Welcome back to How I Save, our weekly series looking at how people spend and save their hard-earned money.
Each week we ask someone to share the ins and outs of their saving habits, as well as tracking everything they spend for a week – then give them some expert advice on how they can boost their savings.
This time around we’re chatting with Betty*, 29, a freelance writer living and working in London.
How Betty saves
I earn around £38,000 a year and in my savings account I have £16,000.
I work pretty much all the time. A self-professed workaholic, I upped my game in lockdown, taking on more than I have before and saving as much of it as possible.
It’s tough on my mental health sometimes, but I am used to the workload.
I have a savings account that has gone from £4,000 at the start of the year to £16,000 as of October, 2020.
I am saving to buy a flat. I’m single and I don’t have the Bank of Mum and Dad to help me out (although the Bank of Brother might chip in a few grand).
My method for saving money is pretty basic; I have three bank accounts – one for daily outgoings and incomings, one for savings and one for monthly payments (stuff like rent). When I get paid, I will simply transfer over a certain amount to each account, and then don’t touch it if I can help it, although that doesn’t always work.
I tend to waste lots of money on takeaways (because I will work late, forget to eat and suddenly be starving) and coffee. I have at least one fancy coffee every day, but I am OK with it as I rarely shop for clothes. I also quit smoking this year, so that’s more money in the bank.
I struggle with saving because I am constantly flitting between the will to just enjoy my life because I work so hard and to hold on to my cash for the greater good (that flat, I’ll get it one day). I have my eye on an exposed brick wall loft space in Manchester, where I can move in with a dog. Either that or a holiday home in Italy that I want to do up and rent out.
How Betty spends:
- Rent: £768.90
- Bills (electric): £25
- Internet: £29
- Phone: £40
- Spotify and Netflix: £16
- Therapy (bi-weekly): £90
- Coffee: £80+
A week of spending:
Monday: Stayed in my local area, popped into the cafe for two black coffees (£5.80).
Total spent on Monday: £5.80
Tuesday: Spent nothing, stayed at home working until 11pm.
Total spent on Tuesday: £0
Wednesday: It’s my day off. I spent £2 on postage for something I sold on eBay, so technically it was free and treated myself to brunch for £17.
I went to after-work drinks as it was for a special occasion and spent £13 on a pint, a bowl of chips (forgot to eat again earlier in the day) and a shot of tequila.
I can’t take public transport during rush hour for health reasons, so I had to get a cab home, which cost £17. Bought a mouthguard for £25.
Total spent on Wednesday: £74
Thursday: I booked in a restaurant to review with one of my best friends. All I paid for today was my travel to the restaurant, and a coffee, so that’s £9 in total.
Total spent on Thursday: £9
Friday: I worked from a local cafe in the morning, and spent £3 on a coffee but I’m a regular so I also got a stamp on my card towards a free drink.
In the evening, I went to central London for another restaurant review (all free) but picked up some late night snacks for an off license for £4, plus travel to town for £4.
Total spent on Friday: £11
Saturday: Had brunch in town for £18 and then enjoyed a free dinner out (another review) and did a walk of the city.
Total spent on Saturday: £18
Sunday: I spent £4 on travel, but also spent a large chunk of my day walking around the city again, window-shopping.
I went to Sainsbury’s and spent £25 on food but it will last me for most of next week. But then I fancied a pizza, and spent £10.
Total spent on Sunday: £39
Total spent this week: £156.80
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