Grow Your Wealth

Shop at Lidl during the week so you can fly to five different countries during the year

I’m a 28 year-old teacher living in London. I earn £38.230 a year

Illustration of £5000 surrounded by groceries

In my savings account right now I have £5000

I’ve saved this much money by budgeting, shopping in Lidl and setting a weekly budget.

I’m saving for a sense of security more than anything else. I have always been incredibly frivolous with money. Last year, I came to the realisation that most people my age have assets, investments in various forms and generally some savings… yes I started asking around! So my new years resolution from January 2019 was to start saving consistently.

The main way I save is by being disciplined, frugal, budgeting and spending consciously.

I struggle with saving because temptation is everywhere! I love travelling but this year, it has really hit me how expensive it is when you’re trying to save. Not to mention the exorbitant costs of travelling during half term. That said, this year I have been to Denmark, Germany, France, Wales and Portugal. I also have Australia booked early in the New Year.

How I Spend

Monthly expenses

Monthly pay: £2,234

  • 700 rent including bills
  • 500 Cash ISA
  • 200 in a ‘fun fund’
  • 100 emergency fund
  • 105.20 travel card
  • 10 sim only plan

Weekly spending

Accounting for all my expenses, I’m usually left with around £600. Each week I give myself a £100 budget; I usually have 1 meal out a week with my partner, we pay in turns. I use an app called Fudget to set weekly budgets and track spending. Any money left over (if ever) goes into my fun fund, which I use to fund holidays, trips away etc.


I pack last nights Spag Bol for lunch and take a slice of bread for toast & coffee later. On my way home I go to Lidl for my weekly shop. I spend £21.10 on fresh fruit and veg, rice, salmon, chicken potatoes, croutons, pitta bread and a few more basic essentials. This should last me for the week. Occasionally, I’ll pop into the shops for dinner bits.


This weekend I’m taking my nephews out for a play date. We go to an indoor soft play centre, which costs £12 for both boys. I spend £6 on two snack boxes for their lunch and £4 on lunch for myself. On our way home I treat them to two lolly toys £2.


I meet a friend for a late brunch in Morrisons café, £5 for the big breakfast meal. Spend the evening doing life admin, netflixing and getting on to making dinner.


Spend £26.30 on my weekly travel card (I don’t count this as part of my weekly budget as it’s a monthly expense) I eat my lunch- dinner left overs and get on with an unusually busy afternoon.


No money spent today. I had overnight oats for breakfast at work and salmon, mash potatoes and veg for lunch, which I brought from home as I cooked this last night.


On my way in I put £5 on my oyster as I’m heading into central London after work for dinner. I spend £10 in Longchamp (the discrepancy) as I’ve exchanged a bag. Pop into Superdrug for beauty ‘essentials’ make up brushes and a decorative piece totalling £15.12 I feel a little guilty about this but remind myself that my other new years resolution this year was to learn how to apply make up so a worthwhile investment despite poorly timed I suggest we split dinner prompted by the purchases of the evening. £23.15 for my half.


Given last night’s late night and spending, I pop into Sainsbury’s for Soup, fruit and a baguette which will be today and tomorrow’s lunch at work £5.75.

We’re not sure which subject you teach but your spending makes for a great lesson: shop at Lidl during the week so you can fly to five different countries during the year.

Main vice

If we had to be picky, we’d say tighten up the weekly spend. You said you usually budget for £100, but this week clocked in at £135.52. We’ve heard Cleo is pretty good at helping people stick to weekly budgets…

Where you’re going right

We could write an essay on this.

The spending balance you strike between boring everyday things (groceries and transport) and fun stuff (treating your nephews, travelling, dinner out with your partner) is great.

At Cleo, we believe candid conversations about money are really important, so we love that you’ve been having these. It sounds like they gave you the motivation to go on and make some great changes to your saving habits too. Nice work.

For anyone reading: Sharing saving goals and strategies with your friends is a good way to keep one another accountable. It also means you can support each other and choose activities with a lower risk of big social spending. We think every friendship group has at least one person who has been saving since they could walk – keep them close and learn their ways!

Spending plan

We think you’ve smashed this so we’ve basically copied and pasted yours:

  • 700 rent including bills
  • 500 Cash ISA
  • 200 in a ‘fun fund’
  • 100 emergency fund
  • 105.20 travel card
  • 10 sim only plan
  • 130 for food and things

For anyone reading: Having an emergency fund can reduce that annoying habit of dipping into any long-term savings.

Bottom line

If your spending resolution is anything to go by, we think you’re probably applying makeup like a beauty vlogger by now.

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