Wedding Planning Spending Diary; Emily, 32, Insurance Worker

Welcome to the second instalment of Only a Wedding’s series on the spending habits of brides-to-be. We’ll see what saving looks like for women planning weddings across the UK and Ireland.

Want in on the action? Email lorraine@onlyawedding.ie with “Spending Diary” in the subject line. We’re happy to offer any help we can, and we can change your name if you prefer to be anonymous.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

About Emily

I live with my fiancé and our 3-year-old son. We bought a house about 18 months ago and both of us have a 110-120 km round trip to work in Dublin every day. That means we have expenses for two cars and a lot of diesel.

Our wedding is in late February 2019. We’re paying for the majority of the costs ourselves with a small credit union dig out to get us over the line. We’ve tried pretty hard to save a regular amount each month since the beginning of last year. We definitely got better once we implemented a proper monthly budget using excel spreadsheets and other fun and exciting tools. But some months, we didn’t hit our saving target. So we’ll be using the CU loan to bridge the gap. We’re having a small wedding – 26 adults and 4 children.

I plumped for a wedding dress from the high street, which I love and can’t wait to wear. I tried on a designer gown and was going to save extra hard to afford it but ended up having heart palpitations every time I thought about it. My dress cost about €100.

Day One

5.35am I am out the door and in the car by 5.55am. Pamela Joyce on Today FM accompanies me on the super exciting and not stressful at all drive up to Dublin.

6.25am Even though I just waxed lyrical about how I always bring my food into work, I have nothing with me today. End of the week means our cupboards are pretty bare so I drop into a garage to pick up some breakfast and lunch. A granola pot, protein bar, sandwich and bottle of water adds up to €11.50.

6.45am I’m parked at the office and clocked into work. And so begins a fun day in insurance.

10.45am I’m hungry again so I have some crackers and hummus that I have in the office from earlier in the week. Trying to resist the lure of the vending machine.

4.30pm Car has been packed, child has been collected and we’re back on the road up to Dublin. I pay the crèche for his extra hours (€22.50) on top of his ECCE hours. It’s cheaper this week since he was only in three days.

5.00pm We stop for half a tank of diesel (€20) on the way. This will get me to fiancé’s payday on Monday.

5.30pm In my Mam’s house for the night where we feast on lasagne, gratin potatoes, salad and Prosecco. Bed by 11.30pm

Daily Total: €44

Day Two

9.00am My son and I wake up in my old bedroom. Much needed lie in. I check my online bank and see my fiancé has been paid early. Result! We had budgeted for the weekend until official payday on Monday but my fiancé is in the UK for the weekend for a mini-stag so it’s good that he doesn’t have to be closely watching what he’s spending.

11.30am I go up to the local shopping centre and get hair accessories for the wedding in Claire’s Accessories. #bargain. I’ll transfer this money (€38.97) back into our current account from the wedding savings account.

My sister also buys my son some clip on dinosaur earrings for a euro. It’s called fashion, look it up.

12.15pm We pop into Boots and Dunnes to get some bits for our mam. Afterwards, I buy everyone coffee/babyccino before my sister goes to the hairdressers. It comes to €37.00.

4.45pm After spending a few hours in my Mam’s and eating leftovers for lunch, we hit the road back home. Halfway there I stop in Lidl to pick up a few bits for dinner/breakfast (€5.97). We’ll do our big shop tomorrow in Aldi so all I get is a microwave paella, sweet potato and granola.

Daily Total: €81.94

Day Three

11.00am We head to Aldi to do The Big Shop. I’ve definitely forgotten some bits, which always happens if one of us tries to do the shopping without the other. You’d think we’d learn and write a list? No. The low price at the end (€56.92) confirms that I have definitely forgotten something.

12.30pm My fiancé is still in the UK so the kid and I visit a soft play centre (€7.00). It’s the seventh circle of hell for me but he loves it. I thank the gods I don’t have a hangover. That would be torture. We’re there for about 90 mins before I GTFO.

3.00pm We stop in a services station to get some lunch and treats. One of the things I forgot in Aldi was something to eat for today’s lunch. I get a coronation salad from Chopped and we get three Boston Donuts: one each and one for himself. It comes to €15.50.

5.00pm I start to make a giant batch of chilli, which we’ll eat with sweet potato tonight and I’ll bring for lunches with brown rice during the week. My fiancé doesn’t react well to a bunch of ingredients in chilli so I usually make it when he’s not here for dinner and then live on the leftovers.

Daily Total: €79.42

Day Four

5.35am Up and at ‘em. Pack breakfast, lunch and coffee pods and head into work. I’ve clocked in by 6.45am.

6.00pm Fiancé nips to Tesco and gets those things I forgot in Aldi (€30.24). Most importantly, a bottle of red wine to have with dinner.

Daily Total: €30.24

Day Five

10.00am I’m feeling a bit snacky so I buy a bag of Skips (€1) from the vending machine. Delish.

12.45pm I get my annual letter from the big boss outlining my bonus for last year and my promotion to the next grade. Woo! The numbers look nice but I don’t know the reality until payday tomorrow. I’m estimating the tax man will take 50%. It will help with the wedding budget, that’s for sure.

Daily Total: €1

Day Six

5.35am I pack a different breakfast today, Aldi Weetabix, and more chilli for lunch. Will it ever be gone??

6.20am I need diesel so I fill up my tank and pick up some snacks for my sweet tooth. It comes to €54.

7.00am It’s payday! I log into my online bank and see a very nice number. I work out what’s my bonus and move that over to the savings account. I’m pretty happy. It’s covering about 66% of the outstanding costs of the wedding. We have a manageable amount left to cover. We don’t want to count on presents to help us over the line. People are travelling to the wedding – either across the country or from overseas – and spending money to be there. I’ve subtly put the message out that we are not expecting wedding presents from our guests.

3.50pm I nip home to get my wedding dress and shoes and go to the local dress alterations place. I need the dress taken up; the straps shortened; a hook and eye put on top of the zip; and, if they can, let out the bust a bit. It fits and closes but is a bit tight.

Daily Total: €54

Day Seven

5.35am I cannot eat chilli for lunch again today so I pack some Weetabix, fruit and a couple of Nespresso pods and head out the door.

7.30am I’m having a mare of a morning with technical mess-ups so allow myself to carb load from the coffee shop/canteen. I get a jambon and almond croissant (€2.86) to graze on through the morning. Weetabix can wait until tomorrow.

12.oopm I get some lunch in the canteen (€3.60) and catch up with my friend for 45 mins. We were late coming back. Funnily enough, lunch is a baked potato with a Tex Mex chicken and bean ragout. Not dissimilar to chilli.

9.00pm Fiancé is home from work and we have a chat about the wedding finances and how we’ll cover the gap between what we have and what we need. Luckily, his savings in the CU mean that only a small top up on an existing loan is needed. The repayments are already being made so this won’t make a huge difference in our monthly cash flow this year.

10.30pm You guessed it, it’s bedtime and the end of my week of spending.

Daily Total: €6.46

Weekly Total: €297.06

Weekly Review

I suppose I really noticed how much little spends here and there added up. Like on the Saturday when I went shopping, I spent a lot of money. Granted, some went on stuff for my mam and I don’t want the money back from her but even when I think I’m just spending a small €20 here and there, they add up. Plus the days where I bought breakfast and lunch. I was just lazy those days.
I’m looking forward to not having to aggressively save money anymore!
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