Friday, 23 August 2019

Money diary // the savvy saving of a London based blogger

Another week, another money diary. And you know? Writing it all down has really helped me be a lot more mindful of what I spend and a huge part of it is recognising the difference between "want" and "need".


MONDAY

There is an element of routine to Mondays. It's the start of another working week and I pop into Waitrose to pick up my weekly chocolate stash. I pick up two bars this week. NAUGHTY

At lunch I eat leftover lentil ragu that I bulk made at the weekend. It's an amazingly cheap meal with a low cost per head. I ordered all the ingredients in the last food shop and all in all it came to less than £5. It makes loads (I get 10 portions out of it this time!) which works out at less than 50p per serving. They make great lunches because they're nutritious, low fat AND filling.


For dinner I finish up the remaining spaghetti we didn't need for the lentil ragu, and cook vegan meatballs which I've had stashed in the freezer for a while after finding them reduced for just £1.80(!) at Waitrose one day. The base sauce is made from simple larder ingredients I already have, so no extra costs here.
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Waitrose chocolate - £3.40
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TOTAL
£3.40
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TUESDAY

Thanks to my mammoth Tesco shop and voucher last week (here), I don't need a food shop this week #EveryLittleHelps 

I do however pop to the shops to get cards for a friend (new baby) and my husband (up-and-coming wedding anniversary).

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Cards - £4.00
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TOTAL
£4.00
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WEDNESDAY

It is chucking it down outside so I don't really fancy a lunch time walk. This in itself is a huge help as I avoid the usual distractions (also known as shops). I'm also relieved that I have my 50p lentil lunch and don't have to venture out into the rain to buy food!
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TOTAL
£0.00
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THURSDAY

That Oliver Bonas dress I spoke of last time? So like I said, I bought mine in the sale (reduced from £70 to £35) but THEN discovered it had been reduced further to just £18. The lovely Oliver Bonas team helped me track one down in my size and held one back for me.

On Thursday I prepare to go and collect said dress, but stop and think about it. I come to the realisation that going to Islington during my lunch hour would involve getting (and paying extra for) the tube. There had to be an easier way.

Instead I take my previously bought dress, go to my local Oliver Bonas store and am completely honest with them. That I bought this dress. That it's still within the returns deadline. That I've learned it's been reduced further and I just want to return it and re-buy it again at the reduced cost.

I wasn't immediately told to f*** off (always a good start). But they did highlight that sales items have a 14 days returns period instead of the usual 30 days. Ah.

Saying that, I have to point out that my online receipt didn't specify this, but did contain a link which directed to the OB website (which again didn't mention about a reduced sales return period.) The Oliver Bonas team didn't have to honour my request but did as a goodwill gesture (something I remain very grateful for). They processed my dress and refunded me the £17 difference. So technically I'm not really spending any more money here... instead I'm clawing £17.00 of last week's spend back.

It wasn't a completely spend-free day though. I have some how lost all my hair ties (where do they all go?!) so I pick up some from Boots. I get a slight discount on Boots own items thanks to being on the Contact Lens scheme. It's not a lot of money off, but every penny helps!
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Hair ties - £3.15
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TOTAL
£3.15
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FRIDAY

On Friday I am due to go on a blogger's night out to celebrate Tanya's birthday, but I have been feeling a bit iffy so don't want to risk having alcohol. I finish work at 4.30pm and head straight home. I have a busy weekend ahead of me (plus Monday - Wednesday off work) so need to recover and be fighting fit!
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TOTAL
£0.00
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SATURDAY

It's my Granddad's 80th so we head to Suffolk where he's having a big ol' knees-up. I never like to turn up to a party empty handed so bring along a decent bottle of red (£14.40) which I know he'll love. It's a pretty fancy looking bottle but I also pick up a bottle bag (£1.00) as there is a threat of rain that day.

Wine - £14.40
Card - £1.50
Gift bag - £1.00
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TOTAL
£16.90
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SUNDAY

We have a slow start but later in the morning we pop out to Aldi to buy some bread for the week ahead. We end up buying more than we bargained for as we discover lots of items from our Tesco shop for half the price at Aldi (cue a massive edit of our online shop later that day!).

My bargain find of the day was a body spray, not too dissimilar from Impulse. As much as I love Jo Malone, if I use the cologne every day during the working week, the small bottles don't last long and at £48 a pop, replacing them isn't exactly cheap. I've recently starting reserving my nicer perfumes for the weekend and going out out after work. Instead I use body sprays during the working week which does the job. I was using Impulse for throwback feels, but the Aldi version is such a fantastic dupe and at only 49p, who can argue?


For lunch, Mr Curiouser and Curiouser has leftover gnocchi and I find leftover pasta sauce which I cook up a batch of wholewheat pasta for (already in the larder, so no extra spend required). I cook the pasta in bulk so it gives us lunches for our days off next week.
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Aldi - £16.53
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TOTAL
£16.53
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TOTAL FOR THE WEEK
£43.98
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So much better than last week

The MVPs this week were the following:

  • clever advance meal planning (one large shop last week saved us from excessive spending this week)
  • having a well stocked larder so it's easy to cobble up meals with existing ingredients
  • making meals in bulk for cheap lunches for the week and / or freezing for future meals
  • scouting the best deals and not paying more than necessary (the dress!)
  • finding treasures in the reduced section and freezing for future meals

If you decide to give this money diary a go yourself - or have any money saving tips  - do let me know in the comments below, I'd love to know!

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