Money Diary: Receptionist living in London


Inspired by Kristabel and Jasmin, I wanted to have a go at doing my own money diary too, Refinery 29 style. I’m generally pretty clear about what my budget is and it’s never much of a surprise where most of my money goes (=food), but I think it’s becoming more and more important to talk about these things openly.


I ummed and arred about disclosing my wage here as they do in the original money diaries, but then decided against it as I couldn’t find clear information about whether or not it would be against my contract. I’ve been an HQ Office Receptionist at an estate agent for 4 years now and had a few pay rises since I started.


It’s not the highest of wages, but I get along – I’m lucky enough to have a support network if anything would ever go wrong, which I know not everyone has. I think it’s important to address your privilege and/or luck in situations like these, otherwise, we get into those situations where people lose all empathy due to thinking patterns like “if I made it, why can’t others in a similar situation/background do it too?”.


I followed my spending habits for a week from Sunday to Saturday and wrote them all down. Mostly all my money goes to eating out, but this week I did a bit of shopping too, so in that sense, it’s not the most typical week for me. Let’s have a look!





Jim and I went for lunch with our friends from Southampton as they had stayed the previous night at our place after a festival in Finsbury Park. They wanted to buy us lunch as a thank you, so I didn’t end up spending any money in the pub and felt very grateful!


Probably due to saving money in the pub, I started scrolling through shoes on Depop – as you do. I found the perfect pair so I went for it – they were almost brand new and only set me back £8 with delivery! Yay!


We also did our weekly shop which cost £9 altogether (my share was £4.50). We’d just done a massive online order the week before, so we didn’t need to buy much this week and were mostly just topping up the veggies and some cupboard essentials: chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, coconut milk, bananas, potatoes and lemonade (it was very hot and I was thirsty…).


Overall spend: £12.50




I finally decided to join Tailwind and start scheduling my Pinterest pins. It sets me back £11.41 per month, but so far I’m very happy I decided to go for it! It’s saving me so much time.


I also went for ice cream during my lunch break because HEAT.


Overall spend: £13.91


No spending on Tuesday and Wednesday!




It was my colleague’s birthday so we headed for lunch in a local Italian spot called Casa Bardotti. I ordered a Margherita pizza (So. Good!) which cost £6.50.


After work I headed to 200 Rye Lane in Peckham to have dinner with Jasmin.  200 Rye Lane is a sister restaurant to 384 in Brixton which I’d had brunch in previously, so to promote this place they emailed me to thank me for my previous custom and promised the first cocktail for free if I tried the new place. As I’d really loved 384, I very happily obliged. We both had two cocktails (SO good!) and lots of little sharing plates. This is a pretty cheap place, so the whole thing (minus the first cocktail, of course) only cost me £15.


Overall spend: £21.50



FRIDAY 6th July


It was our Friday Snacks week at work, and I was tasked to bring extra pastries in with the remaining fiver we had. I bought pastries with a total of £6 but forgot to take the receipt so couldn’t expense this. I had one of these croissants so technically I paid £6 for a croissant. “Yay”!


I had a veggie sub from Subway for lunch to have at my desk as we were having a shorter day at work (finishing at 2:45 pm) and thus had no proper lunch break. This cost me £3.


As we had such an early finish and it was so sunny, we headed to our local pub for a few drinks and dinner after work. I had three small glasses of white wine and a vegan pad thai, all of which set me back £24.30.


Overall spend: £33.30 (damn you croissants!)




My period decided to start today, so first thing after I woke up I headed to Tesco to get two packs of ibuprofen – ah the joys of being a woman! This set me back a whopping £0.80.


After my wild Tesco shop, Jim and I headed towards Blackfriars station to hop on a train to Brighton. We took the slow train and because we have a Two Together railcard, a same day return journey only cost us £8.05 each.


In Brighton, I went to H&M to look for a swimming suit (all my bikinis have gone too small – boo!) and found a lovely red and white stripy one for £19.99. I try not to shop in high street stores and buy all my clothes from charity shops and places like Depop, but I draw the line with tights, underwear and swimwear. I know I could find more ethical places for these too than H&M is, but I find these options usually cost a lot more. If anyone has any good recommendations on ethical but cheap shops, please send them my way!


Before we returned to London we had lunch in the amazing Mexican restaurant La Choza, where I had the yummiest vegetarian burrito bowl which cost me £9.75 with tip and an extra dip.


Overall spend: £35.59




As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was a slightly unusual week for me as I did a bit more shopping than I would usually do. I try to usually limit my weekly spend to slightly less than a hundred pounds, so seeing as this one went a bit over, my next weeks will probably look a little bit more modest.


I’d also like to point out that I pay £130 a month for a TFL travel card, which is why no travel costs have been counted in these entries as it was already all paid for previously.


Would you ever publish your money diaries? I’ve been really enjoying reading these and I think it opens up some great conversations!










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