Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last penny.
This week: “I’m a 23-year-old stewardess, working on a superyacht in the Mediterranean. I left university in 2021 and since then I have been bouncing between jobs and travelling. I discovered yachting watching Below Deck and thought I’d give it a try, and I’m now about to finish my first season in the industry. Working in this industry means my expenses are very minimal, as I live onboard and food is provided. The pay is good, although it does involve a lot of sacrifices and there are a lot of stressful moments. We had a very busy season, with lots of charters and boss trips, so there was a lack of free time and days off. This means there’s not much time to spend money, but it can be very tiring and after seven months I am definitely ready for a rest. I like to think I have a very healthy attitude with regard to money. I do prioritise saving over spending and I only buy things when I need them, as I like to keep my money for travel. I would also like to buy my first property within the next two years so I have really been focusing on saving as much as I can. I do occasionally like to splurge on skincare and meals out as I think a treat every so often can do no harm.”
Occupation: Stewardess Industry: Hospitality Age: 23 Location South of France Salary €42,000 Paycheque Amount: €3,250 + tips (around €1,500 per charter, varies each month) Number of housemates: Seven Pronouns: She/her
Housing costs: £0 Loan payments: None Savings?: £26,000 total (£20,000 of this is for a deposit, the rest is split between my emergency fund, and travel fund.) Utilities: £0 Pension?: I have £100 in a pension from a previous job. I do not currently pay anything into pension, instead I am focusing on building an investment portfolio. I invest around £100 a month, which I split between Circa5000, Trading212 and Crowdcube. I have £4.5k across these accounts. All other monthly payments: £70 phone bill. Subscriptions: £10.99 Spotify; £9.99 Kindle unlimited; £2.29 iCloud storage.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? I did a Bachelor of Laws and took out a government student loan. I was very fortunate: my parents paid for my accommodation while I was studying and I covered my living expenses.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? When I was growing up we did not have conversations about money. My parents encouraged me and my sister to save, but I don’t remember any conversations aside from this. Now I am older and we speak about money a lot more, they encourage me to ask them questions if I do not understand things.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house? When I’m not working I still live at home.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? As I still live at home, I would not consider myself to be financially independent.
What was your first job and why did you get it? I was a waitress in a restaurant in my home town. I wanted to go on a ski trip hosted by my school and I got the job to help pay for this.
Do you worry about money now? I wouldn’t say I worry about money currently.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? In 2017, I received £1,000 from my grandad when my nan died. When I finished university, I received £10,000 from my parents. All currency has been converted into GBP
7 a.m. — I wake up early, which is annoying as it’s technically a day off. Six months of charters and boss trips means my sleeping pattern is so messed up. I think going from being really busy with guests onboard to not means I don’t sleep as well because I’m not as active as when we are on a trip.
9 a.m. — I go for my hot girl walk and treat myself to a Starbucks Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso. It’s currently still very warm in the south of France, so iced drinks are needed, £5.45.
10:15 a.m. — Me and my chief stew, T, are taking the watch together this weekend, so I treat us to some pastries from a bakery we’ve had on our list to try for a while. I get a carrot cake muffin, a croissant and a vanilla and raspberry brioche. We’ve been looking for proper cakes for so long, and this carrot cake hit the spot, £7.67.
5 p.m. — I’m going to Poland this month to sort out something work related, so I pay the cost of my Airbnb, £187.57.
9 p.m. — After a quiet day, we tune in to watch the rugby. T is South African and as we’re stuck on watch she brings us some treats to have while we watch the game — mini pizza for me and mini hot dogs for her. We also have some springbok shots (Get 27 topped with Baileys).
10 p.m. — Sleep.
7 a.m. — Start my day.
7:45 a.m. — When we don’t have guests on board I try to go on a walk every morning, and more often than not I can’t resist treating myself to a Starbucks. I had another Iced Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso, £5.45. I have a phone call with my mum and end up going on a really long walk along the seafront.
11 a.m. — As me and T are on watch we take turns to be off the boat. So while she is out shopping I set myself up with a blanket in the upper salon and spend a couple of hours looking through Pinterest to plan my trip to Poland.
1:30 p.m. — On board we have a chef who cooks meals for us, but after a season of having gourmet food everyday I’ve really been craving some simple meals. I buy some broccoli, mushrooms and sweet potatoes to make into a salad. I also get a bar of Lindt Creme Brulé Chocolate (it was supposed to be a present for when I go home, but I ended up opening it and having some), £7.73.
4:15 p.m. — I’m craving something sweet, so I head down to the snack cupboard to see what we have. I have seen a couple of TikToks of people putting chocolate topped with marshmallows in the oven for a sweet dip, so this is what I decide to make.
9:30 p.m. — Me and T spend the evening looking at hotels and trains to Paris. We’re planning on going the middle of November so we spent some time researching which arrondissement to stay in.
10:30 p.m. — Time for bed.
8:30 a.m. — Today is a work day so I start the day with some porridge. My current porridge combo consists of cooking the oats with some blueberries, stirring in some flaxseed and peanut butter and topping with some fruit, usually banana and apple. I’m trying to start the day with something healthy, as after a busy season I feel like my immune system is struggling, and I don’t want to get ill before the last trip.
11:40 a.m. — I spend the day shopping for provisions for the crew, with my chief stew. We both want something simple for lunch, so we opt for bagels. I go for a cream cheese, cucumber and lettuce, with the bagel of the week, which was poppyseed, £4.70.
2 p.m. — After we pack away the provisions, we do a quick wipe down of all the guest areas, wiping all the sides and door handles of fingerprints and getting rid of any marks or smudges on the ceilings.
4:50 p.m. — After work I go for a long walk and have a phone call with my Mum. I get distracted chatting while I’m walking and end up doing 18k steps.
5 p.m. — I’m so hungry so I treat myself to a lemon sorbet ice cream before heading back to the boat, £3.48.
6 p.m. — I’m already in bed for the night. After the hectic summer season I’m taking all the rest I can get!
9:30 a.m. — I will be working this weekend as we have a charter, so we are all given a day off this week, and mine is today. I decide to get the train to Antibes for the day, £2.61.
10:10 a.m. — I start my day off at Lilian Bonnefoi and get a pain au chocolat and a rose praline brioche, £3.83. I walk to the old town and sit on a bench and enjoy the pastries.
11 a.m. — I didn’t sleep very well last night, so a coffee is needed. Instead of my usual Starbucks I opt for an iced oat milk latte from Nomads, £5.14. It is the perfect fuel for my day of shopping. After seven months of being away, I’m finally heading home next week so my goal for today is to get presents for all my family.
12:11 p.m. — My mum loves sardines and in France, I’ve found lots of tins with really cute packaging. I get her two tins, one red onion and one tomato. I also pick up some fig biscuits for my grandparents, £13.63.
12:40 p.m. — After a bit of shopping, I’m already hungry again, so I get myself a slice of takeaway pizza — truffle and mushroom. Nothing beats a greasy slice of pizza, £3.48.
2:20 p.m. — Get the train back to Cannes, £3.03.
2:40 p.m. — Head to Sephora. I can never resist a Sephora, especially as I’m going home and won’t have one on my doorstep for much longer. I buy peeling foot masks for my sister and my mum and face masks for my aunts. I’ve been raving about these masks all season, so I thought I’d get some so they can try it for themselves, £50.50.
3:20 p.m. — The last thing I had on my list today was getting chocolates for everyone. I head to Jeff de Bruges and get its bags of seasonal chocolates for everyone (apart from my sister who is allergic to nuts). I get her the safe option of caramels, £39.64.
5 p.m. — After a busy day of shopping I’m exhausted, so I make a quick broccoli and parmesan pasta. While I’m eating I make a list of the gifts I’d brought and who they are for so I don’t forget.
9 p.m. — Another early night for me.
7 a.m. — Another walk this morning to get some fresh air. I definitely am going to miss walking along the Croisette in Cannes. I love being up early when it’s quiet and I can have some time to myself. I usually listen to a podcast on my walks but this morning I opt for some simple jazz.
8:45 a.m. — Soak up as much fresh air as possible, as when guests are onboard I’m stuck inside for most of the day. I head to Pauls and treat my and my chief stewardess to a jam doughnut, £3.57.
9 a.m. — Head back on the boat and make myself a caramel iced coffee with oat milk, and some porridge (provided by the boat = free!).
11 a.m. — Me and T spend the morning sitting around waiting for a delivery to arrive. Usually before a charter we have provisions arrive, which T arranges. However, this charter was slightly different as they ordered all their own items in.
12 p.m. — While we are waiting for the delivery, we take the time to polish all of the guest cutlery. We use a silver polish which is quite strong, so once the cutlery has been polished we have to wash it three or four times before it is okay to use.
1 p.m. — The broker informs us the delivery is not arriving today, so me and my chief stew decide to leave the boat and head into town. I need to get the last of the gifts to take home for my family and settle on three bars of the Lindt Crème Brulé Chocolate, £9.38.
1:30 p.m. — Back to the boat. The rest of my work day consists of dust vacuuming the main and upper salon. We had some temporary carpets installed ready for this next charter as they want to protect the floor as they will be having lots of meetings onboard. Unfortunately, the carpet that was installed created a lot of dust. Hoovering to get rid of it takes a while.
5 p.m. — I spend the rest of the day rewatching
Ugly Betty and relaxing.
7:30 p.m. — I head to bed early ready for the charter to start tomorrow.
7 a.m. — Start the day with an oat milk latte and porridge (free).
8 a.m. — Do some last-minute touches getting everything ready for guest arrival. This means turning on all interior lights, checking all guest cabins, checking all the toilets for toilet cleaner marks, making sure all the bins are lined, and a quick final hoover of the cabins and stairs.
10 a.m. — The guests arrive and we help unpack everything as the event they are part of starts today, so everything needs to be ready for 1 p.m. meetings. They have lots of items to display on the tables, so we have to move off all of the boat’s normal décor. Their delivery finally arrives too. There are lots of drinks, so the deck team help me and T get it all up to the bar to put away in the fridges.
12:30 p.m. — It’s been a crazy morning and there isn t time to have a proper lunch so I just have a cereal bar in between service.
As the guests brought their own food, service was quite strange. They didn’t eat at the same time and instead let us know when they were ready to eat individually and me or T would get a plate ready and take it straight out to them.
2 p.m. — Break time. I decide to go on a walk as I’m not feeling too tired. Most of the shops turn out to be shut as it’s a Sunday. I head back to the boat and had a scroll on social media. I see that TruTravels are having a Christmas fundraiser so I decide to donate, £20.
4 p.m. — The guests are having meetings all afternoon. I’m stationed in the upper salon and I get put in change of drinks. T is stationed in the main salon and as soon as new people arrive on board for meetings she radios me and I make the coffees and drinks, ready for her to pick up. It is very busy and I spill coffee on my trainers a few times.
7 p.m. — T finishes for the day and it is just me on lates. The guests had gone out for dinner so I go into the cabins for turndowns: making the bed, cleaning the bathrooms, tidying or folding anything that’s been left out so the room looks neat and a final fingerprint wipe before dimming the lights. I have got quite quick at this and each cabin usually takes me under 15 minutes.
8 p.m. — Have pasta for dinner (free).
11:45 p.m. — The guests have finally gone to bed. I’m very tired, so I head straight to sleep.
8 .a.m. — Wake up and grab a yoghurt for breakfast (free).
9 a.m. — All the guests are up for breakfast and eating, so all the cabins are free for me to go in. Turn-ups usually have to be a lot quicker than turn-downs, as breakfast is usually the quickest meal of the day. It’s pretty much the same as what I do in the evenings regarding cleaning. The only difference is with the bed: I put the pillows upright, adding the decoration pillows and a throw at the end of the bed.
10:30 a.m. — Back-to-back meetings for the guests again today. I’m stationed in the upper salon again, and for the next four hours it is a constant stream of coffees and waters.
3 p.m. — Break time! Initially I try to have a nap but I can’t fall asleep. I decide to leave the boat and walk to the bagel café instead. I go for a cream cheese, lettuce and avocado bagel, £4.53.
4 p.m. — I then head to a luggage shop and picked up a small suitcase, £42.69. I’ve gone a bit crazy with gifts for everyone and the bag I brought with me is not big enough.
5 p.m. — Come back from my break and there are still meetings going on. I go to the main salon, ready to greet any new people coming onboard and take their drinks orders to radio to T, who is on the bar.
8 p.m. — Pizza for dinner (free). The guests have gone out out for food, so I manage to sit down and enjoy my meal today.
9 p.m. — The guests are still not back, so I’m able to spend some time in the laundry. The guests have given us lots of clothes. I’d washed most of these earlier in the day, so I just needed to steam them and put them back in the cabins.
10:30 p.m. — The guests arrive back at the boat and want to chat to me about their day. They then decide they wanted to go in the jacuzzi, so I call the engineer to turn it on and fill it up.
1:15 a.m. — Finally the last guest has got out of the hot tub and gone to bed. Yay! I’m feeling hungry so I decide to get some jam on toast before having to bed.
Food & Drink: £117.68
Clothes & Beauty: £50.50 Home & Health: £42.69 Entertainment: £0 Travel: £5.64 Other: £207.57 Total: £424.08
“This week I spent a lot more than normal, because I booked a trip and I brought lots of gifts. I don’t have any housing costs so I think having weeks where I spend quite a bit on travel or food is okay. It was very interesting to see the breakdown of what I spent, and I will be tracking it again when I’m home to see how my spending differs from when I am working.”
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