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Dublin: 6°C Monday 6 December 2021

How I Spend My Money: A marketing manager on €60,000 renting in Dublin with his partner

The couple have €85,000 in savings but can’t afford to buy the house they want.

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.

In a money diary published last week, a widower living on disability benefits and renting in Dublin’s commuter belt told us about his spending habits.

Today, a man living in Dublin with his partner, who earn a combined wage of €155,000, walks us through his week, including his trips to the pub and how the Ireland-Denmark result blew an €80 payout.


Occupation: Marketing manager for retailer
Age: 31
Location: Dublin
Salary: €60,000 (partner earns €95,000) + performance-related bonuses of €20,000 (we might not earn all of this)
Monthly pay (net): €3,000 (after €750 put towards pension)

Monthly expenses
Rent: €1,900 (between two people)
Household bills: Gas/electricity/bins (€200), Sky + internet (€150)
Transport: Luas (€80), petrol (€40), tolls (€40), car insurance (€60), AA car rescue (€20)
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: €90 (my partner pays the same)
Groceries: ~€400 (between two people)
Subscriptions: Spotify (€10), Xbox Live (€7)
Charity donations: €100

My girlfriend and I live in rented accommodation in Dublin 6. We’re saving for a house. There’s not any defined plan to save, whatever money is left over at the end of the month is considered as saved.

Our aim is to buy a two- or three-bed house around Dublin 6, however this would be €600,000 to €700,000 and we’re not sure when we could really do it. Sadly we don’t qualify for the ‘first-time buyers’ scheme so we need a 20% deposit.

We have no idea what is going to happen with the housing market so we are just saving and waiting to see what happens. We have about €85,000 in savings, but would need another €50,000 to cover the 20% deposit and the solicitor fees, stamp duty, etc.



8:00 am – I’ve been hitting snooze on my alarm for a while. I finally get up and shower and then head to work around 8:30 am. I either walk or take the Luas, depending what the weather is like. Today I walk.

9:00 am – I keep some breakfast cereal at work so I only need to buy some milk (€2.20) for the week and I’m sorted for breakfast each morning. Work has free coffee so I never buy a cup.

2:00 pm – Bought a soft drink and nice sandwich for lunch (€9.80) and then went and got some groceries so I can make my own lunch each day for the rest of the week (€11.06).

6:00 pm – Head to the pub after work and meet my girlfriend. We spend about €32.50 each drinking, and then €7.50 each on tipping the barman in the form of “and one for yourself”. We don’t tip in every pub we go into, this is our local and its become a habit that we tend to tip them once or twice a night. We usually sit at the bar and have the craic with them, they greet us by name, they know what we drink and how hectic our work is and they always make us laugh. It seems like a nice thing to do to buy them a drink. Whether they take the cash or the drink at the end of the night, it doesn’t matter to me.

10:30 pm – Home now and we have some late dinner, cost €8.

Midnight – Head to bed.

Today’s total: €71.06


8:00 am – Get up, shower.

8:30 am – Caught the Luas to work because I couldn’t be bothered walking.

9:00 am – Make my own breakfast at work.

1:00 pm – Make my own lunch. Succumb to temptation and add a packet of crisps (€1).

6:00pm – Catch the Luas home.

8:00 pm – Dinner is a quorn lasagne, vegetables and potato (€10).

Midnight – Spend the evening reading, watching TV and chilling out. Head to bed around midnight.

Today’s total: €11


8:30 am – Walked to work.

9:00 am – Made my own breakfast as per usual. Starting to feel like keeping a money diary is exposing me as a very boring person.

1:00 pm – Same lunch as day before with my own ingredients. Bought some bananas for €1.50.

7:00 pm – Catch the Luas home.

8:00 pm – Dinner is bangers and mash and some nice veg, cost €8.50.

11:00 pm – Mentally drained by work, head to bed early and just read all of the internets before going to sleep around half an hour later.

Today’s total: €10


8:30 am – Walked to work.

9:00 am – Made my own breakfast as per usual.

1:00 pm – Same lunch as day before. It definitely does get boring doing this, but I can’t justify the decadence of spending the guts of a tenner on lunch each day.

6:00 pm – Stroll home.

7:00 pm – We’re bored so decided to head to the pub for the evening with a friend. I tried to keep track of how much we drank there, though my counting became a mess towards the end of the night. Between us, we had 16 pints, two G&Ts, two ‘and one for yourself’ tips for the barman and one whiskey. We spend €110 in total. I think I spent about €30 on alcohol. I ordered food for delivery so I get to dodge a few rounds.

8:30 pm – Both of us put €2.50 towards a bet on a horse. It comes in second. It wasn’t an each-way bet since the horse was 5/2 – full €5 was lost unfortunately.

10:00 pm – Ordered some Thai food (€41.40).

11:00 pm – Walk home and have our food. Tipped the delivery driver €2.

Midnight – Fall into the bed and pass out.

Today’s total: €68.90


7:00 am – Woke up feeling hungover to bits. Sit there reading my phone in bed for a half hour and feel sorry for myself.

8:15 am – Get up, shower and get ready for work.

8:45 am – Leave for work, decide to walk the whole way as the thought of being both hungover and on the Luas is terrible enough. Hopefully the fresh air will help me.

9:00 am – Not enthused by the thought of eating cereal for breakfast. Stop into McDonald’s and get breakfast there (€4.60). Zero regrets about this even though readers will now know what a terrible diet I have.

9:30 am – Arrive at work.

10:00 am – Buy some tickets for a comedian at Vicar Street (€69.80).

1:00 pm – Same lunch as day before.

6:00 pm – Decide then the only thing to do is to have more pints with work crowd. Spend €46 on pints.

10:30 pm – Grab some fast food on the way home (€26.05).

11:00 pm – Watching a bit of TV and eating food, I’m starting to get some serious fear about what my weekly total spend on alcohol will be.

Midnight – Fall into the bed and pass out.

Today’s total: €146.45


7:00 am – Woke up early again, but not too hungover. Spend some time reading and drinking water. Weather is awful outside.

10:00 am – Paddy Power sends me a free €5 bet. I contemplate putting on a massive accumulator so I have a chance at finishing this money diary with a net profit.

11:30 am – Get up and shower. There is an open-house viewing around the corner from us so we decide to go to that.

12:10 pm – Look at this great big house that is up on the market for over €800,000. Go through the five stages of grief that I don’t have a gaff this deadly.

12:30 pm – Hair of the dog to fight the hangover (€10.10).

1:00 pm – Visit Paddy Power shop with girlfriend and we put on the free bet. If it all comes through we win €80. We used the bet and didn’t wager any of our own money.

1:30 pm – Buy some groceries for lunch, dinner and grazing on over the weekend, around €40.

2:00 pm – We make some sandwiches for lunch.

3:00 pm – I do about an hour of work. My girlfriend does about two to three hours of work.

4:00 pm – We watch Frozen.

7:30 pm – We go to the pub and watch the Ireland-Denmark game, spending about €35 between us on pints and bar snacks.

9:30 pm – The Ireland result screws up our bet.

10:00 pm – Head home and I make pasta for dinner (€6).

Today’s total: €73.60


9:00 am – Wake up.

11:00 am – Girlfriend goes to the shops to get groceries for the week ahead, and some food for lunch and dinner. She spends about €43. In general we split these costs, but neither of us is keeping a tally or telling the other “you owe me this for groceries”. Most common scenario is one of us goes to the shops and the other says, “here’s some money toward it”. On Sunday I gave €20 toward the shop.

11:30 am – I get on the Xbox and play some co-op FIFA with a friend. We play for about two hours.

1:30 pm – We have a bit of lunch and read a Sunday paper that she picked up at the shops.

2:00 pm – I do three hours of work. My girlfriend is also working. She probably works about eight hours today as she has deadlines coming up.

5:00 pm – We chill out and watch TV. My girlfriend makes a lasagne for lunches during the week.

7:00 pm – We watch a movie – Turner & Hooch.

11:00 pm – Wind down and head to bed.

Today’s total: €20

Weekly subtotal: €401.01

What I’ve learned:

  • We probably spend too much on alcohol. I count about €275 spent at the pub, and there’s a knock-on effect of where we don’t bother cooking if we come home with a few pints in us. It’s far more convenient to get some fast food or something delivered, and that probably drives up our weekly spend a bit.
  • I’m so guilty of using a good day to justify a spendy day. Tuesday and Wednesday we spent €21 between us. Then we go and spend 15-times that much over the next two days. Probably need to impose a limit on ourselves on how many nights out a week we do.
  • If we could cut back our alcohol spend by about €100 each week then we’d save around €5,200 in the year. Being honest, we’re probably not going to start putting limitations on how often we drink, but I’m now really aware of how much money I’m giving to Diageo. Even just subbing in a night where we drink at home would be a substantial saving over the year.
  • About €70 spent on fast food during the week. Almost matching the amount we spend buying groceries. If we got better at making more prepared meals we’d save a bit there too.
  • Past three months I’ve saved about €500-700 per month from just living frugally at work, but could put a lot more aside if I added real structure to it. I’ve set up a weekly savings debit now to put a bit aside each week and stop me going too crazy with money.
  • Probably our biggest flaw is that there is no plan to save because we earn well and savings just accumulate. If we lived a life of zero craic we’d probably be tucking away €3,000 a month. We just need to find the right balance on things.

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. 

About the author:

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