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Money Diaries: A 25-year-old finance analyst on €45K living in the family home in Clare

This week, our reader feels lucky to be able to live with his parents rent-free while saving up for a deposit to buy his own house.

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WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on The Journal 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 management consultant on €62K living in Dublin with his dog. This week, a 25-year-old finance analyst on €45K living in the family home in Clare. 

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I am a 25-year-old finance analyst with the public sector living at home with my parents, brother and sister. I have been working from home since March 2020, though I have returned to one day a week at the office recently.

At the moment, I commute to the office for this day, as it makes more sense than paying over €500 a month for rent when I only need to be there for one day. However, there is talk of us returning three days a week, and the office is a two-hour drive from where I live. There has been no official date announced for when this will be, but once in effect, I will probably start looking for a place in the city then.

Like many people my age, I was able to save a lot more money during the lockdowns than I had at any stage in my life up until then. Unfortunately though, once restrictions lifted in April, I travelled the country most weekends, went out and ended up spending more than I’d like to remember. I was also unlucky to have the car give up on me two months ago, so had to fork into savings to buy a new car. As a result, my funds went down during those few months. Since then, I have been saving more, and would not spend nearly as much now as I was spending over the summer.

At present, I save around €2,000 per month. I know I will not always be able to save this amount, especially when I am back in the office and have to pay for rent and living expenses. I want to save as much as I can now while I am living at home.

The long-term plan is to raise around €28K more to use as a deposit to buy a house. Based on what I am saving now, and subtracting the rent I imagine I will be paying in the coming months, I think this should take just over two years to achieve.

I believe that in an ideal situation, someone is better off buying a house at a younger age, as they will save money over the years compared to paying rent, and owning my own home would provide me with more stability and peace of mind. However, the housing market has become increasingly appalling, and it doesn’t look like this will improve anytime soon.

Occupation: Finance analyst
Age: 25
Location: County Clare
Salary: €45k
Monthly pay (net): €2,875

Monthly expenses

Transport: €150 for Diesel
Rent: €0 (live at home with parents)
Household bills: €0
Phone bill: €20 with Vodafone
Health insurance: €900 per year (paid in lump sum)
Car insurance: €800 per year (paid in lump sum)
Car tax: €270 per year (paid in lump sum)
Groceries: €25 give or take
Subscriptions: €4.33 Netflix (share 2 screen with my brother and sister).

***

Monday

8.00 am: I get up and log on in the study room upstairs. I am lucky to have this room, and would not work anywhere else, as I feel it is vital to separate work and home as much as possible when working remotely.

8.30 am: After checking my emails, and doing some admin work, I have some breakfast. I have a bowl of Weetabix this morning. Normally, I might make scrambled egg or prepare some porridge, but it’s Monday morning, and I don’t have the energy to put such effort into my meal prep!

9.00 am: After finishing my breakfast and brushing my teeth, I head back upstairs and get back to work.

11.00 am: I go downstairs and have a quick break. Grab a yoghurt to tide me over until lunchtime. My back has been fairly sore lately, so ring the doctor for an appointment. When booking, I almost have to haggle to get a time that I’m not working, so end up settling for 4.30 pm this afternoon.

11.15 am: Back upstairs to work.

1.00 pm: I start my lunch break. I had planned on going for a run, as I am training for a road race in three weeks’ time. However, it hasn’t stopped raining all morning, so I go to the shed and my dumbbells and I manage a workout instead.

1.50 pm: After the workout, I have a ham and lettuce sandwich along with a protein shake. Go for a shower straight after.

2.10 pm: Back to the study room to continue work.

4.15 pm: Finish up work for today early and head to the doctor. He advises me that my working from home set-up is causing the back pain, and that I should use a hard chair instead of a spinning one. Does not prescribe anything. Pay €50, but with the health insurance, will get a 50% refund. (€25.00)

5.00 pm: After this, I pick up my watch from the jewellers. The battery had to be fixed, and I end up paying €6. On the way home, I fill up the car as I’ve to make the long commute to my office tomorrow. It was already around half-full anyways so I only fill €40 worth. I use a fuel card to get a 4c discount per litre, so I get a miniscule amount off, and the bill comes to €38.93.

6.00 pm: Arrive back home and have my dinner. Afterwards, I iron my clothes for tomorrow and pack my lunch.

7.00 pm: It is still raining outside, so I stay in for the evening and watch tv.

9.30 pm: I have to be up early tomorrow to make the long commute to my office, so head to bed and set the alarm for 5.45 am.

Today’s total: €69.93

Tuesday

5.45 am: The alarm goes off. I stumble out of bed and throw on my work clothes before heading into the kitchen to have some breakfast.

6.10 am: Get into the car and head for work. Living in the countryside, I am used to driving long journeys, and find them strangely therapeutic. The days are definitely getting shorter, and the first hour of my journey is in complete darkness.

8.10 am: Arrive in the office and I seem to have just missed the worst of rush hour traffic. There are very few in at this hour, and with less distractions, I am able to work at a more productive rate than when everyone else will be here later on.

9.00 am: The remainder of the staff begin to arrive. I make small talk with them, and I am told that traffic was particularly heavy this morning, probably due to the poor weather we’ve been having lately (which leads to more small talk!).

11.20 am:  Head into the canteen and make myself some tea.

1.10 pm: Head to the canteen for lunch. I am starving at this stage, as I tend to take more food breaks when I’m at home. I eat the packed lunch I made the night before, which saves a few quid compared to buying from the canteen or eating out.

1.45 pm: Return to my desk and continue some more work. My manager has arranged a meeting with the team later on, so I do some prep work for that.

3.15 pm: We go to a boardroom where the meeting takes place. It actually feels almost alien now that we have in-person meetings, as I had become so accustomed to Zoom over the last 18 months. However, I do find that communicating with my manager and team is so much easier in person.

3.45 pm: The meeting finishes up. I’ve been assigned some tasks from this and start working on them straight away.

5.00 pm: Finish up for the day and say my goodbyes to the others. Head to the vending machine and buy a Coke to keep me awake for the next few hours (€1.45). Then head straight into my car for the long journey home. Traffic is heavy again this evening.

7.15 pm: I arrive back home and I am grateful to have a dinner ready for me.

7.45 pm: Once dinner is eaten, I head straight to the couch to watch some TV.

10.00 pm: I am wrecked after the day, so get an early night and head to bed.

Today’s total: €1.45

Wednesday

8.00 am: I get up and decide to go for a quick walk before work.

8.15 am: Make some porridge for breakfast and then brush my teeth.

8.30 am: Log on to start the working day.

11.00 am: Go downstairs and make myself a cup of tea.

11.15 am: Head back upstairs and continue working.

1.00 pm: Break for lunch. I am lucky to live near a beach, and I decide to go for a run. The back is still a bit sore, but the exercise and fresh air are well worth it nonetheless.

1.45 pm: Come back home, and cook turkey burger with veg for lunch.

2.00 pm: Go for a shower then head back to work.

5.00 pm: Log off and meet a friend for a walk. We arrange to go out for one or two pints tomorrow evening, which I am looking forward to, but don’t want to go too mad with work on Friday.

7.00 pm: Come home and have my dinner.

8.00 pm: After dinner, I watch some Netflix. Everyone has been recommending this new show called Squid Game, but I prefer to watch documentaries or movies instead, as I tend to binge-watch series and get nothing else done in the process. Tonight I watch Inside Job, a documentary about the US Financial Crash in 2008. I find it mind-boggling to realise that back then the average LTV on a mortgage was 99.3%. After watching, I realise I was born 15 years too late, and at that rate could’ve easily gotten a mortgage years ago.

11.15 pm: I spend half an hour scrolling through my phone, then head to bed.

Today’s total: €0.00

Thursday

8.15 am: Get up and have some breakfast.

9.00 am: Log on and start working. We have a Zoom meeting later this morning, so I prepare for this.

11.30 am: Log into the Zoom meeting, and the usual issues of freezing screens and background noise dominate the hour.

12.45 pm: Meeting finishes and I break for lunch. My brother finishes up early on Thursdays, and he offers to bring me home a chicken wrap as his treat. I happily accept, and know I will have to return the favour at some point.

1.45 pm: Head back to work. I have been assigned some tasks from this morning’s meeting, so carry out some of these for the afternoon.

5.00 pm: Finish up for the evening. My parents are both working full-time outside of the home, so I do some housework to ease the burden.

6.00 pm: My back is still quite sore, so after washing the floors I head to the swimming pool (€8). I will probably go more often as the evenings get darker – and the sea becomes colder!

8.00 pm: Back feels a lot better after the swim, and I go home for a quick bite to eat before I meet the lads for a pint in town.

8.15 pm: I throw on a t-shirt and jeans before I get picked up. We are lucky that one of the lads has decided to stay off the drink for a while, and he is nominated the designated driver.

9.00 pm: Arrive at the first pub. Since there is only three of us tonight, I agree to buy the first round (€9.60).

9.30 pm: Head to the next pub and get two pints there. The first pint is paid for, and I buy the next one myself (€5.20).

11.00 am: The pubs close for the night, and we head home.

11.45 am: Arrive home, get a glass of water and head to bed.

Today’s total: €22.80

Friday

8.15 am: Get up, and head for a quick walk to cure the head.

8.30 am: Arrive home and have some breakfast.

9.00 am: Back upstairs to start work.

11.00 am: Grab a quick break.

11.20 am: Back upstairs to continue work.

1.00 pm: Break for lunch. The waves look suitable today for a surf, so I take the board out for a quick session. I have only gotten into surfing recently, and realise a few falls in that I still have a long way to go.

1.45 pm: Come back home, wash the wetsuit and shower.

2.00 pm: Have a sandwich then head back to work. I have another meeting at 3.30 pm, so prepare for that.

3.30 pm: Meeting with manager, brings us through some work he wants me to carry out next Monday.

5.00 pm: Finish work, and watch some Netflix.

6.30 pm: A group of us are going out for a meal and pints tonight, so I get ready for this.

7.00 pm: I am picked up and head to the restaurant.

7.30 pm: Arrive at the restaurant, get a meal and three pints. We pay separately and head to the next bar (€29.00).

10.00 pm: I have a few pints at the next place, but somehow end up only paying for the one (€5.50).

11.30 pm: Pubs close, and we head home.

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12.30 am: Arrive home, grab a quick snack, and onto bed.

Today’s total: €34.50

Saturday

9.15 am: Wake up, and with a sore head, stay in bed and scroll through my phone.

10.15 am: Get up and have some breakfast.

11.00 am: Grab my bike and go for a cycle to clear my head.

1.00 pm: Get home, shower and have some lunch.

2.15 pm: I am meeting a friend for coffee, so leave for town.

3.00 pm: Meet my friend, and buy tea and an energy ball at the café. (€4.60)

6.00 pm: Go for a quick sea swim after. It is definitely getting colder, and I only stay in for about a minute.

6.30 pm: Come home and shower.

7.30 pm: My mother cooks us homemade chips and sausages, which we happily devour.

9.00 pm: Watch some TV and settle in for the night.

12.00 am: Go to bed.

Today’s total: €4.60

Sunday

9.15 am: Get up. Fortunately, the weather is really nice for a change, so I decide to make the most of it and go for a run. I get 12km done this morning, and feel great afterwards.

10.15 am: Go for a quick swim in the sea, which feels much more refreshing after a run.

10.30 am: Have the breakfast first before going for a shower.

11.30 am: My parents buy the paper every Sunday, so I read this for the morning. I find it a nice break from being on the screen.

1.15 pm: We have Sunday roast for dinner.

2.15 pm: I wash up after dinner.

3.00 pm: My sister moved out recently so I decide to go and visit her. She only lives about a mile away, so I take the bike to visit her.

5.30 pm: Cycle home, and decide to watch some Netflix. I watch Fight Club, which is a masterpiece in my eyes.

8.15 pm: Use some paint spray I bought two weeks ago to cover scratches on the car. I find this much cheaper than paying a few hundred to get it fixed at a garage.

Today’s total: €0.00

Weekly subtotal: €133.28

***

What I learned –

  • Overall, I was quite happy with my spending this week. I am lucky to be able to live at home rent-free for now, and this definitely helps with saving money. However, as I expect to be renting from next month on, I know my expenses will not always be this low.
  • I found that bringing a packed lunch really helped save money the day I was in the office, and would definitely recommend this instead of going out for lunch or even going to a deli.
  • While I am lucky to be able to afford health insurance, and get a 50% refund on my GP visit, I still think it is shocking that in this country in this day and age, people without medical cards have to pay €50 for a consultation. This is a too expensive and I feel deters people that could have serious issues from visiting their GP. If this were free, so much more illnesses and issues could be resolved more speedily.

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