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Money Diaries: A recruitment consultant on €32K living in the midlands with his family

This week, our reader is juggling family life and working from home, taking care not to overspend.

TheJournal.ie reader

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie that looks at how people in Ireland really handle their finances.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, what they save if anything, and what they’re spending their money on over the course of one week.

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. We would love to hear from you.

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, so let’s be kind.

Last time around, we heard from a process scientist who balances the family finances while her husband returns to college to upskill. This week, a recruitment consultant on €32K living in the midlands with his family.

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I am a recruitment consultant based in the Midlands. We purchased our first, current and only home a few years ago. I am 37 years of age, the main earner in the family with a basic salary of €32K a year.

I do earn commission, but I am taxed heavily on this. Therefore, if I earn €1,000 extra in any given month, I take home about €500. The catch is, if the client pays their bill, you get paid. If not, no commission, so it’s never guaranteed.

The word “save” just does not apply to me at this moment in time. My partner works part-time after getting let go during the pandemic. Therefore, my priority is to make sure that our living situation is comfortable, the bills are paid (no extrinsic stress), and the kids have everything they need. After that, everything else is a bonus.

My pastimes don’t cost me anything. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. If I get a few bob extra in commission, we won’t live like the Kardashians for the weekend but we will enjoy a family day out, get some pizzas, and a treat. Otherwise, it tends to cover tax on car, getting new tyres, new clothes and sports gear for the kids etc.

I am not frugal by any means, but I have seen through previous occupations what damage and stress that mindless spending and financial carelessness can cause to a family.

Occupation: Recruitment consultant
Age: 37
Location: Midlands
Salary: €32,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,200

Monthly expenses

Transport: €60
Car Loan and monthly insurance/tax: €475
Rent: €500
Household bills: €185
Phone bill: €45
Health/Home insurance: €52
Groceries: €480
Subscriptions: €36.99
Emergency account: €150

***

Monday

7.30 am: The alarm clock is shouting “yummy” and “milk” from his cot. Time to get up. It’s my oldest son’s birthday so plenty of excitement in the house. The kids are fed, and the laptop is turned on.

8:20 am: Work starts at 9 am, but now that I am working from home I tend to start around 8:30 am.

1.00 pm: I work through lunch as I want to finish up an hour early to go kick ball with the kids and celebrate my son’s birthday. Just grab a bite to eat from the fridge, a much-needed coffee and some chocolate.

5.00 pm: Normal day at the office – couldn’t finish up early as three new jobs came through and call needed to qualify jobs, salary on offer, etc. Job offer also came through for a candidate with an immediate start so all reference checks needed to be completed before COB. Good call to get of a Monday but I missed the majority of my son’s party.

6.00 pm: We kicked ball and had a penalty shootout to finish out the day. Kids activities are cancelled due to the heat which takes some pressure off with drop-offs. I go to my physio session and hide my tears for 20 minutes. I am suspect about the hero Achilles getting an arrow in the heel – I reckon it was exaggerated and it really was an elbow or a fist that done the damage. Torture.

8.00 pm: The evening ends with the daily struggle to get the kids to bed against their will. Clean the kitchen, tidy the place, then its lights out for us. Wrecked.

                          Today’s total: €51.00 (Birthday presents bought last week thankfully!)

Tuesday

7:30 am: For the past 12 months, I’ve felt like I could be playing the lead role in Groundhog Day, especially in the mornings, but surprisingly enough I like it. Another scorcher of a day. I woke up with a craving for a latte so I went to the local café and got us some motivation in a cup and a snack to take away. (€10)

5.00 pm: Finish up at work and spent some quality time with the kids before I train my local club. My two older kids generally come with me, but they are shattered from the heat. The smallest is put to bed before I go.

7.00 pm: Evenings are busy in our household and I wouldn’t have it any other way with the kids. My partner and I juggle pickups and drop-offs between us and my mother is super for helping out too.

8.00 pm: Yep, you guessed it: clean and tidy up, take out the bins, etc. Flicked through Netflix for an hour before going to bed out of pure exhaustion just trying to decide what to watch.

                         Today’s total: €10.00

Wednesday

8:00 am: My second vaccination this morning. Bottle of water and chewing gums needed as 1) it’s roasting out, and 2) no matter how many I get, I still hate needles. Diesel for the car needed for the week. (€32.00)

10.00 am: I spend the remainder of the day playing catch up in work.

5.00 pm: The tiredness hits me like a train. I fall asleep for an hour on the couch with my youngest son beside me so we wake up pretty much stuck to the couch. The evening was like any other evening only in a semi-zombie state with patience levels in the low teens.

8.00 pm: Watch a movie with partner and hit the hay. Could. Not. Sleep!

                      Today’s total: €32.00

Thursday

8:30 am: Woke with what I could only describe as the equivalent of a Tequila hangover from the vaccination. Last time I looked at the clock before dozing off it was 6 am. Thankfully as the day went on it went away. No aches or pains. Take the paracetamol folks, it works!

1.00 pm: My tip-around car has seen better days. It’s 15 years old and needs some TLC – that TLC being a wheel bearing and some other work on it to stop it from sounding like it’s about to take off. I dropped it to the local mechanic in hope that it’s a small job. We are at odds about having the second car at the minute but it’s more out of necessity than luxury. It really does free us up with transport, but the cost of keeping two cars is becoming more and more of a pain point. (€170.00)

2.00 pm: My partner does the weekly shop while the youngest is asleep. I keep the monitor beside me while I work. He generally sleeps to the same routine. (€126.00)

8.00 pm: Paddling pool, slide and water fight – fun had by all. All a treat from Granny. My partner heads off to work as she works evenings. Me and the kids watch a movie before bedtime.

                         Today’s total: €296.00

Friday

8:00 am: Same as every other morning to be honest!

Finishing for a couple of days holidays next week so I’m trying to tie up loose ends before finishing up. Nothing spectacular to report in on.

1.00 pm: Went for a lunchtime stroll with my youngest and bought some ice creams. (€5.00)

5.00 pm: Finish up in work.

8.00 pm: Had a match this evening. My mother took care of the kids for a couple of hours while I played as my partner was working. Otherwise I would have to pay to have someone over which to be fair, I wouldn’t be able to justify.

                         Today’s total: €5.00

Saturday

8:00 am: U7s hurling match this morning – a good breakfast had by all. The household is on edge, you could cut the tension with a knife. Big game. Nerves are shot. That’s me, by the way – the child couldn’t care less. Instead of discussing pre-match tactics we play Minecraft.

12.00 pm: Match finished – exceptional performances from all involved. Loop the Loop ice pops for all involved too. Water also. (€20.00)

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4.00 pm: Pizza for the family. Late home and my partner has work so it’s thumbs up from everyone. (€23.00)

8.00 pm: Smallest off to bed early, then it’s games night for me and the other two boys. Online gaming – I hear YouTubers are making a decent few bob this weather!

                    Today’s total: €43.00

Sunday

8.00 am: The little fella is up early so the two of us went for a walk around town after breakfast to wear him out before his afternoon nap.

12.00 pm: My partner takes the eldest two boys off to a party for the afternoon while he is asleep. I get my things packed for our first night away in nearly three years!

5.00 pm: My partner has work this evening again so I get the car cleaned out, washed and the clutter cleaned up around the house while she gets the kids things ready – nappies, change of clothes, etc.

7.00 pm: Fill the main car with diesel. (€40.00)

8.00 pm: Wind-down time. Tea/supper for the kids and early to bed for everyone as we leave early in the morning.

                   Today’s total: €40.00

Weekly subtotal: €477 not inc. debits for bills

***

What I learned –

  • All my outgoings are at the start of the month. Therefore the spending closer to the end of the month tends be relatively low – out of necessity – July tends to be tighter due to birthdays etc.
  • The cost of the second car is something that needs to be addressed soon. Between insurance, tax, cost of weekly running, servicing and yearly NCT, we agree it is an expense that could be done without now that I can work remotely, so we need to weigh up the pros and cons other than this.
  • For the first time in a long time, I analysed what was going out of my account on a monthly basis and the timing of payments of bills, etc., which is really helpful but slightly depressing!
  • I don’t know if I am more stressed now to know that I am relying on commission as a means to get by as it’s not a guaranteed source of income. The one consolation is that all the bills are paid, we are living more comfortably than before and not on the breadline, and we finally have our own home after years of being turned down for mortgages.

About the author:

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