six months once, deciding that I was overly dependent, but I really missed it and didn’t notice any health benefits so I’m back on it with gusto now. Hurrah!
12.30pm If I’m going to Fumbally for lunch, I always try to go pre-1pm so I can miss the massive queue that amasses in a matter of minutes. Today’s special is Tuscan beans on sourdough with an egg, ricotta and basil. It’s amazing. (€9.50)
1.15pm I pop into Spar and buy a can of Diet Coke and two Cadbury’s Fudge bars. I initially planned on eating them both, but when I get back to my desk I give one to a colleague. (€2.75)
3pm I get a newsletter from the Stella Theatre – I haven’t been since seeing Star Wars there with my Dad – and read that they’re showing The Princess Bride, one of my all-time favourite crap movies, this Sunday as part of their brunch club. I check in with a friend to see if she wants to come and I book tickets for us both. (€39.80)
5.30pm Feeling guilty about the Stella Theatre indulgence, I decide I’d better make my dinner tonight. I have some Superquinn sausages in the freezer that I defrost and then I realise I have a bag of potatoes that have seen better days, so I make potato cakes and have them with Kerrygold butter and sausages. It’s not the healthiest meal I’ve ever had, and halfway through cooking I realise I need to go to Spar to buy milk, butter and ketchup, but it’s really tasty. (€8)
7.30pm I get into a serious Schitt’s Creek marathon. My housemate is away this week and I thought I’d be really bored and/or lonely, but actually I’m fine – I guess being in work for eight hours a day really does fill the time!
Daily total: €81.05
8am I have a really early morning meeting today in Brother Hubbard, with a woman for whom I do some social media work. I regret making this early-morning plan! We’re both a bit rattled at being up so early; I tell her about that mad few weeks when I got up at 4.30am to go to the gym. It feels like another life! I get coffee and bircher muesli (so good) and she gets a coffee. I pay. (€12.75)
9.30am I make my first coffee at work! Four today. Eep!
11am I have a really long to-do list, basically comprised of life admin stuff, and going for an STI check is one of them, so I call the Well Woman Centre and book in for next week. I was checked not that long ago, when I worked with Let’s Get Checked, but regardless of what prudes might call your “lifestyle choices”, I do think that any adult who has any kind of sex life should go regularly enough. It’s €125 in total and I’ve to pay a €50 deposit now. There goes my budget! (€50)
12.30pm Back at Fumbally and the Tuscan beans are on the menu again! So excited. Of course, they’re somehow not quite as delicious as they were yesterday, but still really good. (€9.50)
1.30pm I’ve had a really bad headache all day, so I pop into Spar for my daily Diet Coke, a Fudge bar (why had I forgotten how delicious they are?!) and some Panadol. (€7.64)
3.30pm I generally try to avoid taking painkillers because I always feel like there’s some reason I have a headache, but the Panadol work wonders pretty much instantly. Such a relief. I also give up coffee for the afternoon and try to drink 1.5 litres of water before home-time. Lots of bathroom trips.
7pm Still feeling smug about having cooked dinner yesterday, I order a Boojum on Deliveroo. My housemate’s back today so I order a burrito bowl for me and guac and chips for her; I use my monthly €5 off code I get from 3Rewards so it’s not even particularly expensive. (€10.74)
Daily total: €90.63
7am It’s another no-breakfast day (just not hungry), but I wake up mega early and get into work by 8.30am. I think it’s the earliest I’ve been in the office in weeks!
8.30am I realise, pretty early on, that I’ve made a fatal error; I’m meeting friends for dinner after work at 6.30pm, so I’ll just have to hang around until then regardless. Dammit! Coffee it is.
12.30pm A friend is home from away foreign, as they say, and we’ve arranged to meet for lunch in Fumbally. It’s so nice to catch up and I promise to go and visit him (he’s been living in Belgium for about five years and I’ve never gone, so I really should) – coloured in no way by the fact that he buys my lunch! (I have a salad plate; it’s massive and I can’t finish it, so he does.) I buy us each a coffee: filter for him, Americano for me. (€6.40)
3.30pm It’s my last day in work this week and, as is my wont, I’ve left quite a bit of work to do for the last day so I have a busy afternoon going through copy, tidying it up and sifting through spreadsheets.
5pm I decide I just can’t stay here twiddling my thumbs until 6.30pm, so I head over to where we’re meeting for dinner and decide I’ll get a coffee somewhere. I’d given up smoking (again) on Tuesday, but today someone sends me screenshots of some random forum users talking shit about me and I get kind of upset… so I buy cigarettes and a lighter. At least, that’s my excuse. (€13.72)
5.15pm Then I sit outside Starbucks with a caramel frappuccino (no cream; I’m not a total pig) until it’s time to meet my friends. (€4.80)
6.30pm We catch up in a friend’s house and I play with my other friend’s baby. For the first time in my entire life, I feel like maybe I’m becoming a baby person? My sister’s four offspring may have finally drilled it into me. I help him walk across the room and back several times, which he seems to enjoy (he’s six months old so I’m doing the bulk of the work to be honest) and then we kind of bounce around until it’s time to go home. He’s adorable. We eat Thai food and catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives.
9pm I’m home and I’ve no work tomorrow, so I decide I really want to watch Stargate (another one of my favourite bad movies). But it’s not on Netflix and I really prefer not to pirate things, so I download it on iTunes. (€3.99)
Daily total: €28.91
8am My cleaner comes on Friday mornings, so I generally try to be working, sleeping or out of the house. I feel really weird about sitting there while she cleans, so I’ll often kind of tidy around her, or make us both coffee or generally faff around, which also feels stupid. Today, I’m having a mega lie-on – it’s a Bank Holiday! – so much so that I totally forget about paying her, and she ends up taking €10 from the kitty in the kitchen, so I owe her €20 for next week. I feel very bad. She’s been coming to me for years and I think this is the first time it’s happened, but still. (€10)
11.30am I finally get up. I’m kind of in the mood for lunch, but also in the mood for breakfast… I text a friend to see if he wants to meet and we decide to go to Meltdown, a cheese toastie cafe (best idea ever?) in Temple Bar. I have the Mac Mama (macaroni pasta in a cheese sandwich, stop the lights) and an iced latte. He pays.
12.30pm It is a sweltering day in Dublin – sporadically sunny but kind of overcast, and just so, so warm. We decide we’ll go to the Dead Zoo for a look; I haven’t been in years and remember it being amazing.
1.30pm Well. The Dead Zoo is kind of cool, but it’s more like a big taxidermist’s shop than anything else, and I was sure that I, as a child, remembered there being a dinosaur skeleton. Still, the giant Irish deer skeletons are amazing to see – and it’s free!
2pm We decide we’ll drop into the Ivy for a cup of coffee or a fizzy drink of some sort, but when we get there they tell us the bar is full and to come back in half an hour. Afterwards, we both wonder if it was our dirty runners that did it, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt; it did look really busy!
4pm We kind of wander back through town, via various newsagents for water – and more water. It is so so hot. I drop into An Post to return one of the Missoma necklaces* I bought a few weeks ago and pay for registered post, just in case. (€14)
7pm At dinner time, I contemplate eating healthily and then think, you may as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb (or something) so we go to Wowburger and I get a burger and fries and a Diet Coke and enjoy every single minute of it. (€12.85)
8.30pm I’m scrolling through Twitter when I see that one of the artists I follow is doing a little appeal for people to buy commissions. She’s a student who’s supplementing her studies by selling sketches online and is having a pretty lean month, so I decide to PayPal her some money. I don’t need any more art for my house, and anyway, sometimes I just believe in paying it forward. I got my Patreon money this week so have a little extra cash lying around anyway. I entirely forget about my budget, but let’s face it, it was fucked anyway. (€100)
Daily total: €136.85
8am I have set my alarm for 8am for God knows what reason, but in any case I am wide awake by then so I get up really early and make myself some coffee. I decide to do one of those question-asking things on Instagram, which I always regret, and then I get ready to go out to RTÉ – I’m recording a segment for This Week. [Listen back here.]
2pm I grab a caramel frappuccino (no cream, obvs #fitfam) on the way. I think I’m addicted. (€4.80)
3pm Laser goes really well – for the first time in an age, I don’t have to make my therapist stop once. I’m such a big brave girl! I decide to reward myself with lunch afterwards; a friend has just texted to say she’s in town so we head to Brother Hubbard for their halloumi sabiche. Yum. (€22 incl tip)
4pm After BroHub, we head to Camerino on Capel St in search of White Masu’s peanut rayu. I buy a jar and get ready for a world of joy. (€8)
4.30pm Then we wander back to Brother Hubbard and check out their new gourmet food store. I buy a delightful little hand soap and a teapot; I’ve been enjoying herbal tea of an evening lately and want to be able to make more than one cup at a time. Plus, it’s cute. (€40.90)
6pm Back home, I realise that free Spotify – I’m trying to save money, you know? – is crap. You can’t even select what song you want! So I sign up to Spotify Premium again. Life’s too short not to be able to listen to David Bowie’s Dance Magic Dance on demand. (€9.99)
8pm I really want to order takeout, but I’m too ashamed, so I roast some veggies and grill a chicken breast I have in the fridge. (Takeaway is nicer.) I watch Schitt’s Creek until about 11pm and then crawl into bed, where I listen to the intense buzz of a mosquito in my room. I’m ready for winter.
Daily total: €85.69
10am I’ve arranged to meet a friend on O’Connell St, to bus it over to Rathmines to the Stella Cinema, so I’m up relatively early, have some coffee and granola and get going.
11.55am My friend slept it out – so it means I either go to the cinema on my own and sulk for two hours, or skip it. I skip it and reward myself with a frappuccino in Starbucks, although I’m so frazzled I say macchiato instead and am then horrified when I’m handed a hot drink. The lovely barista, noticing my confusion, asks what I meant to order and then, despite my saying it’s fine, I’ll drink the macchiato etc, makes me a frap. I love Starbucks more than ever. (€4.70)
2pm My friend, who now owes me mega apologies, comes over to my house and we go for brunch in Herbstreet (she pays, as well she ought!). I bring the dog, who barks non-stop throughout lunch, and then head down the canal and walk home via Camden St and the Iveagh Gardens. It’s a gorgeous day for it but both the dog and I are wrecked when we get home!
6pm I order burritos, guac, chips and fizzy drinks from Boojum on Deliveroo. One may as well finish the week on a high(ish) note. (€19.49)
Daily total: €24.19
Weekly total: €471.02
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