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Money Diaries: An Administrative Assistant’s Week of Spending

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Money Diaries: An Administrative Assistant’s Week of Spending

Money Diaries

Welcome to Money Diaries, a series where one of our readers shares a week inside the life of their bank account.


Inspired by the Money Diaries of Refinery29, we’ve introduced our own local version. These money diaries, submitted by our readers will track a week’s worth of expenses along with lessons, explanations and often money tips. They’re fun to read, giving you a fly on the wall feeling. But more so open a conversation on money, spending and our habits and relationships with what Yuval Noah Harari calls “the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

Name: @dumbbellsndelights

Age: 34

Occupation: Administrative assistant

Gender: Female

The best money lesson I’ve learned: Money gives you freedom to do the things you only imagined. The knowledge of your money removes stress and anxiety. It also aligns your mindset to your dream life and gives you the power to manifest your desires.

What did you learn after doing the money diary? I learnt that I’m not as savvy with my money as I thought. I’m inconsistent with my budget and list making. I do however allow for unexpected spending by allocating some of my budget to miscellaneous. I also tend to talk myself out of buying stuff.

Day 1:

It’s the week after pay day. I’ve already prepared my budget, as I do every month on the 24th – the day before pay day. This helps me stay on top of finances and to have enough time to compile a list of things I need based on the previous month’s spending.

"I prepare a budget every month on the 24th – the day before payday."

I transfer funds from my cheque account to my credit card. I use my credit for most purchases as this gets me more eBucks. I buy meat, bananas and Portuguese egg tarts, which I’ve been obsessed with since i had them in Macau last year. This is my first treat of the week.

Groceries R63.40
Total Spend for the day R63.40

Day 2:

My automated savings go out.

"Setting up automated savings ensures you save before you spend."

Part of my savings are for car repairs (I like to be prepared).

Savings: car repairs R500
Savings: I’m saving for something big. R1000
My mom’s DSTV subscription R390
Total Spend for the day R1890

Day 3:

I get my car washed outside for only R25. He’s not good with the windows which I discover when I get home and am facing the sun.


I get my hair washed and get an oil treatment for R150.


I’ve been needing a Handbag for months. I found one I like a week ago after some intentional searching. I also get a phone pouch and pick out some of the same hair bands my stylist used as elastic bands are bad for natural hair. I spend R557.99.

"Resist 2 for ... specials when you’re only looking for 1 thing."

[While I’m at it], I go to Lovisa and buy a set of Clip-on earrings for R160. I resist the special of 2 for R240.

Chips R10
Car wash R25
Hair wash and treatment R150
Hand bag, phone pouch and hair bands R557.99
Earrings R160
Total Spend for the day R902.99

Day 4:

I go to Dischem after work. I have a list which I compiled last week to ensure I don’t forget anything. I’ve set a budget of R600 and only end up spending R 505.85. I’m happy with myself until I realise, I didn’t buy the magnetic eyelashes on my list and; I bought sanitary pads (which came with free feminine wipes) and wet wipes that were not on the list.

"List making before shopping is essential to avoid overbuying and forgetting what you need."

I make a mental note to be more thorough with my list making.

Dischem Shop R63.40
Total Spend for the day R505.85

Day 5:

My Allan Gray Unit Trust debit order of R1500 goes off as scheduled.

I pay R200 for ice cream which seems expensive, but I bought three boxes with 30 pieces in each box. It’s for a party I’m planning, and I’m impressed with myself – it will be a welcome treat at the party with the heat.

"Meal planning on the weekend helps avoid impromptu take out buys."

I feel too tired to cook, so get in the car and head to Chicken Licken but traffic is a nightmare, so I end up at McDonalds and end up spending R149.30 for 3 meals putting me R49.30 over budget.

Unit Trust Debit order R1500
Ice Cream for a party R200
3 Meals @ McDonalds R149.30
Total Spend for the day R1849.30

Day 6:

My sister and I buy groceries and split the bill. My share is R599.22 and I will have to buy anything missing on the list.

Groceries R599.22
Total Spend for the day R599.22

Day 7:

I spend R 300.01 for fuel. It used to get me close to a full tank, but now it’s a little over half a tank.

Fuel R300.01
Total Spend for the day R300.01

The Breakdown

Food/Drink R1021.92
Entertainment R390
Accessories R717.99
Beauty R655.85
Travel R325.01
Savings R3000
Total Spend for the week R6110.77

To share your money diary email us at [email protected] with the subject line: Money Diary

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