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Dublin: -2°C Saturday 6 March 2021

How I Spend My Money: A 28-year-old doctor commuting from Dublin to the midlands on €63,000

This week, our reader is a junior doctor saving to buy a house with her boyfriend.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie running weekly and looking 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.

Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a week in their shoes.

Last week, we heard from a law student and waiter in Cork, earning €20,400.

This week, a junior doctor earning €63,000 living in Dublin but working in the midlands goes through an average week working different shifts and making the most of her time off. 

how i spend my money

I’m a 28-year-old junior doctor living in Dublin and commuting to the midlands daily. I live with my boyfriend in a very reasonably-priced rented apartment, and we are saving for a house. I got a significant pay increase last year so have really tried to be strict with our saving practices.

We put money into the savings account on payday, and we have about €900 left each month after planned expenses. I think this is quite a lot but it seems to disappear pretty quickly. We save €1,500 per month. All of our expenses are shared.

I have a busy work schedule and do a lot of work-related projects at home. I’m also doing a Masters’ degree which is quite time-consuming. So in my time off, I do feel I deserve to spend a bit of money on nice things like going out for dinner, spending time with family, and going away for the weekend. 

Occupation: Junior doctor
Age: 28
Location: Dublin
Salary: €63,000 + overtime
Monthly pay (net): €4,400 

Monthly expenses (my share)

Transport: €410 (€300 petrol and €110 tolls)
Rent: €1000 
Household bills: €125 for my half
Phone bill: €28
Health insurance: €92
Groceries: €140 for my half
Subscriptions: Netflix share €7, Spotify €10
Medical indemnity insurance: €80
Car loan: €500 
Gym: €32 



5.40am: I wake up and know this is going to be a rough day. We had a big family event all weekend and my head is a little worse for wear this morning. I get up, grab my bag and take my breakfast, lunch and snacks from the fridge.  I tend to batch cook and then freeze our meals as I find that I don’t have time to cook each day. Our kitchen presses look like an homage to the tupperware gods. 

6.50am: I go to a gym class on the way to work. I’m back in my car at 7.40am and go to work. It takes me 70-80 minutes each day and I find that listening to podcasts has made the trip much more enjoyable. 

8.30am: I stop to get petrol (€29.38) and can’t resist a coffee (€3.50). I almost never buy coffee out as it feels like such a waste but I need a pick-me-up today! 

9.30am: I heat up my breakfast at work, go to the morning meeting, and get started. It is extremely busy. I have lunch at 2.30pm and get back to work.

6.45pm: I eventually leave work. When I get home at 8pm I pop to the local shop for ice-cream and wine as a treat (€7.50). We re-heat our dinners and I prepare my breakfast for the next morning. We watch some Netflix before going to bed at 11pm.  

Today’s total: €40.38


5.40am: I wake up early once again. I head to the gym and arrive in work by five to nine. Work seems equally busy today and I know I have to leave at 11.30am to go to a course. 

1pm: I don’t quite manage to leave on time for the course (I have terrible time management skills) but I’m ready to go at 1pm. I eat in the car and arrive there at 2.10pm (oops!). I have to pay for parking (€9) but then got free coffee and biscuits. 

5pm: I arrive home after the course – a much nicer time to arrive home at than my usual day. I catch up on some computer work and finish an assignment for my masters. 

6pm: I clean the house and cook a curry for us with ingredients we have in the press. We are in bed by 10.30pm. 

Today’s total: €9 


5.40am: I wake up and I’m immediately very thankful that it’s payday! We definitely left ourselves a bit short of cash this month. 

6am: I get ready to head to the gym. After this I have breakfast and head to work.

1pm: I eat the lunch I brought with me and make a coffee (which is free). 

6pm: I leave work only to hear on the radio that there is a tractor protest. The traffic is crazy and I get home at 8.45pm. My boyfriend gets home late too. We try to reheat dinner and realise the microwave has broken. At risk of firing it out the window, I go the local shop and buy pizza and a few other groceries (€3.70)

10.30pm: We choose a new microwave online and go to bed an hour later. This has not been the best day!

Today’s total: €3.70


5.40am: Time to wake up, head to the gym and go to work. 

8am: I buy a pastry and coffee as I didn’t make my breakfast last night (€5.10). Work is much quieter and I get a half day today as I’m working this weekend. 

2.30pm: I leave work and buy a microwave (€39 for my half) on the way home. I do a big grocery shop as I’m planning to re-fill the freezer today. I go to Aldi (€3.27 for my half), Lidl (€29), Tesco (€17.62), and the heath shop (€16.50).

4pm: I go home and have a nice afternoon cooking and watching Netflix. I stay up late and do some coursework for the Masters. I end up buying some things for the apartment online (€78.70) and go to bed at 2am.

Today’s total: €189.19

Friday & Saturday (night shift) 

11am: I get to lie in until now as I’m working later today into tomorrow morning. I work about one weekend every three weeks. I have a GP appointment (€60), and go to the gym on my way to work and get petrol (€27.10)

3pm: I start work and hope it won’t be too busy. It is. I am thankful I have a crate-full of food with me and get to eat my dinner at 9pm.

4am: I prepare a snack for us when we are starting to fade at work. I’d often get one or two hours of sleep when working at the weekend, but not tonight! 

9am: I have breakfast and three cups of coffee to perk myself up on Saturday morning and my colleague arrives to take over at 10am. Even though the night was busy, we had a good team and I’m still feeling energetic.

10.30am: I leave work and drive home. I am delighted to see my boyfriend has a second breakfast ready for me. I fall into bed at 12.30pm.

4.30pm: I wake up and have two cups of coffee and a walk to fix the grogginess (sort of). I prepare tomorrow’s meals and snacks and watch Netflix. I order a takeaway (€21.70) and my boyfriend goes out to buy wine and ice-cream (€14.97). We watch a movie and I’m asleep at midnight. 

Today’s total: €123.77


8am: I wake up, get ready and head to work. I stop off to buy treats to share with my colleagues (€3.25). I have breakfast and get started with the day at 10am. 

5pm: Today is a bit chaotic and I don’t get to sit down for lunch until now. I call my sister as she is gone on holidays and I send her €60 to buy dinner for her and her boyfriend. Back to work and things are still hectic.

3.30am (Monday): Things calm down a bit at work and I’m very grateful to get to lie down for a while. I get up at 6.30am to do a few more jobs and prepare for the rest of the week. 

Today’s total: €63.25 

         Weekly subtotal: €429.29


What I’ve learned:  

  • I think this diary shows pretty reasonable spending patterns. Although it was a typical week in some ways, I probably spend more money when I’m not working at the weekend. 
  • Batch cooking and not eating meat from Monday to Friday have really reduced the amount of money we spend on groceries.
  • I know that buying from the local shop across the road is more expensive than bigger grocery stores, but the convenience really does win out sometimes!

About the author:

TheJournal.ie reader

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