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Money Diary: A 30-Year-Old Copywriter In Hertfordshire On 50k

·22-min read

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.

As every person's financial situation is unique, going forward we're asking diarists to complete a series of financial-based questions to provide readers with more context to their relationship with money. Please remember before commenting that the diarists are from a range of backgrounds and cultures and their experience, education and mental relationship with money might be very different from yours. Money Diaries are designed to provide readers with diverse experiences of spending, saving and asking for more in the hope that by learning from each other, we can build a more positive financial future together.

This week: "I’m a 30-year-old copywriter and I split my time between London (living with my boyfriend, M) and the Shires (living with my parents). I’ve been a copywriter for about nine years, mainly working agency-side for technology companies. I’ve just started a new job, client-side, in the DEI space. Earlier this year, my mental health crashed. Looking back to the Worst Days, I can barely remember a thing. Just a big, bluey black void. It was shit. So I left London, moved back in with my parents and crossed paths with a horse. Horse, C, was going through his own shit but he helped me heal. He was quiet and calm, and dragged me out of the hellhole in my head. When his owner asked if I’d like to buy him, it was a pretty obvious decision. He cleared out my savings but who needs mortgages and holidays and new clothes anyway? I haven’t lived the day-to-day Horse Life for about three years, after my old boy retired. So balancing that with London living, with starting a new job remotely, with spending time with M and friends… Yeah it’s a few plates to spin, I guess."

Occupation: Copywriter
Industry: Consultancy
Age: 30
Location: London/the Shires
Salary: £50,000
Paycheque amount: I haven’t had a paycheque from this role yet but somewhere (hopefully) in the region of £2,800 (after NI, pension, tax and student loan).
Number of housemates: In London, one (M). Outside of London, two (Mum and Dad).

Monthly expenses

Housing costs: I pay £560 rent for the flat in London. I stay there around three days a week and M covers the rest.
Loan payments: Personal loan £197 (I was an idiot about three years ago and took out a loan to buy a 4x4 and trailer).
Savings? I have about £1,000 left after buying C. Enough to hopefully cover any big vet bills/car repairs. I try to save about £500/month. This will likely take a hit now C is on the scene and I’m trying not to stress about that.
Utilities/phone: Energy £40 for my half, council tax £104 for my half, water about £15 for my half, phone £12 for a SIM-only deal.
Subscriptions: Spotify £9.99, Disney+ £59 yearly, Netflix £6.99, Cats Protection £5, contact lenses £18, British Horse Society £60 yearly.
Pension? As this is a new role, I won’t start contributing for another couple of months.
Other: £30/month into a Monzo pot for car expenses (my insurance is about £300/year and tax is £20/year). Horse-related expenses… I put £500/month into C’s pot in Monzo, which covers £280/month for stable, feed, hay and bedding, £45 every six weeks for his shoes and £60 every six weeks for his physio appointment. I also budget for his vaccinations and dentist (one or two times a year), and when/if we start competing, that’ll be another, oh, say billion pounds per month.

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? I don’t really remember any conversations about paths that weren’t via uni tbh. At a pretty formative age, I was told if I wanted my own horse, I’d need the money for it. And if I wanted to earn enough money, I’d need a good job. And if I wanted a good job, I should go to uni. If I did it again – knowing what I know now about my career – I wouldn’t go. But back then I had this real, physical pain to have a horse and I was like, yeah sure. Get me to that horsey world ASAP (which meant going to uni). I took out student loans and worked part-time jobs around my course during term-time, as well as full-time during summer holidays. (Two years in a row at a shoe shop. I have felt Things.)

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? We didn’t have loads of money growing up. My parents had me quite young and moved to the UK when I was small. I didn’t really notice the money thing 'til secondary school, where we were the only ones who didn’t do foreign holidays and stuff like that. But my dad has a great attitude to money. He’s worked SO HARD to provide for us and for a dream retirement for him and Mum. He’s always happy to help me with financial planning but doesn’t get why I’m willing to spend so much on horses.

If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house? I moved out for uni, then came back after graduating. Moved out to travel aged 22, then returned at 30. I’m so grateful to have parents who put up with my boomeranging. And tbh, they’re the best people I know so it’s cool to hang out with them more.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? Sort of when I was 21 and got my first post-uni job, though not properly. I was paying my parents some rent but not much. So I guess officially around 22 when I left to travel then moved in with a boyfriend.

What was your first job and why did you get it? I had a part-time job at John Lewis when I was 16-18, which covered all the usual stuff: Reading Festival tickets, petrol money, alcohol, horse-riding. My first job after uni was as an editorial assistant for a health and safety publication. I worked four days a week and learned a lot about slurry pits.

Do you worry about money now? Yeah. Money is an evergreen, year-round-flowering branch on my Worry Tree. I’ve made a few big financial mistakes (see ‘Taking Out Personal Loan’ and also ‘Buying A Horse Spontaneously’) so I work hard and move jobs often for better paid opportunities to make up for it.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Nope, and as far as I’m aware, it’s not on the cards.

<strong>Day One</strong><br><br>6.45am: Alarm goes off and I’m already tired. I have the most vivid dreams and it always takes a good 15 minutes to fully shake off dream-world. Snooze for a bit, then roll out of bed, put contact lenses in, shower, brush teeth and get dressed. In the car for 7.10.<br><br>7.30am: Get tacked up and head out into the fields. It’s empty and it’s BLISS. I’m trying to be more present and this is my version of meditating. We watch a few red kites wheeling in the sky, see three deer eating in the long grass before they spot us and leap away, and see a very cute rabbit with a very white tail. Saw tons of frogs yesterday but none today. Sad.<br> <br>8.40am: Get back to the yard, untack and give C a brush. Fish some Polo crumbs from my pocket, then pop him out in the field. Skip them all out, throw a ball for the pup and have some cuddles, then lock up and drive home. (Not before C whinnies at me and flutters his nostrils. I will never not be a sucker for that. Spend five minutes having a chat and a scratch before finally leaving.)<br> <br>9.40am: Back home and online for work. I've been agency-side for SO LONG that the lack of micro-managed hours is taking a long time to get used to. I feel v guilty for not starting at 9am on the dot and whizz through a few jobs while eating a bowl of cereal.<br> <br>12.30pm: Haven’t done much this morning thanks to seven power cuts but did get a refund from Octopus. (I’m a big fan. If you’d like to hear why – complete with an actual slideshow – lemme know.) Send half of it to M (£39) and find out how his trip home is going.<br> <br>4pm: Is it legal to make people use Windows and Microsoft? Is there something I’ve done in a previous life to endure the constant crashing? Agency life might’ve burnt me out but at least it provided sweet, wonderful, reliable Macs…<br> <br>6pm: Finish work and end up getting more done than expected. Everyone properly logs off at this company, which I’m still getting used to. No one works late, no one checks (or sends) emails after 5pm and everyone is very protective over their work/life balance. I love it and it’s one of the main reasons I joined. But after 18 months of letting work bleed into evenings, it’s weird to suddenly have all this time. I finish my book and decide what to read next.<br> <br>8pm: We’ve had a power cut all evening so Mum and I sit in the semi-darkness and watch Dad water the plants and mow the grass. Our relationship has never been better and I’m going to really, really miss them when I move out.<br> <br>9.20pm: Power’s back on and just in the nick of time. My evening routine is highly dependent on watching exactly 1.5 episodes of <em>The Bold Type</em> in bed. Time to go lose myself in the calming, colourful world of Kat, Sutton and Jane, then lights off at 10.30pm. (Prepare yourselves gang, this is a wild life I lead.)<br> <br><strong>Total: £39</strong>
Day One

6.45am: Alarm goes off and I’m already tired. I have the most vivid dreams and it always takes a good 15 minutes to fully shake off dream-world. Snooze for a bit, then roll out of bed, put contact lenses in, shower, brush teeth and get dressed. In the car for 7.10.

7.30am: Get tacked up and head out into the fields. It’s empty and it’s BLISS. I’m trying to be more present and this is my version of meditating. We watch a few red kites wheeling in the sky, see three deer eating in the long grass before they spot us and leap away, and see a very cute rabbit with a very white tail. Saw tons of frogs yesterday but none today. Sad.

8.40am: Get back to the yard, untack and give C a brush. Fish some Polo crumbs from my pocket, then pop him out in the field. Skip them all out, throw a ball for the pup and have some cuddles, then lock up and drive home. (Not before C whinnies at me and flutters his nostrils. I will never not be a sucker for that. Spend five minutes having a chat and a scratch before finally leaving.)

9.40am: Back home and online for work. I've been agency-side for SO LONG that the lack of micro-managed hours is taking a long time to get used to. I feel v guilty for not starting at 9am on the dot and whizz through a few jobs while eating a bowl of cereal.

12.30pm: Haven’t done much this morning thanks to seven power cuts but did get a refund from Octopus. (I’m a big fan. If you’d like to hear why – complete with an actual slideshow – lemme know.) Send half of it to M (£39) and find out how his trip home is going.

4pm: Is it legal to make people use Windows and Microsoft? Is there something I’ve done in a previous life to endure the constant crashing? Agency life might’ve burnt me out but at least it provided sweet, wonderful, reliable Macs…

6pm: Finish work and end up getting more done than expected. Everyone properly logs off at this company, which I’m still getting used to. No one works late, no one checks (or sends) emails after 5pm and everyone is very protective over their work/life balance. I love it and it’s one of the main reasons I joined. But after 18 months of letting work bleed into evenings, it’s weird to suddenly have all this time. I finish my book and decide what to read next.

8pm: We’ve had a power cut all evening so Mum and I sit in the semi-darkness and watch Dad water the plants and mow the grass. Our relationship has never been better and I’m going to really, really miss them when I move out.

9.20pm: Power’s back on and just in the nick of time. My evening routine is highly dependent on watching exactly 1.5 episodes of The Bold Type in bed. Time to go lose myself in the calming, colourful world of Kat, Sutton and Jane, then lights off at 10.30pm. (Prepare yourselves gang, this is a wild life I lead.)

Total: £39
<strong>Day Two</strong><br> <br>5.38am: Wake up from more weird, slightly too realistic dreams. Pls just chill out, brain.<br> <br>7.15am: Slightly later alarm today as C and I are having a lesson! Out of bed, contacts in, breeches on, in the car for 7.30. Stop off at the garage to withdraw cash for my trainer (£10), then straight up to the yard. I get butterflies every time I drive up to see C… Pulling in and seeing his gorgeous face and fluffy forelock (aka fringe) makes my heart go all funny.<br><br>9.45am: Back home and sign on for work but struggle to get started after such a great ride. Something clicked for us both today and it feels like I’m knocking some bad habits on the head. We both need to get fitter and stronger but that’ll come with time. <br><br>1.30pm: Spent the morning drafting some emails about a new service launch and stop for two slices of toast for lunch. Finalise plans with my best mate, L, about driving down to stay with her this weekend. She moved away earlier this year after buying some land. She worked bloody hard to afford this and I’m so proud of her… But man, I miss that she’s not 4.5 minutes down the road anymore. <br> <br>6pm: Limp through to the end of the day. Somehow managed to get everything crossed off my to-do list: email copy, content planning, meetings booked in, and a vague outline for a blogpost. I’m still super new so I can’t move as quickly as I’d like… But that’s not a bad thing. Catch up with M on the phone and talk about work. We met at my old agency, both writers on the same team. I adored the people I worked with but I’d been kicked one too many times by mean clients and the burnout was real. I shower and repaint my nails.<br> <br>9.15pm: My aunt and cousin popped over for a drink as they only live down the road. My cousin’s just done his GCSEs and I feel OLD. 7s? 6s? What is this?! They head off and we sit down to eat, then Mum and I outvote Dad on watching an episode of <em>Below Deck Mediterranean</em>. I got seriously addicted to <em>Below Deck</em> during lockdown. Was it the isolation, the state of my mental health, or was Chef Ben an Objective Fittie? Head up to bed after one episode and get ready for my reunion with the <em>Scarlet</em> gals. Do a lateral flow test too.<br> <br><strong>Total: £10</strong>
Day Two

5.38am: Wake up from more weird, slightly too realistic dreams. Pls just chill out, brain.

7.15am: Slightly later alarm today as C and I are having a lesson! Out of bed, contacts in, breeches on, in the car for 7.30. Stop off at the garage to withdraw cash for my trainer (£10), then straight up to the yard. I get butterflies every time I drive up to see C… Pulling in and seeing his gorgeous face and fluffy forelock (aka fringe) makes my heart go all funny.

9.45am: Back home and sign on for work but struggle to get started after such a great ride. Something clicked for us both today and it feels like I’m knocking some bad habits on the head. We both need to get fitter and stronger but that’ll come with time.

1.30pm: Spent the morning drafting some emails about a new service launch and stop for two slices of toast for lunch. Finalise plans with my best mate, L, about driving down to stay with her this weekend. She moved away earlier this year after buying some land. She worked bloody hard to afford this and I’m so proud of her… But man, I miss that she’s not 4.5 minutes down the road anymore.

6pm: Limp through to the end of the day. Somehow managed to get everything crossed off my to-do list: email copy, content planning, meetings booked in, and a vague outline for a blogpost. I’m still super new so I can’t move as quickly as I’d like… But that’s not a bad thing. Catch up with M on the phone and talk about work. We met at my old agency, both writers on the same team. I adored the people I worked with but I’d been kicked one too many times by mean clients and the burnout was real. I shower and repaint my nails.

9.15pm: My aunt and cousin popped over for a drink as they only live down the road. My cousin’s just done his GCSEs and I feel OLD. 7s? 6s? What is this?! They head off and we sit down to eat, then Mum and I outvote Dad on watching an episode of Below Deck Mediterranean. I got seriously addicted to Below Deck during lockdown. Was it the isolation, the state of my mental health, or was Chef Ben an Objective Fittie? Head up to bed after one episode and get ready for my reunion with the Scarlet gals. Do a lateral flow test too.

Total: £10
<strong>Day Three</strong><br><br>7.15am: Up and out of bed! Busy morning ahead: ride C, then drive down to see L. <br><br>8am: My car tells me she has 30 miles left before needing petrol but we’ve been here before and she’s gone from 29 to two <em>very</em> quickly. I feel today doesn’t need a panic attack accompaniment so take a detour to fill up. Get a full tank and avoid the temptation of both Subways AND Greggs in this particular garage. (It’s in my Top Five of All Petrol Stations, for this reason.) £50.09<br> <br>9.30am: C just melts my heart. I give him a long brush, then get ready to ride. We go for a stroll around the fields and practise some stuff from our lesson the day before. I need to focus on keeping my core engaged and hands still. Funnily enough, when I get my shit together, he goes really nicely. Finish with another brush, some treats and some scratches.<br> <br>10.45am: Drive home, jump in the shower and wash my hair. I blow-dry and straighten it. At the start of the year I worried I was losing my hair so I’m trying to wash and straighten it less. <br> <br>12.45pm: Forget it’s the summer holidays and that everyone will be on the M4 at the same time. Sit in traffic for ages before finally reaching my friend’s junction. She’s ordered lunch for everyone so I swing past the pub and pick it up. She pays for two burgers and two pizzas.<br> <br>2pm: Say hi to the little ponies, the bigger ponies and the big horse, and play with one of the farmer’s dogs for a while. L decides she wants some trees for the driveway so we head off to a nearby garden centre. L finds two trees and gets us a Cornetto and a Fanta Lemon each. (Channelling some strong summer holiday vibes while the sun is out.) L pays.<br> <br>8.30pm: We get back and it’s time to work. We muck out four stables (well, I muck out one stable, then play with the kittens), then it’s time to poo-pick the field (which basically means clearing all the horse poo out by forking it up and chucking it in the tractor bucket). We have a long chat while we work and it’s nice to be out while the sun sets. <br> <br>10.30pm: Phew, I am KNACKERED. I used to do this every day but being in London for a couple of years means I’m really out of practice. L cooks us dinner and we chat on the sofa 'til bedtime.<br><br><strong>Total: £50.09</strong>
Day Three

7.15am: Up and out of bed! Busy morning ahead: ride C, then drive down to see L.

8am: My car tells me she has 30 miles left before needing petrol but we’ve been here before and she’s gone from 29 to two very quickly. I feel today doesn’t need a panic attack accompaniment so take a detour to fill up. Get a full tank and avoid the temptation of both Subways AND Greggs in this particular garage. (It’s in my Top Five of All Petrol Stations, for this reason.) £50.09

9.30am: C just melts my heart. I give him a long brush, then get ready to ride. We go for a stroll around the fields and practise some stuff from our lesson the day before. I need to focus on keeping my core engaged and hands still. Funnily enough, when I get my shit together, he goes really nicely. Finish with another brush, some treats and some scratches.

10.45am: Drive home, jump in the shower and wash my hair. I blow-dry and straighten it. At the start of the year I worried I was losing my hair so I’m trying to wash and straighten it less.

12.45pm: Forget it’s the summer holidays and that everyone will be on the M4 at the same time. Sit in traffic for ages before finally reaching my friend’s junction. She’s ordered lunch for everyone so I swing past the pub and pick it up. She pays for two burgers and two pizzas.

2pm: Say hi to the little ponies, the bigger ponies and the big horse, and play with one of the farmer’s dogs for a while. L decides she wants some trees for the driveway so we head off to a nearby garden centre. L finds two trees and gets us a Cornetto and a Fanta Lemon each. (Channelling some strong summer holiday vibes while the sun is out.) L pays.

8.30pm: We get back and it’s time to work. We muck out four stables (well, I muck out one stable, then play with the kittens), then it’s time to poo-pick the field (which basically means clearing all the horse poo out by forking it up and chucking it in the tractor bucket). We have a long chat while we work and it’s nice to be out while the sun sets.

10.30pm: Phew, I am KNACKERED. I used to do this every day but being in London for a couple of years means I’m really out of practice. L cooks us dinner and we chat on the sofa 'til bedtime.

Total: £50.09
<strong>Day Four</strong><br><br>5.36am: The sun rises and so do the horses. One starts kicking his stable door for breakfast but soon quietens down. I carry on snoozing. My dreams aren’t quite as crazy here, which is nice.<br><br>7.30am: Okay, now it’s time to get up. There’s a mizzly rain outside, which is annoying. Pull on a jumper, jeans and cap, then go out to feed the horses. We put their fly rugs and masks on, then take them out to the field. A quick muck out, then back to the house for showers before a day out.<br><br>10.45am: We’re showered, the sun’s (sort of) out and we’re off to a fair for the day. L pays for my entry (which I fear means more poo-picking later). We meet a few friends and wander around. It’s really weird being around so many people and my anxiety kicks in. It’s all outside and we’re keeping well away from crowds but it still feels odd. Momentarily distracted by cool owls.<br><br>12pm: Discover a sport called horse-boarding and am FURIOUS I didn’t know about this as a teenager. Basically, a bunch of women on horseback gallop around a twisty course, towing their grown-up skater-boy husbands on giant skateboards. Mind. Blown. Am obsessed and reckon C would be well up for it. M, maybe not… <br><br>2.30pm: After eating a ton of fudge and people-watching for a few hours, we head back. The queues for food are really long and none of us fancy paying the prices. I’ve never had a great relationship with food and I really struggle to spend money on it. Going out to fancy restaurants always sounds great in theory but when I get there, I always feel out of place and resent spending so much on a meal I’m probably too anxious to eat much of. When we get back, L makes us a burger and we chill out. It’s so nice seeing her and catching up – she’s more like a big sister than a best friend. <br><br>7.30pm: We do another couple of hours of poo-picking and I’ve got some nice blisters forming on my hands. The peace and quiet of the countryside plus the methodical manual work really helps me think. L and I work in relative silence for a while, then once all four fields are clear, I drive home. <br><br>9pm: Mum and Dad are both stood by the front door when I get in (unsure why). We have a quick catch-up about our weekends, then I grab a bowl of cereal and head up to bed.<br><br>10.30pm: Early start to see C tomorrow and I’m pretty much asleep as soon as <em>The Bold Type </em>credits roll.<br><br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Four

5.36am: The sun rises and so do the horses. One starts kicking his stable door for breakfast but soon quietens down. I carry on snoozing. My dreams aren’t quite as crazy here, which is nice.

7.30am: Okay, now it’s time to get up. There’s a mizzly rain outside, which is annoying. Pull on a jumper, jeans and cap, then go out to feed the horses. We put their fly rugs and masks on, then take them out to the field. A quick muck out, then back to the house for showers before a day out.

10.45am: We’re showered, the sun’s (sort of) out and we’re off to a fair for the day. L pays for my entry (which I fear means more poo-picking later). We meet a few friends and wander around. It’s really weird being around so many people and my anxiety kicks in. It’s all outside and we’re keeping well away from crowds but it still feels odd. Momentarily distracted by cool owls.

12pm: Discover a sport called horse-boarding and am FURIOUS I didn’t know about this as a teenager. Basically, a bunch of women on horseback gallop around a twisty course, towing their grown-up skater-boy husbands on giant skateboards. Mind. Blown. Am obsessed and reckon C would be well up for it. M, maybe not…

2.30pm: After eating a ton of fudge and people-watching for a few hours, we head back. The queues for food are really long and none of us fancy paying the prices. I’ve never had a great relationship with food and I really struggle to spend money on it. Going out to fancy restaurants always sounds great in theory but when I get there, I always feel out of place and resent spending so much on a meal I’m probably too anxious to eat much of. When we get back, L makes us a burger and we chill out. It’s so nice seeing her and catching up – she’s more like a big sister than a best friend.

7.30pm: We do another couple of hours of poo-picking and I’ve got some nice blisters forming on my hands. The peace and quiet of the countryside plus the methodical manual work really helps me think. L and I work in relative silence for a while, then once all four fields are clear, I drive home.

9pm: Mum and Dad are both stood by the front door when I get in (unsure why). We have a quick catch-up about our weekends, then I grab a bowl of cereal and head up to bed.

10.30pm: Early start to see C tomorrow and I’m pretty much asleep as soon as The Bold Type credits roll.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Five</strong><br> <br>6.45am: MORE WEIRD DREAMS. Good LORD. Feel incredibly tired this morning and struggle to disconnect from a dream I had. Pull on a jumper, jodhpurs and a jacket after putting my contacts in and brushing my teeth.<br><br>9am: Have a quick catch-up with S (who runs the yard we’re on), then get C in to brush and ride. It’s only been a day but I’ve missed him (all the horses have Sundays out in the field to chill, and S feeds and checks him for me). We head round the fields and I chat away to him. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that walkers have popped out of hedges just as I’ve been sharing my innermost secrets or weirdest thoughts with a horse. Never gets any less embarrassing. We get back to the yard and I pop him out in the field with some hay. I skip them all out, chuck the ball for the puppy, then lock up and drive home.<br> <br>12.30pm: Stop for an early lunch. Make a sandwich and grab an apple and a kiwi, and eat it while reading a book (<em>NW</em> by Zadie Smith). Time is really dragging today and I’m not feeling very productive. Currently doing some research for a new blog series and I need to build an email journey later. It’s really nice to manage my own time: if I’m not in the mood to write, I don’t.<br> <br>6pm: Mum is humming nursery rhymes in quite possibly the creepiest way I’ve ever heard.<br> <br>7pm: Finish work and help Mum make dinner. Dad requested a tinned salmon salad (???) so here we are. <br><br>8pm: Shower and get ready for bed, then have a long chat with M. This is, I think, the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other since November 2019. I’m heading back to London later this week and I can’t wait to see him. (Partly because, y'know, he’s my boyfriend, but also because we’re at peak drama (peak toxicity?) in <em>Married at First Sight Australia</em> and I need to know what happens next and – most importantly – if anyone calls Mike out.)<br> <br>10.30pm: Finish a sad episode of <em>The Bold Type </em>and realise I only have one season left. Wtf. I can already feel my anxiety spiking. <br> <br><strong>Total: £0</strong>
Day Five

6.45am: MORE WEIRD DREAMS. Good LORD. Feel incredibly tired this morning and struggle to disconnect from a dream I had. Pull on a jumper, jodhpurs and a jacket after putting my contacts in and brushing my teeth.

9am: Have a quick catch-up with S (who runs the yard we’re on), then get C in to brush and ride. It’s only been a day but I’ve missed him (all the horses have Sundays out in the field to chill, and S feeds and checks him for me). We head round the fields and I chat away to him. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that walkers have popped out of hedges just as I’ve been sharing my innermost secrets or weirdest thoughts with a horse. Never gets any less embarrassing. We get back to the yard and I pop him out in the field with some hay. I skip them all out, chuck the ball for the puppy, then lock up and drive home.

12.30pm: Stop for an early lunch. Make a sandwich and grab an apple and a kiwi, and eat it while reading a book (NW by Zadie Smith). Time is really dragging today and I’m not feeling very productive. Currently doing some research for a new blog series and I need to build an email journey later. It’s really nice to manage my own time: if I’m not in the mood to write, I don’t.

6pm: Mum is humming nursery rhymes in quite possibly the creepiest way I’ve ever heard.

7pm: Finish work and help Mum make dinner. Dad requested a tinned salmon salad (???) so here we are.

8pm: Shower and get ready for bed, then have a long chat with M. This is, I think, the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other since November 2019. I’m heading back to London later this week and I can’t wait to see him. (Partly because, y'know, he’s my boyfriend, but also because we’re at peak drama (peak toxicity?) in Married at First Sight Australia and I need to know what happens next and – most importantly – if anyone calls Mike out.)

10.30pm: Finish a sad episode of The Bold Type and realise I only have one season left. Wtf. I can already feel my anxiety spiking.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Six</strong><br><br>6.55am: Up and outta bed, contacts in, yard clothes on. I grab a few rolls of vet wrap to take with me, then out the door and in the car by 7.15am.<br><br>8.45am: Flying visit today. C whinnies at me when I arrive and I just about stop myself from sobbing. He’s so cool. Give him a long brush, have a chat, and play with the puppy. Then lock up and drive home, ready for a 9am meeting. Rent comes out today so I message M for his half. See that Apple has charged me (79p) and a Plum payment has come out (£14.58). Plum is my favourite app ever – I’ve saved a decent amount in there and love that it takes money without me knowing.<br> <br>12pm: I’ve just finished a few hours of meetings and I’m reminded why I chose to work for this business. Can’t believe I get to speak to such amazing women about their lives and experiences and thoughts, and get paid to write about it. Eat a sandwich and an apple while scrolling through Twitter.<br> <br>2pm: Get a text to say I need to book my smear test. Instant panic. I get really bad health anxiety and while I’m not <em>so</em> bothered about the procedure, I’ll worry until I get the results. I’m on two waiting lists for therapy – one for trauma counselling and one for private therapy. I’ve needed it for a while but it’s only been recently that I feel ready to do it. Book tickets to hear Nova Reid speak about her new book and opt for the book-included package (£19.24). I can’t really afford this right now (I only got half a month’s pay in July due to moving jobs, hence why this is less a money diary and more a pony-patting-and-Netflixing diary) but oh well. Gotta treat yourself sometimes. (“But you just bought a hors–” shh.)<br> <br>6pm: Spent the afternoon running a few research calls. They were awesome and I’m starting to get that lil buzz of excitement when you can feel a story starting to form. Put my out-of-office on and join Mum and Dad for fish and chips. Transfer Mum some money for my share of the food shop too. £25<br><br>9pm: Mum and I watch an episode of <em>Below Deck</em> while Dad paints some fences outside. Busy day tomorrow: pony to ride, hair to wash and boozy afternoon in London to attend. Head up to bed and read until about 10pm-ish.<br> <br><strong>Total: £59.61</strong>
Day Six

6.55am: Up and outta bed, contacts in, yard clothes on. I grab a few rolls of vet wrap to take with me, then out the door and in the car by 7.15am.

8.45am: Flying visit today. C whinnies at me when I arrive and I just about stop myself from sobbing. He’s so cool. Give him a long brush, have a chat, and play with the puppy. Then lock up and drive home, ready for a 9am meeting. Rent comes out today so I message M for his half. See that Apple has charged me (79p) and a Plum payment has come out (£14.58). Plum is my favourite app ever – I’ve saved a decent amount in there and love that it takes money without me knowing.

12pm: I’ve just finished a few hours of meetings and I’m reminded why I chose to work for this business. Can’t believe I get to speak to such amazing women about their lives and experiences and thoughts, and get paid to write about it. Eat a sandwich and an apple while scrolling through Twitter.

2pm: Get a text to say I need to book my smear test. Instant panic. I get really bad health anxiety and while I’m not so bothered about the procedure, I’ll worry until I get the results. I’m on two waiting lists for therapy – one for trauma counselling and one for private therapy. I’ve needed it for a while but it’s only been recently that I feel ready to do it. Book tickets to hear Nova Reid speak about her new book and opt for the book-included package (£19.24). I can’t really afford this right now (I only got half a month’s pay in July due to moving jobs, hence why this is less a money diary and more a pony-patting-and-Netflixing diary) but oh well. Gotta treat yourself sometimes. (“But you just bought a hors–” shh.)

6pm: Spent the afternoon running a few research calls. They were awesome and I’m starting to get that lil buzz of excitement when you can feel a story starting to form. Put my out-of-office on and join Mum and Dad for fish and chips. Transfer Mum some money for my share of the food shop too. £25

9pm: Mum and I watch an episode of Below Deck while Dad paints some fences outside. Busy day tomorrow: pony to ride, hair to wash and boozy afternoon in London to attend. Head up to bed and read until about 10pm-ish.

Total: £59.61
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br><br>7.05am: Day off but still an early alarm to go and see C. Up and outta bed, contacts in, teeth brushed, breeches and jumper on. I can’t believe it’s so cold and grey… <br> <br>9am: Go for a short ride, then give C a long groom. Pop him out in the field and head home to shower, pack and drive to London. He whinnies when I leave and my heart breaks. I’ll only be gone for a few days but I already miss him. Juggling work, horse, friends and boyfriend is HARD. I feel guilty about not putting 100% into everything.<br> <br>11am: Faffed around for a long time and now I’m finally ready to leave. Before I go, I buy a special type of bandage for C (£50.99). Hopefully it works…<br> <br>1.30pm: Made it to London, now to get changed, do a test and head out to meet some friends for an afternoon of drinks and catch-ups. We get an Uber to the restaurant/bar and thankfully the sun comes out! M pays for the Uber and we make a pact to leave at 6pm, as soon as our booking slot is over. (Narrator: They did <em>not</em> leave at 6.)<br> <br>6pm: Many, many drinks are had and the tab is picked up by a friend’s boss. I don’t feel <em>that</em> drunk and have sensibly stuck to pints.<br> <br>7pm: I am obviously drunk enough to think sambuca shots are a good idea. Who do I think I am???<br> <br>10pm: Realise just how drunk I am (drunk enough to do <em>another</em> shot, I am so unkind to my future self) and I <em>need</em> food. A friend pulls two packets of crisps out of her bag and as no one else wants to eat, they’ll have to do.<br><br>11.15pm: Everyone is pissed and starting to bail so M and I head back. I order an Uber (£7.15) and tease M the whole way home for not taking tomorrow off work.<br><br>11.30pm: Get into bed and dream of cheesy garlic bread…<br><br><strong>Total: £58.14</strong>
Day Seven

7.05am: Day off but still an early alarm to go and see C. Up and outta bed, contacts in, teeth brushed, breeches and jumper on. I can’t believe it’s so cold and grey…

9am: Go for a short ride, then give C a long groom. Pop him out in the field and head home to shower, pack and drive to London. He whinnies when I leave and my heart breaks. I’ll only be gone for a few days but I already miss him. Juggling work, horse, friends and boyfriend is HARD. I feel guilty about not putting 100% into everything.

11am: Faffed around for a long time and now I’m finally ready to leave. Before I go, I buy a special type of bandage for C (£50.99). Hopefully it works…

1.30pm: Made it to London, now to get changed, do a test and head out to meet some friends for an afternoon of drinks and catch-ups. We get an Uber to the restaurant/bar and thankfully the sun comes out! M pays for the Uber and we make a pact to leave at 6pm, as soon as our booking slot is over. (Narrator: They did not leave at 6.)

6pm: Many, many drinks are had and the tab is picked up by a friend’s boss. I don’t feel that drunk and have sensibly stuck to pints.

7pm: I am obviously drunk enough to think sambuca shots are a good idea. Who do I think I am???

10pm: Realise just how drunk I am (drunk enough to do another shot, I am so unkind to my future self) and I need food. A friend pulls two packets of crisps out of her bag and as no one else wants to eat, they’ll have to do.

11.15pm: Everyone is pissed and starting to bail so M and I head back. I order an Uber (£7.15) and tease M the whole way home for not taking tomorrow off work.

11.30pm: Get into bed and dream of cheesy garlic bread…

Total: £58.14
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food & Drink: £25<br>Entertainment: £29.24<br>Clothes/Beauty: £0<br>Home/Health: £39.79<br>Travel: £57.24<br>Other: £65.57<br><br><strong>Total: £216.84</strong><br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"I think this is a fairly high spend week for me! The bandage was a pretty expensive one-off and I only pay for petrol every two to three weeks. Usually I’m in London more, so I spend more on takeaways and food shops. We tend to do lots of small shops, which gets expensive, so that’s an area I need to keep an eye on. I don’t really buy clothes very often and I’m getting stricter with my book splurges. (Does she love reading or does she just love buying books?)<br><br>Now I’ve moved jobs and had a decent pay rise, there are a few regular charity donations I want to set up – but I want to know what my monthly take-home will be before starting. I know I’ll spend more over the next few months too as C will need a full winter wardrobe, and I need to rebuild my savings, so yeah, it looks like a winter of semi-hibernation for me and my bank account."
The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £25
Entertainment: £29.24
Clothes/Beauty: £0
Home/Health: £39.79
Travel: £57.24
Other: £65.57

Total: £216.84

Conclusion

"I think this is a fairly high spend week for me! The bandage was a pretty expensive one-off and I only pay for petrol every two to three weeks. Usually I’m in London more, so I spend more on takeaways and food shops. We tend to do lots of small shops, which gets expensive, so that’s an area I need to keep an eye on. I don’t really buy clothes very often and I’m getting stricter with my book splurges. (Does she love reading or does she just love buying books?)

Now I’ve moved jobs and had a decent pay rise, there are a few regular charity donations I want to set up – but I want to know what my monthly take-home will be before starting. I know I’ll spend more over the next few months too as C will need a full winter wardrobe, and I need to rebuild my savings, so yeah, it looks like a winter of semi-hibernation for me and my bank account."

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