Skip to content
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change your settings or learn more here.
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal

How I Spend My Money: A scientist in Galway on €42,500 with an emergency fund to last six months

He has started investing some of his savings in shares.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on 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.  

The other day, our first money diarist based abroad shared his account of living in Brussels, and today we’re headed out west as a scientist in Galway tells us how he spends his money. 


Occupation: Scientist
Age: 27
Location: Galway
Salary: €42,500
Monthly pay (net): €2,550 (after 12% employee pension contribution)

Monthly expenses
Rent: €550 (sharing with my girlfriend. We pay €1,100 for a two-bed apartment)
Household bills: €75 (my cut of the broadband and electricity)
Transport: €160 (fuel, car tax and insurance)
Phone bill: €25
Health insurance: Employer benefit-in-kind deal
Groceries/food: €300 (Aldi/Lidl mostly, work canteen and takeaways)
Pension: €425
Subscriptions: Spotify family plan (€2.50), Netflix (€4.50)
Travel: €200 (averaged over 12 months)
Discretionary: €200 (socialising, gifts, etc)

Myself and my girlfriend rent a two-bed for €1,100 a month in Galway. Our lease was signed earlier this year, so we just happened to get lucky with it, I guess. The place we’re in was close to the tenth we viewed and at the time, a lot of two-bed places were coming in around €1,000 to €1,200 a month – there’s not many at that price now!

We haven’t rented the spare room out as we prefer the place to ourselves. It doubles up as a gaming room most of the time when we’re not having family or friends over.

Having built up an emergency fund of six months of essential expenses (roughly €10,000), I’ve recently begun to divide the €850 to €1,000 I save (give or take) between buying shares using a Degiro investment account and a separate savings account.

Degiro is a broker for buying/selling shares and an easy way for people like me to dip their toes into the market. I’m not expecting to see a return this year as I’m only learning still. Overall, the aim is to have a house deposit in two years.



7:45 am – After snoozing through three alarms, I’m finally awake and spend a short while browsing on my phone. I’m up, showered and out the door for 8:30 am. Traffic is nice and quiet this morning so I’m in work for 8:45 am.

9:20 am – Breakfast at work is the usual amount, with a large coffee to boot (€4.20).

1:00 pm – I didn’t have much in the way of food in the house to make a lunch, so it’s a small canteen lunch and a coffee again (€3.10). It is Monday after all.

8:00 pm – I had the best of intentions to go shopping – the bags were in the car and all. But I called over to a friend and just stayed in their place for a while drinking tea.

10:00 pm – Home again and it’s another evening of Netflix until that time of the evening hits when the clock rolls over. Like always, I promise myself I’ll head to bed earlier tomorrow.

Today’s total: €7.30


11:00 am – I’m off work today and sleep in the latest I have managed to in months. The neighbour’s loud dog must have been having a lie in too! I groggily make a coffee, read some news on my phone and clean the apartment a bit.

4:00 pm – Since the fridge is looking worse for wear, I head to Aldi and stock up on food for the week (€48.20). I head into Tesco also and pick up some steaks and a few bits for some friends heading over this evening (€23.29).

7:30 pm – The steaks were surprisingly nice and hoovered up. The kitchen returns to its same unruly state as it was this morning. It’s like I had never cleaned it in the first place, ugh!

10:00 pm – I start making lunch for tomorrow using leftovers, with overnight oats and summer fruit for breakfast. I shower and get in bed to watch re-runs of Louis Theroux on Netflix.

Today’s total: €71.49


8:00 am – I’m awake and rush out the door for work, packed lunch in hand. I have breakfast at 9:00 am in work and grab a coffee (€2.70).

1:00 pm – Time for lunch. I grab another coffee and a treat as well (€3.10), it is hump day after all.

6:00 pm – Home and have the dinner on. Trying to break the bad habits of the last few years I turn my mind to Christmas presents and load up Amazon. The basket is getting pretty full, but I’ll wait until Black Friday. I have an account as is, but will make up a new one to get the free month of Prime. Bezos won’t miss the few euro!

8:00 pm – Netflix time again. I watch Hacksaw Ridge even though I’ve seen it before. It’s great.

11:00 pm – Lights out.

Today’s total: €5.80


7:00 am – Up for the grind again. I’m out the door for 7:30 am and in work by 8:00 am.

9:00 am – I have breakfast with me again, but a large coffee is too hard to say no to (€2.50).

1:00 pm – My day is pretty uneventful so far. I grab a small lunch from the canteen as I didn’t have any leftovers (€4).

5:00 pm – Leave work and home not long after – traffic seems to be quiet this week. End up falling asleep watching TV as per usual and order takeaway as it’s too late to rustle up anything decent for dinner (€14).

Today’s total: €20.50


7:30 am – Showered and out the door for 8:00 am. Morning flies and it’s breakfast time before I know it.

9:00 am – The fry in work is too hard to say no to so I give in. With the large coffee it comes to €4.50. I’ve got a meeting after breakfast and the morning flies by some more, thankfully.

1:00 pm – I grab a small coffee and snack before leaving work early (€3).

4:00 pm – Home and feet up for the evening in front of the TV. Girlfriend kindly offers to cook. Usually I’m happily the one in the kitchen, so it’s a nice change. As I lie in a bit of a food coma, we watch some Harry Potter and a few episodes of Black Mirror. Rent is due today, so €550 goes out of my account along with my girlfriend’s half. 

Today’s total: €7.50


11:00 am – Sleep in again and have a quick breakfast before doing some errands.

3:00 pm – Walk into town and it starts raining on the way in, which is typical. I look like I’ve been grabbing an electric fence. I get the mop chopped to appear somewhat respectable before dinner tonight (€20).

5:00 pm – I head for an early dinner with the girlfriend to an Italian place we’ve been hearing good things about. A starter and main each, with a bottle of wine, sets us back the guts of €100. It’s my turn to pay. We haven’t been out on a date in a while, so it’s not too bad for the money.

7:00 pm – We meet up with some friends for drinks later in the evening and slowly get a few rounds in once the dinner begins to settle (€90). We stay out for a few hours.

1:00 am – Taxi home (€11.50) and we stumble into bed. We’ll have two sore heads in the morning.

Today’s total: €217.50


Nothing much to write about for today. I went home to see my family and as usual it was our two dogs who were the happiest to see me. I did a bit of food shopping for our lunches and dinners on the way home. It came to €40 in total on our shared card, so €20 each. Went to bed early ready to start the working week all over again.

Today’s total: €20

Weekly subtotal: €350.09

What I’ve learned:

  • One thing that really opened my eyes was using a budgeting app – even for one month – and tracking everything. I’ve been tracking my spending for a while now so I can look back and see where I’ve spent more than I should have and try cut back from there if needed. Once you get used to it, it takes no more than 30 minutes at the start of the month to plan ahead.
  • Where I can, I’ve tried to look at expenses logically rather than emotionally – but it’s actually easier said than done.

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 


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top