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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 28 June 2022

Money Diaries: An IT associate on €47K living in Dublin

This week, our reader is working hard and supporting his family while enjoying socialising in Dublin.

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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 an early childhood educator on €35K living in Leinster. This week, an IT associate on €47K living in Dublin.


I’m a 26-year-old IT associate living in North Dublin. I came to Ireland from India in early 2019. I am the only child and have been the sole earner in my family for the past three to four years. I am glad I found this section of The Journal as I think this will be a great way for me to look back and reflect on my journey so far.

As with many international students, I too had always dreamed of moving to a different country and building a life from scratch and so I did. Starting with a €24,000 student loan (including interest) and a few miscellaneous loans for the family from back in the days of financial instability (€8,000), I moved to Dublin to do my post-grad while picking up part-time shifts for about eight months.

Soon, I got an internship while doing my thesis and then a full-time job in IT just in time for my graduation (and the start of the Covid pandemic). The journey so far has been very humbling and I am grateful for all the great experiences and good people I met along the way and most importantly, that things worked out just about right.

I started my professional career in Dublin with a €16,000 per year – three-month internship, converted to a temp €20,000 per year part-time, then to a €37,000 per year full-time job. Since then, I have been promoted and I’m earning €47,000 per year (gross).

I am trying to keep my expenses low, clear off debts as much as I can and build a financial safety net ASAP. That said, I do sometimes splurge like there’s no tomorrow but it’s still within the limits of how much I can handle financially – such as the occasional dinners, movies with friends or a date (it’s not that often though as I don’t go out much and don’t like online dating).

So far, I have been able to clear off my entire student loan (€24,000) and get a mortgage to buy a house for my parents in India costing €74,600 (when converted to Euro). I am now working on building that safety net and clearing off the miscellaneous loans, but honestly, it has been quite a task so far.

Occupation: IT associate

Age: 26

Location: Dublin

Salary: €47,000

Monthly pay (net): €2,899

Monthly Expenses (Ireland)

Transport: €40 – €65 depending on the number of trips

Rent: €750 for a single ensuite room (probably the only lavish expense I have, considering I started in a triple
sharing room and then a twin sharing for a long time, good times though)

Household bills: €60 for electricity, €15 for my share of the WiFi

Phone bill: €8 – 48.ie to the rescue

Health insurance: Covered by work

Groceries: Around €120 (I cook all the time or eat frozen food if exhausted)

Subscriptions: €5 – Netflix, Youtube Premium, Amazon Prime (It’s a bit complicated to explain. I chip in on the multi- screen/device accounts that my friends purchase back in India)

Savings: Sure, I’d like to have some! Starting last month, I’m saving €520 to be later used to pay off all the misc loans in parts, amongst other things. I am also putting aside €150 as an emergency fund starting last month. I’d soon like to start investing also.

Monthly Expenses (India)

To look after my parents: €500 – this is about enough for the local expenses but my parents still try to keep their expenses at a minimum, which to be honest I don’t want them to worry about much

Loans: €700 (mortgage, misc loans)

Credit card: I use this as an instrument to juggle expenses at times but I have always paid the dues within the interest-free period. This is only for the occasional expenses which I try to limit to twice a month (clubs, dinner, movies, etc). Might not be ideal, but it has a good rewards system – I manage to buy at least one item worth around €50 for free every year.



7.30 am: I woke up not feeling very good, so I take the day off and go back to bed. Not a good way to start the week, I know. But health comes first.

10.00 am: I wake up for the second time only to realise we are out of milk and groceries. I am lucky to have Aldi just across the street. I buy milk and frozen pizza which I will improve with some leftover veggies I have at home. (€4.68)

11.00 am: I stayed in rewatching The Big Bang Theory for about three hours along with a hot cup of coffee and pizza.

2.00 pm: I go back to bed for a nap which I only later realise was probably a bad idea.

5.00 pm: I wake up and decide to plan for the month ahead as today was payday and I have lined up all my expenses and auto-debits to come just after payday. I send home €1523.06 (monthly expenses for my parents, loans, credit card due €83.31 for last month’s outings with friends, savings).

6.00 pm: I then decide to catch up on some work as I have a lot going on (I might from time-to-time generalise the work I do, sorry about all the secrecy. All I can say is I am into cyber security).

8.00 pm: I start cooking for dinner and lunch the next day – chicken and rice it is! I continue binge-watching The Big Bang Theory.

10.00 pm: I have dinner and then decide to look up a trip that myself and the lads are planning for August. I realise I need to keep aside €80 for the Visa. I am not going to include it as an expense as I have spare change lying around that I’ll use. 

Today’s total: €1,527.74


8.00 am: I wake up feeling better than yesterday, thank God. I usually head into the office on Tuesdays but am going to work from home today. I get ready for work and make myself a big cup of coffee. I also manage to squeeze in a quick video call with my parents back home.

9.00 am: I check on today’s meetings again and some tasks I have been working on for the last few weeks. I attend the daily team meeting. Chat about work, etc and find out one of my colleagues is going to be out of office this week and because our work is related and sometimes co-dependent, I will be looking after more things than usual.

10.15 am: I conduct a training session, which is usually on Mondays but because of my sick leave, it got postponed. I do it from time to time at work with a different audience every time.

11.00 am: I attend an important stand-up call to give an update. So far so good as things are looking positive on the project. I then amend my work priorities for the week to cover for the sudden change and catch up on other routine tasks.

12.30 pm: I take my lunch break a little early as I have another meeting just around lunchtime. Chicken rice from the day before, get in my belly.

1.30 pm: Another meeting. It ends quickly though, which gives me some time to work on other things and plan out next week as well – I like to be as prepared as I can be.

5.30 pm: I finish work. I have two more small catch-ups to do this afternoon and work to finish off a high priority task which was due.

6.00 pm: I call home (my mum would freak out if I didn’t call at least twice a day). I decide to just heat up that frozen pizza for dinner as I am exhausted.

8.00 pm: I have dinner and watch a new Bollywood movie with my flatmate.

11.00 pm: Time for bed.

Today’s total: €0.00


7.30 am: I wake up, get ready for work (from home), make an omelette and coffee. I try to buy in bulk for things I would often use. That’s my way of blocking money out so I have none left to splurge. Also, I call home again this morning.

9.30 am: I attend the daily team stand-up call and discuss priorities. Today is fairly quiet as I have only one other meeting. I focus on closing off another important task before time as I have a feeling things are going to be busy this week.

1.00 pm: I take my lunch break and eat another pizza. Thanks, Aldi, for the cheap three-pack pizzas. Squeeze in two episodes of Kim’s Convenience – great show, watch it if you haven’t already.

2.00 pm: Back to work and then a meeting towards the end of the workday.

5.30 pm: I call home, then I have a group call with my buds, one back home and two in the US. You can imagine the pain we go through to have an overlapping time since all of us are in different timezones. That goes on for a long time as we don’t often get to talk with the busy schedules and haven’t met in the last two years because of Covid.

8.00 pm: I cook for dinner and lunch the next day. I cooked an Indian-style one-pot dish with rice and veggies and an omelette on the side. I start a movie while cooking so I can finish it just in time for bed.

9.00 pm: I have dinner, scroll through the usual apps while watching the movie (Jumanji: The Next Level). It’s old, but I could live without paying 100% attention to the movie so Jumanji it is.

11.00 pm: I order a bartending kit from Amazon for €35.89. I have always wanted one as I like to make my own drinks. I love a good Old Fashioned. After that, it’s time for bed.

Today’s total: €35.89


8.00 am: Time to wake up. Since I mostly work from home, I have become quite lazy at waking up early. Got ready for work, don’t do breakfast. Manage to call home before I start work.

9.00 am: Work was very chill today. By that I mean, no surprises today or last-minute tasks to do.

1.00 pm: Lunchtime! I have the leftover food from last night while scrolling through Instagram and then watch Last Week Tonight on YouTube – one of the old episodes actually, they have 25-minute segments on YouTube which I think are perfect for lunch time.

2.00 pm: No meetings. I focus on my usual tasks while soaking in some sunlight on my balcony. I am grateful I found this place – it’s south-facing and just perfect to enjoy the view on a good day.

5.30 pm: I finish work. Call home again. (It’s as if I need to provide a status update to my folks every day!)

6.30 pm: I realise I don’t have much to cook with, so I head down to Aldi to get some chicken for €3.50. I cook a chicken curry and some rice for both dinner and lunch the following day. Netflix on the side as usual.

8.30 pm: Dinner time. Have a quick call with my friends here in Dublin to plan out the weekend. We decide to have a small house party on Friday (more like dinner and some drinks) and then go out to Hideout in Dublin to play pool.

11.00 pm: Bedtime.

Today’s total: €3.50


8.00 am: Wake up late again so I skip breakfast. Mom calls me as I forgot to call her. Have a quick chat and get ready for work.

9.00 am: I get to know of an issue that I had to urgently write a report on and realised there was another pending task due for early next week, so I plan my day accordingly.

9.30 am: Team meeting.

10.00 am: Quick break for a cup of coffee (I almost never buy coffee to save on those extra few bucks that usually add up) and banana to make up for my missed breakfast. Then I get back to work.

1.00 pm: I have the chicken curry and rice from last night while watching another video on YouTube. Also had a quick call with my friends to check if we were still on for today.

5.30 pm: I finish work, especially those two important tasks for the day that I planned for in the morning. I also have a five minute call with my parents. Kept it short as I had to prepare for dinner with my friends.

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6.30 pm: Back from the store with groceries, stuff for dinner included. (€17.74, the bill to be split with my flatmate as we all hang out together, so my share is €8.87). In case you’re wondering, I am making butter chicken for everyone and got some munchies as well. One of my friends is getting the drinks so that’s covered.

7.30 pm: Dinner’s ready and everyone arrives just in time. One of the guys just moved to Letterkenny so it was nice to meet him as well since he has come here for the long weekend. We play some games, have dinner, drinks, the usual stuff.

1.30 am: Bedtime, but I decide to stay late and binge-watch Jurassic Park, skipping to the important parts only as I had watched it before and just want a refresher (I can be a nerd sometimes). This is all so I can watch the new movie coming out in June. Glad that I have bought some popcorn just this evening.

Today’s total: €8.87


12.00 pm: Wake up late as expected. I have leftover food from last night and watch another Jurassic Park movie as I can’t get through them all at night.

3.30 pm: Called home (the usual chats). Get ready to head out to play some pool. We reserve the table for two hours. Although, I must say I had half a mind to cancel as it is raining and I am sleepy because of my late-night shenanigans. I take the bus both ways. (€4.30)

7.30 pm: I get a takeaway from Boojum for the night and lunch the day after. (€15.65)

8.30 pm: I reach home and dig into the takeaway while watching another Jurassic Park movie. (so predictable, right?)

12.00 am: Bedtime.

Today’s total: €19.95


9.00 am: I wake up. Make some tea and have it with some biscuits.

10.00 am: Call home, watch more movies (not Jurassic Park this time), plan my finances (I like to see where I am, weekly). I also take a nap – the weather wasn’t great so no point in going out, even though the Phoenix Park is somewhat close by.

5.00 pm: I head to Aldi to buy some more groceries for the week and more chicken for dinner and lunch the next day. (€19.32)

6.00 pm: I cook dinner and lunch while watching The Big Bang Theory again. Call my friends as well to talk about next weekend’s plans as one of the guys is travelling back from India.

8.30 pm: I watch the movie Nobody (great one) while having dinner.

11.00 pm: Scroll through Instagram. Watch videos on YouTube – stay up late as it’s the long weekend.

1.00 am: Bedtime.

Today’s total: €19.32

Weekly subtotal: €1,615.27


What I learned –

  • Overall, I am grateful that I am now able to enjoy a little along with carrying out my responsibilities.
  • The weekly total was unusually high (expected) as on the payday, I have many auto-debits lined up.
  • I have been spending a bit more than usual since the restrictions have been lifted and plan to reduce my expenses for a few months as I am trying to prepare for a course related to my field, which will take up most of my time on weekends.
  • I have not been eating well which I plan to change over time but as soon as I can. This also means putting aside a bit more every month to spend on food.
  • I also need to do more on the weekdays (workout, mostly) as I used to before the new year. I was down with Covid and that changed my routine and I have not yet been able to get back to it fully.
  • While I couldn’t save as much as expected this month, I am glad to have still put aside half of the amount that I had planned to save.
  • Although my monthly expenses are a bit high, I am still happy with them as they also include the mortgage for the house that I bought. All things considered, I think I will be in a better position to save and hopefully invest in a year’s time.

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