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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 28 June 2022

How I Spend My Money: A sales worker on €70,000 saving €1,000 a month for a mortgage

She’s moved in with her sister in order to save as fast as she can.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a 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.

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.  

During the week, a student living between his home in Longford and Galway shared his spending diary, and today a woman who has moved in with her sister to save for a house writes about her week. 


Occupation: Sales and business development 
Age: 29
Location: Dublin/Kildare
Salary: €70,000 (plus annual bonus based on previous year)
Monthly pay (net): €3,800

Monthly expenses
Rent: €300
Household bills: Prepay electricity (~€20) – I put this amount in periodically when I see it dip low. In October I topped it up twice with €20. All other bills covered by sister and her husband.
Transport: €237 monthly train ticket (I’ll be moving this to yearly taxsaver ticket ASAP)
Car loan payment: €328
Phone bill: €20-€30
Health insurance: €76
Groceries: €0 (I know I’m not contributing enough here considering that I eat breakfast at home every day, and I eat dinner if it’s given to me)
Gym membership: €45
Subscriptions: Spotify (€14.99)
Website maintenance: €265 per monthly (Having a website is important for the industry. Portfolios and reputation are very important and I need something to showcase myself for freelance work)
Forward planning: €364. Every month I forward plan for annual payments:

  • Car insurance: €188 set aside every month for annual renewal.
  • AA: €7.50 set aside every month for annual renewal.  
  • Motor tax: €22.50 set aside every month for annual renewal.  
  • NCT: €2.29 set aside every month for bi-annual check.  
  • Health insurance: €70 a month for next year’s insurance, as I want to start paying in lump sum when I renew insurance next year, rather than my current monthly payments.
  • Travel insurance: €5 set aside every month for annual renewal.
  • Website expenses: €63 set aside every month to cover my personal website expenses, which are paid annually – Norton anti-virus, web hosting, ssl cert, Microsoft package, domain names, and Gmail for business.
  • Accountancy fees: €5 set aside every month for end of year payment to my accountant. 

I currently live with my sister and her family in Kildare while saving for a deposit. I left a house share in Dublin to move to her place so I could save and hope to leave by next winter.

I’ve got no pension, but put away €1,024 for house savings and €250 into prize bonds a month. I also put away €100 for an emergency fund – this fund is to build up three to six months’ worth of savings in case something happens and I can’t work. Then the ‘unexpected expecteds’ fund also gets €100 a month. This is to cover things that I know will happen, but don’t know when – stamp duty, interest fees, quarterly fee, medical and dental.

I also have a system with my Revolut bank account to collect loose change in my Vault. So if I pay for something with my card that’s €10.95, it rounds up and the loose €0.05 goes into my vault. It’s a handy way to save a little bit more every month, usually about €30 or €40. I normally roll it over into my car loan at the end of each month. 



5:30 am – Wake up and can’t get back to sleep so decide it’s a lost cause and get up. Shower, eat breakfast (porridge, honey and currants) and sister drives me to train station for 7:00 am train. I leave my car at home as my sister is using it at the moment. I cover everything except petrol.

8:00am – In work and it’s payday! Last year, I spent just as quickly as I earned so I am really trying to budget more effectively this year. I spend about an hour planning my personal budget for the month.

9:00 am – Client call.

10:00 am – Colleagues in co-working invite us to eat leftover catering from another company’s breakfast meeting. Try to resist, but breakfast muffins are too good to miss.

12:00 pm – Catered lunch at a client’s office. Free :)

1:00pm – Afternoon is spent in back-to-back meetings.

6:30pm – Head to train station. Get train home and walk to polling station with sister to vote – Michael D for President!

8.30pm – Home and order in food for me and sister as everyone else is out. Since it comes to €29.55, €0.45 goes to the Vault. I pay and my sister reimburses me €15 via Revolut, so my cut is €14.55

9:00 pm – Trashy 90s movies and sleep.

1am – See prepay electricity is at €11 and I want to do load of laundry tomorrow. Top it up by €20 and put €1 to the Vault.

Today’s total: €34.55 (Saved: €1.45) 


8:00 am – Wake up and lay in bed listening to podcasts for an hour or so.

10:00 am – Breakfast. I have a bunch of photos saved on my phone of clothes I want to sell on eBay so I start uploading. Upload a few items and go shower.

12:00 pm – Walk to station to get train to Dublin. Drop off dress to dry cleaners en route. Arrive at Heuston and get the Luas. Pay for Luas on Leap Card, which I topped up last month.

1:00 pm – Go to Marks and Spencer and get fitted for bras. Spend €81 on three bras using regular bank card. I budget €200 a month for clothes, shoes, dry cleaning and grooming (hair, eyebrows and nails). It goes to a separate account in a standing order every month and if it’s not spent it rolls over into the next month.

1.30pm – Wander around Penneys. Want everything, but buy nothing.

2.30pm – Meet friend at the Woolen Mills. Have lunch (starter and main), bottle of wine, Diet Coke and shared dessert. I pay as she paid for last lunch. It costs €113.20, so €0.80 goes to the Vault.

4.30pm – Back to Penneys with friend as I told her that the Christmas jumper stock is in, and she wants to get one.

5:00 pm – Cinema to see A Star is Born. I bought the tickets to pay my friend back – this time for car rental a few weekends ago as she wouldn’t tell me the cost. When I booked I pre-ordered drinks and popcorn (€38), which we so don’t need after lunch!

7:00 pm – Meet friend’s husband and we go for drink in pub on quays to dissect movie. They pay for my gin and tonic.

8:00 pm – My friends head home, but I decide to catch Counting Crows gig at 3Arena. One of my clients always has tickets hanging around. Text around and get a ticket sent to my phone. Seat is very far from stage though. See on a friend’s Instagram stories that she’s here too, so I go join her. Buy two ciders during evening, €6.50 each (€13) with €0.50 to the Vault each time.

11:00 pm – Concert ends. Too late for last train so get €20 from ATM, get Luas to Red Cow and wait an hour for the bus. Buy two packets of chocolate covered peanuts (€2) in shop while waiting for Luas. Bus home is €5.

2:00 am – Walk from bus stop. So cold. Make up a hot water bottle and head to bed.

Today’s total: €227.20 (Saved: €1.80)


7:00 am – Wake up early because of hour going back. Feel hungover so eat some cornflakes with milk, and a Vitamin C tablet. Back to bed.

11:00 am – Shower and get ready to go for walk with sister’s family.

12:00 pm – Drive to stately home and go for walk in grounds. I give €10 towards tour, which actually costs €3 each and €2 for parking.

4:00 pm – After nice long walk, head to pub for lunch. Order Diet Coke, burger and chips. Sister’s husband pays.

6:00 pm – Home and carve pumpkins that my sister picked up earlier with kids. She paid for pumpkins for everyone, but I Revolut her €2 as she also bought me crisps.

8:00 pm – Climb into bed fully clothed and watch Netflix on and off for a few hours. Keep falling asleep though. Round 11:00 pm, I change into pyjamas and sleep.

Today’s total: €12


6:00 am – Wake up super early. Breakfast (cornflakes, milk and Vitamin C tablet) and then go back to bed to work on laptop and do my accounts from last year as I was freelance.

11:00 am – Finally done! Shower and get dressed and head to meet accountant. Today is a public holiday, but he was nice enough to agree to meet me today as I can’t do during week because of work. Work through accounts and submit to Revenue.

2:00 pm – Head out for walk.

4:00 pm – Stop at Lidl and pick up ingredients and shampoo/conditioner. It’s €21.50, so €0.50 to the Vault.

5:00 pm – Cook, then eat with sister and family.

7:00 pm – Switch on Netflix. Won’t let me watch as brother’s card payment has been declined so I switch payment back to my card. We tend to switch it around between everyone in family and we log in from all over the world. Watch for a while, then sleep (€10.99).

Today’s total: €32.49 (Saved: €0.50)


6:00 am – Up, shower, dress, breakfast and get 6.45 am train. Get a seat on train – it’s a miracle, but also midterm.

7.45 am – In work and finish preparing a presentation for a meeting later.

10:00 am – Meetings gets shifted around and we end up meeting at 11:00 am rather than 3:00 pm as planned. Thank goodness had presentation ready. Ends up becoming working lunch, which is catered for us.

3:00 pm – Finally done in meeting! Grab a chocolate bar and Diet Coke (€3.12) from shop downstairs to celebrate, and €0.88 goes to my Vault.

4:00 pm – Dial in to a conference call and half listen whilst emailing. Leave at 5.45 pm to catch train.

6.30 pm – Home and walk to Woodies to pre–order balloons for boyfriend’s graduation on Thursday. Buy two balloons and arrange to pick up Thursday. €12 for balloons, €2 for helium. It’s €14 total and I put €1 to the Vault. This comes from my gifting fund where I set aside €157 a month to save towards gifts at Christmas and throughout year.

7.30 pm – Home and head out for run. Do 6 km, home, shower and eat dinner that sister prepared. Read weekend papers after dinner as was too lazy to read at weekend, then head to bed around 9:30 pm as run has killed me. Watch some Netflix, then sleep at 10.30 pm.

Today’s total: €17.12 (Saved: €1.88)


6:00 am – Up, shower, dress, breakfast and out the door at 6.45am for train. Get a seat on train for the second day running!

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7:00 am – Pop into dry cleaners on way to work to pick up dresses. It’s a dry cleaners that I haven’t used before and dresses are only €12 here, €2 less than the place I normally go to in Kildare. So that’s €24 from my grooming fund.

8:00 am – Catch up on emails, then deliver training session for most of morning.

1:00 pm – Catered lunch in client’s offices after part one of training. Pop into off licence and pick up two bottles of champagne for boyfriend’s graduation. I cover this from the remainders of a voucher and my gifting fund (€123.85).

2:00 pm – Even more training. Then finish up and catch up on emails for a few hours.

6.30 pm – Leave office and get bus to city centre for manicure appointment. Pay for bus with pre-paid Leap Card. Pop into Dunnes and get plastic champagne glasses for graduation. €5.58 from gifting fund, with €0.42 to vault.

7:00 pm – Manicure (€48) is paid for from my ‘grooming’ fund. There’s now €47 left in this fund for the remainder of the month.

8:00 pm – Head towards Luas, but realise I’ll be waiting at Heuston (which is freezing) for an hour. Go to sushi place by Luas for chef selection, edamame and a Coke. It’s €21.90, €0.10 to vault.

10:00 pm – Bed

Today’s total: €223.33 (Saved: €0.52)


9:00 am – Day off for graduation! Up, shower, do some ironing and then get back into bed to catch up on some emails before leaving at 12pm and picking up balloons.

12:00 pm – Drive down to Waterford to attend graduation. En route pick up boyfriend and take out €200 to contribute towards his celebration dinner with his family his evening. Give the €200 to him and he buys me pack of chocolate buttons and crisps at filling station.

4:00 pm – Graduation ceremony. Long, but lovely.

6:00 pm – Check into hotel and get ready for dinner. Gather in boyfriend’s sisters room for a champagne toast (or two) before dinner. I sneak out quickly to put balloons on the restaurant table (been hiding them in the car).

8:00 pm – Dinner with his family.

10:00 pm – Drinks. Paid for by his family members.

Today’s total: €200

Weekly subtotal: €752.84

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. 

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