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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

How I Spend My Money: A tech worker on €37,000 dreaming of a three-bed house with a small garden

He needs to be more frugal to prove to the bank he can meet mortgage repayments.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on that runs on Wednesdays and Sundays and 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.  

On Wednesday, a marketing manager living in Dublin talked about how he plans to move home in the new year to save money for a house. Today, a software developer who also has property on the mind tells us about his week. 


Occupation: IT Professional
Age: 30s
Location: Leinster
Salary: €37,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,380

Monthly expenses
Apartment: Mortgage (€216.36), mortgage protection (€10.10), home insurance (€17.09), house alarm (€25), management company service charges (€120)
Household bills: TV and electricity (€167.34)
Transport: Petrol (€30), car insurance (€51.10), car tax (€15), public transport (covered by my employer) 
Phone bill: €100 (includes home broadband)
Health insurance: €7 (subsidised by my employer)
Groceries: €170
Subscriptions (monthly): Netflix (€10.99), Spotify (€9.99), web hosting (€22), eggs delivered by milkman (€12.46)
Subscriptions (yearly): Irish Computer Society membership (€105), past pupils’ union (€45), Dropbox (€99), TV licence (€160), magazine subscription (€64.90)

I co-own an apartment with my wife. We both like the idea of trading up and buying a new build, three-bed with a small garden. We need to be more frugal to prove to the bank we can afford increased mortgage repayments for a trade up we are considering in the future.

After current mortgage and bills are paid, we manage to put away €200 per month in savings between us. We are aware we would need to be saving an additional €350 to €400 per month.

I mentioned above that my transport is covered by my employer. This is because I’m currently working on projects on a client’s site. If later assignments have me located in our own office, I will be covering the cost of driving to head office in Dublin.

The costs listed are what I personally earn and spend. A portion of my wife’s income is used as discretionary cash when the two of us spend our free time together. 



8:15am – I was away for the bank holiday weekend and last checkout from the hostel is 10:30am. So I get up, shower and check out.

9:30am – Purchased breakfast in nearby cafe (€8.95 + €1 tip). I got a proper full-Irish breakfast to set me up for the drive home.  

10:45am – Bought petrol and takeaway coffee (€32.52) and then I’m on the road.

7:20pm – We go to the shop to top up essentials such as bread, milk, butter and chorizo for my lunch in work (€8.94).

11:00pm – I had to collect my wife from Dublin late at night following a show, so I purchased a takeaway coffee in Dublin (€2.50). It was a long, tiring day with a lot of driving.

Today’s total: €53.91


5:20am – I get up to go to work and shower. My breakfast is two slices of toast, a hard-boiled egg and a coffee. I take my lunch from the fridge and I’m out the door. I get the bus to the city centre, which takes about an hour. As I said, my company pays for public transport so this doesn’t cost me.

1:00pm – I eat my packed lunch at my desk. Coffee is free in the office so I generally have two to three cups throughout the day.

5:30pm – Purchased a sandwich, a can of Pepsi Max and a snack pack of apple slices from Tesco (€3.50) before a four-hour voluntary shift with a charity.

10:00pm – My voluntary shift finishes and I get the bus home at 10:15pm.

11:15pm – Arrive home, prepare my lunch for the next day, sit down and have one bottle of beer to unwind after a long day. 

Today’s total: €3.50


5:30am – I get up to go to work and shower. Again, my breakfast is two slices of toast, a hard-boiled egg and a coffee. I take my lunch from the fridge and I’m out the door to get the bus.

8:50am – Before I start work, I go online to pre-book a parking space in a long-term car park at the airport for an upcoming trip. I went for the premium/valet parking option for an extra €5. Total cost of the booking is €38. All other bookings such as flights and accommodation are already paid for.

1:00pm – I eat my packed lunch at my desk. During my lunch I sponsor my upcoming Movember efforts to the tune of €25 to get the ball rolling.

6:55pm – I popped into SuperValu near where I live for another top-up shop to get bread, cheese, fun size chocolate multi-packs and deodorant (€11.21).

7:15pm – Myself and my wife went to a hotel in our locality where she treated me to two pints.

9:00pm – We arrived home and I threw together toast, cheddar cheese, chorizo and fried eggs for supper. Afterwards I ironed a shirt for the following day in work.

11:00pm – Bedtime.

Today’s total: €74.21


5:20am – I get up to go to work, shower and have my regular breakfast. While making breakfast, I make some lunch for my wife to bring to work with her and then head out to get the bus to Dublin.

1:00pm – As I am attending a concert in Dublin tonight, I break from bringing my lunch with me and go for a carvery in a hotel near the office. I always like to have a dinner at lunchtime and I consider this when preparing packed lunches also. The carvery lunch today costs €9.

5:00pm – I’m finished work and head off to the 3Arena for the concert.

6:00pm – Arrive at 3Arena and decide to have one pint in the Gibson Hotel before I go into the venue. It is a steep €6.30 for the pint.

6:30pm – Inside the venue I meet my brother and his friend and we enjoy a few pints. My bar total from drinks in the venue for the evening is €30 .

11:35pm – I make my way back towards the city centre but miss the 11:25pm bus, so I go to a nearby kebab shop for a doner box and a Diet Coke (€8) to bide time.

12:25am – I get the bus to go home. It’s a different bus to my normal daytime bus and the route is longer. It’s a struggle to stay awake in order to avoid missing my stop, however I manage to stay alert.

2:30am – Home and straight to bed.

Today’s total: €53.30


5:35am – Due to the late night, the alarm this morning is the last thing I needed and I have to peel my face off the pillow. But I make my way into the shower and eat my typical breakfast. The bus to the city centre takes an hour, as ever.

1:00pm – Due to the late night, there was no time to prepare my lunch so out I go from the office to purchase something. I go to the hotel near the office that I visited at lunchtime yesterday for a carvery again (€9).

8:00pm – I needed another couple of things from the shop – cooked ham for sandwiches and seasoned sea salt (€7.50).

8:30pm – My wife treats me to a few Friday pints.

11:00pm – I purchase some sausages and chips from local takeaway on the way home (€6.50).

Today’s total: €23


9:00am – A later start today since it’s Saturday. Neither of us are in work for the weekend. We have toast and the sausages purchased from the takeaway the previous night for breakfast.

11:00am – We leave the house to attend our niece’s 11th birthday family celebration. I pick up petrol on the way costing €33.

3:00pm – I volunteered to help out at a CoderDojo class for 90 minutes.

7:00pm – We head to a charity event and meet up with some friends for the evening. All this driving takes a toll and I have to stop for more petrol on the way (€25.02). And there are tolls charged for these journey costing €13.30.

8:00pm – We have a few drinks at the charity event being held in a pub and catch up with friends. My bar bill for the evening comes to €36.80. 

Today’s total: €108.12


4:00pm – After a late start following the previous night’s festivities, I stop at a petrol station for some coffee and sandwiches (€13.15). I incur toll charges on the drive home (€3.50).

7:00pm – Online check-in for my flight incurs a seat charge of €9.99.

8:00pm – I pick-up some essentials in SuperValu (€11.69) and grab a takeaway costing €13 because I’m not in the mood for cooking this evening. 

Today’s total: €51.33

Weekly subtotal: €367.37

What I’ve learned:

  • There was an unusually large amount of driving this week due to a bank holiday weekend, birthday celebration and charity event all falling close together.
  • During my work day, I would not tend to spend much because I would have my lunch with me. The food for my packed lunch would usually be purchased on the Sunday preceding the week and the cost is accounted for in my regular grocery spend. I would also have at least one top-up shop during the week.
  • The once-off expenses such as additional petrol fills, Movember donation, airport car park fee and flight seat charge amount to €133. These are not regular, which would mean my weekly spend might be €234.37.
  • One tip I have for people is to definitely try to bring your lunch with you if you can. You will save a significant quantity of money that you might otherwise be handing over in delis, shops or cafés.

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 

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