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Money Diaries: A 24-year-old management consultant on €32K in Dublin

This week, our reader has moved home to his parent’s house since Covid-19 hit and he’s finding he saves a lot more money.

TheJournal.ie reader

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.

If you’d like to document your spending, or lack thereof and any lifestyle changes during this Covid-19 period, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to money@thejournal.ie and we’ll be in touch.

Last week, we heard from an Irish secondary school teacher living in Spain. This week, we meet a 24-year-old Dublin man working from his parents’ home in Dublin.

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I’m a 24-year-old from Dublin, working remotely as a consultant. I was renting near the city centre but when my lease came to an end in April I moved back to my family home in North Dublin.

I will be working from home for the foreseeable future and intend to stay at home (my parents and sister thought they were rid of me) for as long as this situation remains. 

I am managing to spend a lot less than when I was renting in town and all my living expenses are down given the various restrictions. Therefore I am currently able to put roughly €1000+ into savings every month.

Occupation: Management Consultant
Age: 24
Location: North Co. Dublin
Salary: €32,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,238

Monthly expenses

Rent: €200 paid to my mum every month (less rent, more ‘bed & board’)
Travel: €20 or less given the restrictions
Pension: €187 (matched by my employer)
Household bills: €0
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: €0 (parents still paying for this)
Groceries: €30 (approx for extra items not on the family shopping list)
Subscriptions: Spotify €10, iCloud €3, Netflix €8 (family subscription), Audible €9, New York Times €4, Recurring charity donation €10.

***

Monday

7.00 am: I try to get up early for a walk every morning but I’m only successful about half of the time. Today I’m feeling motivated as I’ve just had a week off work so I get up and go for a walk by the sea. 

7.40 am: I shower and have breakfast (toast and avocado) along with a cocktail of vitamins that I take every morning which may or may not have any effect on my health. I make the big journey upstairs to my bedroom which doubles as my home office to log in at 8.00 am. As I’ve been off for a week I’m logging in early to catch up on what I’ve missed and prepare myself for the meetings ahead.

9.00 am: I have my first coffee of the day. I have a good few calls to get through this morning. I have a daily team call every morning which has become a bit of a bore but it’s handy to stay in touch with everyone on the team and catch up on each other’s weekends as we work remotely.

11.00 am: I have my second coffee of the day with a flapjack – I never used to drink two a day but this is a new habit I’ve adopted since working from home and the Nespresso pods are a tiny fraction of the price of a coffee in town.

1.00 pm: I have soup for lunch as the weather is getting colder, and watch some American news commentary on YouTube which is a bit of an addiction I picked up since the 2016 election – politics meets Reality TV.

2.00 pm: Back to work for the rest of the day which is quite busy and I hardly take much of a break from the computer for the next few hours. When I do it’s to get cups of tea and at least one snack – this has the potential to become a big problem for me!

6.00 pm: I finish work and go downstairs to have dinner which my mum has made (fajitas). I am in an unexpected situation where I’m back at home with my dinner cooked for me almost every day but I’m not complaining. After dinner, I relax for a while and watch an episode of The Fall on Netflix.

10.00 pm: I’m in bed by 10 and asleep soon after. My bedtime has become a little more sensible over the pandemic!

                                      Today’s total: €0.00

Tuesday

8.00 am: Predictably today is one of those days where I roll over in bed after silencing my morning alarm and am only up at 8.00 am, skipping the morning walk. I have a yoghurt with granola and vitamin drink for breakfast and log on to work at about 8.30 am. I have lots of calls in the morning, similar to yesterday. Thankfully they are mostly audio calls and not video ones which can be more intense.

1.00 pm: I go for a walk around my local park for about half an hour and then return home to have lunch which today is a bagel with avocado. Then back to work for the rest of the day, I spend a few hours preparing for some upcoming presentations. The project I’m working on at the minute is going through a busier-than-usual period as we prepare for a big milestone.

6.15 pm: I finish work and have dinner which tonight is from the freezer: fish and chips. 

7.00 pm: My sister suggests we go to the nearby shopping centre and I agree to drive us – she likes having her brother home if it means a taxi service on weekday nights! I am insured on my dad’s car under his policy. I have considered getting my own but really don’t drive enough to warrant it and in normal times I take public transport everywhere.

I browse a few shops and get a couple of things in Zara (€122.76). I get a hot chocolate (€3.85) and pay for the parking (€3.00) and we head home.

                                       Today’s total: €129.61

Wednesday

8.00 am: It’s raining this morning and I take full advantage of the ability to sleep in as late as possible. I get up at half-past 8, shower and log into work. I have breakfast which is avocado toast (is my life sounding repetitive yet?)

1.00 pm: I go for a walk and have lunch which today is soup and brown bread, plus an energy bar and a coffee.

2.00 pm: We are doing a fundraiser for the Irish Heart Foundation in work and I donate via text (€4.00). Work is busy but largely nondescript for the rest of the afternoon, and I finish up at 6 pm as normal.

7.00 pm: The weather has picked up slightly and I have arranged to meet a friend for dinner locally. We are seated outside but nice and warm under outdoor heaters. I am a big fan of going out for lunch and dinner in town under normal circumstances. My friend works with me so it’s nice to see her in person rather than over a screen. We have a cocktail and a glass of wine each and the drinks, meal and tip come to €45.00 each.

10.00 pm: I walk home, open my laptop and quickly finish one or two things which I didn’t get to earlier, and head to bed.

                                  Today’s total: €49.00

Thursday

7:00 am: Willpower has increased and I manage to wake up nice and early and go for a full hour-long walk.

8:00 am: I have breakfast and read a bit of the news before starting work for the day. The usual drill of calls, coffee break, and more calls continues.

1:00 pm: At lunch, I walk to the local shop and get some bread rolls and a few other bits for lunch (€7.80). 

2:00 pm: Back to work and I have a busy enough afternoon with a lot to get through. However, the week is flying by and we are reaching the finish line!

6:30 pm: Dinner tonight is a stir fry which is delish. After dinner, I return to do another hour or so of work, which I could have left til the following morning but I prefer to get it out of the way ahead of time. Then I have some tea and listen to a podcast interviewing businesspeople and their response to the pandemic which is interesting. 

10:30 pm: I head to bed and browse for new runners online. It’s been about a year since I got new ones and my current ones have seen better days so I read a good few reviews and settle for a pair from Nike which are on sale for €82.00.

                          Today’s total: €89.80

Friday

7:00 am: I’m on a roll and manage to rise early again and go walking. On the way back I pop into the supermarket and get some croissants to bring home with me (€3.50) which my parents and sister appreciate as a Friday treat for breakfast. 

9:00 am: Work begins for the day, and a few calls have fallen through so I thankfully don’t have much on my schedule. 

11:00 am: I have a mini-review with my manager and things are going well which is good to hear. I am just at the start of the second year of the graduate programme which runs for three years in total. My manager tells me we are due to be working from home on the current project for another six months to come which isn’t great news but not at all surprising.

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1:00 pm: I have lunch (soup, avocado, toast) and actually get into bed and watch Netflix for half an hour – perks of WFH.

6:00 pm: I get through the final push of the working week and make my to-do list for Monday before signing off and putting the laptop away, finally. We are visiting my uncle’s house for dinner tonight and I catch up with my cousins who I haven’t seen in a while. We’re all careful about guidelines and make sure we’re adhering.

                                  Today’s total: €3.50

Saturday

10:00 am: I have a lie-in this morning before heading out to meet two of my friends from school for a walk and a coffee from a new coffee hut which has opened nearby. We have a great catch up and my coffee plus a muffin costs €6.00.

2:00 pm: I do some hoovering around the house and tidy my room, have lunch and watch some Netflix. 

6:00 pm: My sister is trying out her cooking and we have homemade pizzas for dinner which are great. We watch a movie with some popcorn – this is about as exciting as today gets!!

                                     Today’s total: €6.00

Sunday

10:00 am: I get to sleep in again before heading to my grandad’s house for the day. He is pretty much home-bound so my parents try to visit as often as possible. I have always been close to my grandparents so I enjoy going over to spend the day with them. 

1:00 pm: I spend the day reading the Sunday papers (I particularly like the Property pages and fantasising about which homes I will probably never live in…), watching tv and having Sunday lunch. Today’s Covid cases are not good so it looks like we will be living under the current restrictions if not greater ones for weeks to come.

9:00 pm: We head home and I round off my wild weekend by going to bed early and getting some extra sleep before the next week ahead.

                                      Today’s total: €0.00

                                   Weekly subtotal: €277.91

What I learned –

  • A few of the purchases this week are one-off or less frequent (i.e. the clothes shop and the runners). There are weeks when my total spend would be a good bit less without those larger items.

  • My life has definitely slowed down a lot since the pandemic began and is honestly a bit sad – previously a typical week would have involved a lot more socialising, lunches and dinners out, after-work drinks, nights out in town, etc. I have less fun in a typical week now but my spending is obviously also a lot lower than when I was living in town. I think I would prefer a happy medium, however, I don’t see things changing too soon.

  • Is it possible I am freeloading by living at home? Yes. But I think there are probably a lot of people my age in the same position were moving back home makes the most sense financially. It’s giving me the ability to save money for moving back into town eventually, and for larger purchases such as a car which will make me more independent. I will potentially look to moving abroad in the next few years as well so having some savings built up now could come in very handy.

About the author:

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