Monthly Archives: September 2013

Day 17: Help me

It’s day 17 of my austerity. And well to be quite honest things have gone tits up. But still, there remains money (some) in my bank account. And next week I only need to make it 3 1/2 days until America. And everything will be fine there……I think.

Day 15

I was doing alright, wasn’t I? Yeah. Friday night I was like “Cool. This is cool. I can do this.” But I saw this thing coming a couple weeks ago to be totally honest and new it would have to be confronted at some point. Basically, I have these really very bourgeois super food smoothies in the morning. They involve pricey juice, ground flax seed and spirulina powder. I pretend that by drinking them they are making a big difference in my health. They aren’t. I know they aren’t. But that hasn’t stopped me from drinking them all summer.  Last week I ran out of the spirulina powder and I’m nearly out of ground flax. This upset my life. So Saturday I had to buy more. This shit is not cheap. And of course as soon as I go on the websites to buy the stuff, I am convinced I need other super foods to right my life. So basically this happened:

Dang you hippie food website!

Dang you hippie food website!

I don’t even know what Ashwagandha powder is. Does anyone? It could be poison. But the hippies of Glastonbury convinced me to get it cause it was going to stop me being so fucking depressed. Ok, that was ok. Then I went here:


I CAN NOT RESIST THE FLAX JACK. They are good. Like the best things ever.

WTF £5.66 on shipping? That’s too much. But oh. Another surprise. The website wasn’t working properly in the morning. So my order went through twice. I’d complain to them, but I feel a bit bad. Last time I ordered, they sent me my order twice (once for free). In a way I feel like I deserve this and shouldn’t complain. And I’ll use the stuff I’m getting anyways. Still I’d rather this have happened in a month where I wasn’t trying to live within my means.

So ahem:

Amount spent: £83.09

Amount left: £127.02

Also I went out that night dancing in the city. It was pretty awkward and fun too. Like I can’t explain how awkward it was. And I went by myself. Who goes dancing by themselves? Seriously? But if anyone comes to visit me (ever again) and this dance night is on, we’re going. The music was good and the venue was cool. The crowd was eclectic. And it cost 99p to get in. Bargain. I bought some drinks, so I guess I should deduct them, shouldn’t I? If that’s the case, I have to credit my account £41.00 that I received for a book order. £168.02

Amount spent: £12.09 (3 Thatcher’s Gold and one dance party)

Amount left: £155.93

Day 16

I spent the day in bed. I felt a bit rough from the 3 ciders (not to mention the 2/3 whiskies before leaving the house) in the morning. The all day in bed had more to do with me being sick since Friday. The late night dance party didn’t help me. And it took me down today as well.

Luckily, I didn’t go onto the internets yesterday and buy anything. So no spending!

Day 17

I did my weekly shop this afternoon. For some reason it ticked up a few pounds. I don’t see anything particularly expensive on there. I’ll make a load of food for lunch tomorrow night and it should stop me from spending any more money this week.

Amount spent: £36.96

Amount left: £118.97

That should be ok. Really. Just am going to confine myself to my house in the evenings for the rest of the week. No going out and spending money. No. Not even once….. (which means I’ll probably go out tomorrow).

So onwards and upwards. Have a good week, friends.

Categories: Money challenge | 4 Comments

Day 14: Fessing up

Hmmm it’s been 8 days since I’ve done a spending update. Does that mean I’ve been a good girl and kept a lid on my spending or does it mean I have been too guilt ridden to say anything?  Well I think I should just admit straight away that things haven’t gone as well as last week.  But it was a weird week as you’ll see.

It started with last Friday. I caved and bought a pizza from Papa John’s when I got home from work. But let’s start this off on a more positive note.

I had £255.55 at last count. But the folks at the UK tax office were nice enough to send me a one off check for £45 in the mail. I’m like, “Remember when you took out an extra £120 last week? And now this? Get it together.” I still took it to the bank and cashed that puppy.

New total: £300.55. Boom

Day 7

Amount spent: £8.99 on Papa John’s pizza.

To be fair I had the worst headache I’ve had in ages. I couldn’t be faced with making dinner. And I felt like I had starved myself all last week. It was deserved.

Gifts: 2 pints of delicious Camden Town beer

Total: £291.56

Day 8

I had to go into the city for various things on Saturday. Most importantly to go to the British Museum for the Pompeii and Hurculaneum exhibit (which was excellent BTW). Riding my bike sounded like a chore so I sprung for the train. I also went to the designjunction thing at the old sorting office which was super fantastic. See photos below.

Neat light fixtures

Neat light fixtures

Brooks saddles being made on site.

Brooks saddles being made on site.

More neat light fixtures.

More neat light fixtures.

After being in town I took the slow overground to Streatham to stop at the pub for a drink. I needed to be social. It ended up being a very good night out. Good chats with Stu and other regulars at the pub.

Amount spent: £33.30 (£20 on transport, £12.50 on 3 ciders/beer, 1 postcard at 80p)

Gifts: half a pint of cider and a half a bottle of wine

Amount left: £258.26

Day 9

After a big Saturday of spending I was concerned the rest of the week would be horrible. So I went food shopping and tried to hold it together and not spend big. I think I did quite well.

Amount spent: £29.96

Amount left: £228.30

Day 10

Back at work for the week. We took a jolly to Waitrose at lunch time to pick up sundries for the week. Going to Waitrose usually sucks all the money out of my wallet. It’s a dangerous supermarket as everything is just asking to be bought (especially whisky). But I did ok and only got rye bread to go with my potato and leek soup for the week.

Amount spent: £1.20 (German rye bread)

Amount left: £227.10

Day 11

Trying to avoid the pub at all costs, I get a text on Tuesday when I got home from work:

“Quizzing? x”
“Ummm I don’t know…. are you going? x”
“Oh go on and do it!”
“Ok you’ve twisted my arm.”

So I went. No, I wasn’t going to drink. But I drank any ways. Pub quiz costs £2 to enter. As I was totally trying to save money, I decided to pay for everyone to play at my table. I got a pint in return. There was only 3 of us so we weren’t expecting much. So at the end of the night as they announced the scores, we were shocked when “Quiz in my tent” (our team name for the week) got first place. First place prize: £50. We split it between the 3 of us for £17 each in winnings and Stu paid me back for the quiz entry.

Amount spent: £8.60 (2 pub entries, half pint of beer and a pint of diet coke)

Gifts: 1 9 bar (health bar), 1 pint beer and £17 winnings

Amount left: £235.50

Day 12

I went out in the morning with my co-worker to poke and prod a big plane tree in one of the squares to see how it was looking on the inside. It is one of my favorite tasks at work despite it normally being pretty stressful, going terribly wrong and getting questioned by everyone walking by. It became even better when I was crawling around the flower bed measuring the tree and there in the mulch was a £10 note! Yey.  Based on where it was in the flower bed and how it was folded up, I’m sure it was connected with a drug deal of some sort. But £10 is £10. This was great as I was going out that night with my co-workers to drink. And I owed everyone at work a beer. I couldn’t believe that the one week I was struggling with money all this random money was coming into me. Strange how things work out.

Amount spent: £26.20 (5 pints, one small red wine and two cupcakes purchased in the name of charity)

Gifts: 2 pints, dinner and £10

Amount left: £219.30

Day 13

I woke up on Thursday feeling not that great. More tired than hungover. But still I cycled into work like a boss. Though it was  bit later than normal.  And having had a late night out the night before and little food in the house, I had to buy lunch. As I cycled home from Borough and cycled in the next day, in my head I thought I saved on transport. It’s normally £6.80 if I have to take the train to and from work. My co-worker Rob and I were really dragging by mid-day. So we treated ourselves to the best and finest meal available in Kings Cross: the Turkish cafe around the corner from our offices. This place is amazing. And great desserts too. I could have found a cheaper meal, but I really needed this. Plus I had saved £6.80 by still cycling. That’s legit, right?

Amount spent: £6.00 (ciabatta thing, 4 cookies)

Gifts: can of Dr. Pepper

Amount left: £213.30

Day 14

Amount spent: £3.19 (2 cakes purchased in the name of charity, a pint of milk and a bag of cheesy poofs)

I’m already tucked into bed for the night and it’s not even 8:30. I don’t think I’ll be spending anymore tonight . So this week (after gifts) I spent £81.45. Not great. And way over last week’s £40. The next two weeks should be fairly quiet. I have no drinking events to attend so I’m hoping spending is down dramatically. So I hope I can go to the USA with a little bit of cash to spare. I do have some American dollars lying around here and also some money in by US bank accounts, so it won’t be too bad really.

Amount left after week 2: £210.11

Let’s hope for a cheap week!  Hope you all have good weekend.

Categories: Money challenge | 1 Comment

Day 6: Feeling the pressure

Well, I just had to leave my friends behind and come home. There’s no fun allowed unless it’s free. Dinner and drinks out are not free. Despite a good effort trying to get me to stay out, sitting at dinner watching other people eat and drink stuff is very unappealing. But it’s probably for the best as I would like to get some sleep tonight compared to the last few nights.
I spent some money yesterday and today. I got back far too late in the night to have the will power to type up anything of note so I will catch you up.

Day 3

Amount spent £0.00

Gifts: 1 Cowboy Cookie (best cookie in King’s Cross!)

Day 5

Amount spent: £3.85 (can of coke and 2 packages of cookies)

Gifts: 3 glasses of wine, 1 fruit kebab and luggage tag

Special thanks to ASU for 2 glasses of wine, 1 fruit kebab and luggage tag

Amount left: £258.04

Day 6

Having arrived home at a late hour and being unable to transport my lunch containers back home I had to go out for lunch today. The USA embassy was not keen on people coming in with loads of bags so sacrifices had to be made. By the way, I went to the US Embassy for an ASU alumni meet up thing. It was nice to finally go inside the embassy and lovely to hang out with Sun Devils!

Amount spent: £2.49


I was so hungry today coming home from work. I wasn’t sure I’d make it.  But alas I did. I’m not starving myself just so you know. I had a weird schedule today at work and eating was put to the wayside.  I did make a lovely pasta with mixed vegetables (onion, pepper, courgette and tomatoes (from my garden)) for dinner. It was pretty much what I had laying around not already ear marked for another meal. I think next week I’m going to have to make my spending target £50 as £40 was just too painful. And I owe some beers to my co-workers.

Amount left: £255.55

I’ve got £1.03 left for tomorrow. I’m going to try my hardest not to spend it so I can finish the week under £40.

Any ways, that’s my update on the spending. So far I’m being a prudent bear. Let’s hope it keeps up. Cheers!

Categories: Money challenge | 1 Comment

Day 2: Going to be a long month

Well, I’m a bit concerned and a bit not concerned about another 29 days of this nonsense. Not the blogging part. The sticking to a budget thing. Cause budgets are dumb and I want to spend money on stuff like beer and food and cookies. Again my starting total was £296.00

I didn’t update yesterday as I really could not be bothered about much of anything. But here’s how it went:

Amount spent: £8.40 (two pints of beer at local)

Gifts: 1 pint of beer

Amount left: £289.00

I know that looks like I can’t to Math, but I secretly had roughly £2 leftover from last week.

I was having a not so great day, which could have lead me down a path of drinking destruction. Instead I packed up and went home very early.

Today I did my weekly grocery shop.  I did pretty well. Yesterday I took out £40 to see if I could make it the week on just 40 quid.

Today’s amount spent: £27.11

I scrounged around my shelves and found a coupon for £2.65 off my food bill. That’s like 10% off! Booyah.

Food receipt and my money for the remainder of week.

Food receipt and my money for the remainder of week.

Feel free to zoom in to see roughly what I bought. Yes I bought skittles. My shop included everything I need for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week. Normally I spend about £20-25 a week on lunch and various other treats and £30 for breakfasts and dinners.  Normally I’m out on site during lunch time and I’m already carrying around a fairly heavy bag all day. Carrying around lunch as well is very unappealing, but I shall do it until further notice for the greater good of my bank account. I can make cheese sandwiches with carrots, celery and maybe a plum. Sounds delicious actually. I’ll be alright.

So yeah, I felt pretty good with £7.31 for the remainder of the week. I doubt I’ll be out drinking at all this week. That means I can still get a cookie (or 12) at work for our tea breaks a couple times this week. Not that I should just spend it, but I will be ultra sad if I don’t have at least one nice snack with tea this week. I sound like a kindergartener. Jesus.

Amount left: £261.89

Let’s hope I don’t update until later this week. Cheers

Categories: Money challenge | Tags: , | 2 Comments

When it rains it pours

It’s a very rainy Friday night. On my cycle ride home it really started to come down when I was a few miles from my house. Two hours after getting home, my shirt was still sodden. Well, probably a combination of sweat and rain, but none the less wet. It seems like we’re going to be socked in for a while here.

Tonight, I’m hiding from everyone. It’s much better for me to be hiding right now. I’ve had some awkward type conversations with various people this week and it’s nice to be sitting in the dark, in my bed, listening to the rain fall with no one threatening to drag me into a conversation I have no desire to have.

And well, I got some crap financial news this week. After overhearing my colleague call HR about his payslip (and lack of pay), I thought I’d log on to check my own payslip. At first I thought “Woah I made more money this month! Sweet!” I thought the amount went up. But then after gloating for a minute about all the beer and whisky I was going to buy with the extra money I checked back to my last payslip. And……oh. No. Fuck. I made £120 less. What? WHAT? WHY? £120 more to the tax man to be exact. That’s not cool.

So I called HR today and they said, yes they are taking more money out for tax. No rhyme or reason. Just that’s the way it is and nothing to do to change it. So my already strapped budget just got strappier. Great.

I was pretty pissed and depressed about this. Nothing I can do to change it at this point. I left the office dejected. I had a basket filled with scraps of food from my co-worker Rob who wanted to make sure I had enough food to get me through the weekend. Unfortunately, the 2 bananas and a weird Majorcan pastry he gave me only lasted me tonight. But during my cycle home, I decided to turn that frown upside down and turn this into a challenge. A blog challenge at that. And maybe just maybe I won’t feel as bad about it.

So after student loans, credit cards, rent and utilities paid I have £296 to last me 31 days. For those of you playing the American version that equates to $469.95. Thats £9.50 ($15.16) a day. Some of you may think, dag, that shouldn’t be a problem. But I imagine a lot of you are thinking, dag, that’s not much. Especially living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

But I’m going to give it a try limiting myself to that amount. I think about 50%-60% of that will go to food with the remaining bit going to alcohol, a bit of transport and a few odds and ends that will inevitably come up.

I’m going to track all of my spending here on this blog. I won’t bore you with my complete shopping lists, but most discretionary spending I’ll be reporting with the price.  And if anyone buys me something (likely beer or snacks) I’ll report that as well. It will be interesting to see how much charity I actually receive in a month. I’ll try to update everyday I spend money. The longer the gap between me updating my blog, the better for my pocket book. Also, I’m going to attempt to do something free and fun every week in the city. That should add some excitement to this challenge.

Honestly, I’m not sure if I can do it.  I normally spend about £90 a week on who knows what. So making it £60 sounds tough.  Every week I try to only spend £60 and I inevitably fail. Oh and did I mention I’ll be on holiday the last week of the challenge? I’ll be in NYC and Rhode Island, so I will attempt to spend less the other weeks just to have some spending money there.

Do you think I can do it? Could you do it? Do you do this every month!? This will be entertaining this month, but the long term viability of this pay rate and way of life for me will be short lived. I am going to have to sort something else out long term to make up the gap. Or maybe my Fairy Godmother will give me a surprise raise.

Any ways, my 31 days start tomorrow. I’m going to a street party and I seem to always spend too much money at it every year. Hopefully that won’t be the case tomorrow. It will also be my first day of drinking in a month. Luckily, I’ll be a cheap date for myself. I hope you all have a nice weekend planned. Cheers.

Categories: Money challenge | 9 Comments

What’s my name?

Ok first off the list is this:

This joint is 20 years old!! DAMN. I remember watching it as a kid. Loved it even though as an 11 year old girl living in Indiana who likely had no idea what this was all about. I knew that I did not want to FUCK with people like this. But their music was amazing. I’m listening to Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle in its entirety right now. To be clear, I watched Snoop’s documentary Reincarnated today and last night about the making of his latest album. Wow. It was something. Let’s just say if you had a drinking game based around every time someone took a hit off a joint, you’d be dead within 7 minutes of the movie starting. It’s really something.

But any ways, besides my 24 hour obsession with Snoop Dogg, it’s been a very big week here. I got my new work visa, which is a pretty big fucking dea. My employer has actually found me worthy of staying over here to work. So that’s pretty excellent. Now it’s onward and upward. Lot’s more to do here I think.

So now that I’m going to be here for the forceable future, I feel like I’ve got a fresh start. A new chapter to begin. I have been in the land of uncertainty for way too long. Not really able to make long term plans or travel or well anything. I had no idea where I’d be in 6 months. So yeah, this is good. And now I’ve got 3 trips planned before the end of the year. One is to the continent. I need to make a point of going to this large land mass on the other side of the Channel. And further, I am vowing to do one thing on the bucket list every year. This year it’s go to a real deal Christkindlemarkt in Germany. We were forced to watch a plethora of videos on this event in German class throughout my younger years. Like below:

And for God’s sake, I’m going to one of these markets and get absolutely wankered on mulled wine whilst eating bratwurst and various German pastries and probably singing O Tannenbaum at the top of my lungs.  It’s going to be epic.  Any one want to join me? I’m getting too excited watching the above video, thinking about mulled wine. I must control myself and realize it’s still months away. And anyways, I shouldn’t be thinking about mulled wine, I am teetotaling. One more week to go…

Any ways, that’s the latest update for you. Life is good. Looking forward to the rest of the year!  Hope you’re feeling the same.



Categories: Rando, travel | 5 Comments

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