‘My friend's BF requested £2.50 for a slice of her birthday cake’

Can you tell me a bit about you and your life?

I’m in my early thirties and work in tech. I'm currently pregnant with my first child and live outside of London with my husband. Most of my pals still live in London so I still travel in to see them often.

What do you do for a living now? How much do you earn?

I've always worked in tech companies in some kind of operations role - whether it was marketing or product management. I've worked my way up to be a right-hand woman for my current CTO. When I first got my graduate job I was earning £18k a year, and now I earn £120k. Although its taken a lot of hard work, i’ve actually been incredibly lucky to simply be in the right place at the right time as the tech and financial industries have boomed. This financial flexibility has allowed my husband to set up his own business, which he runs from home.

Tell me about your friend's boyfriend...

A few years ago my housemate was dating an accountant. We weren't his biggest fans, mostly because he was known to scrutinise our own spending. Four of us girls lived in a shared house, with none of us earning much at the time, and would occasionally splurge on a bottle of wine out on a Friday night. He was the type to lecture us about the price of a £15 bottle that we had paid for, not order any food himself and then help himself to food from our plates or take a swig of our drinks. It was enough to raise an eyebrow or bat his hand away, but my friend seemed happy so we welcomed him into the group as best we could.

What happened with the cake?

For her 30th birthday we were all pleasantly surprised. He had booked a spot in a local bar and invited a bunch of her friends. We were thrilled he'd taken the initiative to treat her and organise a party for her big 3-0. The surprises continued when he appeared with a lovely cake and most people had a small slice. She was so happy!

Then the comments began. He kept mentioning how expensive the cake was, how it came from a bakery down the road, and how it was her favourite. He began to go round the group requesting £2.50 from everyone who had had a slice of cake. By this point there were people dancing and singing and he was walking up to them on the dance floor with his palm outstretched.

He even accompanied one friend to a cash point as she only had a card with her. By the end, he had more than recuperated the £40 he’d spent on the cake, and made a tidy profit on top.

What happened afterwards?

It became one of those stories we told her long after they had broken up - for unrelated financial reasons! She's since met a lovely man and is now happily married to a great chap who shares the same financial goals.

I am just about to start maternity leave which will drop our income for a while. I financially support a few family members so it will be a stretch, but we have savings to make choice our choice to have a baby won't impact our ability to keep helping them.