It’s been a while since my last Money Diary entry. And I thought I’d return to the mini-series with a birthday week edition, because there’s such a taboo around celebrating birthdays ‘for an entire week shock horror’.
I’m also currently on a financial cleanse, because of unpaid invoices woes, so I thought this would make an insightful entry for anyone considering taking the plunge.
Here’s my life through a purse string lens, last week:
Monday 25th February 2019
Catch the train to work. Because I can’t afford the cost of another monthly outgoing, I don’t have my own car which means on days that Dad works, I hitch a lift from Mum.
It’s mildly embarrassing, as a currently 27-year-old, but means I save £8.50 car parking and my weekly petrol contribution is basically nothing now. Use my Monzo card to pay £15 for a return ticket to London, as it’s cheaper to do so than get a weekly season pass.
It’s my best friend’s birthday so I send her a quick WhatsApp message and feel supremely guilty that I haven’t managed to buy and send her a present.
I haven’t been paid in 18 weeks, and have had (all pre-planned) two holidays, a hen weekend, Christmas and wedding in this time, so it’s a wild ride at the moment. In fact, yesterday I borrowed £150 from my boyfriend just so I can afford to go to work this week. (Oh the irony…)
Pull into London and immediately hop on the Tube to get to work. £2.40.
I always, always have a mid-morning snack. Today it’s a Jordan’s Frusli bar which doesn’t strike me as the most healthy, but I bought two boxes a fortnight ago which makes this technically free? £0.00.
Lunch time! I brought a lunchbox today, filled with last night’s Vegan Pasta Bake with Brussels Sprouts. £0.00.
Time to catch the Tube home. £2.40.
Blog post writing time! I like to carve out an hour or two a few times a week to write.
Sometimes the posts never even make it to Daisybutter, but actively writing lots in different categories and styles keeps my brain busy, and sometimes I can pitch features to other platforms. Tonight, I’m creating a birthday wishlist post and am now making mental lists of things to buy when/if I get paid.
Tuesday 26th February 2019
My morning routine always includes one episode of Friends, watched while applying my makeup. But today, a notification flashes up that my account is frozen because the funds can’t come out of my empty current account. Oops. Make a note in my bullet journal to find funds elsewhere tonight.
Another £15 for the train.
And £2.40 for the Tube.
There’s dairy-free milk in the work fridge! Treat myself to a coffee from the machine as I’m super early for work. £0.00.
Shameful attempt at not-spending today as I’m ravenous and sneak off to the always-expensive work vending machine for my favourite McCoy’s Ridge Cut Salt & Vinegar crisps. 90p. I’m not actually a huge snacker, but working in offices every now and again sparks the hunger in me.
Head to the gym because I’ve fallen off the wagon recently. I always feel so good when I’ve been to the gym, and find it helps to reduce my anxiety. I pay £26.99 a month for unlimited gym usage, classes, swimming, tennis, squash, badminton and golf, so it seems silly not to always go! £0.00.
Wednesday 27th February 2019
And back to the daily grind again. £15.00 for the pleasure of being jammed into a commuter train, praying for my anxiety not to flare up.
£4.80 for my daily Tube travels.
I’ve started to feel self-conscious about the fact that I never leave the office at lunchtime.
The truth is, because I haven’t been paid in an age, I can’t justify popping out for lunch or for a wander where I inevitably end up perusing the Seven Dials shops.
However, Harvey has given me some money for my birthday dinner tonight (because LOL, can’t afford it right now), so I take a wander and end up in the beautiful Foyle’s on Tottenham Court Road. £12.99 on The Binding by Bridget Collins, which I can’t wait to read.
It’s my birthday dinner with the Dream Team. We coined this phrase years ago and it’s stuck, but Elodie, Hannah, Lily, Sarah, Sophie and I are a full-on girl gang, a squad. And having met through blogging, we’re now best pals and always head out to celebrate one another’s birthdays, Christmas, Fridays, you name it.
I’ve selected my favourite Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, and we’ve ordered LOADS. Personally I don’t think it’s too pricey for the amount you get, but you can read my full Sticks ‘n’ Sushi review to learn more. £30.00 for my Greengrocer vegan sushi set (it was huge) and a sparkling elderflower.
Back in Stevenage and Harvey’s meeting me at the station because he hasn’t been paid either and needs to borrow £10 back.
Thursday 28th February 2019
Train time! £15.00.
And the Tube… £4.80.
Realise that I absentmindedly ate half of my lunch last night after dinner, so I need to pick up a side soup from Pret. Add in some crisps because why not eh? You’re not even a snacker, Michelle… £3.34.
Friday 1st March 2019
Super late to the station today because Mum is working a later shift today and seems to have no concept of how a train timetable works, i.e. they leave as scheduled times. £15.00 on my last train of the week. Glance at the £7.64 precariously left on my Monzo.
Off on the Tube to the office. £4.80.
I tend to get to the office early, because my other train would get me in late.
So I make a cup of tea and settle down to chase invoices because it’s Friday and, surprise surprise, I haven’t been paid. It’s the 1st and my bills, rent and Direct Debits are coming out today so it’s a huge scramble. £12 for Milo’s monthly pet plan, £26.99 gym membership, and £150 to my parents for housekeeping. I quickly pause the other Direct Debits and thankfully since I got my phone upgrade my bill for that isn’t due until the 15th. God help me.
Pleasantly surprised to hear back from a client who I was just chasing, but it turns out they want more briefs completed OVER THE WEEKEND with a 3-day turnaround. And 5 unpaid invoices. I politely remind them to pay me, and ask for a week’s turnaround on the project. I am not Wonder Woman.
I’m on FIRE. Another client has responded to me(!!) saying they’ve now put the invoice I filed three weeks ago through on Faster Payments and I’ll probably be paid by lunchtime! Why can’t all clients be like this?
I’m starving and had counted on being paid today, so the nervous wait is on for those funds to be added to my account so I can buy the other half of my lunch. This is probably a new low for me tbh.
Praise the Lord, one solitary invoice has been paid! £749.58. But unfortunately as I hadn’t been previously in SO long, and I’m missing around 11 invoices outside of this one, I’m still in the red. But, it’s a start.
Someone at work had pizza for lunch and now I’m adamant I want to start my birthday weekend with pizza. However our local Pizza Hut (don’t judge me, I’m obsessed with their BBQ Jack and Cheeze pizza!) doesn’t do the pizza I adore for takeaway or delivery, so off we pootle to Tesco. I am SO drained after another week of commuting for a 9-5 booking and working on other client briefs on most evenings.
Saturday 2nd March 2019
Happy birthday to me!
I’m 28 today, and whilst I’m not quite as excited as I used to be for a birthday, I’m looking forward to a day out with my love and I feel really quite positive about this age. Harvey’s made me a cooked breakfast, and there are presents to open. Harvey’s family have popped £20 in my card too!
Harvey and I have headed to the train station via town, because I stupidly forgot to pack a change of clothes.
Honestly? I can’t really justify buying new clothes, so I buy the literal cheapest T-shirt that I can in Topshop (£10) and spend my birthday money on a skirt in H&M (£19.99).
We’re off to London! Harvey is paying for everything, and I always feel so guilty whenever somebody else pays for me. As you can imagine, this entire week has been guilt-ridden and a bit of a shock to the system for me. I’m actually planning/drafting a post all about financial independency, so look out for that in a few weeks.
Because it’s my birthday and I have full reign of whatever I’d like to eat, we end up at… Vapiano’s! I don’t care that it’s a touch basic because I love their aglio e olio with campanelle pasta and I rarely get to eat there. £0.00 for me.
We’re in Lush, because it’s our tradition to pick up some Lush treats for any birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc. I grab two bath bombs and a bubble bar.
Get a WhatsApp from my brother, telling me that my birthday present this year is that he’ll pay for our joint Netflix subscription for a year! I’ve been paying the full £9.99 subscription for about 5 years now and this is excellent news. We can even watch Dirty John now!
Birthday dinner time! And we’re back at Mao Chow because I loved it so much the first time. Annoyingly their noodles weren’t the same tonight and definitely were not hand-cut belt noodles, but the meal is still delicious.
Sunday 3rd March 2019
We head to do the food shopping. Haven’t really decided what to make in the week, so I grab lunch necessities and vow to work out the rest of my week tomorrow. £10.34.
Time to settle down and see what the Dirty John hype is all about…
I mean, this was a pretty awful week. The reality of the freelancer life isn’t a life of freedom, not really. You’re pretty much bound by when and if you get paid, and if you haven’t been paid in months — here’s the story. You borrow money to get by and then still get stung when your rent, bills and other outgoings come out.