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VOICES

Money Diaries A 24-year-old junior health and safety officer on €42K living in Dublin

This week, our reader is enjoying life working and socialising while trying to save for a home.

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 HR specialist on €57K living in Limerick and saving for a deposit for a house. This week, a 24-year-old junior health and safety officer on €42K living in Dublin.

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I am a 24-year-old girl working as a junior health and safety officer on €42,000 in Dublin City Centre, living at home and commuting to work (approx 1-hour drive). I have recently been offered a similar role so I will be starting with a new company and new site in the next month or so.

I have a direct debit of €1,000 scheduled to be moved from my current account to a mortgage saver account just after payday each month – this isn’t always doable as I can sometimes get carried away with socialising & booking holidays (my favourite hobby). My partner and I also aim to add €200 to a Revolut vault each month for holiday expenditure.

I don’t think I do an awful lot of going ‘out-out’; however, my friends and I do love going for dinners or having wine nights in. I am lucky that with my job, I rarely have to worry about not reaching my daily step goal. But even still, I try and get to the gym three or four times a week, walk the dogs or potentially motivate myself to go for a jog (the weather would have to be really nice or I would have to be feeling pretty awful in myself, LOL) .

Occupation: Health and safety officer

Age: 24

Location: Working in Dublin City

Salary: €42,500

Monthly pay (net): €2,760

Monthly expenses

Transport: €250 – Car fill €60 x4

Rent: €0

Phone bill: €20

Health insurance: Paid by parents on family plan – will get health insurance with new job next month

Car parking (work): €127

Groceries: €180 – €45 x 4

Nails: €40

Eyebrows: €20

Laser: €66 this month (every 6-8 weeks -€66-€130 depending on if I have been in the sun prior)

Car insurance: Paid annually – approx. €690 = €57.50 per month

Pension contribution: 7% matched = Approx €250 per month

***

Monday

6.00 am: I wake up on default thinking it’s a workday. Lucky for me it’s a bank holiday, so I have some extra time to snooze.

9.00 am: Wake up and scroll TikTok and all the other socials.

9.30 am: I rise from my coma-like state. On the weekends, I have to decide what I am doing with my day before I get up, otherwise I will procrastinate and get nothing done. I decide today is the day that I will clean out and hoover the car (my BF will be so proud when I tell him – it’s been in a diabolical state for way too long now).

10.30 am: That’s done, but one of the dogs has now guilted me into bringing him for a walk. I grab his harness and try and get it on him while he is doing backflips with excitement. I bring him about 5km around the village and grab a coffee on our route (€3.20).

11.30 am: I get home and to make my life a little easier, I put the dogs inside while I let the old ponies out. They’re pets now and should be out full-time, but Dad insists it’s still too cold for them at night. He has them spoilt rotten.

11.45 am: Dogs back out and I leg it upstairs to jump in the shower and get ready to go to the racing with the girls.

1.15 pm: My dad has agreed to drop me and a friend up to Fairyhouse. We use my car and I need to get petrol on the way so I will have fuel to get to work in the morning. I ask him to fill it and I will go in to pay. While in the shop I realise I haven’t eaten yet today – I grab a yoghurt cluster thing and the petrol (€65).

2.00 pm-ish: We have arrived at the track and it is torrential rain out. Thankfully I have a company umbrella in the boot. We grab that and head into the other girls. One of the girls has free tickets so we use those and leave others at the gate for the other girls to collect on their way in. Otherwise, I think entry on Grand National day otherwise would have been €30 or so. Throughout the day, I spend €20 that I found in the bottom of my bag (free money, ha-ha) on a few small bets and €35 on drinks for me and the girls – a few drinks and a few minerals as only two of us are drinking.

6.30 pm: We leave after the last and head for our dinner reservations. €47 spent on dinner.

9.00 pm: Home. Makeup off, showered, and ready to dive into bed. Alarm set for 6am tomorrow morning.

Today’s total: €105.20

Tuesday

6.00 am: Up for work after a terrible night’s sleep. Dressed and out the door for 6.15 am.

7.00 am: Arrive for work. Traffic was light but you never know what it’s going to be like in the mornings. I take the tunnel, but it is expensed later in the month. I go to the shop and get milk for tea and cereal and a Happy Pear ready-made lunch as I didn’t do my food shop yesterday (€6.30). At my desk, I reply to emails and get the site stats out to the client.

8.30 am: Out to site after I have a cup of tea and catch up with the lads in work.

10.00 am: Go to the chemist down the road to get a few bits (€17.50). If I was more organised, I wouldn’t have had to spend €7.50 on this. Either way, it’ll not be wasted. Back out for another site walk.

11.00 am: Breakfast time – late for it today. Have a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea. I’m not big on tea but if I don’t have one, I’ll end up walking to a café and spending the guts of a fiver on a coffee I don’t really want either.

12.00 pm: This day is going quickly enough. Ever since moving projects, my days have seemed to drag. Joys of having to make friends all over again! Paperwork and docs to complete now.

1.00 pm: RAMs to review. Then lunch. Then back out to site.

4.00 pm: Out the gap – a quiet day overall, and 14,000 steps done. I attempt to book a month at a gym close to my boyfriend’s house, but the joining fee is more than the month of membership, so I abandon that idea.

6.00 pm: I stay at my boyfriend’s house tonight as he is just back from a trip and haven’t seen him in a week. We go food shopping and I pick up my lunch for work the next day – chicken and rice (€5.10).

7.00 pm: We decide we don’t want to cook, and he orders a Chinese. His shout, as I got the previous takeaway.

9.30 pm: Bed early. Shower, scroll TikTok for a bit and then head to sleep.

Today’s total: €28.90

Wednesday

6.45 am: Alarm goes off. I get up and jump into my clothes, throw half a skincare routine together and leg it out the door for 7am. It takes about 20/25 minutes to get to work from my partner’s house. Tunnel in again, thankfully.

7.20 am: Arrive at work. Usual stuff – site walks, etc.

9.30 am: Breakfast (cereal) and tea with the lads.

12.00 pm: Walk to the shop with one of the lads and get myself a small cappuccino (€3.65). Back to the desk and pay membership to a CrossFit gym I have been wanting to start for ages now (€65 per month for three classes a week). I get the student rate, but my student card expires in August ☹.

1.45 pm: Out for Toolbox talk and safety meeting. Back and eat my lunch (bought yesterday), and then final site walks.

4.00 pm: Finish work and head straight to a CrossFit class.

6.30 pm: CrossFit class is over, but it takes me a solid 25 minutes to gather myself and be able to drive home. Collect Dad on the way and stick on a movie to end the day. I run upstairs and shower and get into my PJs. Mam has made chicken and broccoli pasta for dinner; I grab some of that as I don’t have the energy to face cooking.

8.30 pm: After losing concentration on the movie, Dad and I both decide to have an early night.

Today’s total: €68.65

Thursday

6.00 am: I rise slowly and really want another hour in bed.

6:15 am: Out to the car and turn on the ignition to find that Dad has left the car in gear, and I come inches from crashing through the front door of the house. Thankfully, only the flowerpot gets it. Only one mark on the car somehow and it’s an old car and has some paint blips on the bonnet anyway from stones, etc. I am on the hunt for a new car, so thank God this happened in the car I currently have and not the soon-to-be upgrade.

7.15 am: In work and do a few bits. I am dying for a cup of tea. Pour water into my cup and go to the fridge to get milk, only to find the door of the fridge wide open and no milk inside. Today is going to be a bad day by the looks of it.

10.00 am: Coffee break to turn this day around. A friend buys me a coffee and I pick up milk for cereal and tea (€1.55).

4.00 pm: Usual site stuff before this, but out the door around 4 pm again. Site is winding down so it’s great to be finishing on time. No lunch today as I had my cereal late and just wasn’t hungry for anything – which is very rare. I’m staying in my partner’s tonight so only a 30-minute drive home.

7.00 pm: Chicken fried rice for dinner – he cooks.

10.30 am: After watching a rubbish movie on the couch, we head to bed.

Today’s total: €1.55

Friday

6.45 am: Up and at it. Fridays are always a short day.

7.30 am: Start work. The usual stuff again, so I won’t bore you with the details!
10.30 am: Made it through the week relatively intact, so I treat myself to a nice coffee and focaccia bread in the local coffee shop (€9). Finish up my tea break and call into the site for another site walk on my way back.

3.00 pm: Finish work for the day and hope to get ahead of the commuter traffic.

5.30 pm: I head in for a CrossFit class – and die after it, again.

7.00 pm: Quick shower and change and I head for a drink with Dad – one round each. (€10)

Today’s total: €19.00

Saturday

9.00 am: Up, dress and grab some breakfast – eggs on toast. I did a big, big shop last week and it has somehow lasted through very well.

10.30 am: Saturday is a group CrossFit class.

12.00 pm: Home, shower and flake for the day until the girls/boyfriend make plans.

1.30 pm: Go down to the butcher and pick up some chicken (€7.50). I make a Thai curry for a late lunch and stick on a rom-com. I decide at this point that if anyone wants to see me, they will have to come to me because not only can I not move, but I also don’t want to.

6.30 pm: I eventually motivate myself to get up and make dinner. Chorizo pasta – ingredients already on hand.

9.00 pm: Pour myself a glass of wine. It’s mam’s, so I will have to buy the next bottle – whoops.

10.30 pm: Early bedtime and happy out that I didn’t go to any form of social outing this evening.

Today’s total: €7.50

Sunday

12.00 pm: Sea swim and sauna booked for 1 pm with the girls (€10 each for sauna).

2.30 pm: Finish up and head to the nearby village to grab some fresh fish for lunch. I’m driving, but it’s a lovely day out, so I tell the girls to grab some drinks and we’ll sit outside and enjoy the sun (€42).

5.30 pm: We head home and I call to Lidl on the way to pick up some food bits for the week ahead (€34). Once done we decide to call into the local for a final drink – one I can have this time. The girls buy it as a thank you for driving today. Sound of them.

8.00 pm: Home. I cook some quick chicken fried rice for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Then head for a shower and bed.

Today’s total: €86.00

Weekly subtotal: €316.80

***

What I learned –

  • I haven’t spent much time with my partner this week, but he had training and two days of matches so couldn’t be avoided. Usually, we would go for food (lunch/dinner) once a week or maybe once every second week.
  • My weekly spend is usually a bit higher from booking accommodation etc for trips away.
  • It’s mad how much a half-decent cup of coffee can turn your day around for the better – even if it is the guts of a fiver a day.
  • This week had two big social days, so probably a bit more spent on this than usual.
  • I did a huge food shop last week so the only food I bought for dinner was chicken. I was also winging work lunches this week – I usually have Dublin Meat Company meals every day, so this week a bit less was spent on food.
  • I am conscious of what I spend as I need to be putting money into the mortgage saver account; however I am not in an urgent place of binge saving yet, so am going to continue to spend on what I want – but maybe fewer holidays a year.
  • I am so lucky to still be in a place where 1) I can live at home, and 2) I can live in a place where I actually still want to be at home. I would definitely be a tad lost without seeing my dad so often/going for drinks together.
  • This week has made me realise how much I love my job and the people around me. I’m unsure if moving jobs for more money is really what I want.

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