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August spending diary – Bulls’ penises and Eat Out to Help Out

Money is such a taboo topic for most people, but it shouldn’t be. In order to practice what I preach and be more transparent myself, I have kept a spending diary for the past week. Here I have detailed every purchase I have made, along with some explanations and (hopefully) useful commentary.

I’m going to try and do this for one week every month to see how my spending habits change with time and to hold myself accountable. I know I’m guilty of mindless spending at times and I’m hoping documenting my purchases will help make me more aware.

My August spending diary tracks my spending for the week

Monday

After a 5:30am wake up call from my pup, I started my week with a morning walk. Armed with my face mask and hand sanitiser, I ended up in the pet shop where I spent £8.57. I bought two pizzle sticks – these are actually dried bulls’ penises. They sound and smell very grim, but the puppy trainer recommended them and Fitz seems to love them! I also picked up another toy to try and distract him from biting my feet.

Then I popped into Tesco. It was my turn to cook dinner, so I bought ingredients, food for lunch and some snacks for the week. This came to £13.50.

After a morning at work, I spent my lunch break searching for pet insurance as the Kennel Club introductory offer was about to expire. I settled on a policy that costs £45.69 a month. This is more expensive than some but offers a greater amount of coverage in the event of an illness or accident. I decided I can afford an extra £10 a month, but can’t afford an unexpected £7,000 vet bill.

I used Compare the Market, so now I have a year’s worth of Meerkat Meals and Movies. This should save me some money down the line.

As it’s the start of the month, I also decided to sort out some of my savings. I transferred £200 into my Help to Buy ISA. I’ve been doing this for over two years now and it’s growing nicely.

I don’t know if I’ll be eligible for the government bonus – I think a lot will depend on if the area I’m looking at falls within London for the purpose of the scheme or not. Even if I’m not eligible, it’s made me commit to saving for a deposit and I’m sure the sum will come in handy.

Total spend: £67.76

Tuesday

The highlight of today was popping to a café for lunch. The plan was to have a quick drink, but once we realised they were participating in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, we decided to have lunch too.

Two paninis, a packet of crisps and two hot drinks came to £6.15 – that would usually be the price of two coffees! I went with my mum and she paid, because she’s very nice like that!

You can read more about Eat Out to Help Out here.

In the evening I met my friend to go for a run. As I enjoy running, I find it’s a great way to socialise. You can have a good catch up without spending any money, you tend to push yourself more when you’re running with someone (we certainly did!) and it keeps you healthy.

Total spend: £0.00

Wednesday

It’s well and truly birthday season in our family, so I needed some stamps to send birthday cards. We were a bit late sending a couple and I think the post is still a bit unreliable due to Covid-19, so I bought one book of first class and one second class books.

The shop also had punnets of fresh strawberries that I couldn’t resist. In total this came to £14.06.

In the evening I ordered my Gran a sink tidy via Amazon because hers is broken. She’ll pay me back, but for now it cost £18.49. It’s so useful to be able to order things directly to her house.

It always amazes me how easy it is to order on Amazon, particularly when using the app; in one click I can buy something. This is something I’m trying to become more mindful of as it can be easy to spend money without realising and to make purchases without thinking them through carefully.

Total spend: £32.55

Thursday

Today was a relatively quiet day for me, working from home and looking after Fitz. An unexpected bonus of having a puppy is it is much harder to just pop to the shops on a whim, meaning you have to plan your purchases more carefully.

The day went by remarkably quickly, but with nothing especially eventful or interesting to report.

Total spend: £0.00

Friday

Having just said how it’s harder to get out with a puppy and I’ve been more careful with my spending, today I was less careful.

I was feeling lazy, so bought lunch out and a couple of snacks for the weekend. This only came to £6.80, but could have been avoided with more careful planning.

Total spend: £6.80

Saturday

I went to meet a friend for coffee to catch up and so she could meet Fitz. We met outside a local café and each got a hot drink and a croissant (we were meeting early so this counted as breakfast).

I couldn’t take Fitz inside, so my friend very kindly paid. I’ll make sure to pay next time! We then sat on a green and had a lovely chat – the perfect way to start the weekend.

Having not had enough sleep the night before, I was pretty tired by the afternoon, so didn’t manage to do too much else for the rest of the day, except a quick run.

In the evening, another friend came round for a quick drink and a catch up. We sat out in the garden (got to stay Covid safe!) and shared a bottle of wine. We split the cost and paid £3.50 each. It was nice to catch up, but by 11pm I was ready for my bed- these 6am puppy wake up calls are starting to get to me!

Total spend: £3.50

Sunday

I woke up to another sunny day and the last day in this month’s spending diary. Before it got too hot, I took Fitz to his puppy training class. The course lasts 6 weeks and costs £80 for all the sessions and online resources (paid in advance). This seems like good value and it’s so important that the puppy is well trained and socialised, making it a good investment!

Fitz is usually exhausted after the class, so I took the opportunity to head out on a long run. I almost melted in the heat but was glad I got out.

After this, it was just a lazy Sunday afternoon and evening preparing for the week ahead.

Total Spend: £0.00

Weekly total: £110.61

Lessons learnt from spending diary

It was really interesting doing this spending diary as I actually note what was coming out of my bank account each week.

I wouldn’t say this is a typical spending week for me, obviously the pet insurance is only paid once a month and, in normal times, I would spend a fair amount on travel and more on socialising. I will definitely be taking advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme more too (providing I can sit outside).

What seems clear from this, is I could save some money by being more organised with my food shopping and meal prepping to avoid buying lunch when I don’t feel like cooking.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I did this week. It will be interesting to compare it with next month’s and see if any patterns start to develop.

 If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please do leave a comment! Do you track your spending? Would you like to read another spending diary from me?

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

8 replies on “August spending diary – Bulls’ penises and Eat Out to Help Out”

Hi Katie. Fortunately, being a dog owner, I figured that I knew what you were likely to be referring to with Bulls’ penises in the title! This spending diary is a great idea and will, I suspect, give you a good indication of where the ‘missing’ money goes to each month. We started a cashbook to record all expenditure when we got our first house – because things were that tight financially. Way too much spent on takeaways! These days, of course, its way too much spent on our dog 🙂

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