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Money Diary: A Civil Servant In Sheffield On 23.8k

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we’re tracking every last penny.

This week: “I am a 33-year-old civil servant living in Sheffield, where three and a half years ago I bought a house in the village I grew up in. I am perpetually single and live alone in my three-bedroom semi with my cat for company, with my parents living just a couple of minutes away. This works out especially well for me, as they are close when I need them but as we both live on culs-de-sac, they have no reason to just drop in as they ‘pass by’.

I have been working from home since mid March and am lucky that neither my job nor my earnings has been affected by the current situation, although my motivation has definitely taken a hit. As a civil servant I am classed as a critical worker but in reality I am working on business as usual tasks and have no involvement in any frontline response. I’m incredibly grateful to be in a stable job at the moment but it does make me feel guilty when I complain that I am not happy in my role.”

Occupation: Administration
Industry: Civil Service
Location: Sheffield
Salary: £23,800 (standard salary for my grade)
Take-home pay: £1,532 after tax, national insurance, pension, student loan deductions

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £320 mortgage. I was very lucky to have some inheritance from my grandma that went towards the 10% deposit, although the majority was my own savings. My earnings were quite a bit lower when I purchased the house, so my mortgage period is 30 years, which I hope to reduce when my fixed term is up at the end of the year.
Utilities: £83 council tax, £36 gas and electricity, £15 water, £52 Sky TV package including sports channels, line rental and broadband.
All other monthly expenses: £12 home insurance, £11 life and critical illness cover, £9 pet insurance, £20 mobile phone, £5.99 Netflix, £10 Specsavers contact lenses. Transport pre-lockdown was £40 a month petrol and £40 tram pass. During lockdown this is more like £10 a month petrol and no tram costs as I’m working from home.
Annual expenses: £200 car insurance, £20 car tax.
Savings? £5,700. Currently trying to rebuild my savings in an instant access ISA after wiping them all out with the house move, followed by a full bathroom renovation last year. Pre-lockdown I would aim to transfer around £200 into my savings at the end of the month. The last couple of months this has been £600, making me wonder what on earth I usually spend so much money on!

Day One7.30am: My alarm goes off and the sound of the rain on the window instantly saps any motivation I have to get out of bed. Press the snooze button a few times.

8am: Out of bed, dressed in my comfiest joggers and heading downstairs. Feed the cat, who hasn’t even acknowledged my presence yet, and get my breakfast. I have had issues with food since my mid-teens, which got worse when I went through a bad period of anxiety around five years ago. Eating is a chore sometimes so if I don’t have a routine and stick to eating the things I know, then I probably won’t eat at all. Breakfast is chocolate chip mini Weetabix, as it has been for a few years.

8.30am: I log on to my laptop to check if I have any meetings today. I’m very lucky that we have flexible working and I can log on any time before 10am, but I am trying to stick to a routine with an 8.30am start. Plus, the earlier I log on, the earlier I can log off! No important emails or early meetings so I nip upstairs to finish getting ready. Thanks to lockdown this is just a quick brush of the hair (most days), clean my teeth and put my contact lenses in. Not feeling the need to wear makeup is a revelation.

10am: An hour spent processing invoices before I start to prepare for a team meeting at 11am. It’s nothing formal but we take the role of meeting chair on a rota and today it’s my turn for the first time. Make sure I know what the agenda items are and who is leading each one so that I am less nervous and have an idea what I’ll need to say.

10.55am: Run to the loo for a nervous wee!

12.10pm: Meeting over and I have to say it went pretty well. There was lots of discussion about wellbeing and how everyone is feeling now that the initial phase of working from home is over and it looks increasingly like we’ll be here for the long haul. We are able to continue working remotely so none of us will be heading back to our offices around the country any time soon. The meeting overran by 10 minutes but it was a discussion we needed to have and it felt important to let everyone speak. My role of chair is over for a couple of months – phew!

1pm: Lunchtime. Make a salad with spinach, cucumber, plum tomatoes, red pepper, spring onion and ham. Add more ham as I’m quite hungry and throw in a dollop of coleslaw. Follow this up with a chocolate mini roll.

3pm: Decide to take an afternoon break while I have a Skype chat with G, a colleague from my previous team in the department who has become a friend outside of work over the last 18 months. We chat Netflix recommendations and bemoan the lack of good TV dramas at the moment, while I snack on a couple of caramel chocolate digestives. Neither of us is working tomorrow (woop!) so we say our goodbyes and promise to catch up again next week.

4.30pm: Work done for the long weekend! I have added my out of office and packed my laptop and other work paraphernalia away so that it isn’t lying around on the dining room table until Monday. I’m currently decorating the spare bedroom so that I can start working upstairs and have more separation between work and home. The dining room was okay when it looked like this would be short-term but I need a better set-up now that it is becoming months rather than weeks.

4.45pm: I am joined on the sofa by the cat as I scroll through social media. It’s not often that she comes for snuggles like this (she only wants cuddles on her own terms) so I can’t possibly disturb her to dust the living room like I had planned. That will have to wait until another day!

6pm: I got lost down a rabbit hole of people’s home makeover photos for a while and would normally have tea cooking by now. Rummage through the freezer for something quick to cook. Settle on some chilli beef that I picked up as part of a Chinese takeaway deal last week in Morrisons and put that and some chips in the oven. Tea is probably my least regimented meal of the day, although I’m not usually very adventurous with what I eat.

7.30pm: Just settled in front of the TV with a blanket (why is it suddenly so cold?), ready to watch the new episode of Glow Up on BBC iPlayer when Mum calls. We don’t have much to talk about considering she is furloughed from work and neither of us has left the house since we went for a walk together yesterday. We finally became a ‘bubble’ last week so we can visit each other properly and most importantly, have a hug! I’m such a hugger and a hug from my mum always makes me feel better on a bad day. Despite having nothing going on in our lives, we somehow manage to talk for almost an hour.

8.30pm: Watch Glow Up and wonder how these people create makeup that looks like a work of art when I can’t even put eyeliner on properly. Vow to myself that I will use some of my spare time to practise. Although when I’ll be going anywhere worth putting eyeliner on for, I have no idea.

10pm: I head to bed and read for a while. It helps me switch off and I find it difficult to fall asleep if I don’t read first. The book is a predictable chick-lit romance where you can figure out the ending from the first chapter, but it does the job.

10.45pm: Lights out.

Total: £0

Day Two8.30am: Alarm goes off. It’s my day off but I’ve promised to go to my brother’s house for a socially distanced garden visit with my 4-year-old nephew, S. He’s an early riser so will probably already be waiting for me.

10am: Arrive at my brother’s and go straight through to the garden. S is so excited to see me but is good at following the rules – we have air hugs, air high fives and blow kisses, and my heart breaks a little that I can’t give him a proper kiss.

12pm: After a game of football, hide and seek and lots of races out in the field behind their house I’m shattered and the little human is hungry. I walk to the local chip shop to treat everyone to lunch. Should have anticipated the long queue but didn’t. Lesson learned. A large portion of chips to share, three large sausages, small beans and small mushy peas. £10.40

12.20pm: On my way back to the bro’s, feeling bad that S has normally eaten by now.

1pm: Lunch is polished off on separate picnic blankets in the sun. Thank the lord it’s a nice day so we can actually spend time together like this. S plays while I chat to my brother.

2.30pm: Time for home and it’s difficult to say goodbye to S without our usual kisses and hugs. Spend a few minutes waving and blowing kisses through the window before getting in the car and look forward to the day Boris lets us increase the size of our bubbles.

4pm: Scrolling through Facebook Marketplace not looking for anything in particular. Spot a dressing table stool that is perfect for the spare room and cheaper than anything similar I’ve seen online. Send the seller a message and arrange to collect later. I text Mum to let her know where I’m going and when I’ll be home – an episode of Luther last year sticks in my mind when it comes to buying and selling online (spoiler alert: the woman selling a washing machine ends up stuffed into a suitcase).

6pm: Drive across town to collect the stool and send the seller £25 via PayPal when I arrive to avoid exchanging cash. They place the box on the doorstep and wave before closing the door. Box in the car and drive back home.

7pm: Realise I haven’t eaten since lunchtime but I’m also not that hungry thanks to the chippy lunch. Tea is a little thing one of my friends once described as ‘fridge tapas’ – essentially a bit of everything you can find. I have a couple of mini pork pies, a bag of crisps and a yoghurt.

7.30pm: I really need to wash my hair. I really don’t want to wash my hair. Put some music on my phone and play it through the Bluetooth speaker in the bathroom to make the task more bearable. I was due to have my hair cut the same week that lockdown started so it’s in desperate need of a chop as it’s grown really long and thick. Sing along to a bit of Kylie while I double shampoo and condition.

9pm: Showered, hair washed and blow-dried and PJs on. I own more pyjamas than going out clothes, which always seemed strange but who’s winning now, eh? Settle on the sofa with the cat and a glass of raspberry gin and lemonade. Perfect end to the week.

11pm: After watching a couple of episodes of Trial by Media on Netflix I head to bed.

Total: £35.40

Day Three9am: Nice little lie-in and no reason to rush out of bed this morning. Scroll through social media for half an hour and check the weather forecast. It doesn’t look as though it’s going to be as warm as expected, so I put off doing the washing today.

9.30am: Get out of bed and follow the usual morning routine with the addition of some tinted moisturiser as I look pretty rough this morning. I wouldn’t usually bother but I need to nip out today and don’t want to scare anyone!

10.15am: I’m off to the carpet shop to order a new carpet for the spare bedroom. This will be the first shop I’ve been to in lockdown that isn’t a supermarket and I feel guilty that it’s not really essential. It’s a family-run business that we have used for all our carpets for years. They reopened a couple of weeks ago and I’m happy that if anyone is going to get my business, it is them.

10.30am: Enter the shop with my face mask on and use the hand sanitiser they have set up for customers just inside the door. It’s a quick visit as I know what I want: the same as I have in my bedroom, just a different colour. Arrange for fitting on Tuesday morning and pay on my card. £135 for carpet, underlay, grippers and fitting.

11am: Call my mum to let her know I have successfully sorted the carpet situation and conquered my first non-food shop of lockdown. Remind myself that without this carpet I can’t finish decorating and set up my long-term working from home space, which is pretty important for my situation even if others might judge that it isn’t. Try to feel less guilty.

11.30am: Stick my favourite Spotify playlist on (Van Life – oh to be carefree and driving around in a camper van in the sun, stopping wherever you fancy) and start on the housework. Dust and vacuum the whole house and clean the bathroom but draw the line at mopping the kitchen floor. The cat will only leave fresh footprints in it anyway.

1pm: Make a ham and cheese salad for lunch and put the TV on. Football is back this week and I watch a bit of the game that is on Sky Sports. We’re a big sport-watching family so it’s a refreshing change to have some sport to watch. Football isn’t usually top of my list of favourites and the crowd noise they are playing is difficult to get used to, but I won’t complain.

2.30pm: I’m bored and restless. Lockdown has really made me feel like I should be more productive as I can’t use the excuse of being too busy. I’ve reached my limit for housework today, so I put my trainers on and go for a walk around the village.

3.30pm: Call at Mum and Dad’s on my way home and sit out in their garden chatting to Mum. She’s had the call about returning to work part-time at the beginning of July and we discuss her plans and reservations about using public transport. I’d rather she didn’t use the bus so we agree that Dad will take her to work in the mornings and I will pick her up at night as it will have no effect on the times I am working.

5pm: Make a start on tonight’s tea: chickpea and spinach curry. I always make enough that I can freeze at least one extra portion for another day so that I always have meals handy for when I can’t be bothered to cook. Marinate some chicken that I will cook tomorrow night and use for a couple of salads this week. Feel very domesticated and proud of my forward-planning.

7pm: Jeez I thought I was bored this afternoon but now I’m really bored. I put a film on and proceed to watch absolutely none of it because I’m scrolling through my phone and playing card games on my tablet. It’s the evenings that I find most difficult living on my own, especially because I’m not having my normal social interactions during the day.

10.30pm: I give up and go to bed but I know I won’t sleep so I watch a couple of episodes of Killing Eve while I’m snuggled up. Season three hasn’t grabbed me, which is a shame because I loved the previous ones.

Total: £135

Day Four8.30am: Wake up and have to think what day it is. Having Friday off work has messed with my head and I am relieved to remember that it’s Sunday. I lie in bed for a while deciding what to do for the day. It’s Father’s Day so I plan to take my dad’s present and card round after lunch, as I know my brother and S are visiting this morning.

9.30am: Get up and follow the usual morning routine, although I opt for glasses today rather than contacts. My eyes are tired and I hate that feeling where your contacts stick a little when you blink. I never wear glasses for work and have somehow stuck to the routine of wearing contacts Monday to Friday for some reason.

10.15am: FaceTime from my brother, which turns out to be S asking me to come and play in the garden at my mum and dad’s. I had planned to avoid being there at the same time as I didn’t want to confuse him by the fact that I can be close to my parents when he can’t. Can’t say no to his little face so I get ready and wander round, present in hand.

10.30am: Not that it’s a competition but I totally win Father’s Day this year! We normally share the cost of a family day out but this year we have had to buy presents and I have definitely trumped my brother. S is very happy to see his grandparents and we sit out in the garden while he plays and entertains us with his new favourite Disney songs.

12.30pm: It’s getting cloudy and looks like it might rain so I walk back home as I am dressed for warmer weather and don’t want to end up looking like a drowned rat. Make a cheese salad when I get in and watch an episode of Friends while I eat. I started to watch Friends right from the beginning on Netflix when lockdown started as it’s something I’ve watched occasionally over the years but I’m still finding episodes I haven’t seen before.

2pm: The threat of rain has passed and once again I’m feeling restless, so I go out to mow the lawn. It’s a job I hate but the garden is beginning to look embarrassing compared to the neighbours. I have considered paying someone to come and do the garden regularly, but I really can’t justify it right now while I am at home all the time.

3pm: It’s warmer than it looks outside and I need a shower and a change of clothes after that. Put some summer tunes on Spotify to sing while I’m in the shower. Avoid getting the hair wet at all costs.

5.30pm: I make chicken skewers for tea using the fajita flavoured chicken I prepared last night and grill what’s left to add to salad for the next couple of days. The packet of Mediterranean giant couscous I had prepared is a disaster and totally inedible. Smug feeling at being domesticated goes out the window.

7pm: Spend the evening filling in a page of my travel journal. It’s a recent purchase that has a page for each country, so I have some catching up to do on the places I’ve already travelled. Fire up my laptop and look back through some photos for inspiration before settling on New Zealand. I print off a few photos in various sizes until I get them right and then attempt an accurate tracing of the islands as the centrepiece, which is harder than expected.

10pm: It’s only just getting darker and I’ve been completely absorbed in my journal for hours, which is a nice change from watching TV all evening.

10.30pm: Get ready for bed and read my book for a while to try to stop the worry about work tomorrow. Strange how I still get that Sunday night feeling when I’m not physically going to work on a Monday morning; I’d half expected it to stop but apparently Mondays have that effect wherever I’m working.

Total: £0

Day Five7.30am: Alarm goes off and I hit snooze a couple of times. I hate getting out of bed at the first alarm.

7.50am: I get up, get breakfast for me and the cat and finish getting ready before my usual work log-on time.

8.30am: Log on and find that I didn’t miss anything important on Friday and my anxiety last night was totally unnecessary. I haven’t really settled into my new role even after six months and I feel under-utilised and undervalued. I’ve raised this with my line manager but nothing seems to change and I’m glad I’m at home so that I can do other things while I’m not busy, instead of trying to make myself look busy in the office.

10.55am: Dad comes round to put some artwork up on the wall in the spare room before the new carpet goes down. Of course he arrives five minutes before the start of a meeting! I help him mark the wall where I want the pictures then leave him to it. I’m pretty good at DIY and Dad has taught me how to do a lot of things myself over the years. Wielding a drill is not one of them.

11am: I say hi to other colleagues on the call then put myself on mute so they don’t have to listen to background drilling. The meeting is a chance to look at ideas for getting a wellbeing group up and running and I’m really keen to be involved. I enjoy this type of thing more than my day-to-day role so I happily volunteer to help. Dad disappears with a wave while I am on the call.

12pm: I sit outside on the doorstep for five minutes but decide it’s not warm enough to eat lunch out here today. One of the things I miss most about being in the office is the social lunches with friends and colleagues and the chance to wander around town or sit in one of the outdoor spaces near the office.

12.30pm: I make a salad with the last of the chicken and sit in the living room while I scroll through Boohoo on my phone. My usual work wardrobe is totally unsuitable for sitting at home and I’m running out of comfy clothes. I was going to make do with what I had but the murmurings of working from home for the rest of the year have got me thinking that I really could do with some bottoms that aren’t work trousers or skinny jeans. I add a pair of joggers, a pair of leggings and some cropped joggers to my basket but don’t actually order them.

2pm: Catch up with my work bestie, G. Our chats about what we’ve done over the weekend are finally starting to get a bit more interesting as we’re no longer confined to our own homes. We have both had holidays cancelled in the last couple of months and we discuss the possibility of going away this year, with the news that Spain is now allowing tourists without the need to quarantine. Both decide we’ll probably not bother risking it.

3.30pm: This afternoon is going so slowly…

4.30pm: Finally, I can log off and put my laptop away. I go upstairs to clean up the mess that Dad has left behind and move everything out of the spare room. I drag the drawers, bed frame and mattress into the smallest room, which is already full of junk, meaning I have to climb across everything to get back out.

5.30pm: Yet more chicken for tea tonight. This time it’s some sort of frozen pastry-based product from Morrisons that I dig out of the freezer and team with potatoes and mixed veg. The freezer is getting quite empty and I’m going to need to do a big shop soon. I’ve been going to the supermarket every 10-14 days during lockdown instead of every week and getting bigger shops to last longer. I try to think of a few things I might want and start a shopping list that will gradually get bigger over the next few days.

7pm: I put an episode of Friends on while I had tea, which turned into four episodes without me realising. Remind myself I don’t have much else to do anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

8pm: I find a Pilates routine on YouTube that is focused on abs as the talk of holidays has made me think that summer might not be cancelled after all.

8.45pm: Wow that was difficult! My abs are on fire and I’m sweating so I grab a glass of water and jump in the shower. PJs on and settle back on the sofa.

9pm: I remember my Boohoo order from earlier and have one last scroll to see if anything else takes my fancy. Decide to stick with what I added to my basket earlier and place the order. £28 including delivery.

10pm: I get ready for bed and read for a while as it’s still not dark. I love this time of year when it’s still light and I can leave the curtains open until it’s time for bed.

11pm: Turn my light out and toss and turn for a while before eventually falling asleep.

Total: £28

Day Six7.30am: Usual alarm and snooze routine but this morning it is sunny and I’m more inclined to get out of bed.

8.30am: Breakfast eaten, cat fed and laptop logged on.

9am: I have a catch-up with a colleague about a piece of work we are completing together. We divvy up the tasks and I make a to-do list that ends up being shorter than I envisaged – winner. We have a casual chat about work and he offers to help me with some civil service job application writing. There aren’t any roles out there that I’m interested in at the moment but it’s always best to be prepared as they take some time to perfect. Accept his offer of support very enthusiastically. What a good egg he is.

11am: It’s lovely and warm today so I take a morning break to sit outside with a juice and a couple of chocolate biscuits.

11.45am: The carpet fitter arrives just as I join a call from our director. The poor guy can’t apologise enough for the bad timing but he really doesn’t need to worry. These weekly calls feature 70 members of staff who all sit on mute listening to corporate updates while trying to pick out if any of it is relevant to them. As usual, not much of it affects me but he does remind us that Boris will be making an announcement in the Commons at 12.30pm, which is expected to be a relaxing of social distancing.

12.30pm: The carpet fitter leaves with another apology for the noise during my call. It looks great and I’m really pleased with the colour I chose. Head downstairs for lunch but realise I don’t have half the things I need to make a salad. I jump in the car and nip to Morrisons as the local shop won’t have what I need.

12.40pm: I go straight in as there is now no queue if you don’t have a trolley. I grab a bag of spinach, a cucumber, spring onions and tub of coleslaw before heading straight for the self-service checkouts. I pay using my phone so that I have to touch as few things as possible and drive straight home. £3.76

1pm: Sit outside with my cheese salad and check the news for details on Boris’ announcement. It seems that dropping the two metre guidance is a political choice to get hospitality up and running, rather than scientific guidance. I scroll through Facebook and it seems quite a few people are already planning their trips to the pub. I avoid commenting on anything I see, even when it winds me up as I don’t want to get into political arguments on social media. Besides, as a civil servant I’m supposed to show impartiality and serve the government of the day, regardless of my political beliefs, even if that means working on policies I don’t agree with. Turn off Facebook. It’s safer that way.

1.30pm: Log back on after lunch and I have an IM from my office crush…swoon. We don’t work together but used to sit on the same floor and had agreed to go for a drink together the week that lockdown started. I’d given up on online dating, then a blooming global pandemic comes along and ruins my prospects. We’ve been keeping in touch on IM but I have to remember this is a work-based comms system and getting too flirty is probably frowned upon.

2pm: We talk holidays as we both love to travel and I’m so close to suggesting we should go somewhere together when this is over but stop myself. We haven’t even had a date, steady on girl!

2.15pm: Must. Focus. On. Work.

2.30pm: Take an afternoon break. The sun is glorious so I sit outside with an ice pop and google potential UK destinations for a short break. Alone. Without the office crush.

4.30pm: Another long afternoon has passed but I’ve managed to tick off a couple of things from my to-do list so I am pretty pleased with myself. I’ve lost a lot of motivation in this role, particularly while my workload has been slow, so it’s nice to feel like I’ve achieved something today. I put my sunglasses on and go to sit out in the garden with the radio on. The teenage girls who live next door start singing along to the radio – I chuckle to myself and turn the volume up so they can hear better.

6pm: I’ve made the most of the sun before it disappears behind the houses for the evening and think to myself how lucky I am to have an outdoor space that I can enjoy during lockdown. Spending time outside during the warm weather we’ve had has really made this time more bearable.

6.15pm: I stick a pizza in the oven and have a chat to one of my friends while it cooks. We both agree that we won’t be going to the pub or shops any time soon even though restrictions have eased. She’s a civil servant too so we have a quick debate about politics vs science and our thoughts on the government’s current stance. We both agree, which is unsurprising.

6.30pm: Pizza, cold can of Coke and a game of football on TV. I enjoy it and look forward to more sport returning in the next month or so.

8pm: I jump in the shower to cool down before putting on my PJs (obviously) and lying on the sofa with the windows open. I catch up on a couple more episodes of Glow Up and message a friend to tell her how much she would love it. We like to watch similar things so we mostly keep in touch with TV and Netflix recommendations. She is the worst at replying, so I don’t expect a response for at least a couple of days.

10pm: It’s too warm for my usual snuggle in bed, so I lie on top of the covers while I read. The storyline is going exactly where I expected it to and I’m getting a bit bored. Make a mental note to look for some new books that are a bit grittier.

11pm: Turn my light out but lie awake thinking about the most ridiculous things – conversations I’ve had and things I’d say differently, something that went wrong in my old job three years ago… Where on earth do these thoughts come from and why do they always appear when I want to go to sleep?

Total: £3.76

Day Seven7.30am: I am so tired. I had some really weird dreams last night and woke up quite a few times so the alarm is definitely getting an extra snooze this morning.

8.30am: It’s the hottest day of the year and the house is already really warm. I get dressed in shorts and a vest and thank the lord I don’t have to get a rush hour tram and wear proper work clothes today.

8.45am: Log on while I eat my cereal, knowing that I have flexi time stored up and starting work 15 minutes later than normal will make no difference. Flexi time is the biggest perk of the civil service in my opinion and I’d struggle to work 9-5 now.

10.30am: Take a break to catch up with some colleagues on a virtual tea break. We all used to sit together in my previous team and would often go out for drinks after work so this is our way of keeping in touch. I don’t know what we talk about but we manage to pass half an hour before everyone begrudgingly leaves the call and goes back to whatever they were doing.

11am: I decide to put my bedding in the wash as it’s so hot outside it will dry in no time and I can have it back on my bed tonight. I love the smell of fresh sheets.

11.45am: Washing is done so I peg that out and decide on an early lunch. We have a virtual group session all afternoon and I want to make sure I’ve had a good break in advance so that I don’t get fidgety. I make a tuna salad and sit outside but it’s not long before I have to go back in as I’m too hot. I’m part ginger and this weather does not agree with my fair complexion. As much as I love the sun, I burn very easily, and lobster red is not a good look.

1pm: Start of the virtual team session and I’m pleased to see that for the breakout sessions I have been put in a group with people from other teams. Hopefully this means I can be a bit more honest when we are asked about how we feel and the way our teams are managed. The poor people will have to see my sweaty face though as we are all asked to use our videos.

3.10pm: I can hear the ice cream van coming up the street and am devastated that I’m on a call and can’t nip out to get a 99. Add to that the sound of next door’s kids splashing in the paddling pool and I’m pretty fed up to be working today.

4pm: Thank goodness that is over. Three hours is a long time to concentrate and I am ready for a loo break and a cold drink. Coming back downstairs I realise just how hot the house is and I close some curtains to keep the sun out. It’s clearly too late though, I am now living in a furnace.

4.30pm: Log off and decide it’s time to get out in the sun. Slather on some factor 20 – it is still 29 degrees out there – and head outside with my phone and tablet for entertainment.

5.30pm: The sun has almost gone from the garden for the day and I’m absolutely roasting. I’ve managed to top up a couple of tan lines and create some new ones too but nowhere is burned – hurrah! I grab an ice pop and flake out on the sofa, too hot to do anything else.

7pm: I’m not good at eating when it’s hot and quite often just pick at food in this type of weather – all-inclusive buffets on holiday are wasted on me. I don’t fancy cooking either so scroll through Just Eat. The only place with a delivery time of less than an hour is the nearby KFC and I have already eaten way more chicken than is normal this week. I go through the fridge, freezer and every cupboard in the kitchen before deciding to cook some pasta with a stir-in sauce. Grate a pile of cheddar on top to liven it up a bit.

8pm: I don’t eat all the pasta so put some in a tub in the fridge. I’ll either munch it before I go to bed or chuck it into tomorrow’s salad. I remake my bed before jumping in the shower in the vain hope of cooling down a bit. PJs on and lie on my bed as close to the open window as possible while I scroll through social media.

9.30pm: So many places are advertising getaways and quite a few friends are sharing deals for breaks in the UK. I’d resigned myself to not getting a holiday this year but now the possibility is back on the table I’m very tempted. I narrow my options down to a couple of places that I am comfortable driving to and browse and Airbnb for a long weekend in August when I won’t clash with other people’s holidays at work.

10.30pm: I can’t make a decision and will need to do some more investigating before I settle on where to go. Think I’ll take the opportunity to message the office crush tomorrow to ask for recommendations. I turn my tablet off, close the curtains and go to bed, hoping for a better sleep than last night.

Total: £0

The BreakdownFood & Drink: £14.16
Entertainment: £0
Clothes & Beauty £28
Transportation: £0
Other: £160

Total: £202.16


“Aside from the carpet, this has been a fairly typical weekly spend for me during lockdown. Now that I’m working from home, I’m not spending money on transport or buying lunch and treats once or twice a week, so I knew I would be able to pay for the carpet without using money from my savings. Looking back at my diary, I can see how much more interaction I am having now that I’ve been able to make a bubble with my parents. The first few months of lockdown have been difficult on my own, and it’s made a huge difference to how I feel now that I can spend time with people. Lockdown restrictions are easing soon but I can’t see that having an effect on my spending as I don’t plan on going to the pub or restaurants for a long time yet. Although it might be a good idea to go out and eat something other than chicken! A drink with the office crush wouldn’t go amiss either.”

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Credit: Original article published here.

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