7 min read

A week in the life: the thrifty soon-to-be parent

Hannah Salih
31 October 2017

Money plays a big part in our lives, but no-one really talks about it. Until now. Jennie, a thrifty 29 year old shares her spending diary and reflects on how things are about to change as she is expecting her first child in a matter of weeks.

Have you ever wondered how much your friends, family or colleagues spend on a weekly basis? We got in touch with a group of ClearScore users and asked them to anonymously track their spending for one week and share their diaries with us. We then caught up with them after the week to find out more about how their daily habits are affected by their attitude to money and what they learnt from paying such close attention to their spending.

Meet Jennie

This week, we caught up with Jennie to see what her financial week looks like.

Age: 30

Lives in: East Midlands

Occupation: Internal sales manager

Yearly salary: £34,000

Average monthly take-home salary: £2,200

Can you tell us a little bit about your financial situation and what influences your day-to-day spending?

I’d say that I’ve always been quite savvy with money, on a day-to-day basis I’ll try to save money wherever I can and I’m pretty good at hunting down the best deals and discounts.

My parents drilled into me the idea that you should save half your income and spend the other half. I managed to get my first mortgage when I was 20 and now that I’m expecting my first child, I’m trying to be even more careful. I’d love to be mortgage free in the long term, although it may take a bit longer to get there with the new arrival we’re expecting.

The spending diary

Monthly expenses

  • Mortgage (plus council tax): £584.79
  • Utility bills: £98
  • Virgin media: £57.62
  • Mobile phone contract: £18.50
  • Loan re-payments: £273.15
  • Home insurance: £17.40
  • Life insurance: £24.73
  • Car insurance: £87.28
  • Car tax: £28.86
  • Tv licence: £12.12
  • Gym membership: £30.95

Monday

I started my week off well by getting a haircut using a deal I found on Groupon. The head massage was great. I always get my haircut where I can get a deal. It saves money and you get to try out loads of different places. £24.50

Went to my weekly Slimmingworld group this morning, which you pay for per session. £4.95

Monday’s total = £29.45

Tuesday

I always bring lunch into work with me. Making a hearty lunch, rather than a boring, limp sandwich, fills me up and makes sure I’m not tempted to buy any extras.

I topped up my National Lottery online account. I’m still hopeful my winning day will come. £10

Tuesday’s total = £10

Wednesday

I popped into home bargains for a few cleaning products on my way home from work. Not the most exciting thing I’ve ever bought. £6.21

Wednesday’s total = £6.21

Thursday

I didn’t spend any money again today. On days where I'm working I try to spend as little as possible. Occasionally I’ll nip into a shop to pick something up but I’m mostly quite disciplined. Little costs can add up so I’d rather just have the extra to spend on something fun at the weekend.

Thursday’s total = £0

Friday

Definitely glad it’s the end of the week. My life is pretty busy right now as I’m still working and we’re getting ready for the baby’s arrival. Cooking is the last thing I want to do this evening. Luckily, I’ve still got some meals left from my last batch cooking session. I’ll fill up sandwich bags of ready-prepared ingredients for different meals, freeze them, then throw them in the slow cooker - perfect for a long Friday.

Friday’s total = £0

Saturday

I popped in to town to do a bit of shopping. I love to shop locally - you know exactly where all the food comes from, the people in the shop are lovely and it’s all seasonal produce so it’s delicious and a lot cheaper. I picked up some fruit and veg from the market and went to the butcher’s to pick up enough meat to last the month. £60

Stopped by the farm shop to pick up some supplies for some home-made Christmas gifts. This year I’m making pickled onions. I really enjoy being a bit thrifty with crafts and homemade gifts, plus the homemade version tastes so much better. It’s quite a lot to spend on nothing but onions I’ll admit. £15.75

My last stop was Aldi to pick up all the food bits I had left to get for the weekly shop. £34.11

Saturday’s total = £109.86

Sunday

We had a really lovely family day with my sister and her children at a wildlife park. My family all live about 100 miles away so we always plan out around four dates throughout the year to meet up, and we’ll always try to spend the day doing something a bit different. £30

Sunday’s total = £30

Spending estimate vs the reality = £125 vs £185
I am quite surprised by this figure to be honest. To me, it does look like I’ve spent a lot this week. Although, other weeks I would probably spend a lot less, as I would’t have made any big purchases, so I'm hoping it will balance out over the month.

Any reflections on the week?

I found it really interesting to write everything down and add things up on a daily basis. Because I don’t spend much in the week it’s quite easy to think I’m not spending much, but Saturday’s total was a lot to come out in one go. I definitely find it easier to spend £10 here and there when I’m already spending a bit of money, and actually it really adds up.

Breaking down our monthly expenditure was also a shock, as I didn’t realise quite how much we were paying for certain things. We’re paying £55 for the TV package but I’m not sure we watch it enough now, let alone when the baby arrives.

Moving forward

For me, the main thing I’m focused on is my future family. I want to be able to be in a financial position that allows us to create amazing memories for our child. Its always been a dream of mine to be that family that travels all over. That means so much more to us than material things, so I’ll probably always try to be as thrifty as possible.

Join in the money conversation
Are you more of a spender or a saver? What does your average week look like? How do you really feel about money? We want to hear what you think. Get in touch via Facebook or Twitter to join in with the conversation.

by Hannah Salih

Hannah reads all the finance info on the web so you don't have to. She knows all there is to know about your finances but still spends all her money on brunch. 

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