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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019
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How I Spend My Money: A legal secretary in Kildare on €26,000 who has saved up over €13,000

She’s saving for a house but still budgets for city breaks and an annual sun holiday.

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. 

Over the weekend, an accountant planning to retire by the age of 60 told us about his spending, and today a legal secretary living at home to save for a mortgage writes about her spending habits. 

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Occupation: Legal secretary
Age: 24
Location: South Kildare
Salary: €26,000
Monthly pay (net): €1,880

Monthly expenses
Rent: €240 (paid to my parents)
Household bills: Included in rent
Transport: Insurance (€78), tax (€25.40), petrol (€60) and maintenance (€30)
Phone bill: €20 (top-up per month for bundle) 
Groceries: Included in rent but I usually spend about €100 per month buying little extras throughout the week and a weekly takeaway
Subscriptions: Netflix (€7.99) and Spotify (€10)

Still living at home for the moment and working as a legal secretary for the last two and a half years. I’m trying to get good exposure in the legal profession before attempting the FE1 exams.

I’m in a long-term relationship and we are choosing not to rent together so that we can save for an apartment/house. I’ve got about €13,500 in savings and the other half is saving hard too so we should be able to buy in the next 12 to 18 months, if all goes to plan.

I save at least €600 per month for the house/long-term plans and €300 per month for holidays, birthdays, Christmas etc. I don’t want to have to sacrifice our city breaks and the big sun holiday every year whilst saving. It’s nice to have something to look forward to and still live a little. I’m planning to up the monthly savings to €700 next year and cut the short-term savings to €200, although it’s looking likely that I’ll need to buy a new car in the not too distant future.

***

Monday

8:15 am – Up for work. I work in the same town I live in so I’m able to sleep in a little. Quick shower, dressed and out the door. Pick up a coffee on the way to work (€3.90). I’m trying to stop buying takeout coffee every day but on Monday it’s essential.

1:00 pm – As I’m only around the corner, I walk home for lunch. I grab a bowl of stew from the slow cooker and relax for the hour-long break.

5:30 pm – Finish work, head home and I change into my running gear and head out before it gets too dark.

6:30 pm – Dinner is a ham and cheese toastie and a large mug of tea to warm up a bit.

7:00 pm – I’m heading away to London to visit family soon so I book the flights before they start to go up in price (€89). It’ll be a cheap weekend getaway as I’ll have no accommodation costs. Use some money from my short-term savings to cover the flights.

8:00 pm – Head over to a friend’s place for a chat as we haven’t seen each other in a few weeks. She hasn’t had dinner yet so we order some chips for delivery (€4).

11:30 pm – Home. I put together my clothes for the week so I’m not scrambling for something clean to wear in the mornings and read a little before bed.

Today’s total: €96.90

Tuesday

8:15am – Up, shower, dressed. Make a coffee at home to bring in with me to the office. I used to buy a coffee on the way to work every single morning and it really does add up over the week and month.

1:00 pm – Meet a friend for lunch and end up spending €10.30 as I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was ordering.

5:30 pm – Home from work and change into my running gear. I try to get in as much exercise as I can to combat the sedentary office lifestyle.

6:30 pm – Home, shower and heat up some soup from the large pot that’s been made for dinner. There are bread rolls in the house so I toast one of them to go with the soup.

8:00 pm – House of Cards is back on Netflix so I’m dug out of that for the night.

11:00 pm – Head up to bed, scroll through Facebook and Twitter for a bit before bed.

Today’s total: €10.30

Wednesday

8:00 am – Hump day and it’s my birthday so I’m up a bit earlier to open cards and presents before work. It’s times like this that I don’t mind still living at home as I get to spend more quality time with my mam, brothers and sisters. 

8:30 am – Pop into Insomnia for my free birthday coffee I get for being a member. 

11:00 am – The girls in the office have gotten me a cake for my birthday so we all take a tea break and have a slice! 

1:00 pm – Pop round to the local shop and have a sandwich made up (€3.50). Back to the office and make a mug of tea to go with. 

5:30 pm – Home to more cake (yay!) and some prosecco to celebrate being another year older.

8:00 pm – Out for dinner with my boyfriend. We head to my favourite Italian restaurant and have a lovely meal together. We chat about our plans for the weekend. The boyfriend treats me to dinner so I get the drinks and cover the tip (€20)

11:30 pm – Back home and we have a little nightcap to round out the night. Let’s hope the large glass of water I bring to bed keeps any hangover at bay. 

Today’s total: €23.50

Thursday

8:15 am – Up for work and luckily no hangover in sight.

1:00 pm – Bring lunch from home to heat up as I knew the weather would be rotten and didn’t fancy the walk home, even if it is only a few mins.

5:30 pm – Meet himself after work for a look around the shops and a bite to eat (€50).

9:00 pm – Head to the cinema to watch Widows. Get in for free as I know the person serving us and they gave us comp tickets for my birthday.

11:45 pm – Into bed and read a bit before lights off. 

Today’s total: €50

Friday

8:15 am – Up, dressed and coffee made for work.

1:00 pm – Meet my sister for a coffee. She treats me so no expense.

5:30 pm – Head home after work. 

6:30 pm – Quick shower and change for dinner. Have a couple of pink gins getting dressed to get started.

8:00 pm – All ready to head out for dinner and drinks with family/friends for my birthday. There is about 12 of us and we grab some food before moving onto cocktails. €30

Midnight – Taxi back to the boyfriends (€3 each)

Today’s total: €30

Saturday

11:00 am – Up and only slightly hungover, so I make some scrambled eggs and a large coffee. 

4:00 pm – Don’t move from the bed for the day. I’ve got plenty to half watch on Netflix.

8:30 pm – Chinese takeaway ordered to keep us sustained, which comes to €10 each plus tip. 

Midnight – Bed

Today’s total: €10

Sunday

11:00 am – Up, dressed and head into the town with the mother to have a look at what’s in the shops and start some of the Christmas shopping. Pick up a few little bits and pieces (€20)

2:00 pm – Break for lunch (€8.15).

4:00 pm – Home and plop onto the sofa for the rest of the afternoon. Not too exciting.

8:00 pm – Meal prepping for the week ahead.

11:00 pm – Up to bed to read before lights out.

Today’s total: €28.15

Weekly subtotal: €248.85

What I’ve learned:

  • This wasn’t too bad a week for spending as I moved €139 from my short-term savings to cover the extra expenses this week. I try to keep myself around the €100 mark budget wise for the week, as you still need to enjoy the day by day living whilst saving for something as big as a house. 

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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