Week eight: confessions of a shopaholic

say it with flowers

Say it with flowers: not-so-sweet williams


Wake up with: £80

Go to bed with: £60

The week gets off to a wonderful start: delicious injera with school friends at Addis on Caledonian Road. The total for food, wine and service is a very reasonable £15 a head. We transfer over to Patisserie Valerie for pudding and a gawp at the new Kings Cross, then onto the one pub in the whole of London that hasn’t been completely occupied by football supporters for a little supplementary wine. I spend an additional £5 (if it sounds suspiciously exact, it’s because I lent £5 to one of the girls in the restaurant and she then treated me to cake and wine). I set off home on my trusty bike.


Wake up with: £60

Go to bed with: £31.48

I wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by a train but I have to go to Uckfield to look at a house. As a concession to the summer cold I appear to have developed overnight, I decide to get the bus, rather than cycle to London Bridge. Big mistake! An hour later, I’ve only got as far as my office, a 15-minute cycle ride. I just make the train, shelling out £16.70 on the return fare. In the spirit of budgeting, I have bought my own drinks and snacks.

The house is lovely, but not ‘the one’ – the husband would barely fit through the door (height, you understand, not the result of my cooking!).

Still, it’s not a wasted journey; I while away the time until the next train home with a wander around the local Waitrose; I have a craving for curry tonight to clear these damn sinuses.

The darling husband rescues me from 149 hell, by agreeing to pick me up from Angel tube – there goes the last of my Oyster credit. We stop at the shop for milk and a little treat on the way home and I cook up a devilishly hot massaman curry.


Wake up with: £31.48

Go to bed with: £10.14

It’s raining and I’m still feeling sorry for myself, so I resolve to spend a lazy day at home. The courgette and tomato plants need potting up, so I nip to the local garden centre to pick up some compost and plant feed. Ouch, almost £20 later, I’m beginning to regret my executive decision to wait for a bigger garden before we build a compost heap.

The husband has got us steak and chips for tea, and creme caramel for pudding. It almost makes up for the fact that the dreaded football is on again. Almost.


Wake up with: £10.14

Go to bed with: £10.14

It’s a proud day in the LoveRichCashPoor household. Having received a statement informing me in teeny tiny print that my 0% interest period expires on 7 July, today, I clear the outstanding balance on my credit card – and then take the scissors to it to ensure that I never use it again.

Supper club is cancelled for the football, so the husband and I eat our second massaman curry of the week for tea.


Wake up with: £10.14

Go to bed with: -£23.81

Hurrah, the sun has made a guest appearance to the season that will hitherto be known as The Summer the Sun Forgot; I make an executive decision that I deserve a lunch break and go for a little wander around Spitalfields. I’m ostensibly nipping out to buy some squid ink spaghetti, but I get sidetracked on a detour down Fournier Street when I discover that one of the houses is an antiques shop cum cafe. I’m in love, and grateful that I destroyed my credit card yesterday.

I think all that lunchtime virtue sets off a bit of a chain reaction come evening. I’ve arranged to meet an old school friend for dinner at El Parador on Eversholt Street. The cash has run out, but the sunshine, the company and the delicious tapas on offer (and possibly the wine) bring out my reckless streak. I pay by card (debit, obviously), and promptly go over budget to the tune of £20.00. Woops.


Wake up with: -£23.81

Go to bed with: -£33.78

In my experience, budgeting is a little like dieting: the minute you slip, the temptation is to give up altogether. I pop to the supermarket after work and somehow I leave with a pack of tiger prawns, some a cherry tomatoes, a lemon and two bunches of sweet williams (albeit at £1.50 each). This is decidedly off-message but god it feels good.


Wake up with: -£33.78

Go to bed with: -£33.78

Total overspend this week: £33.78

As the buyer’s remorse sets in from yesterday’s supermarket blow-out, I give myself a stern talking to – we need washing powder, rice and tea bags and here I am with flowers and shellfish.The worst thing is, I haven’t even bought anything that outrageous – as my inner sulky teenager protests: it’s not as if I bought a new dress or champagne. In a way she has a point: I spent £3 on flowers, bought some compost, a train ticket and two reasonably priced restaurant meals this week and somehow this has amounted to an epic failure. It’s a salutary lesson on what it means to live on a tight budget. My inner sanctimonious goodie two shoes (you know, the one, she’s always banging on about food waste, or reminding everyone that one cappuccino could be standing between me and the dream) points out that a lot of people out there live on considerably less. She’s right of course, but I’d still like a new dress and the flowers are beautiful, so there. Still, next week I will do better.

Had any budgetary dramas of your own this week? Feel free to share them in the comments box below and thank you ever so much for reading.

  1. Margaret said:

    Just read about your week. I think you’re doing amazingly well, it’s really not easy living with tight budgets. I know this because I live with the King of Budgeting. We’re surviving on my 20 hour-a-week salary at the moment as my partner was made redundant a few months back. It’s amazing how you can still make delicous dinners with very little! I do get very sulky though and really want to go on a shopping spree sometimes. But this week I painted my garden shed by mixing left over paint together and I feel like I achieved something. So keep going, you will so deserve it when you find “the” house. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Margaret, thank you so much for your support and lovely message- I feel humbled by your experience and very lucky that we both have jobs at the moment. I’m sure your shed looks incredible and I really admire (and aspire to) your resourcefulness and cheer in the face of adversity. Thank you for reading! X

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