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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Money Diaries: A 27-year-old technical support worker on €34K decorating her new home

This week, our reader is renovating the new home she just bought in county Offaly.

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WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie that looks at what people in Ireland really handle their finances.

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.

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. We would love to hear from you.

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.  Some of the diaries are also recorded at different Covid restriction levels, too.

Last time around, we heard from a 35-year-old HR manager who was a busy mum saving for a mortgage. This week, a 27-year-old tech support worker who has just bought a new home in Offaly.


I moved to Offaly just before the October lockdown, after saving for two years to buy my own place. Before this, I was living with family in Dublin. I chose Offaly due to the affordability of property there and because I have some family in the area.

I’ve worked from home for a few years, so the lockdown changes weren’t too extreme for me. I’m currently trying to save for an extension on the house in a few years time, so I put more than I need to into my mortgage account to try to save.

I live on my own which is nice, but if I start a family I’ll want more space here. I spend a lot of time knitting and crocheting, trying to make blankets for every couch and bed in the house.

Occupation: Technical Support
Age: 27
Location: Offaly
Salary: €34,600
Monthly pay (net): €2,400

Monthly expenses

Transport: €20
Mortgage: €545
Savings: €255
Household bills: Electricity €50 per month, Sky TV/broadband €50 per month, Flexpay €98.93 per month, Bins €30
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: Covered by work
Groceries: €200
Subscriptions: Spotify €15, New York Times €22, yarn subscription box €45, YouTube Premium (I split with my sister) €6



8.30 am: I’ve taken this week off work to decorate the house. My sister lives nearby and she also lives alone. We’ve been ‘Covid bubbling’ together all along to keep each other safe and sane. She’s staying with me this week to help out, so we get up and start painting. A little while in, she realises she needs to pick up some more things and heads into the nearest big town.

12.00 pm: I make lunch for us, and start sanding. I absolutely hate painting and working on it, but needs must.

6.00 pm: We finish up for the day, and order takeaway. My sister pays, and we drive into town to grab it. We settle in watching a YouTube stream before going to bed and relaxing before another day of painting.

                      Today’s total: €0.00


9.30 am: More painting, yay! Sense the sarcasm? A refund I was waiting on came in, so I send my sister €100.00 on Revolut so I can cover what she spent on stuff for me.

1.00 pm: She does lunch today, and we sit and eat for a few minutes before going back and painting. I’m cleaning wet paint off the blinds when there’s a crash, and they land on the windowsill in front of me. The bracket they were on has buckled, and I’ve no hope of getting them back up. Great, more to buy. I never realised buying a house was so expensive after you buy it!

8.00 pm: We finish a bit later than we expected, so it’s another takeaway for dinner. My sister pays for it and drives, but we pull into a garage to put petrol in her car. I pay for it (€10.01). She insists she’ll pay me back, but I’ll send her back the money again. It’s only fair.

                              Today’s total: €110.01


10.00 am: Up later today to finish some parts in the room. I’m taking a break after today for a few days to get a break from paint fumes. I eat some leftover pizza for breakfast and stare at what’s left to do. I also send my sister €75.00 to cover the dinners from the last few days, as well as any other bits and pieces she’s gotten.

11.30 am: It’s the day of big purchases, my hoover has given up, and the bracket the blinds were on definitely isn’t able to be saved. I didn’t like them anyway, but I didn’t want to buy anything new for the blinds yet. I go online and buy the curtains I want for that room, plus a laundry basket to save me using a shopping bag for doing laundry. (€179.96), and a new hoover (€175.98).

2.00 pm: I get a text from my bin company reminding me that I have to pay that bill. It’s the only one that doesn’t autopay, and I need a better way to remember to pay it. I log online and pay the €30.00, breathing a sigh of relief that at least it’s done.

5.00 pm: My sister leaves to head home, and I’m left in a quiet house. I put on CNN to watch Trump getting impeached again, and relax on the couch with some knitting. It’s quiet and still, and I forgot how much I need that after a few days of living with someone. Living alone really suits me.

7.00 pm: There’s pre-made pizza dough in the fridge, so I make up a cheese pizza for dinner. I also go on my kindle and buy the first few Bridgerton books (€16.35). I’m a sucker for a romance and a period drama, so both are up my street! I alternate reading and knitting for the evening, with CNN on for background noise.

10.30 pm: I’m exhausted, and head to bed. It’s been a few days of constant painting and working, and I’m looking forward to a day without paint on my hands.

                              Today’s total: €477.29


10.00 am: It’s a sunny day at last, so I get out of bed feeling refreshed and relaxed. I grab my first load of washing and bring it downstairs to put on. I make breakfast and head back upstairs to read for a while, I’ve been sucked into these books.

12.30 pm: The first load of washing is done, and I bring the second load downstairs while the first goes on the clotheshorse. It’s too cold to put clothes on the line, but at least this way they’ll dry.

3.00 pm: I’m spending the day doing nearly nothing, and I didn’t realise how much I needed it. I spend the day watching TV and knitting and finish the pair of socks I was working on before going to bed early.

                              Today’s total: €0


8.00 am: Another painting day! It’s also my payday, which means it’s bill day as well. My electricity bill goes out (€50.oo), along with €400.00 to my mortgage account, and my furniture FlexPay (€98.93). I always feel rich on payday, and then the money quickly leaves my account.

12.00 pm: I check my phone in between coats of paint, and my Spotify has been paid (€14.75). I see a friend’s GoFundMe, and send them €35.00 towards medical expenses.

8.00 pm: Freedom! I finish painting the final room, and I immediately make dinner before sitting down to do nothing. I cook pasta with frozen leftover sauce and check the fridge. Because I’m getting groceries delivered once a month or so, by this time of the month I’m basically out of fresh food. Bless frozen veg and batch cooking. While I’m eating, I see a shop I like has updated their earrings, and put in an order of new ones (€55.00).

                              Today’s total: €653.68


10.00 am: It’s a quiet day at last, and I have plans to do nothing. I make pancakes for breakfast, and decide to curl up with a box set and my knitting for the day.

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5.00 pm: It’s been lazy and lovely. I check my email and my milkman bill has arrived (€7.39). I make dinner and plan my next week’s meals while I check what’s in the fridge. I’ll probably need to go to the shops tomorrow to stock up on a few things, but that’s never a fun prospect these days.

                               Today’s total: €7.39


9.00 am: I’m up early to get to the shops, I want to be in and out before it’s busy. I pick up some veg and meat for the week, and treat myself to a breakfast roll from the deli. (€21.48)

12.00 pm: I spend a lot of Sundays batch cooking to make after work easier on myself. I make up a sandwich filler mix, and cook a pasta sauce to freeze. I save a portion of the sauce for dinner this evening.

5.00 pm: I check my online banking, and my TV and broadband bill has been taken out (€50.00). It’s the last main bill of the month, so I’m clear on everything from now on!

                                  Today’s total: €71.48

                             Weekly subtotal: €1319.85


What I learned –

  • I didn’t realise the extra costs associated with owning a house. I was used to renting, and paying bills and rent and everything, but not things like fixing showers and buying curtains. I love having my own space, but it’s expensive!
  • I’ve set up all of my bills to go out on or near my payday. It means I’m not worrying near the end of the month about if I’ll have enough, and I know exactly what I’m spending.
  • I spent more than normal this week, but that’s expected thanks to the few extras. I feel pretty lucky that I’ve a low cost of living, and working from home means I don’t have to worry about commuting costs.

About the author:

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