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For a little while now, I’ve enjoyed reading other people’s spending diaries – I think it’s in the same vein as watching shopping hauls on YouTube – as a money blogger I find it fascinating what people choose to spend their money on – where they save, where they splurge and so on. So, I thought it was about time I did my own spending diary.
It’s quite an interesting time of year – with Christmas on the way and the nights drawing in one can easily be lead to spending more money than one would like. Finding a balance between frugality and fun can often be tricky – for example now it’s getting darker earlier we’re more likely to go the cinema than go to for a nice bike ride along the canal behind our house, so it’s easy to see how spending can quickly increase.
Christmas is now well and truly on the way and I still have quite a few gifts to buy. Anyone that knows me well may be a little surprised by this admission – I’m known for being super organized on the Christmas Gift Buying front – however I think my excuse of bringing our beautiful little girl into the world earlier this year is a perfectly acceptable excuse as to why I’m behind. I’m determined to rectify this in the next few weeks and hope to be completely done by the first of December so I can enjoy the festivities completely stress free!
Monday 29th October
Saved: £5 (using idealo app to price compare)
Today may parents are looking after my little girl to give me a chance to catch up on housework, washing etc. I need some shopping so pop to the local Co-op – spend £4.75 on butter, kitchen roll and a few other bits. No reduced goodies for me today.
I pick up my friends little boy who is coming to ours while his Mum’s at a wedding. Often when we look after him we’ll take him out for a treat, usually McDonalds or a pizza, but we’re trying to be good so I’ve already asked his Mum if he likes what we’re having for tea (luckily he does!)
Looking after the little dude reminds me I’m yet to sort his Christmas present so I not very subtly ask him what he wants for Christmas. Minecraft stuff seems to be top of the list – the fact he’s sat playing it on my husbands PS4 should have been a dead giveaway really! I pop on the idealo app to see what I can find. First I put in my budget – £10 and under – and I decide I like the look of of a pig plush toy – the price history tool lets me know it’s the cheapest it’s been for a while so I go ahead and order.
Tuesday 30th October
Saved: £2 (by shopping around)
Meet a friend at Costa. Order a Panini because I’m starving and buy a cake (£1) from Greggs on the way home as it’s cheaper. My Panini and a drink comes to £5.50. Neither of us actually drink coffee, but going out for a ‘Pepsi Max and Cake’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Make sure I use my Costa loyalty card as points can be spent on all purchases meaning I get a free lunch a couple of times a year.
While we’re in town I pick up a few household items – shampoo from Poundland (the exact same one is £3 in wilkos!) and some washing up liquid (Fairy, £2) I also pick up hair dye (£1) and some Argan oil conditioner (£1).
For dinner I cook a meal from our weekly meal plan – I find planning ahead really helps us spend less on food. We spend the evening snuggled up watching Netflix – we actually have Sky and Now T.V as well. We’re total boxset/movies addicts and we once again discuss whether it’s worth keeping Sky as there are so few channels we actually watch. I resolve to attempt haggling with Sky sometime soon.
Wednesday 31st October
It’s Halloween! I dress my little girl up as a character from one of my favorite (but not very scary) movies. The costume is white and red so I figure it’ll double up as cute outfit over the Christmas period too.
Wednesday is my day for chilling at home and spending some quality time with my little one – no Halloween parties for us this year as she’s much too young. My Mother-in-law pops in for a visit and brings me lunch which I always appreciate. We get chatting about plans for Christmas and she reminds me I still need to get something for our twin nieces. After some discussion we decide scooters might be a nice idea. As I’ll be buying the same thing twice I want to the best price possible – so I use the idealo app to do some bargain hunting.
I find a Frozen Scooter which I think will be perfect – what three year old doesn’t like Frozen? – however the apps statistics tell me it was cheaper just a few days ago. I set up a price alert so the app will notify me when the price of the scooter drops. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the way hopefully I’ll be able to get them at a bargain price in the coming weeks! Saving £6 might not seem like much to some, but I have this attitude to everything I buy and I’m sure it saves me money over the course of the year.
Thursday 1st of October
I take my daughter to my Mum’s house for a few hours so I can meet another friend and her little boy (the same one from Monday) for a catch up. We go for lunch at Prezzo – I have a voucher code for 2 for 1 and we split the difference saving me £7.40 on a drink, main course and pudding (£15)
After seeing my friend I have an appointment to get my hair cut. I’ve not had my hair done since Aubrey was a few weeks old so it feel really nice to get some ‘me time’ and relax a little. The hair cut costs £13.50 and I leave a £1.50 tip – not expected but appreciated – I worked as a waitress for long enough to how much difference tips can make when you’re struggling.
Pick up ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ book and audio CD set from a charity shop for £1 on the way home. Put back for Aubrey for Christmas. It’s £8.49 online so a huge saving.
Friday 2nd November
Meet my parents in town for breakfast – they treat me so I don’t spend anything. While I’m with them we pop to Sainsbury’s and I pick up a cute Hat and Mittens set for Aubrey. It’s pricey at £7.50 but I don’t think there’s anywhere locally I’d find mittens and it’s freezing at the moment so I’ve been worried her hands are cold.
It’s Carnival in my hometown this weekend so my Husband and I decide to do our weekly shop tonight instead of tomorrow morning when everywhere will be packed – the event attracts over 150 thousand visitors. We pop to Lidl and Sainsbury’s and spend £42.86 in total which includes baby formula. I transfer half over to hubby when we get home. Picked up quite a few reduced items including salmon fillets and chicken breasts plus I had a £3 off coupon for Sainsbury’s saving us £8.40 in total.
Neither of us want to cook so we order a Takeaway. One of the local Chinese places does a pizza box with lots of appetizers, rice, chips and prawn crackers for £13.50. It’s more than enough for two of us and we’ve taken to ordering this as a cheap compromise – when let loose on the full menu we often end up spending over £40.
Saturday 3rd November
Today it’s Carnival in my hometown which is a huge deal – it’s by far the biggest event of the year for the people of Bridgwater and the biggest illuminated parade in Europe. My husband won’t be attending – Aubrey is too small and the road closures and huge crowds make it too difficult to leave her with family. However, we do take her to see the Carnival Carts as they line up along the road before the parade. It’s a long walk, but worth it and we grab an over priced bag of chips along the way (£3).
Aubrey obviously enjoyed the fresh air and excitement of Carnival as she’s sound asleep by 6.30pm. We set up a live stream of the parade on the T.V and donate £3 which goes towards the running of the carnival and local charities.
One of the things I love about the Idealo app is as well as saving you money you can use it as a sort of search engine for finding gifts. I have a friends birthday coming up at the end of the month so I set about finding a present for her. She loves Gin and it’s very trendy at the moment so I simply type in ‘Gin Gifts’ to see what comes up.
Over 3000 gift ideas later, I like the idea of a Gin flavoured candle. I filter the results to show just these. Some bargain ones pop up from places I wouldn’t have even thought to look – there’s one in New Look for just £3.99 which is perfect – although decide not to order online as delivery is the same price as the candle. It’s at this point I realise I can filter results to include the cost of delivery – a handy tip I’ll try and bear in mind for the future.
Sunday 4th November
I spend the morning doing boring household jobs. My husband takes Aubrey to his parents for a Sunday Roast while I stay home and potter about. My mum comes over to help me dye my hair – so much cheaper than getting it done in a salon – this was the £1 dye I bought earlier in the week and I’m really pleased with the results.
A message on group chat pops up to see if anyone’s free for a coffee. I’m the only one who is but the weather is dreadful and I don’t fancy going out with sopping wet hair and catching a chill – my hairdryer broke a few months ago and I’ve not replaced it yet. Remember seeing fancy Dyson dryers at my hair appointment on Thursday and wishing I could play with them – decide to see how much they are on the idealo app.
Woah, they are expensive! Set up a quick price alert and hope they are on a mega offer on black Friday.
Invite my friend to mine for tea and biscuits which means neither of us end up spending anything. Aubrey goes to be early again so spend the evening binge watching Luther on Netflix.
Money Diary Conclusion
This is the first time I’ve ever kept a proper spending diary, despite being someone who considers herself to be good with spending and all things money. I think I would consider this a fairly average week – there are definitely times I spend more but there are probably weeks I spend considerably less too. I was surprised I managed to have two no spend days – I don’t do these intentionally but it’s nice when they happen.
Eating out and buying food are definitely my biggest weaknesses when it comes to spending. I’m a self confessed foodie and heading into town to meet friends for cake means I’m getting out of the house with my little one.
I’ve really enjoyed using the idealo app to try and help me save some money this week – it’s super user friendly and the features – like setting up price alerts – are easy to use. I also like that it can be used as a sort of search engine for finding gifts – perfect if you’re not sure what to buy someone this Christmas. I’ll definitely be keeping the app on my phone because with Black Friday coming up it’s perfect for checking whether you really are getting a good deal or whether the item you’re looking at was actually cheaper a few months ago.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with idealo