Spending Diary 13th – 19th April 2020

Hi everybody!

This is going to be a very short and boring blog post because here is the total of what I’ve spent this week.


Last week I placed an order with a local independent coffee shop shut because of Covid-19 for a 6 pack of Oatly Barista style oat milk as it’s my favourite. It was delivered on the 15th but I paid the invoice today. £8.40

That’s it for this week. A total weekly spend of £8.40.

So let’s try and liven this up a little.

I have a monthly food budget of £300 that runs from one pay day to the next. My flat mate splits this budget with me as we live together, have the same taste in food, and it works for us. So my total cost each month is £150. Currently of the budget we have spent £187.06 and have £112.94 left to last until the 28th, so I clearly have enough budget left to last me that time. I am still planning on focusing on using up my stores at home rather than shopping. Although in terms of fresh fruit and vegetables I only have half a cucumber, some orange juice, 3 onions, some beetroot juice and 1 apple left I do have loads of frozen fruit and vegetables left so I will be able to eat healthily and get my five a day, which I am a little obsessed with. I know guidelines have since come out to say we should be aiming for seven fruit and vegetables a day, but five isn’t a bad place to start.

In terms of my bills I have 3 left to be taken out of my account this month, and 2 are the big ones of my rent and my credit card bill, but I work to a zero based budget so I am not worried about paying them. It’s just a nice psychological boost to know that they have been paid each month. When my latest credit card payment clears my debt will be £750 and I’m aiming to pay it off at a rate of £150 a month so that it will be cleared when I get paid in August this year.

Although it will be nice to be debt free, I am of course more concerned about the pandemic at the moment. Which is why I am aggressively trying to save money and build up an emergency fund as quickly as possible, which without wanting to trivialise the situation has been made easier by being on lockdown.

Anyway, I wish you all a lovely Sunday. Do something nice, be with your loved ones, read, catch up on a box set, put your feet up or be productive, whatever you want.

Flo’s Spending Diary April 2020 (so far)

Hi everybody!

I’m relaunching the spending diaries I used to do on my blog, back when I wrote on it regularly. I will catch up on the whole of April so far even though it is longer than a week, and then next Sunday I will just do a review of the week gone.

Here goes!


I was due to start my period soon and was running low on supplies, but didn’t want to go to the shops more than necessary. I remembered seeing a company advertised on Instagram a while ago called TOTM (Time of the Month) who deliver nice organic supplies to you in the post. I bought 2 lots of pads. £6.80


Even though I’m working from home as is the whole of my team, it is still people’s birthdays and they must have presents. The latest birthday is my line manager’s on the 7th. One of the team organised it and I transferred her my share via Monzo. £3

I also bought four books on Kindle. Two were by Gretchen Rubin who I love, another was the very first book by ‘Mrs Moneypenny’ who is a financial journalist and also a presenter of a show I used to love called Superscrimpers that sadly doesn’t run anymore. I’ve read her other two books and love them. Finally I bought a book that had been in my Amazon basket for about 4 years and was making me feel guilty called ‘Behavioural Economics Saved my Dog’ by Dan Ariely, which is a collection of his work. This is the only one I’ve read so far of the four and it was good! £12.96


My friend Christina Thatcher who I met through a writing group she runs that I used to go to is launching her 2nd poetry collection ‘How to Carry Fire’ and she’s had to change the launch due to Covid-19. I had some spare money from my birthday so I finally bought both her poetry collections through her publisher. I’ve read the first ‘More Than You Were’ and it is simply stunning. Sparse, but stunning. £17.99


The flat mate and I braved going to the shops. Although we live together and don’t have to social distance we decided the best use of our time would be to split up and do half the shopping each. We had to go to 3 shops, doing a bigger shop in one of them, so we did split it fairly and this meant we could limit our time outside. I had to buy face cream for myself £10.58

I picked up cleaning supplies and some of the food shopping and the flat mate bought frozen food in Iceland and the rest of the fresh food shopping. Together we spent £64.07, so my half was about £32.03.


I’m not really running during lockdown. In fact I have only done one run and that was on Good Friday, but I have been missing running and wanted to keep in touch with the world of it in case things improve and my marathon does still go ahead later this year, so I bought one of those cheap 6 month magazine subscriptions for Runner’s World magazine. Like I said in my last post, I’m addicted to magazines! £6


I’ve subscribed to a company that does environmentally friendly laundry and dishwasher tablets and I was charged for my next order today. £8.05/£4.02


Today I posted a card each to my 4 nieces and nephews, and also my sister. It is my sister’s birthday soon and I like to send money to each kid at Easter so each card contained a tenner. £50

I did another big shop at Tesco that should keep me out of there until the week after. This shop may have contained a bottle of pink gin. £48.35/£21.18


I recently treated myself to a craft beer order on offer. I liked the company and the beers, so I upgraded the subscription and ordered a box of 20 beers for the flat mate and me. I managed to save £13.95 on the order through a series of deals so it cost us £21.90, or £10.95 between us.


This blog that you’re reading used to have a different domain name and I have since changed it through WordPress, new start new me! £11

TOTAL SPENDS = £186.51

This seems a little high, but the food shopping comes from another budget, so my personal spends were around £118 and £53 of that was gifts which don’t happen that frequently, so I feel ok about this. It was recently my birthday so I do have some spare cash at the moment which meant I could treat myself to a few books.

Hope you are all doing well. Stay Strong. Stay Safe.

Financial Review of Quarter 1 2020

Hi everybody!

I want to return to the spending diaries I used to do. I’ll admit, I don’t have the energy to do one for every week of this year so far. So please excuse me but I’m just going to do a review of what in business you may call ‘Quarter 1’ of January to March. I will however start doing spending reviews of the weeks from April onwards.

I expect that my spending habits are going to dramatically differ in the next quarter compared to this one. Do consider this very much a pre-Corona time.

Without further ado:

BEAUTY – £75.60

I regularly get various body parts waxed, plus I bought a few bits and pieces like hair dye, scrubbing brushes and toiletries, but as you can see my spends in this category are quite low compared to perhaps the average woman.

CHARITY – £26.50

I donated to two fundraisers. One for a local Arts Centre and another for a friend’s Dad who was shaving his hair and beard off to raise money for the NHS. I have since Covid-19 set up direct debits to a food bank and also the mental health charity Mind. I feel this category’s spend is a little low for three months as I try to donate about 1% of my income to charity each month, but I did struggle financially for the first quarter of the year.

CLOTHING – £171.47

This seems very high, but £90 of this total comes from buying a new pair of running shoes as my old ones were really wearing out. The rest of this is primarily made up of a few dresses, 3 bras, new PJs and a T-shirt.

GIFTS – £106.07

It’s been a few work colleagues and family member’s birthdays this quarter. Also I sent flowers to my Mum and Step Mum on Mother’s Day.

HEALTH – £289.78

Earlier this year I was training for a spring Marathon that has since been postponed to October. I invested quite a lot in my training and regularly went to either a physiotherapist or chiropractor or chiropodist to look after various body parts.

HOBBIES – BOOKS – £18.29

I’ve really got into my kindle and love nothing better than finding a great deal on a book I want to read. I have about 40 books on my kindle now that I haven’t read so I do need to catch up on my reading a bit!


Magazines are my guilty pleasure and I do have a bit of an addiction to them so I’m really pleased with this low amount, though this doesn’t include a rolling 3 month subscription to Moneywise magazine as I consider that a bill.


This is a little out there, but I invested £10 in a peer to peer loan site and I should get a rate of interest back, however for now this is how I’ve chosen to categorise this spend.


This could have gone in the category above. My favourite band is Queen. I also collect coins. The Royal Mint has released a commemorative £5 coin for the band Queen, so I had to buy it. The coin and postage and packaging was £16 but the coin has a legal tender value of £5 and it is this sort of maths that probably explains why I’m poor!

HOMEWARE – £59.32

As a recent birthday treat to myself I bought high thread count bedding. It was from Primark so it was still good value for me, but was more than I typically spend on bedding. I also bought a few kitchen bits to help me survive Covid-19 such as stuff to make my own oat milk from.


I always feel this category is really high and I do really try to reduce it. This category is for food I buy out of the house on my own, for instance getting a canteen lunch at work. Even though I’ve just gone through the spreadsheets I still can’t explain why this category is so high.


This is mostly from buying stamps as I write a lot of letters to my family.

RACES – £165.85

I had a refund on one of these races as it was postponed due to Covid-19 to a date I couldn’t do as that’s when my postponed marathon’s date was changed to. I entered 3 half marathons this year, and one of those was cancelled due to the storms in February and then Covid-19 meant that that race still hasn’t been rearranged, so I may end up getting a refund on that one too. For the point of ease I’ve included the total amount I spent at the time and haven’t deducted any refunds.

SOCIAL – £229.21

I feel I didn’t socialize much this year, but I guess my bank account likes to differ! I did go to a nice birthday meal with my work colleagues. I also tend to ‘date myself’ and go off to the cinema on my own so I have seen a few films before Covid-19 changed the landscape.

TRAVEL – £285.10

Like the races category I have had around £85 of this total refunded due to Coivd-19 cancellations, so the total I spent is lower, but like I said I include the full price I spent as that money did leave my account at the time in full. I have been travelling home a few times this year to visit my Dad who was still in hospital at that point. There were also trips I was due to make which as mentioned have now been cancelled.


I contribute £2 a month to a tea kitty at work, plus I buy my own herbal teas to take into work. I think this amount is very reasonable for 3 months, go me.

TOTAL SPENDS = £1707.26

This is the total amount I spent on my disposable income spending, as in my money for what I want to buy. It seems quite high as that is nearly £600 a month on just myself and I feel that money could be better used for savings or debt repayments, so hopefully lockdown will change my spending habits. I’m not saying lockdown is a good thing (apart from keeping people safe), but it would be nice if some selfish good came out of it.

I also spent £487.48 on my half of the food shopping this quarter. I split the food and household shopping with my flat mate (the ex) so I just divided the total amount by 2. I think less than £500 is good for 3 months.

I’m interested to see what the next 3 months brings in terms of my spending.



Financial Review of Week 42

Hi everyone.

It’s time to confess.

My mental health hasn’t been great recently and I have been spending.

The thing is, what I am buying is all essential things. Food, toiletries etc.

BUT, we are so shockingly over the ‘Food and Household Shopping Budget’ that it seems laughable to say we ever had a budget in the first place.

I don’t get it, I am only buying what we need, yet the cost of living seems to be so high that it is impossible to stick to the budget.

I really don’t get what has happened.

This is very worrying, because as we all know, on Thursday it will be my last day at work, and unless my life gets a deux ex machina plot device soon it is safe to say I will be unemployed for an as yet indeterminate amount of time.

Anyway, let’s look at how the money has left my wallet this week.


Pizza £2

Paracetamol, Throat Sweets, Milk £1.35

Face wipes, Plasters, Face Wash, Face Scrub, Mouth Wash, Toothpaste, Day Cream, Razors, Hand Cream, Moisturiser, Paracetamol £26.66

Bag for life, Cereal Bars, Cereal x 2 £7.77

Cheese, Soup x 5, Blue Cheese, Milkshake, Bread Rolls £9.46

Foil, Potatoes, Reed Diffuser, Rice x 4, Paracetamol, Lingerie Wash Bag £8.16

Squash, Orange Juice, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Sausages, Cucumber, Bread £8.17

Meat Pies £2

TOTAL SPENDS = £65.57!!!!!!

I’ve spent less on a monthly food shop online at times!


Moving swiftly on…



CONTRABAND (So to recap, these are purchases that go against my rules for the No Spend Year I am doing)

Wraps x 2 £2.65

Sandwich £1.99

Sandwich £2.99

(Total spends = £7.63)


Biscuits and Booze £15.82


Bus tickets x 4 = £4


Coach fare to visit Sister in November £45.80


Train to Bristol £3.90

Water, Gum and Brownie £3.13

Pasty and Wedges £7.28

Coke £3

Cider x 2 £5.30

(Total = £22.61)



Erm, that’s a lot of wonga.

Which I don’t have.

I need to get a grip.




Be Prepared to be Bored…6 Month Expenditure Comparisons

I decided that on the 1st of April 2015 I would start keeping a thorough spending diary. I said that this was because it was the start of a new tax year but really it was because I hadn’t had the idea in January.

I never expected to keep it up, but I did. And since that date not a single purchase has gone unnoticed.

I decided for sh**s and giggles to do a spending review at the end of September 2015, which sounds like I had given it a lot of thought but really it was because I hadn’t actually kept track of the spending in any formalised way, I had just shoved the receipts in a folder.

And then I decided to divide the spending into categories as by that point I had fallen in love with spreadsheets (they still remain one of the loves of my life).

I won’t bore you with gory details, but let’s look at some stats concerning my disposable income and food/household spending.

APRIL 2015 – SEPTEMBER 2015 TOTAL SPENDS = £3105.35

APRIL 2016 – SEPTEMBER 2016 TOTAL SPENDS = £3670.45

APRIL 2017 – SEPTEMBER 2017 TOTAL SPENDS = £2856.16


So this means…

Average spend per month (on food and fun times) in April 2015 – September 2015 = £517.55 

Average spend per month (on food and fun times) in April 2016 – September 2016 = £611.74

Average spend per month (on food and fun times) in April 2017 – September 2017 = £476.02

So compare this year, the ‘no spend year’ to the first year I started keeping records and my spending has decreased by £41.53 a month (or just over 8%). This is a saving of £249.18 during that time period.

Compare this year to last year, when I went off the rails during my four months of unemployment, and my spending has decreased by £135.72 a month (just over 22%). This is a saving of £814.32 during the same time period.

So for all my struggles with money, for all my cheeky contraband purchases now and again, for all my blog posts that begin ‘I have 72p to last me until payday’ this is clear, hard evidence that my sacrifices have been worth it, that I am making great strides towards paying off my debts, that I am doing well.

Can I get a pat on the back now?

Financial Review of Week 36


I don’t plan on leaving the house today, I’ve got too much desperate-search-for-a-new-job to keep me going. Plus I’ve got to batch cook my work lunches, it will be lentil based I’m sure, I just don’t know what. I am going to look through my cupboards later for inspiration.

So here, a little early, is the financial review of this week.


As it was Zero Waste Week this week I wanted to go Monday-Friday only buying Milk and Bread and saving other items for the weekend shop on the basis we had SO MUCH F****** FOOD in the house.

We achieved that.


Milk and Bread £2.09


Milk, Yoghurts x 2, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Cucumber, Parsnip, Carrots £6.10

Toilet Roll £3.99

Kitchen Roll, Coat Hangers, Electric Toothbrush Replacement Heads £9.97

Frozen Onion and Frozen Sweetcorn £2.29

Sponges, Bread Rolls, Mozzarella x 2 £2.40





Bus Tickets x 5 = £5


2 x Rolls = £4.60

Chocolate Bars x 3 = £1.50

SD Card for Phone £1.21

Rain Coat £5.50

TOTAL = £12.81!!!!!!!! (YOWZA’S)


Gum x 4 = £3.96


Posting Birthday Presents x 2 = £4.70



Let’s look at some stats.

I have £16.05 left of the food and household shopping budget with…ahem…16 days until it resets. I think we may be eating dust for a part of that time if we want to remain in budget. I know there are all those challenges where you live on £1 a day, which I am tempted to try

In terms of my disposable income left I have….£0. Well, I do have some money in my bank account, but I want to do some damage control first to see how much I have left after bills are taken out (I get my final statement of the month tomorrow) and I may be in debt already as I owe the boy some money for a football match ticket we are going to in October. So I’m guessing part of today may involve selling everything I own on Ebay.

I was talking to my counsellor last Monday about my money troubles and she offered to reduce the rate down to £15 a session, which I initially said no to, but man I am so tempted, but I think there is a real chance I may become unemployed soon so I may save the offer till then when I will really need it.

Things are going to get tough. We are on the descent to Christmas, an event I pretty much have to plan in January in order to figure out how I can afford to do it. I have a large family, plus the boy’s family, plus certain key friends, plus the boy to all consider. I like to send Christmas cards to everyone and anyone and have many family members living overseas. I also have family members who have birthdays either in December or January and I include them in the Christmas budget. Plus there is the Boxing Day Football match, train tickets to see my family who live in the South of England, plus wrapping paper!!!!

All in all I think Christmas will cost me around about £500, and I will have to subsidise a lot of that with vouchers I earn through survey sites. It will be tough, but possible.



Financial Review of Week 34

Howdy everybody.

Week 34 involved payday, so that meant we could buy food again without doing any ‘creative accounting’.


Vitamins, Stock Powder and Dried Figs £15.27

Rice, Naan, Poppadoms and Wraps £7.68

Meat for the boy, Frozen peppers and onions £10.29

Listerine, Toothpaste, Dental Floss £10.95

Milk, Sweet Potatoes, Chocolate Chips, Cucumber, Baking Potatoes, Bananas, Bread £7.15



Tupperwares and baking trays £6.56

Ice Cream, Apple Pie, Coconut Oil, Eggs £11.09

TOTAL = £174.07 (YIKES!)




Coffee £2.35

Gum and Sandwich £5

Sandwich and Chocolate Bar £2.89

2018 Diary £0.99

TOTAL = £11.23


Bus Tickets x 5 = £7


Takeaway Pizza whilst watching WWE Summer Slam £10

Treats for Summer Slam £3.19

Wetherspoons Dinner £4.55

TOTAL = £17.74


Gum £1.58

Gum £0.99

TOTAL = £1.57


Postage and Packaging on order £1.49

12 First Class Stamps £7.80

2 x Envelopes, 3 x Postcards £3.16

TOTAL = £12.55



Quite a hefty week spends wise. I will have to rein it in a bit the rest of the month.

I mean, I don’t really have a choice. I don’t have enough money left to have that sort of week again.



Hi everyone,

Let’s get to it.


Mayonaise, Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, Burger Buns £3.55

Paracetamol x 2, Hay Fever Tablets, Gum £2.16

Milk, Mushy Peas x 2, Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Eggs, Paprika, Sweet Potato, Potatoes, Cucumber £9.63

Orange Juice, Milk, Bread £2.59

TOTAL = £17.93


Travel (Day to Day)

Bus Tickets x 6 = £7


Gum x 2 = £1.98


5 Coffees and 1 Cake = £7.94

Postage and Packaging

Envelopes x 2 (£2)

Posting 2 Ebay parcels (£19.40)

TOTAL = £21.40




Financial Review of Week 32

Hello everyone.

Delayed due to internet issues, here is the financial review of the week previous to this one (7th – 13th August)


Orange Juice, Twirl Bars, Cucumber £2.35

Danish Pastries, Frozen Broccoli, Milk, Celery, Courgette, Bananas, Leeks, Cereal Bars, Carrots, Bread, Pasta Sauce £10.44

Chicken Tikka, Steak Pies, Frozen Peppers £6.29





Gift bag £1.29

Lip balm and hand cream £4.90

Cookies £1

Wine £5

Card for my Mum £2.50

TOTAL = £14.69


Train fare to visit family = £33.75





Financial Review of Week 30

Another week, practically another month.

I survive, but barely. I have gone spectacularly off the rails. I need to get a grip.



Fake Feta, Milkshake for the boy, Orange Juice, Red Onion £2.86

Bag Charge, Icecreams, Milk, Bread £3.10

Big Tesco Food Shop £69.09

Tupperware £4

Cookies for the boy £1

Three shower gels £4.47

Microwave rice, Interior dehumidifiers, ‘ladies items’, shower gel, hand wash, toilet roll £15.75

Frozen onion, frozen peppers, 2 x pizzas £6.58

White sauce, tikka masala sauce, mango chutney, raspberries, grapes, cake, apples, mackerel snack pots, bananas, parsnip, carrots, red onion, baking potatoes £13.77

Eggs and posh cheese £6

Big Morrison’s food shop £48.65

Bread and cucumber £1.85






5 X Bus tickets = £5


Can of Rio before counselling £1.50

Coffee x 2 = £2

Breakfast x 2 = £4.60

Gum x 3 = £2.37

Lunch £5.30

Snacks £5.44

Hot chocolate £2.50

TOTAL = £21.21


Cocktails £8.75

Burger, chips and a diet coke £15

Americano £2.15

TOTAL = £24.90



I have spent far too much money.

I need to cut myself off from things.

I need to return to my values.