How I Save: The 24-year-old in St Albans with £50.78 saved

Amber tends to spend on food and tattoos (Picture:

How I Save is a weekly series in which we take a look inside a week of someone’s spending and saving to see what we can learn.*

*Whether from their budgeting tricks or a lesson in what not to do.

We do this because we’re all a little uncomfortable talking about money. That’s a problem when we have no clue what we’re doing, finance-wise, and feel too embarrassed to ask for help.

Last week we tracked the spending and saving of a 28-year-old in Preston earning £30,000.

This time we’re chatting with Amber (not her real name, as people can get nasty about money habits), a 24-year-old content consultant living in St Albans.

How Amber Saves:

I earn £28,000 a year and in my savings account right now I have £50.78.

I save by putting aside any money I have leftover outside my assigned budget.

I’m saving for a rainy day. My partner and I have a joint account with our holiday savings, so my personal savings are for anything I like. Realistically, I’d like to keep saving my half of a deposit for our next house as we’ll probably move in four years due to the interest rates on our Help to Buy loan.

The main way I save is by working from home. My company allows us to work from home up to three days a week, so every month I put aside my estimated monthly commute in a Monzo savings pot.

I buy my tickets daily (£17.25), so when I work from home, I can save money from the budget I’ve already accounted for.

I struggle with saving because some months require more budget for socialising. I think it’s important to spend money on experiences and social events with friends and family, but this can take a hit on my monthly budget. Therefore, I’ll sometimes keep the saved ticket fare to pay for lunch or whatever I have planned.

(Picture: Ella Byworth for

How Amber spends:

Monthly expenses:

  • Bills: £683 (my half of the mortgage, electricity, water, Netflix, Spotify and gym)
  • Food shopping for £87
  • Monthly commute (depends on the number of working days): £250-350

A week of spending:

Monday: McDonald’s breakfast is £8.68 and lunch to celebrate my partner’s birthday is £19.06.

Tuesday: Lunch from work’s canteen costs £4.75 (jerk chicken and rice!) and milk for work, as we’d run out, is 50p.

Wednesday: £3.50 on shampoo and shower gel to shower at work and then £1.10 on crisps from the work canteen. It’s extortionate, but my card didn’t work at Sainsbury’s.

Thursday: The trains were cancelled on my way home, so we got sausage and chips through Deliveroo for £13.09.

Friday: I work from home on Fridays, so I spent nothing!

Saturday: I had my half sleeve filled in, so I spent £180, however this was taken from my savings account that I had planned for.

Sunday: A hangover from the previous night meant Sunday was spent sitting on the sofa binge-watching Big Mouth, and no spending!

Total spent this week: £230.68

How Amber could save:

We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Charli can save better (and what we can learn from her spending).

Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice, especially for a London budget. 

Here’s what Cleo said:

Main vice:

Treating your savings as a personal stash for fun stuff is all well and good, but you might want to put a little structure in place if you want to bring that rainy day fund to life (more on this later).

Where you’re going right:

We’re totally on the same page when it comes to social spending. Money for experiences and quality time with loved ones is super important. Stick at it.

The way you’re using saved ticket fares to fund those experiences – so nifty.

For anyone reading: If you’re in a position to work from home, try to take advantage of this. No travel costs and lunch straight from the fridge!

Spending plan:

We think you have about £1,880 a month to work with.

Safe to spend: You let us know that your total monthly expenses come to £1,220, and we believe you.

Safe to burn: £590 a month for all the fun stuff including hangovers, time with friends, and the occasional Deliveroo pick-me-up.

Safe to save: We’re going to set you a provisional goal of £70 a month. That’s £40 for your rainy day fund, and £30 for your holiday savings.

Bottom line:

Try to include all the spending in your budget (even the cash withdrawal at 3am for the McDonald’s you were craving and the resulting change that you’ve since lost).

How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing

MORE: How I Save: The 24-year-old in Birmingham earning £21,000 a year with £9,450 saved

MORE: How I Save: The 24-year-old blogger and consultant with £75,000 saved

MORE: How I Save: The British expat IT sales manager in Dubai with £314,678 saved


READ  Modern manners: From inbox zero to the perils of the blue tick, the new rules of digital etiquette

Leave a Reply