My Money Saving Diary Challenge

As a family we generally live by quite a tight budget as Hubby is super strict when it comes to where our money goes. I was recently challenged by Scottish Friendly to keep a spending diary over a certain time scale, take a look at our spending and then figure out where we could have made changes whether that be big or small to help us save money.

I figured it would be interesting for me to document our spending over half term week. Half term is obviously not a typical week as the kids are home for much more than they usually are, food consumption increases and days out are planned. But I was really interested to see just how much we spend because it’s quite easy to just forget all the pennies that go here and there isn’t it?

Here’s what our spending was like during half term:


Saturday was our highest spend day. We were child free which again isn’t a usual occurrence for Saturdays. We planned a shopping day and we ate out too.

£3 – Card Factory. We bought 21 cards to store in the cupboards at 7 cards for £1. A bargain!

£0.00 – Toby Carvery. Ok technically we spent £14.95 but paid the day before I started documenting by buying a Groupon offer. We saved £4.63 over all for the meal.

£4 – Poundland. I seriously love that shop for bargains. We got an extra mini paddling pool for the girls, bottles of water that we store in the car for days out and a swim noodle to go under our sofa to prevent stuff slipping under.

£82.86 – Tesco. We did a food shop to stock up on snacks and essentials for the week ahead. We only ever buy things that are on offer or the value items.

£42.30 – Sainsbury’s. Yes we ended up in a different supermarket, we spent £30 on petrol and the rest was a birthday present for my mum, crumpets and pizza.

£3 – Marks & Spencer’s. Hubby wanted to get some Percy pigs.


We get free electricity on a Sunday with British Gas, so we do all our clothes washing, hoovering and steam cleaning every Sunday. So we stay indoors and chill out.

£24.50 – Hello Fresh. We only ever have a Hello Fresh box if there’s a discount code or something similar. This one was half price.


It was bank holiday in the U.K. We ended up spending most of the day at my MiLs.

£21.20 – All five of us went swimming. This price is slightly more expensive than usual as we went to a different pool.

£12.36 – McDonald’s. Everyone was hangry after swimming so we took two chicken nugget share boxes and some burgers round to my MiLs.


We went in to town on Tuesday for a wander. We also changed our library books. We then went on a nature trail which was free and got P3s iPad fixed free of charge too.

£10.48 – Toy shop. Seriously P2 knows how to pull the heart strings. She wangled a new toy unicorn for herself and a baby horse for P3. I got told off by Hubby but I used the excuse that he had promised P2 ages ago she could have another unicorn.

£2.39 – Boots. P3 refused to hold my hand, fell and grazed her knee. She screamed as blood oozed. Hubby ran to get plasters from the nearest shop.


I felt pretty rough on Wednesday and so we stayed indoors. I sent Hubby for some essential shopping and petrol though.

£85 – Tesco. Petrol for the next big trips we needed to do.

£11.79 – Tesco. This was mainly milk, bread and some random snack items.


We had some sad news and so we arranged a last minute trip back to Essex. I spent the day with my Grandad whilst Hubby visited his Nan.

£10 – Dart Charge. We had to top up our dart charge account so we could cross the Dartford tunnel and bridge for our journey back to Essex.

£11 – Peacocks. I really didn’t want to buy new shorts but to my horror I suddenly realised I had a huge hole in my backside. Which may have not been so noticeable if I wasn’t wearing a thong!

£30 – Hair dressers. Hubby only has his hair cut by a certain person in a certain salon. Thankfully he offers him a slight discount.

£5.15 – Morrisons. Hubby bought some flowers for his Nan.


My grandad came over for the day.

£15 – Horse riding lesson. P2 rides once a week. This is the only hobby she participates in and absolutely adores.

£4.50 – Prezzo. We went to Prezzo on a blog thing. My Grandad ordered a wine and this is what the cost was for.

£5.96 – Tesco. More milk. I honestly think it may be worth while to buy a cow?

So there we have it. Our entire week of spending. I was actually so shocked to see the final amount. Like I have said before, it is Hubby that deals with absolutely everything and I run literally everything by him too. We spent a total of £389.12 which I think is a crazy amount. I was honestly expecting it to be around £150-£200, or possibly less than that.

We did incur unexpected spending like plasters and more petrol due to a last minute extra trip to Essex and the Apple Store. Despite all of this you can see where we do try our best to get deals. We use vouchers and discount codes wherever we possibly can. We found a few free activities to go to and visited the park a few times too which helped to save some money. We also never buy tea or coffee when we are out and nearly always take picnics made at home with us.

I think our spending was quite high due to it being half term and I am interested to document another more natural week to compare it. I think there are some areas that we could put our extra unneeded spending into a savings account rather than actually spending it. Like when I was persuaded to buy the toys for P2. What are you saving for? Could you make little savings?

Disclosure: This post is a collaborative post

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  1. Really interesting post!! I think I should do this. Would be interesting to see what I actually spend my money on…

  2. I think I would be shocked if I was to write mine down too! Half term means we always spend so much more, they eat SO much food!!

  3. That’s still pretty good considering it was half term. I may do a diary myself. I’m intrigued to see how much I actually spend x

  4. It’s ma how much it all adds up isn’t it x x

  5. Sarah Cantwell

    I’m so impressed with all your savings. I’m terrible so mine would be horrendous. All those little trips to Poundland add up!

  6. I think writing it all down is a really good way to see just how much you have spent. It’s all the little things which add up, I find. x

  7. I dread to think what it would be like if i documented all my spending – though i really should, I think it would be surprising x

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