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Money Diary: A finance analyst on €60K living with family just outside Dublin

This week, our reader is enjoying going out and socialising with friends again after the lockdowns.

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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 support worker on €35K living with her partner in the south west of the country. This week, a 26-year-old finance analyst on €60K living with family just outside of Dublin. 

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I am a 26-year-old finance analyst working for a multinational company and living on the Kildare/Dublin border. I am still working from home and will begin a hybrid of working from home and going into the office shortly. I work 40 hours per week and am enjoying the work I am doing. As I started my current role from home, I am very excited to get into the office a few days a week, but I 100% believe hybrid working is the way forward.

Having only recently moved to the area, I am renting a room in a family member’s house. While I am happy with the current situation, I’m aware that it isn’t going to be a long-term solution so I’m actively looking for a room closer to the city. The rental market has proved to be a bit challenging since I moved up – in a lot of cases, the nicer rooms are more expensive than a mortgage repayment would be so that can be a little bleak to think about! I am counting myself very lucky to have the current set-up – it allows me to be a bit selective in what I go and view.

Thankfully, my savings have improved quite a bit in recent months – the only good thing to come from the pandemic! I also finished up a training contract with one of the “Big Four” accounting firms in April and moved away from practice into industry, which increased my salary quite a bit. I have been living out of home since I was 18 so prior to this, I was never really able to save anything significant, so it’s comforting to see my savings get a bit healthier. I transfer €1,000 to my savings account on each payday. At the end of the month, I usually have a few hundred left over that I keep in my current account as a cushion for any unexpected costs that might pop up the following month. My main aim at the moment is saving for a mortgage, although I don’t see myself qualifying for anything decent for quite some time.

My weekly spending tends to differ quite a bit depending on my plans, but I’m definitely not frugal. I don’t usually stray too far from my normal pattern Monday – Friday, but now the country has reopened, I’m trying to do as much as I can on the weekends. If I am not heading home to my beloved Cork for the weekend, you’ll usually find me around Dublin for a meal and drinks on a Saturday with family or friends, something I am at my happiest doing – I really missed it during the lockdowns. Maybe this is another good thing to come from the pandemic: an appreciation for the nights I used to take for granted. I think it is.

Occupation: Finance analyst
Age: 26
Location: Kildare/Dublin border
Salary: €60,000
Monthly pay (net): Approx. €3,500

Monthly expenses

Transport: Approx. €80 – diesel and tolls
Rent: €125/week
Household bills: Included in rent
Phone bill: €35
Health insurance: N/A
Groceries: Approx. €180
Subscriptions: €15 – €7.99 for Netflix and €5.99 for Spotify (still linked to my student account)
Car loan: €420 – I’m trying to clear this ASAP so I’m repaying a good bit more than the minimum repayment requirement
Gym: €57 – paying monthly as will be moving away from the area closer to the city soon
Charity donations: €21 – Mercy University Hospital Foundation, Cork
Savings: €1,000

Monday

7.45 am: I wake up and read a quick chapter of my book before climbing out of bed and making my way to the table. 

8.15 am: I have a busy morning of meetings ahead so I start planning for the first one while eating my breakfast and drinking a coffee. 

1.00 pm: A busy morning of meetings means I don’t get a huge amount of work done, like contributors gone before me have mentioned. I feel like I am always on video calls since working from home, but I am pretty used to it now. I break for my lunch and give my grand-aunt a call for a chat.

6.00 pm: That’s Monday done. Once I log off the laptop, I head out for a 30-minute walk/jog to clear the head and make myself feel a bit better about skipping the gym this morning. Grocery shopping has been done in the meantime, so I transfer money for my share (€14). We are splitting the cost of groceries between the three of us at the moment as we are all eating the same dinners, which works out pretty well as we rotate the cooking. 

7.00 pm: I give a hand with the cooking tonight – homemade ramen, which turns out to be pretty tasty. Once we have eaten, we catch up on Kin as we missed the episode on Sunday and then throw on Netflix for a couple of episodes of Maid.

9.30 pm: By this time, I am exhausted so I decide to head up to bed – scroll through a few clothing websites but nothing jumps out at me and I am asleep for 10.30 pm.

Today’s total: €14.00

Tuesday

7.05 am: I wake before my alarm and get straight up before I can think about lying in. I head to the gym, which is just under a 10-minute drive. I recently rejoined and have enjoyed getting back into it, definitely does good for the mind. My diesel light comes on when I am driving back so I stop at the next station (€30) – half a tank will do for now.

9.00 am: Time for work. Not a bad morning of meetings so should be able to get a good bit of work done that has been hanging over me.

1.00 pm: Happy with this morning’s work, got a good few things ticked off! I break for lunch and make a sandwich with a cup of coffee. I’ll be cheffing tonight so get cracking on a red Thai curry, nice and easy. With the chicken simmering and the veg prepped for later, I head back to the laptop for what I hope will be a productive evening.

6.15 pm: I log off the laptop and head straight for a barber. I’m happy with the cut so include a tip (€18). Feel like a new man and about two pounds lighter. When I get back home, I finish off the curry and serve up.

8.00 pm: After dinner, I relax on the couch for a bit and catch up on some shows that I’ve recorded. I also remember that I need to complete my Continuing professional development (CPD) for work by the end of the month, so I head on to my institution’s website to make sure I understand exactly what is required before then.

10.00 pm: I catch myself yawning, so call it a day and head to bed. 

Today’s total: €48.00

Wednesday

7.15 am: Wake up. Gym. Shower. Head back home.

9.00 am: I throw myself in front of the laptop with breakfast and a coffee. Don’t have too many meetings today so things shouldn’t be too hectic.

1.00 pm: Not a bad morning put down, so time for lunch. I mull over what I will have but stick with the usual eggs, medallions and avocado. Will be heading to see No Time To Die next week so I watch a bit of Spectre during my break – is it just me or is Christoph Waltz the only good thing in this one?

6.00 pm: Hump Day done. I need some fresh air, so I go for a walk to Lidl (a 10-minute walk each way) for a few bits for dinner. I’m on my own tonight so it’s going to be some ‘nduja pasta. Pick up what I need as well as a few bits for lunch tomorrow (€6.65).

8.00 pm: Fed and watered for the night so lamp myself in front of the TV with my laptop. I’m heading abroad with two friends at the end of the month and it cannot come fast enough – it’s been a long two years since I was on a foreign holiday! I go online and sort out our transfer from the airport (€10, my share) and buy tickets for a 2.5-hour Danube cruise, which includes a four-course meal and live music because why not… (€74.42, my share).

10.00 pm: Feeling pretty tired so I retire to bed and read a chapter of my book, scroll through the various social media and am asleep by 10.45 pm.

Today’s total: €91.07

Thursday

7.00 am: “Tá an t-am caite anois”, as the mother would say – I head to the gym, do my bits and am back, showered and sitting at the table ready for work by 9.00 am.

1.00 pm: Busy enough morning, barely saw the time pass and I am starved. I break for my lunch and give my bedroom a quick run around, nothing too exciting.

6.00 pm: Thursday done, the week is flying. I finally get around to ringing a pension provider. Based on my previous training and current contracts, I haven’t had access to the companies’ schemes, but realise I really need to get a move on with putting something away every month, so I schedule a virtual consultation for next week. For a lad working in finance, I know embarrassingly little about pensions and probably should have this long sorted but anyway, it’s moving now and a weight off my mind.

7.00 pm: After I do my washing and clean the bathroom, it’s time to suss dinner. The brother-in-law suggests Base Pizza and gets no complaints from me. We order a “family” deal for the three of us (€13). Once the food arrives, we tuck in and catch up on Gogglebox Ireland.

9.00 pm: Mum gives me a buzz and we chat for about 15 mins. I have a cup of tea, watch some Channel 4 and head up to bed around 10.15 pm.

10.20 pm: A chapter of my book and maybe three TikTok videos later, lights out by 10.45 pm.

Today’s total: €13.00

Friday

8.00 am: Having slept through my alarm, I wake around 8 am and realise it’s too late to make it to the gym – no hassle, lie-in it is.

8.30 am: I manage to get myself up and make my way to the table for work – have early morning meetings again, so I begin planning for those.

10.00 am: First morning meetings over and done with so I go to make my breakfast and find we are out of milk. I spin down to Lidl where I pick up the milk, some sparkling water and find my willpower being tested by the unbelievable smell of pastry. Ultimately, I give in and pick up three hazelnut croissants (€6.19). Coffee also tastes extra good this morning. Maybe it’s because it’s Friday?

1.00 pm: Morning done, time for lunch. Once I have eaten, I head to Lucan to SuperValu to grab a few bits for the evening – will be heading to a friend’s house for dinner. I grab a few beers and a bottle of wine to bring with me (€19.95).

6.00 pm: Finish up work after a busy but productive day. Throw some bits into a bag and head into the city for the weekend.

8.00 pm: With the curry my friend made devoured and a couple of beers later, we make half a plan for our trip. We book parking at Dublin Airport for the few days we’re away, which we split between us (€15.70, my share).

10.00 pm: We pull out a game of Monopoly – my first time playing, I’m ashamed to admit. I make a winning move by buying a property on Shrewsbury Road – the only time I will come remotely close to owning anything on Shrewsbury Road… once we are done, it’s nearly 1.00 am so we call it a night.

Today’s total: €41.84

Saturday

9.00 am: Up and at ‘em. We decide to head for breakfast in Rathmines. I order a pastrami sandwich with a flat white, which is all very tasty (€12). Once we have finished, we grab a taxi down to the docks as we are doing a tour of Dublin Port as part of Open House Dublin (€7.50, my share).

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12.00 pm: Tour of the port done – all very interesting in fairness. I highly recommend doing a few tours as part of OHD, tickets are usually free and it’s a nice way to spend a few hours. We walk halfway into town but looks like it’s going to rain so we flag down a taxi for the other half (€5, my share).

2.00 pm: I run into Arnotts to grab a weekend bag for the holiday – the zip on my current one is broken so it’s needed. After looking around for a bit, I finally find a decent one. I have an online voucher for most of the cost so only end up paying €19.43. I keep my head down as I walk through the rest of the store, so I am not tempted to buy anything else. I float the idea of a few pints while we are in town and my friend doesn’t take much convincing, so we decide to head over to Grogan’s.

6.00 pm: The pints of Guinness and Beamish taste too good so we end up staying on in Grogan’s a lot longer than expected. A few toasted specials and a lot of stout later, I’m down €43.40, but all very much worth it. I end up texting my brother to see if he is in town… would be rude not to. We run into Pyg first for a quick pizza as it’s across the road before meeting my brother and his friends in Stag’s Head where we stay until closing. A typical end to “will we go for a pint”. (€52.20)

12.30 am: We arrive back to Rathmines after waiting a bit for a taxi. I get the taxi for us both given I will be bunking in my friends for the night (€14.20).

Today’s total: €153.73

Sunday

10.00 am: After a good lie-in, we surface and make some breakfast and have a coffee. We decide to head out to Dundrum to have a look around the shops as we have nothing planned for the day. En route, I transfer two weeks’ rent for my room so that I can have a clear view of my money situation until payday and realise I definitely won’t have much of a cushion by the end of the month but what harm, I don’t sweat it too much. (€250)

2.00 pm: Not much to report since this morning. We picked up another friend on the way to Dundrum and I didn’t end up buying anything other than a bowl of pasta for lunch! (€18.95).

7.00 pm: Sunday has turned into a very chilled day, which was needed after the last two nights. I head back to my own place and pick up a takeaway en route – it’s one of those days (€16.95).

10.30 pm: After watching a few episodes of Maid on Netflix, I head to bed where I’m asleep before I hit the pillow.

Today’s total: €285.90

Weekly subtotal: €647.54

***

What I learned –

  • This was definitely a more expensive week than what I am used to, and I got a bit of a land when I totalled it up! In fairness though, there were a few expenses incurred that wouldn’t normally be a part of my week – I transferred two weeks’ rent as opposed to one and also spent a bit of money on necessities in preparation for my trip so all in all, it was bound to be a costly week.
  • I’ll be the first to admit that I spend a bit of money on the weekends but honestly, I don’t mind it – given the fact we spent nearly 18 months with our social lives on hold, I am happy to head out now and again and give the restaurants and bars some business.
  • I also find I am spending more now that I have moved to Dublin – I definitely didn’t spend as much while I was in Cork and while part of that is due to the fact that Dublin is pricier, it’s also down to me wanting to make the most of my weekends in a relatively new city. I could and should ease off on the takeaways though!
  • I should probably reduce my car loan repayment now that I am spending more money on other things. I increased my repayments back when the pandemic started in order to pay off the loan faster, but I want to keep up my €1,000 savings a month so I think this would be a wise move.

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