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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Money Diaries A delivery driver on €25K living in Co Carlow

This week, our reader is busy during working hours and caring for his daughter at weekends.

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 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 22-year-old kitchen assistant living in the south of the country. This week, a delivery driver on €25K living in Co Carlow.


I am a male living in Carlow. I try to put aside €150-€200 a month for things like clothes for my daughter, heating oil, car service, car tax, Christmas etc. I very rarely buy clothes for myself, I’ve been wearing the same T-shirts/tracksuit bottoms shorts footwear etc for the past many number of years!

I am a separated father of one daughter and she stays with me two nights every weekend. I don’t have any music subscriptions, don’t smoke or drink (not even tea/coffee). I’m lucky that I get free Disney TV courtesy of my sister sharing her account with me, and free Amazon Prime courtesy of my brother!

Occupation: Delivery driver

Age: 48

Location: County Carlow

Salary: €25,000 (+ €75 per week expenses)

Monthly pay (net): €2,150

Monthly expenses

Petrol: €100

Mortgage: €855 (fixed until 2027)

Electricity: €100 (average)

Mobile phone: €47

Sky TV and broadband: €78 (inc Netflix)

Car loan: €182

Life insurance: €19

Car insurance: €31

House insurance: €34

Grocery shopping: €225 average

Child Maintenance: €220



8.00 am: Up for work. Eat a bowl of cereal and leave the house at 8.45 am. I bring a small lunch for myself – a sandwich and apple/banana and a bottle of water and also a bottle of diluted orange. Buying bottles of water and minerals and sandwiches/rolls from delis is just far too expensive now.

2.10 pm: I get home (Monday is a short day) and go for a walk.

2.45 pm: Get back for a quick shower then watch some TV.

5.00 pm: I make a basic homemade shepherd’s pie, making enough for two days.

6.30 pm: I watch a couple of episodes of Homeland on Netflix (which is included in my Sky package) on season 4 at the minute. Very addictive!

9.30 pm: I have some toast and biscuits, head to bed and flick through my phone for a bit and go to sleep.

Today’s total: €0.00


6.30 am: Got up for breakfast, bowl of cereal and just bring a couple of packs of Tayto with me to get me through the day.

3.40 pm: I head to Aldi to do a shop on my way home, I alternate between Aldi and Dunnes every week, taking advantage of the €10 off in Dunnes. I spend €46.34 in Aldi.

6.15 pm: I have a frozen pizza for dinner that I got in Aldi, then watch another episode of Homeland.

8.00 pm: Give myself a haircut (number 1 razor all over). I gave up going to the barbers since Covid. Saving myself €15 at a time too! Then have a shower etc. and head to bed for an early night.

Today’s total: €46.34


5.50 am: I wake up with a horrible headache. I skip breakfast as I don’t feel up to it and head to work. Didn’t even bother making lunch.

2.30 pm: Get my work done a bit quicker today. I decide to have a sneaky Supermac’s on my way home (burger meal). Cost me €9.95. A rare treat indeed!

4.00 pm: I lie down on the couch and just put a random TV station on.

6.20 pm: I fell asleep and only wake now!

6.40 pm: Decide to have a shower to wake myself up a bit, then do a bit of a tidy and hoover.

8.00 pm: Watch two more episodes of Homeland accompanied by the inevitable snack.

10.20 pm: Eventually head up to bed. It’s nearly midnight before I go to sleep. Earlier nap coming back to haunt me.

Today’s total: €9.95


6.30 am: I get up for work and have the usual bowl of cereal. Don’t bother making lunch, I’m normally given a roll at one of my deliveries today and another customer normally gives me a bar of chocolate or something, so that does me for the day!

4.45 pm: I get home and make myself a couple of Tayto sandwiches. Can’t be bothered cooking a dinner for myself today.

6.00 pm: I settle down for another couple of episodes of Homeland.

8.40 pm: I’m peckish again, I make a cheese omelette with baked beans and it goes down a treat.

9.20 pm: Have a shower then into bed and straight to sleep.

Today’s total: €0.00


6.30 am: Yet another bowl of cereal. I make a couple of ham and cheese wraps for lunch.

2.25 pm: Get home from work. Give the downstairs another quick hoover and mop and then go straight to pick up my daughter from her mother’s house. It’s about a 90-minute drive from me. I fill up with petrol on the way (€68). I would normally get about four weeks driving on one fill.

6.10 pm: Make my daughter’s favourite dinner (chicken goujons and wedges) and have a large chicken and ham pastry pie for dinner. She then heads out to catch up with friends while I watch yet more Homeland!

9.40 pm: We have some snacks and head to bed, we are both exhausted.

Today’s total: €68.00


8.10 am: Get up and make pancakes for breakfast (daughter’s favourite).

10.30 am: We get out some board games and that keeps us busy for a couple of hours. We then have some ham and cheese toasties and fruit for lunch.

2.00 pm: Daughter’s friend came up for a few hours, allowing me to do some washing etc.

5.15 pm: Make a spice bag dinner for the girls and myself – my first time trying it. Used the pre-made sachet from Mc Donnells. Was just ok, a bit spicy. Girls weren’t crazy about it but we ate it anyway. Won’t bother with it again!

6.50 pm: Bring the girls to the local park (15 min drive) for an hour in the playground etc, then drop the friend home.

8.40 pm: We have some chocolate/popcorn and watch a movie (Encanto). Head to bed after that.

Today’s total: €0.00


8.30 am: Get up and make rashers and scrambled eggs, and decide to visit my mother for the day who treats us out to dinner! (She lives about two hours away)

7.40 pm: Arrive back home, having dropped my daughter back to her mother’s for the week on my way back. I find Sunday evenings very hard, the house is very quiet again without my daughter around.

8.45 pm: Decide to head to bed after having a few slices of toast.

Today’s total: €0.00

Weekly subtotal: €124.29


What I learned:

  • I’m living on a fairly tight budget, but it’s manageable and I’m fairly content, and am a man with simple needs(!) but can be lonely in the evening times during the week.
  • I’m waiting for my phone contract to end (€47 pm) soon, and I’m going to switch to a sim-only plan (€14.99 pm).
  • I have no health insurance or no pension. (Waiting/relying on the government pension plan that’s supposed to be starting in 2024).
  • Started a five year car loan in January 2023, and I plan to be car finance-free from 2028, which will help. Also, I won’t have to pay child maintenance forever!

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