Grow Your Wealth

I’m Chloe, 26 and a Gallery Manager living in London. I earned £31,000 a year. Before Coronavirus

This time we're talking to Chloe, who is all of the above. Chloe is a fellow coffee fiend and does virtual improv comedy classes to get through isolation. Hobbies? 10/10, but let's see how her spending ranks.

Text that says 'Money diaries' surrounded by piles of cash and calculators

Chloe, you're up.

Like pretty much every industry, Fine Arts has been hit pretty hard by the economic impact of COVID-19. I was put onto the Furlough Scheme back in April, which meant my monthly income dropped to 80% of what it was. I am lucky to be in a position where this hasn’t hit my housing situation – I live with my partner who owns the flat we live in. Pre-pandemic I would pay a small amount of rent each month, which we've reduced to help out my bank balance. I’m *attempting* to save for a Settlement Visa application taking place shortly – I came to the UK five years ago to get my Master’s Degree, and I am hoping to gain settled status. Unfortunately for me, settlement comes with a cost. Upwards of £3000. Yeah.

Monthly Salary:

  • Pre Covid-19: £2,051.00.
  • Furlough pay (80%): £1,708.00


As I’m not working right now, I try to do things that keep me in some semblance of a routine. This morning I joined my girlfriend on a run. We celebrate our small exercise victory with iced coffees on our way home. We also pop into Tesco to pick up a few breakfast items. I spend £7.60 on our drinks and £2.85 on the Tesco shop. Most of the rest of the day I spend in our room doing life admin.  With spending so much more time at home, I’ve been feeling a real itch to switch up the décor, especially in our bedroom. I quite often fall down a bit of a wormhole of various Design-filled Instagram and Pinterest accounts, and today I end up buying a £90 ceramic mirror. A little more than I should really be spending right now, but I justify it by knowing that I am supporting a female artist and her business which has no doubt been hit hard by the pandemic too.  

Coffee £7.60

Breakfast bits £2.85

Ceramic mirror £90

Total: £100.54


Today is my first hair appointment since lockdown and I am thrilled! I leave around 2 hours ahead of my appointment as I am trying to walk everywhere I can to avoid public transit, both for safety and financial reasons. I arrive earlier than expected and given that the salon doesn’t allow for people to arrive more than 10 minutes prior to their appointment, I go for a stroll down the street and end up grabbing an iced chai latte and snack for £6.80 that I’ll sit within a nearby park until my appointment time. My hair eventually gets cut and feels fantastic, less fantastic is the £65 it costs me.  By the time my appointment is done I’m feeling too tired to do the hour or so walk back home, so I put on my mask and grab the bus back home for £1.50.

Pre haircut snacking £6.80

Haircut £65

Bus £1.50

Total: £73.30


I do another run this morning and end up treating myself to another post-exercise Iced Coffee treat for £4.05. This is a habit I am really trying to break, especially since my girlfriend and I invested in a new Nespresso Machine last month… Our online Tesco order arrives later that night and my card gets charged for £80.88 (my girlfriend transfers me half). Since we used the home delivery service this time, we placed a bigger order than usual and so should be stocked up for around 2 weeks.

Post-run coffee £4.05

Tesco groceries £80.88

+ £40.44 from GF for half of groceries

Total: £125.37


I spend today at home working on preparing my Settlement Visa application and with a fully stocked up kitchen there is no money spent!

Total: ZERO


This afternoon I pop out to Tesco to grab a few things we didn’t include in our online shop that are required for tonight’s dinner and spend £4.35. I finish this evening off with my weekly online improv comedy class, another attempt to occupy myself and create a sense of a routine. The fee for the 5-week course was £180, but I’ve already paid this off so there no more payments for today.

Tesco shop £4.35

Weekly total: £303.56

Cleo’s vibe

Routine queen. Spending legend. Saving… let’s talk.

Where you’re killing it

You’re giving us all a lesson in how to attempt vague scenes of normality, and safely. You pull yourself up for your post-run coffee purchases, but an iced bev is a small price to pay for your sanity. Finding joy in those small-scale treats is how we do 2020.

More on that normality routine – can guarantee at least half of us now have ‘improv classes’ tabbed. Pre-paying for that is great so you know exactly what you’ve got to work with for the rest of the month.

You’re online grocery shopping and in bulk, so you get two huge ticks for being both indoors and financially sensible! Speaking of. The walking. It’s great. The odd bus trip here and there is well within your means.

Where you’re... not killing it

So, that’s your spending and attitude championed. Now let’s talk about the scary stuff. Like saving. Not much fun looking in the beautiful mirror you bought when you’re met with a stressed face (big yes to the female-owned independent business though. You know how to win us over). You do well with putting a chunk of money aside each month, but you can get dynamic.


The one thing we know about 2020, is that we all know nothing at all in terms of what's coming. Having a fixed savings transfer each month is great for commitment, but you can definitely make it more dynamic right now if you need – some months will be better than others financially, and you might find you end up putting more in when you're not tied to doing so.

You’re killer at moving through the motions, but in a totally non dull way which is key right now. Why not add saving to it? You can create an automated Savings rule with Cleo. Each time you spend somewhere in your killer routine – let’s say that coffee shop you run past – Cleo will automatically pull £1 (or however much you decide to set) and drop it into a savings pot for you. That way you get your coffee and your Visa. And you hardly think about it. Only 3,000 coffees to go.

Have you thought about setting up a weekly budget? With all of your spending categories mapped out, you could give yourself some treat room while also feeling like the totally productive and responsible queen you are.

Oh, and we’d love to see the hair before and after pics. Huge and exciting news.

Still have questions? Find answers below.
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