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Money Diaries: A 34-year-old project manager on €75K living and working in Dublin

This week, our reader makes time for socialising and Christmas shopping during a busy week at work.

TheJournal.ie reader

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 healthcare manager on €47K living in the west of the country. This week, a 34-year-old project manager on €75K living in Dublin.

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I’m a 34-year-old woman working as a development project manager. A year ago, I bought my first house in Dublin and after a number of years living with my parents to save up for a deposit, the novelty of having my own place still hasn’t worn off.

I’m aware of how lucky I am that I was able to live at home while saving for the house and that I was able to buy just before prices started getting really crazy. I’m also grateful to my parents who were able to give me a loan to carry out some necessary upgrades to the house.

My main goal at the moment is to pay them back as quickly as possible. I’m currently paying them between €1,000 and €1,500 per month depending on the month. To help with this, I have been renting out the two spare rooms in my house as it’s tax free.

I’ve always been a saver but buying the house wiped out my savings entirely and it worries me not to have that financial cushion anymore. As such, I’ve been trying to save €1,000 per month but inevitably, things crop up with the house and I need to dip into the savings account, so it’s a slow process in building them back up.

I mostly work from my office in the city centre but have the option to work from home too and I travel to sites around the country roughly once per month. As I switched jobs recently, I need to wait six months before I can join the company pension scheme so I’m not currently paying into a pension.

In my spare time I like to meet friends and family. I used to have such a good routine of going to the gym but I’ve gotten lazy lately so I’m trying to build that back up.

Occupation: Project manager
Age: 34
Location: Dublin
Salary: €75,000
Monthly pay (net): €4,092
Rental Income: €1,100

Monthly expenses

Transport: €70
Mortgage: €887 + €18 (mortgage protection)
Household bills: €200
Loan: €1,500
Savings: €1,000
Phone bill: €30
Health insurance: Paid for by work
Groceries: €250
Subscriptions: Spotify €13.99, Netflix €7.99, Amazon Prime €11.49, DCU Education Fund €15

Home insurance, car insurance, car tax, property tax and gym membership are all paid annually.

***

Monday

8.00 am: Alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed. I’m working from home today as I’m sick with either a cold or Covid – currently waiting on PCR results to tell me which it is. I make some porridge and coffee and I’m at the desk for 9am.

11.oo am: After a morning of answering emails and working on a few items, it’s coffee and panadol time – I’m really not feeling the best. My Mam rings to see if I need anything in the shops and I ask her to get me milk, bread and some Lemsips.

1.00 pm: Lunch time – I certainly haven’t lost my appetite! I make a bagel, scrambled egg and rashers. The phone buzzes with a text at 1.15 pm – it’s the HSE and thankfully, it’s not Covid!

2.00 pm: I’ve one online meeting today and it’s a quick one and is done by 2:30. I remember that I need to buy make-up and decide to order from Boots online. I can never just buy one thing though, so I end up getting a new lipstick and nail polish too – I don’t know where I think I’m going! (€84)

5.30 pm: I finish up at work for the day, grab the car keys and drive over to the parents’ house to pick up the few messages off my Mam. I don’t go inside though as I don’t want anyone to catch my cold. I try to pay her but she says no – she’s very good like that.

7.00 pm: My appetite has disappeared so I have some toast and a Lemsip and watch a movie on Netflix.

10.00 pm: Movie finishes and I head up to bed.

Today’s total: €84.00

Tuesday

8.00 am: I reluctantly drag myself out of the bed. I will work from home again today as I’m still feeling under the weather. It’s crazy how two years ago you would have been expected to be in the office with a cold or else you’d have to call in sick. I make some porridge and coffee for breakfast and get started at 8.45 am.

1.00 pm: I had meetings all morning so I never got a chance for a mid-morning break. I decide to stick on a wash (one benefit of working from home) and start making lunch. On the menu today is cheese and tomato on toast followed by an orange and a lemsip.

1.45 pm: After finishing my lunch, I quickly do a few bits around the house and head back to my desk in time for more meetings.

5.30 pm: I finish up for the day and start prepping dinner. Vegetarian chickpea curry tonight and I’m hoping the spice will clear up the last of this cold.

6.30 pm: Dinner is delicious, if I do say so myself.

7.30 pm: Kitchen is tidied and washing is put away so I settle in to watch a movie with a cup of tea and some biscuits. I swear my life is usually more exciting than this!

10.00 pm: I decide to have an early night, and if I’m feeling better, I will head to the office tomorrow as I’ve loads to do that I can’t do from home.

Today’s total: €0.00

Wednesday

6.45 am: The alarm goes off and I hit snooze a few times before finally getting up half an hour later. I’m not feeling 100% better but definitely a marked improvement, so I decide to head to the office. Beforehand, I have some porridge for breakfast again – it’s my favourite,

8.15 am: I’m out the door. I top up my Leap card by €20 and hop on a Dart.

8.45 am: I grab a takeaway coffee on my way to the office which costs €3 and I’m at my desk just before 9am. I know most people think buying takeaway coffee is a waste of money, but it’s my daily treat to myself when I go to the office and I thoroughly enjoy it. As an ex-smoker, I can confirm there are definitely worse things to waste your money on.

1.00 pm: Lunch time and I’ve brought last night’s leftover curry – it tastes even better reheated. I try to make an effort to bring lunch into the office at least a few days per week. I forgot my water bottle though, so I run around to the shop and grab a bottle of water, some milk for the office and a bar of chocolate. (€4.15)

6.30 pm: I get home from work and think about going to the gym. I’d usually do a spin class on a Wednesday but I decide I’m too tired and will just have dinner instead. I’m still pretty full from the leftover curry I had for lunch, so I opt for a tomato and cheese omelette. I have been making an effort to eat less meat so I am happy I managed two meat-free days in a row. I don’t think I could ever commit to full vegetarianism though.

8.00 pm: I tidy up around the house after dinner and head in for a quick shower.

8.30 pm: Hair is washed and dried, so I decide to get comfortable in bed with a book. I’m reading A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World and I’m hooked.

10.30 pm: After two hours of reading, I reluctantly put my book down and go to sleep.

Today’s total: €27.15

Thursday

6.45 am: The alarm goes off and this morning I only hit snooze once and I’m up five minutes later. Breakfast is porridge again – I am very predictable – and I’m out the door by 8 and onto a Dart.

8.30 am: I stop to grab my coffee (€3) and I’m in the office by 8.45 am. I’ve a meeting starting at 9am which will take up most of my morning.

11.00 am: I take a five minute coffee break and decide to book a yoga class for Sunday morning. It’s been way too long since I’ve been to one and I feel like I need a good stretch. I book the class online and it costs €16.

1.00 pm: I wasn’t organised enough to bring a lunch today so I pop out and get some chicken quesadillas, which cost €6. I think that’s pretty reasonable considering most sandwiches nowadays cost more.

7.00 pm: I have a work dinner with colleagues planned for this evening. I don’t see the point of going home just to head back to the city so I stay late in the office – it gives me time to catch up on a few items.

7.30 pm: I leave the office and walk up to the restaurant.

11.50 pm: Finally home after a long day. We had a nice meal and a few drinks, nothing too crazy, and it was all paid for by the company. I got a taxi home which cost €16.

12.15 am: I get into bed and set the alarm for the morning and groan internally when I see how little sleep I will be getting.

Today’s total: €41.00

Friday

6.45 am: I have a bad night’s sleep and when my alarm goes off in my grumpy attempt to hit snooze, I accidentally knock it off.

7.30 am: I wake up in a panic. No time to make porridge this morning, so I have a bowl of cereal and run out the door at 8.15 am to get the Dart. 

8.45 am: I grab a takeaway coffee and a scone for later as I know I’m going to be hungry and it comes to €5.65. I make it in just before 9am.

1.00 pm: I’m heading to a friend’s house after work for dinner so I head out to the shops and pick up a chocolate cake for dessert (€7.50). I also grab a bacon and cream cheese bagel on my way back to the office (€5.95). I’m running on coffee and carbs today.

5.00 pm: I leave the office and head straight to my friends house.

7.00 pm: We have a lovely dinner of steak and chips followed by the chocolate cake I brought for dessert.

11.30 pm: A few glasses of wine later I’m falling asleep, so I grab a taxi and head home. (€19.80)

12.00am: In the door and straight to bed.

Today’s total: €38.90

Saturday

9.00 am: I have a doctors appointment at 9.40 am so I hop up and get dressed and walk down to the clinic.

10.00 am: The visit costs me €100 in total, but I will be able to claim half back from my health insurance so it will really only cost me €50 after that. I drop into the shops on my way home to get some food as the fridge is pretty empty and the total comes to €17.42.

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10.30 am: I get home and make breakfast – you guessed it, porridge again! It’s delicious as always, and I clean up the kitchen afterwards.

2.00 pm: I pop out to pick up some things for the house. I head to Woodies first as I need a lightshade. I end up buying some Christmas decorations too and the total comes to €54.18. I then head over to Home Focus to look for curtains and I finally find some that I like for my bedroom. They cost me €79.

3.00 pm: When I finish shopping, I pop into my parents’ on the way home for a ‘’quick’’ visit and end up staying for dinner, which is salmon and salad.

7.00 pm: I get home and decide to take it easy. I look on Netflix but can’t find anything to watch so I finish my book instead – would highly recommend it!

10.30 pm: I head to bed.

Today’s total: €200.60

Sunday

8.00 am: I wake up but decide to stay in bed for a while because it’s warm and cosy.

9.45 am: I finally get up, get dressed and head to my yoga class.

11.45 am: Home from yoga and it was so good. I didn’t realise how much I have missed going. I book another class for the following week (€16). I decide to treat myself this morning to a breakfast of French toast with bacon and maple syrup. So good!

2.00 pm: I head into town to try and buy some Christmas presents. I love shopping, but I hate dealing with the Christmas crowds so I don’t last very long. I manage to get something for my Mam (€64) and a voucher for a friend (€50) before I get fed up and go home. The rest will need to be done online.

5.00 pm: I get home and decide I want steak for dinner, so I pop out to the shops to get that and a few other items. Total is €13.90.

7.00 pm: After a very nice dinner, I decide to prepare a lunch for work tomorrow so I make some ham and cheese sandwiches. I clean up the kitchen and then I have an hour long video call with a friend who lives abroad. 

10.30 pm: I head to bed – ready for another week!

Today’s total: €143.90

Weekly subtotal: €535.55

***

What I learned –

  • Apart from the Christmas presents and a few items for the house, this week is a typical enough week for me in terms of spending.
  • Buying lunch is a complete waste of money considering I usually prefer my homemade options. I’m going to make more of an effort to have a few lunch ideas prepared at the start of the week in the future.
  • I have a tendency to buy food as I want rather than just doing a big shop once per week. I think if I try to be more organised, I would probably spend less money on food in general.

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