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VOICES

Money Diaries A business development specialist on €54K living in Dublin

This week, our reader outlines how she manages life with a busy job and two furry friends.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on The Journal that looks at how people in Ireland really handle their finances.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, what they save if anything, and what they’re spending their money on over the course of one week.

Are you a spender, a saver or a splurger? We’re looking for readers who will keep a money diary for a week. If you’re interested send a mail to money@thejournal.ie. We would love to hear from you.

Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a week in their shoes, so let’s be kind.

Last time around, we heard from an early years educator on €25K living in Leinster. This week, 

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I am a 47-year-old woman, working as a business development specialist for a professional services firm in Dublin. It’s not a career I would have planned on, I sort of fell into it but I’m good at it and have been working in BD for 20 years. It’s essentially finding business for the company, winning clients, identifying potential work and horizon scanning for future work, as well as keeping metrics on past and present work. I get to use my creativity and analytical skills. I suppose you can say I suit the job and the job suits me!

I own a small two-bedroom apartment in Dublin city centre which I bought in 2001, and have less than 10 years on the mortgage left. I’m single and childless by choice and share my life with two adorable cats whom I’ll call Thing 1 (two-year-old he) and Thing 2 (eight-year-old she) for this diary. I am a creative person and I love hobbies like writing, drawing, painting, photography and knitting. I don’t have family in Ireland but I have good friends here, including a 10-year-old godson that I’d lay down my life for.

I’ve been challenged with physical and mental health illnesses for the past seven years, including a fairly recent diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. I take a variety of medications twice a day, I won’t bore anyone by putting that each day in my diary! I’m grateful to have found a balance of meds that I respond to, have bearable side effects and haven’t been hard on my system. I get my bloods tested regularly to be sure things stay this way. The biggest and most frustrating consequence of these illnesses is constant fatigue and a  lack of energy.

I used to be good with budgeting and saving but my finances have been in shambles since I first got sick. For the last six months, I’m constantly going into my overdraft which is not good! I’ve had to use up a lot of my savings and I only have €2,000 saved for emergencies. I’ve also neglected my pension and I am way behind where I should be at 47. I don’t have words to describe how much that scares me.

I need to get things under control while I still can as my future is very much on my mind. I am hoping doing this diary will help me figure out where to start.

Occupation: BD specialist

Age: 47

Location: Dublin

Salary: €54,000

Monthly pay (net): €3,410.08

Monthly expenses

Transport: Around €20-30 on Leap Card

Mortgage: €735.33

Household bills: Electricity – €60, appliances cover – €10.67

Phone bill: €60 including broadband

Health insurance: None (I know!)

Medical costs: CPAP machine rental – €103, prescriptions – €90, therapist – €180

Groceries: €500 incl pet food and supplies

Subscriptions: Amazon Prime – €10.99, Disney+ – €10.99, Netflix – €20.99, Patreon -

€5, Shutterstock – €72.57, Spotify – €10.99, YouTube Premium – €11.99, vet care – €46 for two cats, Zoom – €18.44 (Total: €207.96)

Loan repayments: €429.86 with AIB and €68.98 with HUMM

Overdraft facility: €1,000

***

Monday

7.10 am: With my sleep disorder and the meds I take to help me sleep, mornings are difficult. I use three alarms in order to make sure I wake up in time. My goal on days where I’m working in the office is to get out of bed at half seven.

7.43 am: I finally manage to get up. Still groggy so I decide to give myself some time and take a taxi to work today. I get myself dressed and feed Thing 1 and Thing 2, then sit down for a minute and play a YouTube video while I get my things together for the day.

8.20 am: Using my FreeNow app, I put in my request for a taxi. Twice. And then a third time. No drivers are available and I’m stuck in that limbo of ‘how long do I try before I give up and get a bus?’. I end up leaving it too late though.

8.50 am: I text my boss to explain that I’ll be late, and will make up the time over the lunch break. I listen to a playlist of Korean group BTS on my way in.

9.15 am: A quick stop at Starbucks for a grande filter coffee and a small fruit and oat bar. (€6.50)

9.20 am: Finally at my desk and straight into a team meeting at half nine.

11.00 am: We had a good meeting – in person for a change, which was nice. Once I’m back at my desk, I have an impromptu Zoom call with another colleague about a project we’re working on.

12.20 pm: I finish the Zoom call and since I haven’t had a chance to eat a proper breakfast, I decide to eat my lunch early while I catch up on emails and work on my tasks for the day. I have a tomato soup and a chicken and pasta salad. Because I’m diabetic, I don’t drink fruit juices or fizzy drinks, I stick to water and the occasional glass of milk. I like sparkling water though, so I have that for the day.

1.00 pm: Lunch time. I’ll have a short lunch today because I was late this morning but I still have time to solve the New York Times crossword for the day. I play some of their other games and start another crossword from their archive. I’m trying to solve all their puzzles from 2000 onwards. So far I’ve done 2023, 2022 and 2021. I’m about eight away from finishing 2020.

1.45 pm: Back to work time! I keep BTS on to listen to as background noise.

4.00 pm: I stop for a coffee from the kitchen and some nuts and raisins for a little snack.

5.30 pm: Wrapping up at work I head out for the bus and home. I’m lucky it only takes one bus to get to and from work and that it’s not too crowded when I get on. I’m usually able to get a seat.

6.20 pm: I’m home and the furry Things come to greet me. Thing 1 loves belly rubs and Thing 2 wants her head patted. Turns out you can rub a belly and pat a head at the same time! I give them some attention then turn on my PC to play some Fallout 3. It’s an old game but the first time I’m playing it. It’s great for shaking off the day by getting immersed in an interesting story.

8.00 pm: I pause the game for a minute to give Thing 1 and 2 a little bite to eat. I have some spicy chicken with salad for dinner. A family member is celebrating an occasion so I order a bouquet of flowers for her. With the exchange rate, it comes to €59.19.

11.00 pm: I’ve played my game far longer than I had planned to! I got stuck into a quest and lost track of time. I switch it off, feed the Things and get myself ready for bed. I choose some white noise of a campfire beside a lake to listen to and call it a day.

Today’s total: €65.69

Tuesday

8.35 am: I’m working from home today so I get an extra hour in bed, which I’m really grateful for. I get up, feed the Things and brew myself a cup of coffee which I enjoy black. I have oatmeal for breakfast while I start today’s NYT crossword and choose Heilung for my background music for the day.

9.00 am: Time to log in for work. I’m working on a report that involves some data analysis which I really enjoy since I get to play with spreadsheets.

10.45 am: I take a break and venture out to the pharmacy to pick up one batch of my monthly medication – these meds are for my physical illnesses. The mental health meds will be later in the month. Anyway, I’m on the drug payment scheme so it only comes to €10.37. I also go to Lidl and Dealz to pick up food for the day. I get a chicken and pasta salad, snack size carrots, more oatmeal pots and 2x2L bottles of sparkling water (€6.56). I get the two Things some food and treats from Dealz and two storage boxes for my Lego, some string lights to cheer up my workspace and a roll of kitchen towels (€20.25). On my way back home, I treat myself to a coffee from my local coffee shop (€4.07). I’m tempted by their brownies, but because of being diabetic, I resist.

1.00 pm: Lunch time. I have my salad while I finish my crossword. I also pay my therapist’s bill (€180). This puts me in my overdraft, but I get paid tomorrow so I’m not panicking. I spend the rest of my lunch break playing some games on my tablet. I love puzzle games so I pass the time peacefully.

2.00 pm: I make another cup of coffee – my last for the day – and log back into work. More spreadsheets and one meeting are on the agenda for the afternoon.

4.30 pm: My meeting ran over two hours and now I’m tired, hungry and dehydrated. I stop for a minute to stretch, have a few crackers with hummus and some water. The meeting was a good one though, productive and with some good insights into an upcoming project I’ll be involved in.

5.30 pm: Home time! Which is great because I’m already at home, yay! I put my work stuff away and spend some time moving around the house, tidying a few things, petting the Things and generally shaking off work-me and letting myself become home-me. Once I’m settled I turn my own PC on and play some more Fallout 3.

7.00 pm: Time to switch off the game. I level up just beforehand which is great timing! I reheat some fried rice for dinner and have that while watching true crime videos on YouTube. Thing 2 curls up on my lap for a snooze and I play a game on my phone. Thing 1 is happy to hang out in the cat tree for now.

8.30 pm: Like clockwork, Thing 1 and Thing 2 let me know it’s time for the first portion of their dinner. Thing 1 meows and climbs all over me while Thing 2 sits nearby and just stares at me. They do this every night. This small feeding will tide them over until bedtime when I feed them again. I sit back down and switch to some music and read a book. Tonight I’m listening to Ludovico Einaudi. I’ve just started reading Stone Blind: Medusa’s Story and I like it so far. I’m joined by both Thing 1 and Thing 2 so we pass a cozy evening together.

10.30 pm: I put my book down and spend half an hour scrolling through Reddit. Thing 2 looks so cute tonight I can’t resist taking a photo of her and posting it to Instagram.

11.00 pm: Bedtime for all of us. I feed the Things and top up their water fountain. Switch off the electronics and lights and head for bed. I choose an audiobook to help me fall asleep and tonight I opt for The Lost World by Michael Crichton.

Today’s total: €210.88

Wednesday

7.40 am: I’m woken early by Thing 1 jumping on my chest but I stay in bed and catch up on late night talk show hosts on YouTube. I like Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert. I also check my bank balance to make sure my pay is there. It is, and even though it’s never been a problem, I’m relieved it’s there.

8.35 am: Working from home again today. I get up and follow my usual routine of making coffee, feeding the two Things and having my oatmeal. I get started on today’s crossword as well. It’s fairly easy today so I actually finish it in pretty good time.

9.00 am: Time to log on to work and get some admin tasks done to ease myself into the day. For background music, I choose my favourite playlist which has everything from Korean K-pop to German metal. The only music I don’t really like is jazz. I don’t listen to much country either.

11.00 am: I make another cup of coffee and take a short break to read the headlines. I also transfer €70 to my Revolut account for a loan I’m paying off for surgery that Thing 1 needed last year. I notice that a payment was made to Disney+ for €10.99 but I cancelled that subscription last month so I go to check and realise the cancellation only kicks in this June.

1.00 pm: On Wednesdays, I have my weekly therapy/counselling session. This is part of my mental health recovery so it can be pretty intense but I need this and I’m grateful for it.

2.00 pm: I eat lunch late today. I keep working while I have a toasted bagel with salami, tomato and cheese with carrots and hummus on the side. I have a meeting tomorrow that I need to prepare for. I change my background music to a relaxing piano playlist.

4.00 pm: I have two small oranges for a snack and turn on the immersion so I can have a shower after work. I hate showering. For me, it’s a sensory nightmare and it triggers my claustrophobia. I have some coping strategies I use to get it over and done with, including giving myself time to mentally prepare. I’m only saying this because everyone else who’s kept a diary mentions when they shower so I thought I should address it too.

5.30 pm: Time to log off and walk away from the work desk. I stretch and tidy up my lunch things and put some laundry away. I plan what to wear tomorrow since I’ll be in the office.

6.00 pm: I have my shower and I hate it. I’m out in record time so I can have the rest of the evening to relax. I’ve stumbled on a fan-made Fallout webseries on YouTube and it’s pretty good so I happily settle in to watch.

7.00 pm: I have three reasons to treat myself to takeout for dinner today. It’s payday, I’m tired after my counselling session and I went through with having a shower. I use Deliveroo to order my favourite Korean kimchi jjigae with rice and red bean balls to finish. With tip, it comes to €23.42. Me and Thing 1 play chase the red dot while waiting for my delivery. When it arrives I continue with the webseries while I eat but not before giving both Things a little treat. That way I can eat my dinner in peace! I finish the web series and I was wrong when I said it was pretty good. It’s actually incredible. I’ve already decided to watch it again this weekend.

8.00 pm: Dinner done, I give the Things their appetisers then put on some true crime content while I idly browse Wish and Amazon before turning to play a game on my phone.

10.00 pm: Since I’m in the office tomorrow I go to bed early. Same routine of feeding the Things, switching things off and picking an audiobook to play me to sleep. I’m enjoying The Lost World narrator so I choose to keep with it.

Today’s total: €104.41

Thursday

7.10 am: Today I’m really groggy but I’m up and getting ready for work by 7.35 am. It doesn’t take much since I don’t wear makeup so I get dressed, brush my hair and teeth then feed the Things.

8.00 am: I’m in Lidl picking up the food I’ll need for the day. Two litres of sparkling water, an oatmeal pot, a small bag of snack size carrots, hummus, tomato soup and a mixed greens salad with maple/tahini dressing. I get some feta cheese to add to the salad later. (€9.46)

8.10 am: On the bus to get to work. When I get there, I stop at Starbucks for a grande filter coffee and a fruit and oat bar. (€6.40) I’m listening to BTS this morning.

9.00 am: I’m at my desk and getting settled when I’m called into an impromptu meeting. It’s a frustrating start to my work day but I shake off the annoyance as I really don’t want this to negatively colour my day. It’s too early for that!

10.00 am: Finally get some time to make my oatmeal and have breakfast. I add a banana that I get free from the kitchen. I work on some background research and further planning for this new project.

11.00 am: A training session I was to be on has been cancelled. Can’t say I’m disappointed! I make another cup of coffee and get back to today’s tasks. I’m working with data from another department’s spreadsheet and I have to fight the urge to tidy it up.

1.00 pm: Lunchtime, yay! I’ve just received some good news at work so I’m smiling as I have my salad with feta cheese and tomato soup. I work on today’s crossword while watching some YouTube videos. I also check my email and see a payment went out for my Shutterstock subscription (€72.57). I really want to cancel it but there’s a cancellation fee so I should look into how much that will cost. I check my bank account and other direct debits that went out were pet care subscription for Thing 1 (€23.00) and YouTube Premium (€11.99).

2.00 pm: I have a meeting later today that I still need to prepare for so I concentrate on that. I feel the need for some high energy music so I put on a 00’s rock playlist.

2.30 pm: My wireless headphones die. Oops! I plug them in to recharge so I can at least listen to music after today’s meeting.

3.30 pm: This is one meeting that couldn’t be done through email, so we’re all in a boardroom for it. There are a few ‘talkers’ taking part so I sit back to listen and process everything being said. I actually prefer things that way. It takes time for me to think things over and form an opinion. I’m a fairly anxious person and I like to be sure of myself before I answer any questions or give my thoughts on something.

5.00 pm: The meeting finishes and I get back to my desk, add my actions to my list of things to do and keep working away. I’m feeling pretty wrecked so I have a handful of nuts and raisins for the energy.

5.30 pm: Time to log off and head home. I catch my bus after a short walk and I’m on my street in about 30 minutes. I’m listening to Disturbed tonight. I get off the bus early to go to Tesco and pick up something for dinner, and food for tomorrow. I choose lasagne for dinner, a pack of microwave rice, chilli smoked salmon and broccoli for tomorrow, a two-litre bottle of sparkling water and some cat food. (€36.29)

6.30 pm: I’m home now and feeling really tired so I put on a YouTube disaster documentary playlist and sit with my eyes closed for a good while. I don’t have the energy for anything else.

8.00 pm: I finally stir and give the Things some food, and heat up the lasagne. I don’t really enjoy it though. I think they used rosemary and that’s not a flavour I like. Once I’ve finished eating I play a few games on my phone.

9.15 pm: I’m too tired so I go to bed early after giving the Things their dinner. I choose Dracula for my audiobook, read by Tony Walker whose voice is really soothing. I feel the two furry Things curling up next to me in their usual spots.

Today’s total: €123.42

Friday

8.15 am: I’ve slept past all three of my alarms. It’s not surprising as Fridays are my worst for lack of energy. I’m grateful I don’t take much to get ready in the mornings! I’m up, dressed and Things fed in under 10 minutes. I use my FreeNow to get a taxi to take me to work (€13). I have just enough time when I get there to grab my coffee from Starbucks. I use my rewards to get the coffee for free so I only pay for the oat bar (€2.85).

9.00 am: At my desk and I’m telling my colleague about the weird work dream I had last night. I’ve made my oatmeal so I polish that off and get stuck into my tasks for the day. In my rush to get out the door on time I’ve forgotten my earphones so no music for me today. This is not good as I rely on music to help keep anxiety at bay.

1.00 pm: I hit up Fresh for some food for lunch, a snack later and dinner. I’m really tempted by a slice of chocolate and cherry cake. Really, really tempted. I even pick it up to put in my basket but I put it back down. I choose sushi, a sesame chicken poke bowl for lunch, cherry tomatoes and beef jerky to have later and a dish of taco beef and rice for dinner. I also get a two litre bottle of sparkling water and some pick and mix nuts. Total comes to €33.60. I need something for dinner because I realised earlier that I forgot to put the fish I bought yesterday into the fridge so I’ll have to bin it! I’m not happy with myself for that one!

1.30 pm: I eat my lunch while watching a Skyrim Let’s Play series on YouTube and solving the crossword for today.

2.00 pm: In the homestretch to get another work week done with. I don’t have anything urgent to do but I have some admin tasks and data to update so I plan on spending the rest of my day on that. I enjoy making sense of information and pulling things together so this afternoon is kind of relaxing.

3.00 pm: I have a protein bar and banana from the kitchen and make myself a cappuccino. I’m eating something because I feel peculiar as a result of forgetting to take my medication this morning. It makes my blood feel funny in my veins and food helps me feel better. I wish I could ask to leave early!

4.15 pm: I have a small bowl of cherry tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper.

5.30 pm: Topping up my Leap card (€15) I get the bus and go straight home. I’m glad I picked up my dinner already, I don’t think I could handle the shop tonight. I’m tired and still feeling peculiar from not taking my meds so that would make a trip to the shops a nightmare. I’m also keenly aware I don’t have my music to listen to. My anxiety is at its worst in public places. With noise coming from all around, my brain decides there must be a threat somewhere in all the cacophony. I’m on high alert, constantly processing and analysing every noise. This makes my heart beat faster, my palms get sweaty and my body tense, preparing to run away at the slightest sign of danger. The problem is, everything sounds like danger. So my anxiety keeps me in this heightened sense of awareness and threat scanning. Not a healthy place to be long-term. Listening to music keeps the anxiety at bay since I have only the music to listen to and I don’t need to process all the noise around me. I’m still very aware of what’s going on, since I’m still looking out for any possible danger, but at least I don’t have all the noise to deal with.

6.30 pm: I’m home and sit down on the couch as soon as I’m in the door. I feel depleted and am so grateful that I can switch off now with the weekend ahead. I watch a live stream of a gamer I like while I simply rest. Thing 1 and Thing 2 inevitably come sit with me and I enjoy the warmth and weight of them on my lap, the softness of their fur on my hands and the gentle sound of their purring.

8.00 pm: I start to move, give Thing 1 and 2 their appetisers while I heat up the taco beef and rice for my own dinner. After I eat I play some games on my tablet to pass the time. I keep the live stream on in the background.

10.00 pm: Bedtime. The Things get their dinner and I do my routine of switching things off and picking an audio book. I chose Dracula again and fall asleep pretty quickly.

Today’s total: €51.45

Saturday

9.00 am: Thing 1 wakes me up by sitting on me and meowing his woes. He tells me that he has never, in his whole entire life, ever had anything to eat. Ever. Silly goose. I get up, feed the Things and have oatmeal for myself. I have plans today but give myself a leisurely morning so I can regain some energy first.

12.00 pm: I have a small lunch of cheese and tomato on crackers before heading into town. I take the bus, even though I could have walked but I need to conserve my energy and I have a lot of running around to do. I put my earphones in and choose Disturbed to listen to.

12.30 pm: I start with Hodges and Figgis. I take my time browsing because I love being surrounded by books. I buy two books – White Cat by Holly Black, and Beautiful Star by Yukio Mishima. I get two bookmarks at the cash register. The total comes to €32.00 but wait, surprise! I use a One4All gift card to pay.

1.10 pm: I feel so safe around books. Outside of my home, libraries and bookshops are havens for me. I love how the paper smells, how it feels under my fingers. I love how they absorb sound and cocoon me in silence. I love the people and worlds and creatures they show me. I collect books the way a dragon collects gold. That’s why I’m in Dubray books now even though I’d just been to H&F. I get the second Lightfall book by Tim Probert, a journal as a gift for a colleague and a journal for me from a set I’m collecting. Total cost is €43.20.

2.00 pm: I stop at the Lego store. The main reason I came out to shop today. My favourite flower is the cherry blossom and they’ve just released a new cherry blossom set. I also get a sunflower set and a Star Wars set for the next time my godson comes over. Total comes to €55.

2.20 pm: My plan is to get to Henry Street but I’m already feeling my energy draining and I haven’t really eaten so I stop for a proper lunch. Two restaurants turn me away saying they are full and I start to think I’ll have to go home instead. I try one more restaurant and luckily they have a table for me. Thus, I’m at Millstone and order a burger and chips from their set menu. Total including tip: €15.95.

3.00 pm: I leave the restaurant and choose Heilung for my music this afternoon. Quick detour into Boots for some toiletries of the female kind. Total: €7.28.

3.10 pm: The second reason for shopping today is clothes. I get to Yours Clothing in the iLac Centre and get some jeans and a top I spotted that will be nice for work. I add some socks, some unmentionables and a comfy pyjama set. Total: €124.00.

3.20 pm: I get a peach iced tea from Starbucks and sit down to rest for a bit (€4.90). I start reading Beautiful Sun and five pages in, I’m intrigued. I’m glad I picked it up in the shop!

3.50 pm: I decide to take a taxi home. I’m really tired and just want to be home and can’t face taking the bus. I use my FreeNow app and get a driver pretty quickly (€13.00).

4.10 pm: Home, sweet sweet home. I’m happy that I got everything I had planned on getting. I sit down and fight the urge to doze off. I play some Fallout 3 instead and manage to finish the main quest. I have loads of side quests to do though, they will keep me going!

7.00 pm: I turned the game off about an hour ago, and am watching some true crime on YouTube. I’m thinking about what to have for dinner. I could easily order from Deliveroo but I decide not to since I had Millstone today. I have some chickpea curry and crackers on the side.

8.00 pm: You know the drill. Thing 1 and 2 get their appetisers. I switch to some top tens on YouTube while I play games on my phone. It’s getting harder to concentrate so pretty soon I turn to scrolling Reddit instead.

10.00 pm: Tonight I find a 7-hour podcast on the History of Byzantium. The narrator has a nice voice so I decide it’s perfect to fall asleep to. I lie awake for about an hour before I finally sleep.

Today’s total: €263.33 (and additional €32.00 using a gift card)

Sunday

8.45 am: Thing 1 and 2 are playing or fighting, or both and they wake me up when they scamper across the bed. I stay in bed for a few minutes, checking the headlines on my phone.

9.10 am: I’m up, the Things are fed and my coffee is nearly ready. I realise I don’t have anything in the house resembling breakfast so I have crackers with butter and jam. I put on some gaming content on YouTube while I eat, working on the Sunday crossword and watching random content on YouTube. True crime, disaster documentaries and list videos are my favourites.

12.30 pm: I become aware of my task paralysis. I need to go to the shops and get food but I’m tired and comfortable and don’t want to face all the effort it will take to get dressed, go out, shop, queue, pay and get home.

1.45 pm: Defeating the task paralysis, I make myself get dressed and go to Lidl for groceries to cover today and tomorrow. If I don’t do it now chances are I won’t do it at all so I choose to just get it over with even though I’m feeling relaxed and cosy. I know I will thank myself later for going so that helps motivate me.

2.15 pm: When I go shopping I’m limited to what I can fit in my backpack. I get bagels, eggs, tomato soup, crackers, two types of spreadable cheese, chicken & pasta salad, a bag of mixed nuts and a packet of snack size raisin boxes for work, hummus, jam, oatmeal pots and two two litre bottles of sparkling water. Total is €32.84.

2.35 pm: I stop at Dealz for cat food, toilet paper, a storage jar, some stickers for a craft project I’m planning for next week and a three pack of John West tuna. Total comes to €21.50.

3.00 pm: I realise I haven’t really eaten a proper meal today. I make some instant kimchi ramen. After I’m done eating I re-watch the Fallout webseries while working on my new Lego sets, putting together one of the cherry blossom sets and the sunflowers. They are colourful and cheery and I love them. So does Thing 1, he is sniffing away at the Lego and thinks they are his toys, not mine. I bring out the red dot for him to chase and he happily runs around the place, determined to get the dot this time!

4.00 pm: Firing up Fallout 3, I settle back on the couch with a blanket, two furry Things and some fun quests to complete. It’s a lovely, cosy, relaxing Sunday afternoon.

7.00 pm: I switched the game off earlier and am watching some science documentaries on YouTube. There’s one where they show a bunch of fictional worlds from film, TV and books in relation to our solar system. It’s fascinating. I also order dinner from Deliveroo, choosing El Grito and getting a burrito bowl, tortilla chips on the side and a slice of chocolate cake. With driver tip it comes to €23.50. I’ve spent much of the week resisting sweets and I feel a treat once in a while would be ok. I enjoy the food, especially the cake. I take my time to really savour it. It’s moist and chocolatey and has a bit of caramel flavour. It’s divine.

8.00 pm: I switch to reading my book and listen to Einaudi to round out the day.

11.00 pm: Bedtime for the household. Thing 1 and 2 get fed, I get up to do my usual routine and fall into bed, making sure my alarms for the morning are set and on. I go back to the History of Byzantium and almost feel bad for the channel since it’s actually really interesting, but I’m using it to fall asleep!

Today’s total: €77.84

Weekly subtotal: €897.02

***

What I learned –

  • Good God I knew things were bad but I’m beyond appalled at my spending. I calculated everything three times just to be sure. No wonder I’m hitting my overdraft every month. I feel ashamed at my wasteful and thoughtless spending. I say I’m afraid for my future but I’m not acting like it. I’m just… wow. Even with this being an atypical week (I don’t buy clothes every week, and my bills/subscriptions only come out once a month), this spend is shockingly bad. I look over my diary and come to a realisation. I’m single by choice, have no children and when I’m old and retired, I won’t have a partner to share life’s burdens with. I need to see my present day self as the partner of my future self. I have only myself to rely on and I don’t want to be 80 and struggling to get by because I’ve been reckless with money now.
  • I can definitely see areas where I have to curb my spending. I can make coffee at home and treat myself to Starbucks one day a week as opposed to three. There are gadgets you can get to make sparkling water at home, instead of buying bottles all the time – I will get one of those. I need to plan my meals and shop ahead rather than shopping day by day. I impulse buy because I go in without ideas and pick up whatever without really thinking about it. I also only shop for small things because I use a backpack but I could easily get delivery through any of the big supermarkets, like bulk buying cat food and bigger tubs of oatmeal. I need to get into the habit of online grocery shopping. If I plan my week and stay out of the shops I am less likely to impulse buy and I can control how much I’m spending. I need to set a reasonable limit each week and commit to not going over it.
  • I need a better strategy for getting up in the morning. I can’t keep turning to taxis to get to work.
  • I’m going to ask my friends and therapist for their ideas on how I can get my spending under control and start saving. One of my friends has a savings buffer of six months salary which I would like to emulate.
  • I need to see a pensions advisor to get that sorted – I have pensions from various other jobs and right now only pay in the bare minimum. That is my biggest priority.
  • Aside from the spending, I’ve also realised I need exercise. Badly! I am far too sedentary and even with my illness and low energy, there is still exercise I can do. I can walk around the block at lunchtime, do some chair yoga at home. There are plenty of exercise ideas for people in my situation. Again I think about the future me and old age will be a lot easier to manage if I’m mobile!
  • Having said all that, and once the shock and shame have died down (somewhat), I realise that even with my health problems and my financial situation… I’m actually content with my life. I have family I love, friends I trust with my life, a job that I’m good at and find fulfilling. I am incredibly grateful to have a home, a decent salary and an affordable mortgage. Not to mention the two adorable furry creatures that share my life. I don’t take any of that for granted. I like my life. I like who I am. And that is the biggest surprise of all.

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