‘I earn £40k but eat reduced meal deals with free cutlery’

Our reader refuses to go on holiday and tries not to splash out more than £10 a day



Daily Telegraph



Ihate spending money, and I do it nearly every day. I grew up comfortably in Dublin, but that didn’t stop me from collecting coins off the ground and, on occasion, deciding to drink water with friends when in the pub. As a university student I worked, saved and paid for my undergraduate and master’s degrees in sociology and information communications, and intellectual property law and data protection law respectively. A month after graduating I moved to London to start a legal job but strongly disliked the office culture. I swiftly moved into graphic design, a skill I picked up editing a student newspaper back in university. I don’t regret the move as I enjoyed what I studied and what I do now. I haven’t found anything I actually want to do with my money. I refuse to go on holiday and strongly dislike spending more than £10 a day. Day 1: Monday I go to work paying £2.80 one way for the Tube. At work I drink numerous half-cups of rubbish tasting coffee, but it’s free. Skipping breakfast, my first meal of the day is around 1.30pm. For lunch I decided to buy an egg mayo and cress sandwich from Sainsburys for £ 1.75. In other shops this sandwich would be nearly twice the cost. After work, I take the Tube again, costing yet another £2.80. Seeking ingredients for dinner I headed into Marks & Spencer, shelling out £7.15. It seems excessive for what little I got; minced beef, carrots and harissa paste. I’m frustrated because after using onions, vegetable stock and potatoes from the home pantry, to make a lowkey spicy cottage pie, I feel appalled that such staple ingredients are so costly. I made it last for four or five portions at a collective cost of around £10. Prior to leaving work I noticed a small hole in my jumper in the left elbow. I have made a mental note to sew it later this week.. I usually acquire one to two new jumpers a year. Total cost: £14.50 Day 2: Tuesday TFL drains my bank account at a daily cost of £5.60. For lunch, I spotted a small quiche lorraine for £2.20 and I decided to compare the grams in a samosa and the quiche. It’s a no brainer, at 400g, it has to be the quiche. After work I met my friend who is visiting London. He says we should go to a restaurant and take the Tube. I hate the idea and suggest that we should walk. I justify it by saying it’s a short walk but more importantly it saves on unnecessary expenditure. We went to an Italian restaurant and he paid. After taking the Tube home, I went to a Tesco Express to inspect the price of sugar. I was going to buy some if the price was right, as my landlady gave me some strawberries, which I was going to make into jam. The sugar was £1.10. Total cost: £8.90 Day 3: Wednesday TFL takes my £5.60 ( I would rather bulk- pay them for the next five years, at least then I don’t have to read the spending notification on my phone each night!). Marks took £ 3.12 from me when I decided to buy a reduced ready meal again. I forget what it was, but it was not spaghetti-related, as it is not a fun thing to eat when in an office using the wooden cutlery free at the checkout. I put up with the free cutlery because I only possess one knife, two forks and a single spoon at home so I don’t have extra to bring to the office. Total cost: £8.72 Day 4: Thursday I have taken the day off to attend a free keynote for a software I use. On my days off I tend to buy a small black americano from Starbucks, one of their more affordable beverages, yet surprisingly expensive (for me) at the cost of £3.25. But it crosses my mind that there may be free coffee at the conference and I hold off buying Starbucks. And I was right, there was. Excitingly, I also see some staff setting up a range of sandwiches for lunch upon entry. After the presentations I have two more cups of coffee and three sandwiches before attending more presentations. On leaving I take a large chocolate chip cookie too. The only thing I paid today was the Tube tax. Total cost: £5.60 Day 5: Friday I have another day off and start it with a visit to Starbucks (£3.25) then return home. I later visited Tesco to gather ingredients for dinner: two chicken breasts, a head of broccoli and large eggs for a total of £6.20. I intend on using the leftover harissa with the chicken to make egg fried rice. The good news is that I didn’t use the Tube. Total cost: £9.45 Day 6: Saturday I am working at the weekend so head into the office and use, you guessed it, the Tube (£5.60). No food was bought as prior to leaving I ate at home and I had leftovers for dinner. Total cost £5.60 Day 6: Sunday I head into work, so yet again I find myself paying for the Tube. While at work I am aware that I will need something to go with the leftover rice, which I need to eat up today. I went to Tesco after work unsure of what to buy. I saw see some chicken liver pate for £ 1.50. I have a loaf of bread that is ageing, so anticipate turning it into toast and having the pate with it. Total cost: £7.10 Total weekly cost: £59.87 (of which, regrettably, 56pc was for the Tube)