Money Diaries

What do other people’s finances really look like?

Ever wonder what other people’s budgets actually look like? Spoiler alert – a lot of us don’t even have one! It’s all too easy to assume that everyone else has got it all figured out, but that’s often not the case.

Here, four candid volunteers share a truly honest look at their finances, warts and all. Then our Barclays Money Mentors® Grace and Fabio offer tips to help them take the next steps towards improving their money habits.


I'm a salesperson's dream.

Hi, I'm Megan.

I'm 26 and a mum of one, and I'm an operations manager.

I spent 850 on my rent, 170 pounds on utility bills.

I spend about a hundred pounds on food shopping, but then I spend about 200

pounds on eating out or takeaways because

I don't have time to cook.

I don't spend anything on childcare yet.

And so, at the moment it is literally milk and nappies. Transport, a hundred pounds.

I just fill up my car with petrol and leave it at that. I spend about 10

pounds in subscriptions just for like, apps and stuff on my phone.

And then 30 pounds here, 50 pounds there on clothes.

25 pounds on the gym.

My phone bill is 80 pound a month.

And my home insurance is 17 pounds.

When it comes to budgeting,

I'm not very good at it at all, I get money, I get paid.

And then I feel like I need to treat myself.

I always make sure that everything

is paid and done before I

will spend anything on myself.

I am good at managing that side of things.

I always make sure that all the bills are paid on time

and that there's enough money in our bank account to make

sure that everything's covered.


I went to Paris once and decided that I needed to buy a handbag that



over a thousand pounds.

It's not something I make a habit of.

Because I don't have to pay for childcare or anything like that.

I don't feel like I've really experienced how expensive a baby can be.

And I am trying to figure out ways to be a bit more money savvy or

budget or put things in pots.

If I could find out more information, I would say probably saving options

like ISAs and things like that

would be more beneficial.

we have 20,000 in savings from our house sale.

We try and save 200 pounds every two weeks.

And then when I go back to work we're going to, the plan is to double it

so we can, we can buy somewhere.

I just want to make sure that I'm in a financial position

So that my daughter, when she wants to go to school, everything's good

and settled and comfortable for her.


I was writing down my

transactions as well

and I thought I only had three

Drinks last night, but it turns

out it was about six or eight.

I'm Gajan, I'm 28 and I'm a graphic designer.



 phone, 21 pounds, software

25 pounds and then

internet, 60 pounds, counselling, 25.

I live at home so

 mum does all the cooking, but

I just spend a lot of money

on delivery services,

so 240 pounds apparently in the last month.

I was writing down my

transactions as well,

and a lot of them is

like pub, pub, pub, pub.

And that's all about, like

six pounds each, around that.

One of them is eight pounds

I bought Mac n cheese.

Eating out – 19. Transport – 17 pounds.

Since I got stuck out because of the tube strike

I ended up in Ilford staying at a friend's

house. My meditation yearly subscriptions,

about 50. Streaming service for 13.99.

I've decided to get a fitness

coach, a hundred for deposit,

and I don't pay rent either

so I don't know where the money's going.

I tried to budget.

I make several budgeting plans every year.

But I never keep to them, 

But I just don't like having to

just always watch everything.

I also just kind of want to live as well.

I've wanted to save like 400 a month.

I don't pay rent so that money

could definitely just go

into a savings account.

and also I wanna start

my own business as well.

I'm reading into children's

books and he things like that. 

Like, illustrating.

I'd want to start something up for myself like that so,

I'm making positive steps to learn

more about savings and budgeting as well.

So I'm feeling much more optimistic about my financial future.


I told the Mrs it was a couple of hundred

quid, but it wasn't like, a couple hundred quid.

I'm Paul, thirty three.

Self-employed Plasterer.

I live at home with my partner and three children.

A typical month expenses,

I pay half my rent, which is 600, half on

bills, which is probably about

150 to 200, food is the killer,

500 quid.

But family of five, we live dead opposite

a garage in fact, a convenience

shop and I spend a lot of money

in that local garage. Kids, it's

got to be in excess of 300 quid

Eating out, 150. 


we do like to go to the

cinema, a hundred pound on that.

My personal care, 50 to 60 pound a month.

Transport, that's 200 pounds.

Childcare is about 200.

I've got my van insurance – 50

And my car insurance is about 80.

My phone bill is about 50.

My little guilty pleasure is my golf.

It was, used to be the

football, but now it's golf.

Anyone who plays golf

knows how expensive it is.

I needed a new driver.

And yeah, I mean, I told, I told the Mrs it was a couple of

hundred quid,

but it wasn't a couple of hundred quid.

It was probably pushing 500.

Um, I probably spend

120, 150 pounds a month.

There's areas of money that I'd like to

be better at I suppose. 

A lot of my money I used

to save, but you know, now, having three kids,

no time to really do any

spreadsheets or anything.

It's probably just an

excuse saying I've haven't got time.

But you know, I should, I

should get better with my money.

I've got a couple of savings

accounts and I don't know

anything about savings accounts.

I don't know how much money they earn me.

I should really,

I should shop around and get the best savings account.

So yeah, five, five to ten

years, like more, I'd like more employees,

I'd like the business to grow.

We're getting married next year

so I'd love to be in a home.

I'd love to be in a home

for me and the kids.

So I suppose to goal would be to have

enough for the deposit to get us in that,

to get us in that home and get us going.


I mean, this jumper was an impulse buy.

this was like, 300 pounds,

I was just like, d'you know what,

I deserve it, I'm gonna get it.

My name is Talah.

I'm 28 years young.

I'm a single mother and

currently working as a broadcast journalist.

My rent is 825 pound.

My childcare isn't too bad

cause my son's at school now,

so I just pay a little bit, a

few quid a few days a week to send

them in early. My bills come in at

about just over 400. 

Like, food shop,I said about 200 quid, 

about 150 on eating out.

Personal care, 

I like to get my nails done. I like to get my lashes done.

And transport – I spend

upwards of 150 

pounds on diesel a month I reckon.

Streaming music subscriptions and stuff, all of that

comes to about 60 pound a month. 

30 pounds a month, gym. My phone bill's 65 pounds.

What I used to be spending my

money on was impulsive trips.

I'd book a weekend away,

go Holland, go Berlin.

Like, oh yeah, I'm bored.

Boom, bang, oh yeah –

I'll do that.

Like thinking, ah that's a cheap trip. These

times you go and you spend 400, 500 euros

In two days and you come back like 'ah'.

As a single mother.

I have to prioritise, you know,

making sure that those really

vital outgoings are paid.

The only saving I managed to do

every month is into my son's savings account

That I opened for him when he was born.

The little bits that I do, you know, that 

I do put away,

if I can maximize that, but it's a low

risk way of saving, you know, I'm not

willing to lose the money that I put away

for him, my money, you know, can come

and go, but that's like, his nest egg.

I would love to one day

be able to move abroad.

That's, that's definitely one of

my lifelong ambitions.

My circumstances,

I think, aren't,

could be a lot worse, they're not too bad.

They could, but they could

also be a lot better.

So I'm taking conscious steps to try

and look at the bigger picture and yeah,

just be in a position to support my son

when, when the time comes, when he's an

adult, I'd like to be financially stable

enough to help him out if he needs it.

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