‘I was a stage manager and now I’m a bike mechanic’

Laura cycling to work.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

My Money is a series looking at how people spend their money – and the sometimes tough decisions they have to make. Here, Laura Wilson, 33, from west London takes us through her week’s spending.

Laura has been a theatre stage manager for 15 years in London and on tour. During lockdown she has been slowly retraining to be a bicycle mechanic and loves it. She also loves cycling, yoga and reading and is normally found curled up in an armchair reading a book.

She also says she is a dreadful baker but persists, despite most things being rendered inedible.

The theatre Laura works at was closed during lockdown but opened in August until the second lockdown. It was running small shows whilst it was open to socially-distanced audiences.

Laura started her blog on Monday 2 November 2020.

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Over to Laura…

Monday

It’s my first day off in 10 weeks and somehow I sleep until 11:30.

As a freelancer in theatre I often have gaps between work, this being the first since July. Two days ago, second lockdown was announced and the work I was due to do in Sheffield and Leeds at the end of this week was cancelled. Instead I will now be at home all week and only working my second job cleaning bikes on Sunday.

Today I decide to do a shop for things to take me through this next month to prep for decorating my flat and generally stock up.

It started with a trip to TK Maxx. I was aiming to buy side tables but instead came away with £21.96 spent on bits and pieces including some photo frames to give as Christmas presents. I then went to Boots for some mascara and bath goodies, £35.44 in all. Next was B&Q for painting equipment and plants. Unfortunately it was busy and the painting aisle was quite stressful so I bought two new large plants for my flat, a ladder and some paint rollers instead. Using a voucher I was given when leaving a job earlier in the year I got lots of money off and spent £63.05. An expensive day but I went out with the intention of having a mini splurge pre second lockdown.

Total spend: £120.45

Laura Wilson.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

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Tuesday

Continuing my mini splurge I went on a drive to the shops for more bits and pieces for lockdown. The drying rack I bought for the kitchen yesterday from TK Maxx turned out to be too big (my sixth one I’ve bought in the last two years – you would have thought I would have learnt and taken some measurements!) so I swapped that for a tiny one and bought a few new kitchen plates and spent £22.96. I popped into M&S for some food to make some ramen. Whilst there I bought my mandatory winter jumper. £70.50 in total. Tuesdays are the day I get my fruit and veg box delivered to my flat, £25.40, I’m a big fan of buying British seasonal produce. I had to drop something in at the post office on the way home and ended up going to the expensive natural food shop and bought lots of organic goodies – including some peppermint creams for my grandparents as they love them, £42.47.

Total spend: £161.33

Wednesday

I drove to Wiltshire to see my grandparents before Lockdown 2 in their garden – I only spent money on petrol to get home, £30.17.

I have only seen my grandparents once this year when my sister got married in August, which I have found really hard, as have they. I can’t wait to give them a big hug soon!

Total spend: £30.17

Laura's grandparent's garden.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

Thursday

A quiet day in today with an online yoga class with my long time teacher, £5. My monthly phone bill went out today, £62. It’s an expensive contract because I moved onto a boat during lockdown with the aim of being on there for a few years so got an unlimited data contract. It didn’t work out and I’m back on land, but stuck with this contract for a while – oh well! I signed up for a 14-day trial of the workout app Fiit two weeks ago. I forgot to cancel it and £120 went out of my account. Very annoyed at myself but maybe it will get me exercising now!

Total spend: £187

Laura's home.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

Friday

Went for a socially-distanced walk with my friend who lives across the road, we went and bought pain au chocolat and cinnamon buns for the road, £11.10. I also bought some degreaser to clean my bike and a new bike light from Halfords on the walk, £33.99, andI ended up selling a basket to a neighbour so made £30, thrilled!

Total spend: £45.09

Laura and her friend on a socially-distanced walk.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

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Saturday

Home day – however, I end up buying a turbo trainer for my bike that I have been desperate to buy for a few years. I’ve finally bitten the bullet and bought a Wahoo Core to train at home over the winter – a cool £430. I’m really into cycling, as are my brother and sister. My brother rides for a team and I have a secret dream to get really good so I can one day keep up with him!

I finally made ramen today!

Total spend: £430

Laura's dinner.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

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Sunday

Was at work today cleaning bikes in an outdoor market. It was ridiculously busy considering the times but it meant we were fully booked. I didn’t spend anything today.

Total spend: £0

Laura cycling to work.

image copyrightLaura Wilson

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Total spent this week: £974.04

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A very expensive week for me but I wanted to treat myself after a very busy few months of hard work. This weekly spend is more than I normally earn in a week but sometimes you have to let loose. I’m very careful with money and save every week. As a freelancer my weekly wage varies. I have an account I put £20 into every week which I normally use for my annual holiday. It might have to be another bike this year instead!

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