How I Save: The 24-year-old who earns £30k a year and has £1,288 saved

How Claire Spends:

Monthly expenses:

  • £460 to joint account for mortgage, bills and food
  • £80 on credit card (0% interest until July 2020)
  • £45 phone
  • £25 gym
  • £10 for other subscriptions like Netflix and charity.
  • I try to treat my savings as an expense too so £460 for that too.
  • Monthly income: £1565 (four weekly pay) after student loan (£82), Credit Union (£52), Travel loan (£86) and pension (£73), plus usual tax and NI

A week of spending:

Monday: £5.25 mac and cheese with proscuitto from Pret, £2 in Children’s Lottery Tickets. £10 on National Lottery for scratch cards.

Tuesday: Another £20 on scratchers (very bad), £12 on acupressure (roughly twice per month half hour appointment). Brought tuna wraps from home. Annoyed at myself for wasting that £30 on scratch cards, it was fun at the time but could have bought myself clothes.

We’re currently trying the Gousto boxes, which I love, they’re so handy, so have dinners sorted for the week but gave in to temptation and spent £20 on a two for Tuesday from Dominoes (from the joint card). I still made tonight’s dinner to take in for tomorrow’s lunch.

Wednesday: Out after work to meet a friend we used to work with who is home for a week, £15 dinner (pizza and glass of prosecco), £21 on glass of prosecco and three cocktails. Brought last night’s veggie pasta bake from home for lunch.

Thursday: £24.70 at Superdrug (put on credit card – which makes it seem like it didn’t cost anything, very bad mentality) on conditioner, eyeliner, pencil sharpener, lip balm, lip gloss, cotton pads, naked bar, Tic-Tacs and Red Bull. Fancy meal out at a nice restaurant near our house – £0 because of vouchers we got after getting engaged. Brought more veggie pasta bake from home for lunch.

Friday: £4 in Sainsburys on Jelly Babies, tuna sandwich and a Red Bull to keep me going this afternoon. £35 at Doner Haus for a team night out dinner, £28 at a bar nearby for my round of drinks, £3 at Greggs for a pizza slice and yum yum for the train ride home – in my drunk mind, this was healthier than a bag of chips.

Also gained £28 back on my credit card after taking a top back to River Island and resisting buying anything else.

Saturday: £20 for an Italian lunch and prosecco when out with fiancé’s family for a day of shopping, £20 in the kitty for other drinks throughout the day, mostly pink gins. £10 in Sainsbury’s on the way home for a bottle of prosecco, skittles and crisps.

Sunday: £12.50 for hangover munchies for my fiancé: a selection of sweets, crisps, Lucozade, koka noodle, and another £2 scratch card all paid for from joint account so again, feels like I’m not really spending money.

Total spent this week: £264.45



How Claire could save:

We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Mara could save better… or at all. 

Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice. Especially on a London budget.

Money talk, let’s go.

Main vice:

No surprises, I’m going straight for the jugular: lottery spend. If this is your main source of fun you need to up your game, Claire.

At £32 on a bad week, we’re talking £128 a month. This stacks up to £1,536 a year, which, coincidentally, is more than what’s in your saving accounts. This is also more than a quarter of your allotted spending money each month, three flights to Bali, or 54 trips to River Island.

Second problem: social spends. You’re dangerously exempting yourself from guilt if you’re buying for others. You’re also locked into a lot of group dinners and nights out. The group setting pressure can make it hard to put a cap on budgets. Did you mean to spend £139 last week?

It’s a lovely attitude: I’d be your friend! But if you’ve got to feed all these people at your wedding, at this rate you can afford to have about two a half friends attend.

I’m not suggesting you try to change our entire drinking culture, but maybe saying no to the odd social occasion is also cool. It’s not selfish if you think that’s one extra starter for your BFF’s husband.

Where you’re going wrong:

Why have one bank account when you could have, like eight!

Not sure anyone has needed to download Cleo more. A key feature is looping in all your accounts and getting a bigger picture of your spending. It might help you feel less anxious if you can have this at an easy glance (like the powerful financial overlord that you are).

Having a card like Monzo for free spending is great. But having this, plus a credit card and the murky territory of a joint card, isn’t great. You’re constantly looking at just a third of your spending. Comforting. All lies.

Spending plan:

Safe to save: £400 a month

I’m lowering this because you can’t afford to save as much as you’d like to based on your current habits. Note: you could up this to £528 a month if you deposit money in a saving account instead whenever you feel the urge to buy a scratch card. Win:win

Safe to spend: £15 a day / £106 a week / £425 a month

Social commitments, presents, snacks for your partner (selfless spends! Put a cap on it!)

Safe to burn: £50 a week/ £200 a month

These are your guilty pleasures. Be that clothes shopping and scratch cards, or sneaky holiday fund. I’m adding in your £80 credit card bill here too: spend intentionally.

How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

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