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Dublin: 0°C Monday 1 March 2021

How I Spend My Money: A student in Galway earning up to €500 a month from several odd jobs

The corporate law student works in a supermarket, drives tractors and helps out on the family farm.

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.

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.  

Last week, a doctor working in Galway told us about her week and today a student studying at the city’s university talks through his spending habits. 


Occupation: Student/part-time retail worker
Age: 20
Location: Galway/Longford
Monthly pay (net): €400/€500 (depends on the month)

Monthly expenses

Rent: €0 (My parents cover my digs in Galway)
Household bills: €0
Transport: Car insurance (€225), fuel (€150)
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: €0
Groceries: €50
Subscriptions: €0 (Spotify is covered on Vodafone X and YouTube is my grace)

I’m a corporate law student in NUI Galway, with a part-time retail job in the local supermarket. I help out on the family farm as well as the local farmers mart and drive tractors during the spring and summer, which gives a little extra cash on the hip. I live in Galway three to four nights per week (these digs are covered by my parents) and then live at home in Longford the rest of the week.

I’m aiming to save anything I can and mostly put away around €20 per week for holidays, Christmas, rainy day fund, etc. I’ve got a car as well, with insurance an absolute rip off, so I’ll be saving a few quid for that between now and the new year.



Get up around 6:30 am and make the commute to college from Longford to Galway. Roughly takes an hour and a half in the mornings depending on the traffic. Stop off on the way for a cup of coffee at a cost of €2.50. I arrive at the house in Galway for 8:15 am-ish just to drop my stuff off first before college. My first lecture is at 9:00 am so I start walking in. Economics is horrendously boring and the caffeine is wearing off.

I head back to the house to get the car to go off to Aldi to get the few bits I need for the week. I spend €18 on the necessities like milk, meat, potatoes and porridge. On a tight week I’d take some stuff from home.

After that, I’m back into college for an insightful European law lecture where the Brexit news is bet into our heads (not literally). Back to the house to make dinner and off to bed early.

Today’s total: €20.50


In college for 9:00 am, but just for an hour. Head home then and eat the porridge and feel sorry for myself for a while. It’s lashing rain and I know I can’t procrastinate any longer so I head into the library, getting a coffee and bar (€3.20) on my way. Come home and eat dinner and head to bed with a head full of information.

Today’s total: €3.20


Wake up to a text that there is work for me tomorrow in the local farmers mart, feeling delighted with the thoughts of a few quid extra. So I head straight to the shop and order a dirty chicken roll and wedges (€5).

Then I’m off into college for five hours of straight lectures and then back to the house to eat before I hit the road home. I stopped for diesel on the way home, which set me back €30, but should get me through to the weekend.

Today’s total: €35


Up at 8:00 am and in the mart an hour later. I love it, there’s a great atmosphere and I love meeting new people. There is also a buzz when you’re dealing with cattle, they’re either nice and quiet or they’re out to kill you. It’s a lucky dip really.

We go for the breakfast and get ready for the sale to start. After the sale I’m wall fallen with the hunger so head straight for the dinner. Brought the car for a wash after work as it’s due for a test in the morning.

Today’s total: €22


Had my car booked in for its CVRT test for 9:00 am, so I dropped it in and waited in the cold waiting room. I watched the testers and nervously hoped to god it would pass.

It did, luckily enough, but with the chip not working on my card, I had to run to the bank to get cash to pay the €111 bill. The card is great in a way that you don’t need to have change in your pocket, but as the saying goes… cash is king. Headed back to the farm and helped out for the evening.

Today’s total: €111


Off work today as I worked over the bank holiday weekend, the lie in is great. But I’ve got college work coming out of my ears so I start into that.

Bored, and also penniless, I head out for a walk to clear the head. Went down to the local shop and bought a lotto ticket, which turned out to be a complete waste of €6.

Today’s total: €6


Back into the supermarket for a six-hour shift. It is mad busy which is quite unusual for a Sunday morning, but it’s great because the time just flies by. I had a quick break at a cost of €3.90

After work, I’m off into town and stick €50 of diesel into the car, which should last me 10 days or so.

Today’s total: €53.90

Weekly subtotal: €251.60

What I’ve learned:

  • The test made for an expensive week, but luckily I had savings and had anticipated this. All in all, college life really isn’t as fun as it’s made out to be! 

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:

TheJournal.ie reader

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