Money Diary: What I Spent in a Week

I’m kind of obsessed with the Refinery 29 money diaries. I find it so interesting to see how different people spend their money, and who prioritises what when it comes to spending. I noticed Lily blogged about her weekly money diary recently, so I thought I’d have a go at doing my own.

Whilst I’m not really on a strict budget, I am trying to save more money and be more conscious of my spending, so I thought this would be an interesting way to see what I’m actually spending my money on. I spent the week recording every penny I spent (excluding any regular bills like rent, council tax, phone bill etc) and here are the results.


2.32pm – I spent the weekend down in Lockerbie for Grandma’s birthday, and I catch the train home on Monday afternoon. I bought a return ticket last week, so don’t have to pay anything on the day.

3.38pm – I arrive back in Edinburgh and decide to get the bus home so I don’t have to carry my bags. As I’m going out later, I buy a day ticket which costs £4 for unlimited travel.

6.22pm – I use my day ticket to get the bus down to Leith for the Highland Park event at Chop House. Laura and I join a few other bloggers for an evening of cocktails and good food. As it’s a complimentary press dinner, I don’t have to pay a penny (one of the perks of the job!).

10.54pm – Catch the bus home using my day ticket and head straight to bed.

Monday total: £4

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12.15pm – I spend the morning catching up with emails and doing some work, then finally make myself some breakfast just after 12. There’s a bagel in the cupboard, so I have that with some peanut butter.

1pm – I walk along to one of my clients, Frisky Froyo, to do some work. I need to take some new photos for their social media pages, so I take some snaps of a banana milk bubble tea and a smoothie bowl, then have them for lunch as I get on with work.

4.40pm – I leave Frisky and take a walk through the Meadows. The cherry blossoms are out so I have to stop and take a few photos, of course.

5.03pm – I haven’t had time to do any grocery shopping since I got back from my weekend away, so I head to Red Box on the way home to pick up dinner. I get an udon noodle box with Szechuan sauce, chicken, broccoli, carrots, onions and extra chilli, plus a can of Irn Bru. £6.60.

6.45pm – Laura and I do an Asda online grocery order with food for the week. Laura does it on her account, so I’ll pay her back for my share once it’s delivered tomorrow.

Tuesday total: £6.60


9.40am – The Asda order was due to arrive between 10-11am but it’s here early. We unpack everything and I work out that my share comes to £35.97.

1.48pm – I’m working from home all day, so for lunch I have some roasted vegetable cous cous which I ordered from Asda. I eat as I work as I’ve got lots to catch up on since I took the day off on Monday.

5.16pm – I was planning on having dinner before heading out to another blogger event this evening, but I’m not that hungry so just have an apple instead.

6.35pm – Laura, Louise, Lauren and I arrive at the event at the Guerlain Spa. We each have a couple of glasses of complimentary prosecco and a few canapés. I also have a complimentary hand massage and we watch a make up demonstration to pick up a few tips.

8.19pm – We’re feeling a little bit hungry after the event, so we head to Bread Meats Bread. I order a side of buffalo fries (they’re huge!) and a large Coke. £6.

Wednesday total: £41.97


8.45am – I’m working from home again all day, so I get up early and answer a few emails before starting my 9-5 shift for the i.

11.33am – I stop for breakfast and have a bagel with Nutella and a glass of Tropicana. I watch a 10 minute Youtube video as I eat my breakfast, then get back to writing up today’s articles.

3.25pm – As I had breakfast quite late, I don’t have lunch until the middle of the afternoon. I have the other half of the tub of cous cous from yesterday and a glass of water.

6.46pm – I make homemade steak burritos for dinner. I’ve already started marinating the steaks when Laura tells me she won’t be home for dinner, so I cook her steak anyway and leave it in the fridge for later. I make myself one burrito for dinner (with homemade guacamole, chipotle beans, rice, soured cream, cheese and jalapeños), and also make a second one which I can have for lunch tomorrow.

Thursday total: £0

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7.48am – I’m doing a sponsored Instagram post with Barclays so I get up early (super early for me!) and head along to Cockburn Street to find the #cashbackcoffee van. I have a hot chocolate as I don’t like coffee, and I put up my Instagram post.

8.44am – I pop in to Boots on Cockburn Street as I need some more Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texture Spray. I’m not convinced they’ll have any as it’s quite a small Boots, but I find some hidden at the back of a shelf. They’re reduced as well, so I get two for £9.30.

8.56am – I fancy a smoothie for breakfast, so stop off at Hula on my way home. I order a large Betty Ford smoothie and, as there’s a charge for card transactions under £5, I add a raspberry cheesecake brownie too. £7.20.

11.49am – It’s another shift day for the i, so I spend the morning writing. As I was up much earlier than usual, I’m feeling hungry before noon so tuck into my leftover burrito and watch a Youtube video before getting back to work.

2.56pm – I had planned to keep my raspberry cheesecake brownie for after dinner, but I’m feeling hungry again so have it as an afternoon snack instead.

5.45pm – I make myself a chicken teriyaki stir fry and settle in for a night of pyjamas, Netflix and endless scrolling through Instagram.

Friday total: £16.50


11.30am – I have a lie in and watch a couple episodes of The Book Group before going for a shower around 1pm. I listen to the newest episode of My Favourite Murder as I do my hair and makeup.

3.27pm – We’re going round to Lauren’s house for a late afternoon tea, so Laura and I go to Scotmid on the way to get two bottles of prosecco and a sharing bag of crisps. It comes to £14.98 and Laura gives me a fiver towards it, so my share is £9.98.

3.46pm – We meet Louise and get the bus over to Lauren’s. The bus is £1.60 but I use a prepaid ticket on my phone so it doesn’t cost me anything on the day.

7.30pm – After eating scones and cake, drinking prosecco and playing a game of Articulate, we start talking about Lauren’s hen do. It’s in Bristol so we’ll need to get a flight down – Laura checks the prices and books it for all of us. I transfer her my share of £60.58.

8.34pm – The other girls are heading to the pub, but Owen and I had planned to do something together this evening so I head home. I get the bus and pay in cash this time so it’s £1.60 for a single.

9.15pm – I quickly make a stir fry whilst I wait for Owen to come over. It’s quite late when he arrives, so we decide to just watch some TV and have a relatively early night.

Saturday total: £72.16

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12.35pm – We have a lazy morning and then head out for brunch. We walk to Salt Cafe and order an Eggs Benedict each, a smoothie, an orange juice and two Americanos. It all comes to £26.50, Owen gives me a tenner and I pay the rest on my card. £16.50.

1.40pm – We go to Cuckoo’s Bakery on the way home and choose a couple of takeaway cupcakes for after dinner. I get a sticky toffee pudding cupcake and Owen chooses a double chocolate one, £5.25.

1.48pm – We also stop off at Scotmid and buy a few beers and ciders for later, as well as some snacks for the afternoon. £12.60.

6.00pm – We make a Thai steak salad for dinner. I have two mango and raspberry Rekorderligs and Owen has two cans of Budweiser. We split the cupcakes and have half of each. Owen heads home just after 9pm and I spend the rest of the night watching Grimm on Netflix.

Sunday total: £34.35

Weekly total: £175.58

So, thoughts. I’d say this is a fairly average week for me (aside from the flights to Bristol!) and I spent around about what I thought I would. As I work from home a lot, there’s usually at least one day per week when I don’t leave the house and therefore don’t spend anything.

As I thought, food and drink is my biggest expense. Without that, I only spent around a tenner (plus the flights, obviously). I love dining out, so getting the opportunity to attend press dinners and being able to review restaurants is fantastic. If I hadn’t been at the Chop House event this week, I would have probably been tempted to go out for dinner at the weekend – but I don’t mind paying for a good meal as it’s something I enjoy.

Going forward, I don’t think I’ll really change my spending habits as I’m pretty happy with how they are at the moment. The only thing I’d like to do is be a little bit more organised with Asda orders so I know I have all the groceries I need for the week and don’t need to spend money on takeaways or quick trips to Scotmid. However, a little cupcake treat or brunch out never hurt nobody!

Have you ever kept a money diary before?


Freelance social media and digital marketing consultant with a penchant for writing blog posts, drinking sickly sweet cocktails and exploring the cobbled streets of Edinburgh.


  • Caitlin says:

    I’d love to know about your job. Would you consider writing a blog post about it? 🙂

    • Gillian says:

      Definitely! I’ve got a few ideas for freelance-related posts that I need to get round to writing up. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d be interested to read about!

      • Caitlin says:

        Brilliant! I’d be interested to know how you got your business off the ground, approaching clients etc. and how you organise your workload. Can’t wait to read!

  • Allie says:

    I really loved this style of post, it’s so interesting to see how the money adds up. I might give this a go soon if you don’t mind? I’ll credit you! X

    • Gillian says:

      Of course, feel free – I’d love to read it!

  • Really enjoyed this post. Made me think I’d try something similar but obviously from a minimalist point of view. I find spending habits really interesting too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gillian says:

      Thanks Jessica, glad you liked it! It would be really interesting to read something like this from a minimalist perspective.

  • Ellis says:

    I, too, find it so interesting to read the Refinery 29 money diaries. I loved reading this!
    You’ve definitely inspired me to do something similar as I really need to start taking note of what I’m spending each week and thinking of it as ‘for the blog’ will make it so much easier to do so.

    • Gillian says:

      Thanks Ellis! It definitely helps when you have a specific purpose to record it for – really makes you think about what you’re spending!

  • em says:

    super interesting!

    • Gillian says:

      Thanks Em, glad you enjoyed reading it!

  • Charlotte says:

    Having found this and many other spending diary posts this week it has inspired me to do my own! So I’m going to publish one weekly in the hopes it will show me ways I can save more!

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