Money Diary: An Intensive Care Doctor On 54k In London

·19-min read

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.

This week: "I am a 31-year-old doctor working in London and I’ve been specialising in anaesthesia and intensive care for the last six years. Last year was very challenging as I spent most of the year looking after patients with severe COVID, as well as trying to finish my postgraduate exams. It was exhausting to work 80-hour weeks, especially in full PPE. It was also emotionally really hard to see so many patients dying or seriously debilitated from COVID. By the end of 2020 I was burnt out, so I decided to reduce my working hours to 80% which meant taking a bit of a pay cut. My mental and physical health is slowly recovering, and I don’t think I’ll go back to full-time hours any time soon.

I live with my husband (B) who works in charity (right now he’s working from home) and earns about the same as me. We have our own current accounts but share our savings. Two years ago when we got engaged, we started planning a big fat Indian wedding. Then we realised that a big wedding wasn’t really our style so we had a tiny civil ceremony at our local town hall, and used our savings for a deposit on our flat instead. After moving seven times in the last 10 years for medical school and hospital rotations, it was amazing to finally put down roots and have a space to call my own.

Growing up, my parents worked extremely hard but weren’t very good with money, and I always felt anxious about it. I’m definitely a saver rather than a spender but sometimes I do impulse buy things to make myself feel better, and then end up feeling guilty about it. Recently I’ve tried to relax my day-to-day spending, and indulge a bit more on things like fancy groceries and skincare, and a few months ago I splashed out and got Invisalign braces. Perfect timing as I’m practically always wearing a mask!

Industry: NHS
Age: 31
Location: London
Salary: Approx. £54,000 (used to be £65,000 when I worked full time)
Paycheque amount: Varies based on shifts but usually £2,950/month after tax, student loan, NI and pension. I sometimes do extra shifts which amounts to £300-500/month.
Number of housemates: One, my husband B.

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: Mortgage £745 (for my half). Our mortgage is a two-year fixed deal at 1.29%. Ground rent £125/year. No service charge.
Loan payments: Student loan £356/month (plan one) taken directly from my pay. I have about £11,000 left to pay.
Utilities: £40/month energy, £73/month council tax (both my half). Water (about £200) and home insurance (about £350) is paid annually.
Transportation: I work in central London so get either monthly or weekly travelcards depending on how many shifts I’m working. Usually it’s about £150/month.
Phone bill: £20/month for a SIM-only deal including unlimited data (I hotspot from my phone data instead of having broadband)
Savings: B and I each save on average £1000/month and currently have £29,000 in savings. Normally we would use this to overpay on the mortgage, but we are thinking about starting a family so we might keep some aside for maternity leave and baby-related costs.
Other: £250 a month into a joint account, which covers our groceries, meals out, date nights etc. Also shaving subscription £9.99, Netflix £14.99, donation to Wikimedia £9.99. Spotify Family £9.99. iCloud £0.99. I also pay £408/year for my medical license, £175/year for Royal College of Anaesthetists membership and £130/year for medical indemnity. I claim back tax on these as they are work expenses. Earlier this year I started Invisalign. I’ve always been very conscious of my teeth and decided to finally get them straightened. I found a great local dentist who takes payments in instalments and so far I’ve paid £2,000 towards it and have £800 left to pay.

If you’d like to submit your own money diary then please do send a bit of information about you and your situation to moneydiary@refinery29.uk. We pay £100 for each published diary. Apologies but we’re not able to reply to every email.

<strong>Day One</strong><br> <br>7am: I wake up and straight away drink a big glass of water. We are in a heatwave and I wake up sweaty and dehydrated. I put on some leggings and a t-shirt and go for a walk around the block. <br><br>8am: I’m off work today as I had an extra day of annual leave! I do some stretches and then group call my mum and grandma. Today would have been my Dad’s birthday (he died a few years ago). We all have a little cry and talk about how much we miss him. My grandma gives me the recipe to one of my Dad’s favourite dishes (spiced Punjabi chickpeas). I prep by boiling the chickpeas and leave them to soak with a few teabags. B makes me coffee and gives me a long hug before he heads off to start work in the living room. <br><br>8.45am: Eat breakfast of overnight oats with nuts, seeds and honey, and some melon with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Read my Kindle while I eat. I’m about to finish <em>Luster</em> by Raven Leilani and I’m not sure how I feel about it. <br><br>10am: I shower and head out on the bus to do some errands (£1.50). I notice a lot of people not wearing masks but I keep mine firmly on – the pandemic isn’t over people! I post a scarf I sold on Vinted (£1.99 postage paid by the buyer), and get some toiletries from Superdrug (£3).<br><br>11am: I get the tube to Kings Cross (£2.60). I have a voucher for a free small plate and chai from Dishoom, so I decide to go there for lunch. I get keema pau, chai and my dad’s favourite dessert, mango kulfi. I must have looked a bit down whilst eating it because the waitress gives me the kulfi for free.<br><br>1pm: I get the bus to Angel (£1.50) and go to Cass Art. Art is one of my post-COVID relaxation hobbies, and even though I’m a very average artist, I like that it takes my mind off work anxiety. I buy a new sketchpad and some oil pastels (£15.50).<br><br>4pm: I get home and finish cooking the chickpea dish and I’m really happy with the end result. B and I eat together whilst catching up on each others' days. We also talk about how I’ve been pretty down and not myself for a while now. We chat about therapy and I research a few therapists nearby.<br><br>7pm: Head out to the park to meet my brother for a local short film festival. I buy us some drinks and a brownie to share, and also pay for his pizza (total £16.50). My brother is much younger than me and earns minimum wage so I pay for him whenever possible. The films aren’t that great but the park looks dreamy with fairy lights, live jazz and people spread about on blankets.<br><br>9.30pm: I walk home, shower and do skincare. My maskne is flaring up a bit so I use my secret weapon – Paula’s Choice BHA exfoliant (it’s a miracle worker!) I get into bed, big spoon with B and fall asleep straightaway. <br><br><strong>Total: £40.60</strong>
Day One

7am: I wake up and straight away drink a big glass of water. We are in a heatwave and I wake up sweaty and dehydrated. I put on some leggings and a t-shirt and go for a walk around the block.

8am: I’m off work today as I had an extra day of annual leave! I do some stretches and then group call my mum and grandma. Today would have been my Dad’s birthday (he died a few years ago). We all have a little cry and talk about how much we miss him. My grandma gives me the recipe to one of my Dad’s favourite dishes (spiced Punjabi chickpeas). I prep by boiling the chickpeas and leave them to soak with a few teabags. B makes me coffee and gives me a long hug before he heads off to start work in the living room.

8.45am: Eat breakfast of overnight oats with nuts, seeds and honey, and some melon with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Read my Kindle while I eat. I’m about to finish Luster by Raven Leilani and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

10am: I shower and head out on the bus to do some errands (£1.50). I notice a lot of people not wearing masks but I keep mine firmly on – the pandemic isn’t over people! I post a scarf I sold on Vinted (£1.99 postage paid by the buyer), and get some toiletries from Superdrug (£3).

11am: I get the tube to Kings Cross (£2.60). I have a voucher for a free small plate and chai from Dishoom, so I decide to go there for lunch. I get keema pau, chai and my dad’s favourite dessert, mango kulfi. I must have looked a bit down whilst eating it because the waitress gives me the kulfi for free.

1pm: I get the bus to Angel (£1.50) and go to Cass Art. Art is one of my post-COVID relaxation hobbies, and even though I’m a very average artist, I like that it takes my mind off work anxiety. I buy a new sketchpad and some oil pastels (£15.50).

4pm: I get home and finish cooking the chickpea dish and I’m really happy with the end result. B and I eat together whilst catching up on each others' days. We also talk about how I’ve been pretty down and not myself for a while now. We chat about therapy and I research a few therapists nearby.

7pm: Head out to the park to meet my brother for a local short film festival. I buy us some drinks and a brownie to share, and also pay for his pizza (total £16.50). My brother is much younger than me and earns minimum wage so I pay for him whenever possible. The films aren’t that great but the park looks dreamy with fairy lights, live jazz and people spread about on blankets.

9.30pm: I walk home, shower and do skincare. My maskne is flaring up a bit so I use my secret weapon – Paula’s Choice BHA exfoliant (it’s a miracle worker!) I get into bed, big spoon with B and fall asleep straightaway.

Total: £40.60
<strong>Day Two</strong><br><br>5.40am: I roll out of bed and into the shower. I pack my bag, put some salmon out to defrost, and speed-walk to the station. I buy a Zone 1-3 Travelcard which covers all travel for the next seven days (£43.50). I know TFL says it’s the same price as tapping in and out but I swear I end up paying more! I get an Earl Grey tea from Pret on the way in. (£2.10)<br><br>7am: Arrive at work, get changed and go straight to theatre. The theatre team has a quick meeting to introduce ourselves and go through the plan for the day. Along with surgeons, there are also scrub nurses, anaesthetic assistants and bypass technicians in our team. Today we are doing two heart bypass surgeries, each one takes about five hours so I get started on getting drugs and equipment prepared. I quickly eat my overnight oats in the coffee room.<br><br>9am: The first patient is super anxious so I try to crack some jokes and make them feel relaxed. Turns out they can’t hear me behind the face mask and joke falls flat (awkward). To start the anaesthetic, I give the patient some sedatives and drift them slowly to sleep and onto a ventilator. Even after doing six years of training, I’m still fascinated by how anaesthetic drugs work! During the surgery, I control the patient's breathing and vital signs, and keep them asleep with anaesthetic gas. There’s some bleeding (very common in heart surgery) so I give them a blood transfusion. My boss gets coffee for the whole team. <br><br>12pm: The first operation is finished and we move the patient to the intensive care unit (ICU). I have a break for lunch where I eat leftover chickpeas in a wrap and an apple. I also get a minestrone soup from the canteen because I feel like something warm (£1.70). <br><br>5.30pm: We spend the rest of the afternoon on the second case. Luckily, both surgeries were straightforward so I get to leave work on time for the weekend (quite a rare event so I do a little happy dance in the changing room). On the way home I see half-price sushi and can’t resist a pack of salmon nigiri (£4).<br><br>6.15pm: I get home and have a phone call with a potential therapist. He seems very nice and we talk for a long time about my reasons for wanting therapy and how he could help. He suggests we do a face-to-face session and his fee is £80/hour, which is a lot more than I expected! Afterwards B and I have dinner (pan fried salmon with a soy miso glaze, rice and sushi) and talk about therapy. I think the cost is too high but B tells me it’s worth it, and I agree to think about it. <br><br>9pm: I watch a few episodes of <em>My Unorthodox Life</em> and fall asleep on the sofa until midnight, when B wakes me up and moves me upstairs. <br> <br><strong>Total: £51.30</strong>
Day Two

5.40am: I roll out of bed and into the shower. I pack my bag, put some salmon out to defrost, and speed-walk to the station. I buy a Zone 1-3 Travelcard which covers all travel for the next seven days (£43.50). I know TFL says it’s the same price as tapping in and out but I swear I end up paying more! I get an Earl Grey tea from Pret on the way in. (£2.10)

7am: Arrive at work, get changed and go straight to theatre. The theatre team has a quick meeting to introduce ourselves and go through the plan for the day. Along with surgeons, there are also scrub nurses, anaesthetic assistants and bypass technicians in our team. Today we are doing two heart bypass surgeries, each one takes about five hours so I get started on getting drugs and equipment prepared. I quickly eat my overnight oats in the coffee room.

9am: The first patient is super anxious so I try to crack some jokes and make them feel relaxed. Turns out they can’t hear me behind the face mask and joke falls flat (awkward). To start the anaesthetic, I give the patient some sedatives and drift them slowly to sleep and onto a ventilator. Even after doing six years of training, I’m still fascinated by how anaesthetic drugs work! During the surgery, I control the patient's breathing and vital signs, and keep them asleep with anaesthetic gas. There’s some bleeding (very common in heart surgery) so I give them a blood transfusion. My boss gets coffee for the whole team.

12pm: The first operation is finished and we move the patient to the intensive care unit (ICU). I have a break for lunch where I eat leftover chickpeas in a wrap and an apple. I also get a minestrone soup from the canteen because I feel like something warm (£1.70).

5.30pm: We spend the rest of the afternoon on the second case. Luckily, both surgeries were straightforward so I get to leave work on time for the weekend (quite a rare event so I do a little happy dance in the changing room). On the way home I see half-price sushi and can’t resist a pack of salmon nigiri (£4).

6.15pm: I get home and have a phone call with a potential therapist. He seems very nice and we talk for a long time about my reasons for wanting therapy and how he could help. He suggests we do a face-to-face session and his fee is £80/hour, which is a lot more than I expected! Afterwards B and I have dinner (pan fried salmon with a soy miso glaze, rice and sushi) and talk about therapy. I think the cost is too high but B tells me it’s worth it, and I agree to think about it.

9pm: I watch a few episodes of My Unorthodox Life and fall asleep on the sofa until midnight, when B wakes me up and moves me upstairs.

Total: £51.30
<strong>Day Three</strong><br> <br>7am: Wake up early as B’s dad is visiting us for the weekend. B cleans the flat and gets the spare room ready, while I head out for groceries as I’m attempting an Indian feast for dinner tonight. I get lamb mince from the butcher, butter, onions, spices, tonic water, flowers and an assortment of fruit and veg (£9.40 for my half).<br> <br>10am: B’s dad arrives and it’s so great to see him after more than a year. We have tea at home and show him all the renovations we’ve done to the flat. We walk to our favourite cheap and cheerful café for brunch where I get a spinach and feta omelette on sourdough. B and I pay for brunch (£13.75 for my half).<br> <br>12pm: B’s dad has health issues so we try to avoid indoor/crowded spaces. We spend the afternoon at a nature reserve. At home, I watch the Olympics and get started on dinner. <br> <br>6pm: Dinner is ready! We have lamb kebabs, cumin rice, tadka dal and cucumber raita, with rose and pistachio ice cream for dessert (*chef’s kiss*).<br> <br>9pm: B sets up the projector in the living room and I get popcorn, gin and tonics for us, and non-alcoholic beer for B’s dad. We watch <em>Moneyball</em> and chat late into the night. <br><br><strong>Total: £23.15</strong>
Day Three

7am: Wake up early as B’s dad is visiting us for the weekend. B cleans the flat and gets the spare room ready, while I head out for groceries as I’m attempting an Indian feast for dinner tonight. I get lamb mince from the butcher, butter, onions, spices, tonic water, flowers and an assortment of fruit and veg (£9.40 for my half).

10am: B’s dad arrives and it’s so great to see him after more than a year. We have tea at home and show him all the renovations we’ve done to the flat. We walk to our favourite cheap and cheerful café for brunch where I get a spinach and feta omelette on sourdough. B and I pay for brunch (£13.75 for my half).

12pm: B’s dad has health issues so we try to avoid indoor/crowded spaces. We spend the afternoon at a nature reserve. At home, I watch the Olympics and get started on dinner.

6pm: Dinner is ready! We have lamb kebabs, cumin rice, tadka dal and cucumber raita, with rose and pistachio ice cream for dessert (*chef’s kiss*).

9pm: B sets up the projector in the living room and I get popcorn, gin and tonics for us, and non-alcoholic beer for B’s dad. We watch Moneyball and chat late into the night.

Total: £23.15
<strong>Day Four </strong><br><br>8am: Wake up as I hear B’s dad pottering about in the kitchen. We have coffee together and he points out every bird, plant and insect in the garden as I nod along sleepily. I make a massive pot of porridge for the three of us which we have with fruit and honey. <br> <br>10am: My street does volunteer litter picking on Sunday mornings so I join for a bit. It's surprisingly therapeutic to pick up crisp packets and cigarette butts. <br> <br>12pm: My back and neck feel very tense so I book a Thai massage for this afternoon. B and his dad go for a walk and his dad returns with cash for the massage as a surprise belated birthday present for me! For lunch we have samosas with mint and coriander chutney and Bombay mix. <br> <br>3.30pm: It’s forecasted to storm but I decide to walk to the massage place to get some fresh air. Big mistake! There is lightning and mini flash floods, and I have to wade through some massive puddles and arrive looking like a drowned rat. The massage is both brutal and heavenly (£44 but paid for by B’s dad). <br> <br>6pm: I meet up with B and his dad at a pizzeria. I get a quattro stagioni pizza with sparkling water. B and I pay for dinner (£17.55 for my half). We head home and B puts towels down in our attic as our roof has a tendency to surprise us with leaks. We watch <em>The Big Short</em> on the projector before heading to bed around 10pm.<br> <br><strong>Total: £17.55</strong>
Day Four

8am: Wake up as I hear B’s dad pottering about in the kitchen. We have coffee together and he points out every bird, plant and insect in the garden as I nod along sleepily. I make a massive pot of porridge for the three of us which we have with fruit and honey.

10am: My street does volunteer litter picking on Sunday mornings so I join for a bit. It's surprisingly therapeutic to pick up crisp packets and cigarette butts.

12pm: My back and neck feel very tense so I book a Thai massage for this afternoon. B and his dad go for a walk and his dad returns with cash for the massage as a surprise belated birthday present for me! For lunch we have samosas with mint and coriander chutney and Bombay mix.

3.30pm: It’s forecasted to storm but I decide to walk to the massage place to get some fresh air. Big mistake! There is lightning and mini flash floods, and I have to wade through some massive puddles and arrive looking like a drowned rat. The massage is both brutal and heavenly (£44 but paid for by B’s dad).

6pm: I meet up with B and his dad at a pizzeria. I get a quattro stagioni pizza with sparkling water. B and I pay for dinner (£17.55 for my half). We head home and B puts towels down in our attic as our roof has a tendency to surprise us with leaks. We watch The Big Short on the projector before heading to bed around 10pm.

Total: £17.55
<strong>Day Five</strong><br> <br>7.45am: Wake up and join B’s dad in the kitchen for coffee. Even though it's Monday I have the day off as I’m working long shifts in ICU from tomorrow. I make a quick breakfast of Greek yoghurt with seeds, honey and a plum. B’s dad leaves after breakfast and I’m sad to see him go. <br><br>9.30am: I shower, wash my hair and get ready for the day. I experienced stress-related hair thinning after my Dad died (which thankfully recovered after about a year), so I try to be extra gentle with my hair now. My hair is curly so I try out my new diffuser hairdryer attachment. I blow dry with my head upside down and flip my hair back and forth like I’m in an Herbal Essences ad as B watches with amusement. <br><br>10am: I walk to the dentist for an Invisalign check-up but when I get there, the power’s out because of the flood. The receptionist is very apologetic and reschedules for a few weeks' time. I go to a café to do some life admin where I get a peppermint tea. An almond croissant is beckoning me so I get that too (£5.90).<br><br>11.30am: Take the bus to London Fields to meet my friend T and her adorable puppy. We wander around Broadway Market where we admire plant pots and record shops while her puppy bounces around and licks every person on the street. We sit in an open air bakery and get lentil soups and flatbreads. T is also a doctor and struggling with work too, so it feels good to decompress about our work situations. T pays as I got the bill last time. <br><br>3pm: I get the Overground home and stop at the shops to get groceries. I get sourdough, sweet potato, peppers, bananas, Greek yoghurt, dark chocolate, oat milk, broccoli, pears, carrots, rocket, eggs and a single green chilli. (£8.40 for my half).<br><br>4pm: Get home and batch cook meals for B and I for the next few days. I try to take all my meals to work as it stops me from eating too much junk and relying on sugar to get through the day. I make roasted vegetable and goat's cheese salad, overnight oats, and subji (Indian spiced vegetables) with rice. Whilst cooking I catch up on Season Two of <em>Never Have I Ever</em>… I love that it has an Indian protagonist and Devi’s family are hilarious! Highly recommend.<br><br>7.30pm: B and I eat leftovers from Saturday night, then I get hungry again soon after and eat a piece of toast with gorgonzola, plus another piece of toast with peanut butter and honey for dessert. I can’t understand my appetite at the moment, but I’m just letting my body do it’s thing…<br><br>9pm: Whilst B cleans the flat, I pack my bag for tomorrow, do my skincare and wind down with some Kindle time. I download <em>Shuggie Bain</em> (£5.99) and so far, its excellent. Lights out at 10pm.<br> <br><strong>Total: £20.29</strong>
Day Five

7.45am: Wake up and join B’s dad in the kitchen for coffee. Even though it's Monday I have the day off as I’m working long shifts in ICU from tomorrow. I make a quick breakfast of Greek yoghurt with seeds, honey and a plum. B’s dad leaves after breakfast and I’m sad to see him go.

9.30am: I shower, wash my hair and get ready for the day. I experienced stress-related hair thinning after my Dad died (which thankfully recovered after about a year), so I try to be extra gentle with my hair now. My hair is curly so I try out my new diffuser hairdryer attachment. I blow dry with my head upside down and flip my hair back and forth like I’m in an Herbal Essences ad as B watches with amusement.

10am: I walk to the dentist for an Invisalign check-up but when I get there, the power’s out because of the flood. The receptionist is very apologetic and reschedules for a few weeks' time. I go to a café to do some life admin where I get a peppermint tea. An almond croissant is beckoning me so I get that too (£5.90).

11.30am: Take the bus to London Fields to meet my friend T and her adorable puppy. We wander around Broadway Market where we admire plant pots and record shops while her puppy bounces around and licks every person on the street. We sit in an open air bakery and get lentil soups and flatbreads. T is also a doctor and struggling with work too, so it feels good to decompress about our work situations. T pays as I got the bill last time.

3pm: I get the Overground home and stop at the shops to get groceries. I get sourdough, sweet potato, peppers, bananas, Greek yoghurt, dark chocolate, oat milk, broccoli, pears, carrots, rocket, eggs and a single green chilli. (£8.40 for my half).

4pm: Get home and batch cook meals for B and I for the next few days. I try to take all my meals to work as it stops me from eating too much junk and relying on sugar to get through the day. I make roasted vegetable and goat's cheese salad, overnight oats, and subji (Indian spiced vegetables) with rice. Whilst cooking I catch up on Season Two of Never Have I Ever… I love that it has an Indian protagonist and Devi’s family are hilarious! Highly recommend.

7.30pm: B and I eat leftovers from Saturday night, then I get hungry again soon after and eat a piece of toast with gorgonzola, plus another piece of toast with peanut butter and honey for dessert. I can’t understand my appetite at the moment, but I’m just letting my body do it’s thing…

9pm: Whilst B cleans the flat, I pack my bag for tomorrow, do my skincare and wind down with some Kindle time. I download Shuggie Bain (£5.99) and so far, its excellent. Lights out at 10pm.

Total: £20.29
<strong>Day Six</strong><br><br>5.30am: You would think after six years I would be used to this but nope. I still snooze at least twice until B gently kicks me out of bed. I shower, put on minimal makeup, pack my lunch and am out the door by 6.30am to get the train to work. On the way, I get an oat cappuccino from Pret (£2.85).<br><br>7.15am: Arrive at work, change into scrubs and settle into the office with my breakfast for the ICU handover. This week I’m in cardiac ICU, where the patients recover from heart/lung surgery. The night doctor gives me the update of their status, who’s getting better and who’s deteriorating etc. One patient in particular is very sick and may need emergency surgery this morning.<br><br>9am: Our team for the day is the consultant, a second year doctor, the matron and me. We do the ward round and see each patient in turn. The very sick patient is more stable and doesn’t need surgery just yet, but needs dialysis as his kidneys are failing. I leave the ward round for an hour to insert a dialysis tube into a vein in his groin and start him on the dialysis machine.<br><br>12pm: We finish up the ward round and I do the paperwork for the patients who are going to be discharged, as well as updating drug prescriptions and requesting scans. I take a quick lunch break and eat my salad and an apple with a cup of tea (we get free tea and coffee from the canteen). <br><br>2.30pm: I have a meeting with the physiotherapists and occupational therapists where we discuss the long stay patients and their care plan. Before the meeting I run down to the hospital shop and get some crisps for me and my colleague (£2.10).<br><br>4pm: My bleep goes off – it’s a cardiac arrest call to one of the medical wards. I grab my emergency equipment and drugs, and run up to the sixth floor. Arrive sweaty and out of breath; not a good look! Luckily the patient had only fainted and is now safely tucked into their bed. I slowly walk back to the ICU where we do an afternoon ward round and then I update relatives on the phone. <br><br>8pm: I do the evening handover with the night doctor, get changed and run to catch my train home. On the train I browse online for a new sunscreen as mine as run out. I buy the La Roche Posay Anthelios Liquid SPF based on great reviews for sensitive skin - its pricy but I think it’s worth the long term investment (£17.30).<br><br>9pm: I get home and talk with B about our days. Then I take a quick shower, do basic skincare and read for a bit before bedtime at 10pm.<br> <br><strong>Total: £22.25</strong>
Day Six

5.30am: You would think after six years I would be used to this but nope. I still snooze at least twice until B gently kicks me out of bed. I shower, put on minimal makeup, pack my lunch and am out the door by 6.30am to get the train to work. On the way, I get an oat cappuccino from Pret (£2.85).

7.15am: Arrive at work, change into scrubs and settle into the office with my breakfast for the ICU handover. This week I’m in cardiac ICU, where the patients recover from heart/lung surgery. The night doctor gives me the update of their status, who’s getting better and who’s deteriorating etc. One patient in particular is very sick and may need emergency surgery this morning.

9am: Our team for the day is the consultant, a second year doctor, the matron and me. We do the ward round and see each patient in turn. The very sick patient is more stable and doesn’t need surgery just yet, but needs dialysis as his kidneys are failing. I leave the ward round for an hour to insert a dialysis tube into a vein in his groin and start him on the dialysis machine.

12pm: We finish up the ward round and I do the paperwork for the patients who are going to be discharged, as well as updating drug prescriptions and requesting scans. I take a quick lunch break and eat my salad and an apple with a cup of tea (we get free tea and coffee from the canteen).

2.30pm: I have a meeting with the physiotherapists and occupational therapists where we discuss the long stay patients and their care plan. Before the meeting I run down to the hospital shop and get some crisps for me and my colleague (£2.10).

4pm: My bleep goes off – it’s a cardiac arrest call to one of the medical wards. I grab my emergency equipment and drugs, and run up to the sixth floor. Arrive sweaty and out of breath; not a good look! Luckily the patient had only fainted and is now safely tucked into their bed. I slowly walk back to the ICU where we do an afternoon ward round and then I update relatives on the phone.

8pm: I do the evening handover with the night doctor, get changed and run to catch my train home. On the train I browse online for a new sunscreen as mine as run out. I buy the La Roche Posay Anthelios Liquid SPF based on great reviews for sensitive skin - its pricy but I think it’s worth the long term investment (£17.30).

9pm: I get home and talk with B about our days. Then I take a quick shower, do basic skincare and read for a bit before bedtime at 10pm.

Total: £22.25
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br> <br>5.30am: I only snoozed once! I get ready and mix it up today by putting my hair in a French braid. On the way to work I listen to the <em>Death, Sex and Money</em> podcast, and get my usual oat cappuccino (£2.85)<br><br>7.30am: We do the morning handover and then get started on seeing all the patients. It’s a patient’s birthday today so we get cake, candles and all stand around her bed and sing to her. After the ward round, I get called to review a deteriorating patient in another ward. The patient is struggling to breathe and has very low oxygen levels, so we move him to the ICU and have to put him in a medical coma and onto a ventilator. I call his wife and ask her to come in urgently. <br><br>12pm: We have a quick break for lunch. My colleague starts eating her sandwich in the office whilst doing paperwork but I force her to come to the canteen with me so we can get away from the ICU for a bit. I get an Earl Grey tea, and a flat white and muffin for my colleague (£5.10). <br><br>3pm: I spend the afternoon admitting two more patients to the ICU. The wife of the patient from this morning arrives and I take her to the quiet room to explain what’s happened. She’s understandably distraught and I wish I could stay with her longer, but the emergency bleep goes off for a cardiac arrest so I have to run off abruptly.<br><br>5pm: The cardiac arrest patient is stabilised and admitted to the ICU. I grab a break and eat an early dinner. There’s no fixed break time during shifts, so I eat/drink/pee whenever I get a chance. I also work on an article I’m writing for a medical magazine about promoting women leaders in healthcare. There are very few women in senior leadership positions in healthcare, and even fewer are women of colour. <br><br>8pm: The rest of the shift passes smoothly and after handing over, I get the train home. B is out on a run and meets me at the station so we walk home together.<br><br>9.30pm: I do my skincare, get into bed and fall asleep to the calming voice of Stephen Fry narrating <em>Harry Potter.</em> <br><br><strong>Total: £7.95</strong>
Day Seven

5.30am: I only snoozed once! I get ready and mix it up today by putting my hair in a French braid. On the way to work I listen to the Death, Sex and Money podcast, and get my usual oat cappuccino (£2.85)

7.30am: We do the morning handover and then get started on seeing all the patients. It’s a patient’s birthday today so we get cake, candles and all stand around her bed and sing to her. After the ward round, I get called to review a deteriorating patient in another ward. The patient is struggling to breathe and has very low oxygen levels, so we move him to the ICU and have to put him in a medical coma and onto a ventilator. I call his wife and ask her to come in urgently.

12pm: We have a quick break for lunch. My colleague starts eating her sandwich in the office whilst doing paperwork but I force her to come to the canteen with me so we can get away from the ICU for a bit. I get an Earl Grey tea, and a flat white and muffin for my colleague (£5.10).

3pm: I spend the afternoon admitting two more patients to the ICU. The wife of the patient from this morning arrives and I take her to the quiet room to explain what’s happened. She’s understandably distraught and I wish I could stay with her longer, but the emergency bleep goes off for a cardiac arrest so I have to run off abruptly.

5pm: The cardiac arrest patient is stabilised and admitted to the ICU. I grab a break and eat an early dinner. There’s no fixed break time during shifts, so I eat/drink/pee whenever I get a chance. I also work on an article I’m writing for a medical magazine about promoting women leaders in healthcare. There are very few women in senior leadership positions in healthcare, and even fewer are women of colour.

8pm: The rest of the shift passes smoothly and after handing over, I get the train home. B is out on a run and meets me at the station so we walk home together.

9.30pm: I do my skincare, get into bed and fall asleep to the calming voice of Stephen Fry narrating Harry Potter.

Total: £7.95
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food/Drink: £92.20<br>Clothes/Beauty: £20.30<br>Entertainment: £21.49<br>Travel: £49.10<br>Other: £0<br><br><strong>Total: £183.09</strong><br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>I think this was an average spend week for me, especially as I have no big expenses/trips planned because of COVID. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed a slower pace of life and doing things that are naturally a bit cheaper like cooking fancy dinners and spending time outdoors. I know that I am in a very fortunate position to be able to work part-time and spend money on my mental wellbeing such as therapy. Overall it’s been a week of positive work/life balance and I hope it continues!
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £92.20
Clothes/Beauty: £20.30
Entertainment: £21.49
Travel: £49.10
Other: £0

Total: £183.09

Conclusion

I think this was an average spend week for me, especially as I have no big expenses/trips planned because of COVID. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed a slower pace of life and doing things that are naturally a bit cheaper like cooking fancy dinners and spending time outdoors. I know that I am in a very fortunate position to be able to work part-time and spend money on my mental wellbeing such as therapy. Overall it’s been a week of positive work/life balance and I hope it continues!

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Money Diary: A 28-Year-Old Music Journalist On 48k

Money Diary: Trainee Solicitor In Dublin On 38.5k

Money Diary: A Social Worker In Manchester On 28k

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting