£28 per day

I’ve been thinking a lot about saving and spending in new ways – and that was before a week of chaotic economic news. There are a million things up in the air at the moment and I imagine most of us are looking at our bank accounts, wallets, and budgets and trying to run calculations for a variety of scenarios in our heads.

I was listening to a podcast recently where the casual number was thrown out that if you wanted to save or spend £10,00 for instance, that amounted to just under £28 per day. I admit I sort of scoffed, the number seemed so absurdly accessible but later when doing my budget for the month I realized how deceptive it was.

Could you spend £28 a day as a reasonable output of coin?All too easily!

My travel (public transport) runs between £2-5 a day.

If I choose to buy a coffee on the go, that’s another £2-4.

If I bring my lunch, which I try to do, I can claw back some savings, but otherwise will spend £5-10 for a meal. This inevitably depends on my travel and work arrangements for the day.

Because we have a small fridge we tend to do lots of small shopping trips rather than fewer large ones, so every other day or so I’ll stop by a grocery store on the way home. Depending on what we need to pick up, this will range between £15-30.

Do I need to renew my prescription medication? £9 per pick up. Thank god for the NHS!

Are our monthly bills coming out this week? That’s £100.

Depending on what day it is, I will spend no money at all – walking to work or working from home, prepared food and a stocked kitchen, and no bills due – to well over a hundred pounds. The above doesn’t even include costs that Jeff and I share or which he budgets and pays for, including therapy appointments, council tax, mobile phone bills…we have a combined income household but we each assume responsibility for different financial commitments. It doesn’t include our social life in the form of travel, food/tickets, and so on. God knows it doesn’t include the immigration fees we’ve paid this year or any other expat specific paperwork, like renewing my passport. It doesn’t include our rent! In short, yes, it’s entirely possible to spend £28 a day without blinking!

And so, at the moment, with so many unknowns and uncertainties, that’s a metric I can focus on or build some kind of structure around. Can I save an additional £28 a day right now, on top of our other aggressive goals? I can sure as hell try.

It’s devil’s arithmetic, and I’m fortunate to be in the situation that I am personally. Many, many people are crunching much harsher numbers.

If you’re affected by the coronavirus situation – increasingly most of us! – what money metrics are you looking towards right now? Is anything giving you a sense of balance or planning? Or is it frankly causing you dread – and how are you coping? Let’s do some real talk and solidarity in the comments, kittens, and look out for one another a bit. 

7 thoughts on “£28 per day”

  1. No way could I save an extra $28 a day by making little changes. I already don’t regularly buy coffee out, I pack a sad little lunch, etc. To a certain extent I think you have to have money to save money.

    1. THIS A THOUSAND TIMES THIS. It’s why I hate the “personal finance” jargon and platitudes around this – eat less avocado toast and you’ll be a millionaire. That’s not how this works…

  2. it cost me as a financial advisor a lot of money to learn this but I did. Take your income, subtract your financial obligations – rent, debt, health, cell phone etc. Out of what is left, decide what to spend and what to save. for most people that daily spending is about 20% of your take home income. Then stick to your spending allowance on a weekly basis. Use cash only for the first few weeks till you get used to it. The easy part is that you can spend your weekly amount on anything you want and next week’s allowance isn’t far away. Sometimes I have to go a couple of days without buying anything. the hard part is that the allowance has to include food, fun, grooming, clothes. what you learn is that you don’t have very much money to spend, a harsh realization and it applies to any one who has to work to earn money. but I can tell you as a long-term consumate spender, the satisfaction of living on a weekly budget has completely reduced the financial stress of my life and I no longer have any consumer debt.

    1. Brilliant and simple advice, and I completely agree. My experience and that of most of my adult friends is that most of your money is spoken for the second it lands in your account – those who forget or ignore that are the ones that run into peril, and it is a discipline.

  3. Lots to recommend:

    1) have a weekly (ugh) financial summit with your spouse, or partner if you live together.
    2) COME prepared! Jose showed me a 5-page single space sheet with every incoming and outgoing penny; credit card debts and APRs and anticipated freelance income (we are OK til June)
    3) Use a calculator
    4) Call everyone you owe $ to and ask for a lower APR or extension on payment
    5) Call everyone (if freelance) and ask for work
    6) Be ruthless about your possessions and see what can be sold online
    7) Rethink all spending, on everything — there is NO shame in any (ideally legal!) decision now

    The “good news” of lockdown is saving us $$$$ on entertainment, food, travel costs, gas, grooming, dry cleaning, etc.

    1. Great tips! We use Mint to track our spending which works great and we’re monitoring payment plan updates carefully.

      SAME on savings. Small mercies.

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