Have I sorted my finances yet?
Time for another financial update! Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as a student loans letter. I’m starting my end of year reflections a little early and although my tax receipts are still a bit of a mess, I have made a bit of progress in terms of my attitude.
Case in point, direct debits. I’ve finally set them up for most of my bills and had less peeved messages about not paying someone back for council tax. The main fear was that I’d set them up and end up overdrawn, but I now have text alerts for my main account and credit card. I’m not scared to check in and I’m slightly more aware of what’s going on.
Basically I’ve been listening and learning, but I really need to start doing and making those financial goals a reality. I definitely want to contribute to the financial perspectives out there (I loved Eva Wiseman’s piece on the rise of Money Diaries). Although I know I’m in a pretty fortunate situation, I still hope it’s useful and provides some food for thought. Also let me know if my head ever gets to Kanye West proportions and I’ll shut up.
Here’s everything I spent in a random week.
Read more of my Money Diaries!
How have I got to the age of 31 without seeing a proper bonfire? Basically my Mum never used to take me to any fireworks displays as a child (it was always too cold for her), so Lucy’s kindly invited me to see how her family do things down in Surrey.
Since we’re heading the the land of two trains per hour (£9.80), we have time to pop into Sainsbury’s for some supplies at Victoria Station (£13.90). I want to make a good impression, so I buy some croissants, juice and cava. It makes my day when I get ID’d and the shop assistant states ‘You should be born before the Year 2000’. Perhaps I should go shopping without makeup more often?
After a slight communication issue, we end up at a larger branch of Sainsbury’s in Redhill and I get a little overexcited about the home furnishings section. I pick up a mirror that’s on sale and some bircher muesli that I can’t get in my local branch (£8). I have no idea how to make it.
Later on we join a procession around the village of Brockham and I realise how strange Bonfire Night must seem to anyone who isn’t British. There’s also a hog roast charity auction and I end up bidding on a miscellaneous bag of pork (£12).
Total – £43.70
What a day of extremes. After breakfast and a brisk walk around a nearby park, we get dropped back to the station and realise our train’s been cancelled. Fortunately there’s a McDonalds opposite, so I go for my default Pound Saver duo (£2.58). It’s not somewhere I eat very often, but occasionally if I’m hangry and spot the golden arches, a hamburger purchase may happen.
Once I’m home (travel costs £14.10), I quickly shoot a project and doll myself up for the British Guild Of Travel Writers event at the Savoy. I’ve been invited as a guest of Pure Grenada and there’s a three-course meal in the grand Lancaster ballroom.
I buy 10 tickets for the charity raffle (£10) and get chatting to the Minister For Tourism about my nude tights content. Since it’s a late finish and I’m feeling bougie (hanging out in the Savoy will do that to you), I get an Uber home (£13.88).
Total – £40.56
It’s World Travel Market! If you’re not familiar, it’s a huge event for travel trade, press and buyers held at Excel every year. Each country has a stand and it’s a great place for bloggers to network with tourist boards and PR companies.
It’s also easy to get overwhelmed. I don’t want a repeat of last year when I sat in an irrelevant press conference for almost two hours, so I decide to focus on strengthening the relationships I’ve built. I catch up with Yishyene in the press centre and manage to grab a few canapes at the Jordan stand.
Luckily there’s transport provided to the Tenerife Tourism event afterwards, so I don’t have to navigate the DLR at rush hour. Most of these shindigs involve presentations on what the destination has to offer, performances and a raffle. Usually I never win anything but after a spot of luck, I end up winning the main prize and a trip to next year’s Santa Cruz carnival. Go me!
Later on I pop to Sainsbury’s to buy couscous for tomorrow’s lunch (70p) and I also pay off my credit card bill (£75). I’ve had an M&S card since I was 18 and only use it for larger purchases so my points can be converted into vouchers for food (I always pay off in full every month). Travel costs me £8.
Total – £83.70
Look at me spending Tuesday morning in a Private Member’s club! Birchbox have invited me to the launch of their Nutcracker box and there’s a gorgeous, sweet-filled table display by The Social Kitchen. I spend a good half an hour minutes taking selfies in the floral bathroom. So much for having a productive morning.
Later on there’s a Hobbycraft Christmas event, so dinner’s also covered (it’s a vegetarian Scandi feast). Travel comes in at £8.
Since I accidentally signed myself up to an Amazon Prime order (does anyone else get confused trying to get free delivery), I order some superglue (£3.41). I accidentally broke Lucy’s mug and she’s been on at me to fix it for weeks.
Total – £11.41
Another day at my coworking space. I bought the ingredients for my makeshift falafel lunch bowl a few weeks ago, so I just add the packet couscous to bulk things up.
On the way home I pop to the Cath Kidston press day (expect more rainbows for SS19) and a conveniently located Waitrose for a few random ingredients.
My Spanish Chicken & Rice dish is probably the closest I’ll get to a paella, plus you can add prawns so it lasts for three meals. Travel is a little cheaper at £6.80.
Total – £11.07
Why did I even try to get Michelle Obama tickets? It probably wasn’t the best idea to join the virtual queue at 8am, then leave the house and try to use Virgin Media WiFi to join the queue again. Lucky number 19655.
I’m also simultaneously shopping the Alexander Wang for Uniqlo collection and I whittle my order down to a thermal bodysuit and leggings (£59.80)
Fortunately there’s the Boden Press day to distract me so I chat to a few friends and eye up all the rainbow swimwear. I’m crossing everything and hoping the range comes in cup sizes.
Afterwards I head to the Russell & Bromley, Matalan and TCS press days and also Superdrug for some cotton wool pads (£3). Wild. I didn’t expect to be out and about at events today but as I’m having a bit of an indecisive week, it’s probably best.
It’s a pricey Travelcard kinda day, so travel costs me £8 again.
Total – £70.80
Yay Friday! I always forget that a man comes in selling various brownies and it’s usually at the point in the day where I can’t be bothered to make a snack. I spend £2.50 on a salted caramel one and devour it within minutes.
It’s also the time of year for friend catch-ups. Usually these have to get scheduled in months in advance but luckily I’ve pinned down my old colleagues Louisa and Charlotte.
We go to Honest Burgers as there’s something for everyone (£14.67), then a random Las Vegas Speakeasy event, where the cocktails are served in mini bathtubs. It’s cool but the music’s a little loud, so we move onto somewhere a little quieter for G&Ts (£5).
Does anyone else just wish for the perfect background-level music in London locations?! Perhaps I’m getting old before my time…
Total (including travel at £6.80) – £28.97
Weekly Total – £290.21
This was definitely a week of a few more impulse purchases, evened out by me buying a few lunch and dinner items in advance. Travel costs were a little higher as there were two journeys outside of London (plus I need to check that my weekly cap is actually working). It’s definitely tempting to use my Monzo more, purely so I can keep track of everything.
This month I’ve absorbed as many podcasts and words of wisdom as possible. I’ve had to stop tagging Otegha Uwagba on my Instagram Stories for fear of seeming like an extreme fangirl, but I’d recommend that you listen to her episode with Laura Whately asap. It’s rather apt that I was in Poundland when they were discussing the wealth gap that starts to emerge when you’re in your mid to late twenties.
Laura’s book ‘Money: A User’s Guide’ is a financial manual that breaks down renting, budgeting and getting a mortgage, so it may be better to dip in when you’re preparing for the appropriate life stage. I’m also excited for Otegha’s upcoming book on money as there are very few perspectives from black women out there. Until then, her episode of the How To Fail podcast is also a good ‘un as it details her struggles with mental health and figuring out a new path.
Another multi-hyphenate to stalk is Sharmadean Reid. Not only is she the founder of Wahnails and Beautystack, but she’s also built Futuregirlcorp as a way to give back and empower a younger generation. I went a recent event about investing and it’s definitely made me 55% more likely to start looking at pensions.
Her story is also an interesting one, as she went from making £1000 a day as a stylist to living off peanuts and sweeping her salon’s floors in the early days of Wah. She reminded me that money is a journey and not a reflection of your self worth. I’d definitely read any business book she puts her name to, but until then there’s her episode on the Scaling Startups podcast.
How’s that for an end of year financial report?! Hopefully I’ll see you in 2019 with more insights and a better system for my tax receipts.
Read more of my Money Diaries!