Financial Updates, But Make It Fashion
More money chat! These posts have actually been quite cathartic as I’ve really started to examine certain behaviours that I’m prone to. For example, I’m pretty frugal when it comes to transport but willing to splash out on any hair-related product that says it’ll change my life.
In terms of my life situation, I feel like I’m in limbo. The Pool stated a little while ago that 31 is apparently the priciest age but I’m feeling calm with only one wedding on the horizon next year (plus it’s in London, so I can get the Tube home). I am saving small amounts but it seems silly to get into serious ‘Let’s buy some property’ mode as it seems like such a long way off.
So what’s new? Fortunately my insurance claim was approved, so I didn’t have to fork out £800 to fix my chocolate-damaged laptop. You couldn’t make it up.
I’ve also started using Monzo, as I was teased relentlessly at my co-working space when I said that I was off to pick up foreign currency. It’s early days as I’ve only used the card in Amsterdam, but I do wish that more banks would adopt the ‘You’ve spent £62 on posh snacks’ way of displaying your spending.
My purse filled with various cards has made me think about how loyal I am to certain banks. I’ve been using Natwest since birth (let me know if you too have the ceramic pigs stashed away) but in the past few years I’ve adopted different accounts for my business, international spending and accumulating M&S vouchers.
I realise this makes me sound like a Kardashian, but I do seem to cherry pick the benefits from a variety of accounts so that I can have my cake and eat it. I’ll only be using my Monzo card when I’m abroad, though it is tempting to switch everything over and see how much I’m spending on emergency trips to Pret. That mac n’ cheese though…
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I’m pretty tired after my Lithuania trip, so I treat the day like a Sunday and break all the freelance rules. That means sticking a load of washing on, staring at the Deep End club t-shirt I’ve been thinking about buying and sorting out my weekly shop. I want to make good decisions and go in with a plan, instead of ending up with loads of mouldy veg by Friday (£25.01).
The main meals of the week will be my beloved one hour ramen (that takes more like half a day) and something involving salmon. I’m also craving tortilla after a recent Campo Viejo project I took part in, so I attempt a family-sized recipe that will be my lunch for a few days.
One of the best things about blogging is that you rarely need to buy shower gel or body lotion but it always seems to run out at once. I feel like treating myself so I order some bits from Soaper Duper, since I was vaguely impressed when I received a PR package ages ago.
Spending £31.05 does seem a bit extra, but the five products will probably last for the best part of a year (and my skin should feel like a newborn). What is it about staying in that makes me want to spend?
Total – £56.06
Time to head back to my co-working space! I feel smug as I’ve brought my lunch and snacks, so hopefully I can achieve my 5-a-day.
Later I head to an event held by the Caribbean Tourism Authority in order to get my networking hat on. Most of the time food and drink is included, but there’s a slightly awkward moment when I’m told that a G&T will be extra. I stick to the free rosé.
Fortunately this gets me chatting to a PR at the bar and she introduces me to the head of the PR agency for the Jamaica tourist board. I went into the event not knowing anyone and came out with a few new contacts (and a belly full of seekh kebab canapes). Travel costs me £6.80.
I always tell myself that I’ll be productive when I’m back from events, but end up getting sucked into the Channel 4 viewing combo of GBBO, The Circle and Naked Attraction. Lucy and I end up watching the latter in disbelief. I throw a cushion at her when she jokes that I should apply.
Total – £6.80
More co-working fun! It’s a slightly better day workwise even though I only seem to get motivated at 4pm. Between 10am and 3.59pm, I’m still thinking about the Deep End Club t-shirt and contemplate buying four so I can get free delivery from & Other Stories. Why is Click and Collect not an option? Definitely would rather take a twenty minute detour from work, instead of paying the £7.
My shopping habits are pretty frugal at the moment but I always feel like gym gear doesn’t count. I’m tempted by some colour-blocked leggings on ASOS and end up ordering a new tee as it’s been mysteriously reduced by £4 (£14). Travel costs me £3.
Total – £17
Since I have a friend coming over from the U.S, she’s kindly agreed to bring me back some Thinx back since I’ve failed to locate any in Selfridges. They’re a period underwear brand that I’ve been using for a while, but apparently they only last for two years. I don’t know if this is an Apple-style built in obsolescence thing, but I don’t want to take any chances. For some reason I order three pairs at 6am (£69.88).
I have no more lunch to bring to my co-working space but it’s definitely a treat yo’self kinda day so I buy a falafel and halloumi wrap for 4.95. It’s probably something I should try and make myself, so I make a mental note of the components.
There’s also a social later on, so I hang around for a few drinks and a confusing murder mystery game. The bus home costs me £3.
Total – £84.63
Let the fun be-gin! I head to West London for a Fentiman’s G&T event (an extra cake costs me £4.25), shooting and a complimentary lunch at Levi Roots’ Caribbean Smokehouse. Since I’m with Ghenet who hails from NYC, I have to explain that Levi Roots is a pretty big deal and one of the most memorable Dragon’s Den success stories. In terms of food the jerk chicken is pretty good and even though I wasn’t initially sure about the cinnamon-flavoured festival, it works.
Since we’re in Westfield, I decide to see what the Patricia Bright MAC lipstick is like in real life, as it seems a little more of a browny-red online. Ghenet loves it but I’m not used to the colour on me, plus I have so many abandoned products at home.
I do need to repurchase a couple of things so I stock up on some nail polish remover and my favourite Lancome foundation in Boots (£33). It’s typical that I’ve left my Advantage card at home (and later end up losing the receipt). I just want more points godammit!
Later on I pop to Sarah’s place for a night in with Liv and Lucy, bringing a bottle of Diet Coke to add to her rum stash (£1.79). Her apartment is brand spanking new with exposed brick, a giant fridge and the nicest shower. It makes me wish that our landlord would update our muddy-looking carpet and cupboards that seem to fall apart, but I’d worry about the rent increasing.
We pick up Franco Manca pizzas for a late dinner (mine costs £10.70). It’s a bit of an extravagance especially since I still have leftover ramen and jerk chicken in the fridge. I rationalise it as I’ll be back to ‘normal’ meals next week. The jaunt from zones 3-1 costs me £8.
Total – £57.74
The rain is back with a vengeance but Lucy and I still feel motivated enough to head to the head to the Fashion and Textile Museum for the Orla Kiely exhibition (it only costs me £4 with my Artpass).
Even though my style has changed since my Peter-Pan-collar-wearing days, I’m still gutted that the label is closing. It’s very poignant listening to Kiely speak about her inspiration and wanting to create clothes that are treasured. The colourful spec sheets and retro mood boards are definitely my highlight.
Travel to London Bridge costs me £8, plus I pick up a coffee (£2.20) and pastel de nata (£1.60) afterwards. If it’s any consolation, my ramen dinner from Monday is still going strong, so I feel rather pleased with myself. Hopefully it isn’t off yet.
Total – £15.80
Finally a no spend day! I do end up browsing oil-filled radiators on Argos though. Wild. I’m also pretty annoyed at paying 79p a month for iCloud as it keeps holding my photos hostage and won’t let me look at my selfies properly.
I’m still mulling over the & Other Stories t-shirt, plus the Zara dress that I tried on in a recent shopping video. I really keep trying to examine whether I want these items for the ‘right’ reasons. Do I just want to show them off on Instagram or can I style them in multiple ways?
Does anyone else get annoyed when you have to buy a whole bag of herbs for one thing? I manage to use up the leftover parsley and chilli for my One-Pot Spanish Chicken and accompanying spinach. My cooking skills have definitely come a long way from the unseasoned leg of lamb my Mum still teases me about.
Total – £0
Weekly Total – £238.03
Another amount that’s pretty similar to last time! Seeing the figure does make me want to keep a closer eye on my spending though. If I assume that I spend the same amount each week (and add it to my rent, bills, gym membership et al), it does end up being over my intended budget. I’d also like to factor in some regular charitable donations.
The aim for the next few months is to have a little more financial clarity. There’s something I’d quite like to treat myself to, but I want to make sure I can handle my tax bill first. Niki also started an interesting conversation on Twitter about pensions and income protection and I’d be intrigued to see what a financial advisor would make of my situation.
Basically I need to start thinking like a proper grown-up and not viewing my situation as temporary. I also think that pension companies are missing a trick by not marketing to our freelance, avocado-loving generation and I’m willing to be your ambassador.
Catch up on my previous Money Diaries!