This has been a funny year for finances; I've obviously been on maternity leave so my income has been up and down all over the place. I'm now back working part-time, doing three days a week, and we put Benjamin in nursery two days a week at a cost of £420 per month (yep, that figure makes my eyes boggle, too). We share our bills and mortgage payment in what we feel is the fairest way; we both pay in a percentage relative to our income, so because I currently earn 32% of the household income, I pay 32% of our bills. We both try and put some money in savings, and try to have the same amount of disposable income as each other left after all the boring stuff.
I've been thinking a lot about money recently - probably because I have less of it than I did before, and more things that need to be bought (why does my baby keep growing out of his clothes?!), but also because I want to change my mindset around money. I want to be better at saving, but also investing so that we're more financially stable in the future. I love the Refinery29 money diaries, and after Kristabel and Hannah both did one on their blogs, I was inspired to do the same. I really believe we should all talk about money more.
Last week wasn't all that typical - because I was unwell and we were having the renovations done, we were a bit all over the place. I'd probably usually spend more on lunches on work days and because of the bathroom renovations and Benjamin's party, we spent more on 'stuff' than we usually would. But, here's what I spent last week...
I drive to work rather than getting the bus these days, even though it's more expensive to park (£8.75). because it means I'm not reliant on slightly dodgy public transport on my way to drop/pick Ben up. It costs extra if you run over the 6 pm pickup time, so it will probably work out cheaper in the long run.
I keep breakfast bits at work (tropical granola + coconut yoghurt) and I also have some lunch bits left over from last week (harissa chicken + roasted veg) so I don't need to spend any extra money on food today. I'm not usually so organised though, so let's see how long it lasts...
Today is not really a typical work day as I spend most of it baking a sandcastle cake for a colleague's Scarborough-themed leaving do. (She's from there, it's not as random as it sounds). I pop into Aldi on my way to work and pick up some cake bits and a few bits for dinner as I've got friends coming round (£17.84). As on Monday, I spend money on the extortionate parking behind my office, which is even more convenient when you're carrying 5kg+ of baking ingredients (£8.75).
I didn't make a list, so I buy far too much flour and sugar and forget a few bits I need, so one of my other colleagues picks them up for me when he pops out at lunch (£4.88).
I also order a bunch of dresses to try on for Benjamin's upcoming birthday party from SilkFred. The average cost is about £40 and I order 6 things to try, but I'm only intending to keep one (£240.00). They dispatch them almost immediately, so hopefully I'll be able to try them on before the end of the week and send them back.
My lovely pals Katie and Cheryl come over for dinner and we have a chilled out evening - culminating in watching England win at penalties against Colombia! (Cheryl tries to leave during this bit but no taxies will pick her up until it's over...).
Paul looks after Ben on Wednesdays so I get the bus; I buy sets of single tickets from the bus app and still have four left from last week so I don't need to spend any money on transport today.
The aforementioned leaving party is today at lunch time, with the sandcastle cake pride of place (I'm just pleased it didn't melt and end up sideways) and Hayley seems to have a lovely time, even if it is bittersweet. It also means that lunch is free, as everyone has brought something in - so fish and chips it is!
I'm feeling a little bit ropey today and Benjamin is the same, but we're kicked out of the house due to the ongoing bathroom renovations so we gratefully go and camp out at my brother's flat for the day. Sam and Jess take us for lunch at Pizza Express, which is a lovely treat - especially because they insist on paying.
Jess and I are due to go to a Creative Social at Stitch Up in the evening, but unfortunately Paul's trains are massively delayed so I can't get a babysitter. Instead, I have an early night and feel sorry for myself because of my cough.
Once again we're not feeling well and once again we're camping out at Sam and Jess' house. Luckily, today is the last day so I'm hoping that I'll have a fully working bathroom when I get home. I have a bit of a frustrating morning, and manage to forget the baby wipes (any parent will know what a horror that is!) so after Benjamin's morning nap, we wander over to the local Co-op and pick up wipes and a couple of other bits for lunch (£3.25).
In the afternoon, we head to Sainsbury's to check out the party supplies and enjoy the air conditioning. I pick up some toiletries for the new bathroom and a whole bunch of the good baby snacks you can't get at Aldi (£32.60). When I get home, the bathroom is finished and I could almost cry with relief. Once again, it's an early night for me.
I finally get a chance to try on my SilkFred dresses. Quite a few are 100% polyester which is just not what I'm after given the weather situation right now, but one dress is perfect and I love it immediately so that's the one I'm keeping. It's £32.00, too, which feels like a bit of a steal. I browse a little on Joanie Clothing and Sugarhill Boutique to see if they have anything that catches my eye instead, but I'm pretty settled on this one, so I leave it.
We have another chilled out day and I get to have a shower in my own house for the first time in two weeks, which is dreamy. I'm still feeling a bit crap, so Paul cancels his plans and we watch the football at home whilst Benjamin naps, before heading to Sainsbury's for the weekly shop. We pick up a bunch of bits for Ben's party so it's more than normal but with the party less than two weeks away, we've got to get organised! (£124.15).
We're feeling lazy, and Ben is playing up at bedtime (he doesn't go down until 9pm) so we get Thai takeaway. There's so much food that we'll be able to eat it for lunch tomorrow - the portions are enormous! (£21.80). Once Ben's finally gone to bed, we watch Queer Eye and I do a bit of knitting.
I get almost no sleep thanks to a combination of my cough and Benjamin being unsettled due to his own coughing. But, despite said cough, I feel better so I get on a mission to accomplish something. I send a bunch of emails, write some blog posts and plan to finish my book.
We head out to IKEA after lunch to get some bits for the new bathroom, and after our spree we end up with two bathmats, a toilet brush, some hooks and a towel rail and a few storage boxes for the kitchen (£50.30).
I'm really flagging after IKEA, so I abandon the rest of my to do list for a giant nap, and then Sam and Jess come over for dinner as our way of saying thank you for lending us their shower and their flat for two weeks. I make steak and salad, followed by lemon tart. We eat out on our brand new deck, which isn't quite finished (don't stand too near the edge!) but enough to sit on, which is lovely.
Weekly Total: £494.48 (£286.48 once I've got my refund from SilkFred).