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Dublin: 10°C Saturday 23 October 2021

How I Spend My Money: A bank employee on €30,000 saving to buy her first home

She has moved back home to squeeze every penny.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a new series on TheJournal.ie that looks at what people in Ireland really do with their cash.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, how much they save, if anything, and what they spend their money on over the course of one week. Want to take part? Details on how to do it are at the bottom of the piece.

To kick off the series, we’re publishing diaries by people saving for a mortgage – a tall order for anyone these days due to the acute shortage of housing.

First up, a woman working as a customer advisor in a bank walks us through her week.


Occupation: Customer advisor in a bank
Age: 29
Location: Wicklow (living with parents and commute to Dublin)
Salary: €30,000
Monthly pay (net): €1,998

Monthly expenses
Rent: €0
Household bills: €160
Transport: €160 on petrol. We drive to the Luas and have found some cheeky free parking. I have a bus and Luas tax saver ticket that runs at about €95 a month.
Phone bill: €25
Health insurance: €0
Groceries: €200 (approximately)
Subscriptions: Netflix (€10.99), Apple Music (€9.99)

We’re currently trying to save for a deposit for a mortgage and luckily in a position that we can live with my parents. It’s rent free, but I think they’re trying to get rid of us faster. Collectively we’re saving around €1,600 a month, about €700 from myself and the rest is covered by my other half.



5:15 am – I do shift work and this week I am working 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, so we have the joy of a 5:15am alarm. Being totally honest, I would say my alarm actually goes off at about 5:00 am and I actually drag myself out of bed somewhere between 5:15 am and 6:00 am depending on how deep into the week we are. I have a six-year long shower to try to make myself human. Not much one for breakfast – coffee is my meal. We were given a coffee machine for Christmas, so I make coffee in the morning at home and leave the house at about 6:15 am.

6:30 am – That last bit was a lie, it’s almost always closer to half past when we make the 20-minute drive to the Luas stop in Saggart. We park there and get the Luas the rest of the way. Total journey is about 1 hour 15 mins.

1:00 pm – I usually try to make a big batch of food on a Sunday to bring in with me, but I was too much of a hungover gremlin yesterday to manage to go to the supermarket. So, I run around to the shop at lunch to get something. I grab some eggs and soda bread so I can make myself microwave scrambled eggs for the week. €4.67

4:30 pm – I’ve finished work, but because myself and himself work slightly different hours, I’m in the lurch for about an hour. Usually I spend the time finishing up work or reading my book.

5:30 pm – We hop on the Luas and by 7:00 pm we’re home. Quick stop in the supermarket on the way home to buy something for dinner and some milk. €10.67

7:30 pm – We take turns making and buying dinner between the four of us in the house. My other half is up tonight, so I’m off the hook. I finally admitted defeat last month and gave up my neglected gym membership on the premise that myself and my mum would start doing a couch to 5k together. We’re on week three here and our initial spurt of enthusiasm is gone, but off we go all the same.

8:30 pm – We have dinner and then lounge about the place till 10:30 pm and it’s off to bed.

Today’s total: €15.34


5:30 am – I’m already on a slow slide towards being late. I eat a yogurt in the car on the way in but other than that it’s business as usual.

1:00 pm – Have the makings of lunch from the day before. I like making easy lunches in work, it prevents my laziness from getting in the way the night before.

5:30 pm – Back on the Luas. I spend most of my commute either reading or listening to podcasts, but a good few return journeys turn into uncomfortable naps – this is one of those journeys.

7:00 pm – I’m on dinner duty tonight so we pop into the supermarket again on the way home. Had I been more organised, or less hellish, on Sunday I’d have saved myself a few trips and euro. I’m in a bit of a dinner rut lately so we’re having a fairly bog standard Jamie Oliver pasta yoke. I also get some more yogurt and coffee. €9.23

10:30 pm – Off to bed. 

Today’s total: €9.23


5:30 am – More yogurt, more coffee, more My Favourite Murder on the Luas.

8:00 am – We have tea and coffee facilities in work, which is good or I’d be broke by Tuesday, and we also have fruit delivered on a Monday. So if I snack, it’s usually on that, which saves a good bit.

1:00 pm – If you came here for exciting lunch suggestions you came to the wrong place, I’m still on the scrambled eggs train.

4:30 pm – It’s my sister’s birthday next week and she’s away on holidays during it so I offered that we go get our nails done. It’d be rude to send her alone. €60

7:30 pm – Only just leaving town so we grab a pizza on the way home. €15

10:30 pm – Bed time.

Today’s total: €75


5:45 am – I’m up. This is where we start verging on being late.

1:00 pm – I have finally run out of eggs so I grab two pots of soup for my last two lunches of the week. €4.50

7:00 pm – We’re both off the hook for dinner tonight and one solitary rain drop fell from the sky so we’re not going for a jog either.

11:00 pm – Bed.

Today’s total: €4.50


5:30 am – We need the car this evening, so we’re driving in this morning. We get an extra few minutes in bed and it means I can put on my makeup in the car. It takes about an hour to drive depending on traffic, but we need to get in early to get the car parked in a free spot in work.

8:00 am – It’s Friday, so I get myself nice coffee. €3.20

1:00 pm – Soup, again.

5:00 pm – I finish up work and drive to the north side as we’re heading out for dinner tonight. We have family home, so we’re heading to the Washerwoman in Glasnevin. Dinner and wine works out about €25 each.

10:00 pm – Little pint in the Gravediggers on the way home. €4.00.

Today’s total: €32.20


7:00 am – I’m working this Saturday for my sins. I generally feel like I should take any overtime going. And Saturday overtime is good overtime, it’s only from 9:00 am till 1:00 pm. I treat myself to a coffee and a pastry on the way in cause I’m feeling a little worse for wear. €5.20

1:00 pm – I finish up and meet with himself so we can go for a little adventure. We head to the National Press Museum in Beggars Bush. The exhibit is free, but accepts donations. So we donated €5.00 each. After a wander around there, we head into the café for some lunch. €10 each.

5:00 pm – We head home and chill out for the rest of the evening.

Today’s total: €20.20


11:00 am – Bit of sleep recovery this morning.

12:00 pm – We get up and make a bit of breakfast – scrambled eggs, for a change – and tea. Then we head down to the supermarket and do a bigger shop for the week. €47.20

2:00 pm – We head off for a nice Sunday amble up a hill with more tea after and a good, honest-to-god ham sandwich.

3:00 pm – I make a giant pot of chilli chicken that should do for dinner for the lot of us and also lunch for at least Monday and Tuesday. Takes a little while to cook, but it’s delicious and it goes a long way.

7:00 pm – Dinner with a desert of homemade apple pie, courtesy of my mother.

10:30 pm – Sleep and start again tomorrow.

Today’s total: €47.20

Weekly subtotal: €203.67

Are you a spender, a saver or a splurger? We’re looking for readers who will keep a money diary for a week. If you’re interested send a mail to money@thejournal.ie. 

About the author:

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