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Money Diaries A 25-year-old recruitment consultant on €40K living in Dublin

This week, our reader is trying to manage income versus living in an expensive city.

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 48-year-old procurement manager on €105K in Leinster. This week, a recruitment consultant in Dublin earning €40K.


I’m a 25-year-old recruitment consultant living in Drumcondra. I live with my boyfriend and we rent a small basement apartment for €1,400 a month. We split this 50/50, so I pay €700 a month in rent.

I am trying to save €500 a month to go towards our summer holiday to Greece, but this is proving to be difficult. My net monthly pay is €2,600 (pension contribution and BiketoWork payment are taken off my gross pay every month). I also walk dogs in my spare time. Usually, I make about €60 per month with this.

I have a €500 overdraft and I always seem to be dipping into this at the end of each month but this is a bad habit that I need to stop.

Occupation: Recruitment consultant

Age: 25

Location: Dublin

Salary: €40,000

Monthly pay (net): €2,600

Monthly expenses

Transport: €100 (€50 petrol, €50 on Leap card/the odd taxi)

Rent: €700

Household bills: €80

Phone bill: €35

Health insurance: Covered through work

Groceries: €250

Income protection policy: €35

Subscriptions: €6.99 – AppleTV, €9.60 – Amazon Prime, €89 – gym membership, €48 – car insurance, €45 – BIAB nail appointment.



7.40 am: I wake up and get ready to go into the office. My job offers hybrid work with no set days but I like to start the week onsite. I make a toasted ham and cheese pitta bread to eat on the way to work.

8.30 am: I leave the house and walk into work. I usually get the bus but with the days getting brighter and the weather getting nicer, I prefer to get a bit of exercise in before my day begins.

9.30 am: We get coffees delivered for our Monday morning meeting so I enjoy an iced vanilla latte. Always tastes nicer when it’s free!

12.30 pm: Very hungry by the time noon rolls around – I eat my packed lunch in the canteen (chicken in a Korean sauce, broccoli and rice) and then head to Grafton Street to run some errands.

1.15 pm: Bought a new charger plug with two (!) USB ports so I can charge my phone and my watch at the same time every night. This sets me back €15. My nose piercing fell out at some stage over the weekend so I pick up a multipack in Claire’s Accessories. This costs me back a whopping €16.99 – feels like a lot.

4.00 pm: Work is quiet today. I sort through job applications and call candidates to speak about their experience and what sorts of roles they’re interested in.

5.30 pm: Cycle home (I left my bike at work on Friday evening).

6.30 pm: Sit down and have dinner with my boyfriend. We always sit and have dinner together and put the phones away so we can connect after the work day. Today for dinner we’re having salmon, pasta and peas.

7.30 pm: It’s still bright outside so I go for a cycle to the sea. The weather for the last few days has been fab so I might as well make the most of it.

10.30 pm: Time for bed.

Today’s total: €31.99


6.00 am: Early start this morning because my friend suggested we do a free trial of a fitness app that offers various classes. We decided to try Reformer Pilates – think strength training but on one of those medieval torture stretching beds. It was actually great and I feel amped for the busy day ahead.

9.00 am: I bring my ham and cheese pitta bread with me and I get a coffee from the machine in the office.

11.00 am: We have a business development morning at work so I’m on calls for a few hours with clients to try to get work on. We get coffees delivered from Butlers – I get an iced vanilla latte (my usual) and a vanilla choccy on the company card.

12.30 pm: I get a surprise phone call from my dad. He’s in the city for a meeting and he brings me out for lunch. We choose to go to Sprout – I get the chicken satay salad bowl and a can of Coke Zero (€14) but my dad treats me to it.

5.30 pm: After a busy afternoon, I grab my bike and cycle home.

6.30 pm: For dinner, I have the lunch that I didn’t need in the office today (Korean chicken with rice and veg).

7.30 pm: My boyfriend suggests that we drive to the beach and go for a cute sunset walk.

10.30 pm: Home after our walk and it’s time for bed.

Today’s total: €0.00


8.45 am: I’m working from home today so I roll out of bed just before 9 am. I make a cup of tea and have a pitta bread with some scrambled eggs for my breakfast.

12.30 pm: I make a couple of calls updating clients and candidates on various processes that I’m working on.

12.45 pm: On Wednesdays at lunchtime, I dog walk! I figured this would be a fun way to earn a little bit extra (I earn €12 per 45-minute walk) so I joined a dog-walking app – I get paid to exercise, hang out with dogs and it helps a fellow pet owner out. I cycle to my client’s house and bring the two dogs out for a ramble. I stop and get a flat white along the way (€3).

1.45 pm: Back to work for the afternoon.

3.00 pm: I made some chicken fried rice for lunch and have it as I’m sourcing candidates for a new job.

5.30 pm: Head to a local pub to meet one of the girls for a pint. I opt for a pint of Orchard Thieves and this costs me €6.80. We also go halves on a pizza with dip – my half costs €7.50.

8.00 pm: On my way home I stop into a small Tech Shop to replace my broken screen protector. The shopkeeper tells me the price is €15 – the last one I got in this shop was €8 and I flag this (love a good haggle) and we compromise at €10.

9.00 pm: Myself and my boyfriend watch some Married At First Sight Australia and then go to bed at around 10.30 pm.

Today’s total: €27.30


6.00 am: Another early start as I’ve got my second and final free trial class with the fitness app (ClassPass if anyone is wondering).

7.00 am: I do a BikeRowSki class. It was tough but enjoyable.

8.00 am: I cycle into the city and pick up lunch in Dunnes (vanilla kvarg and a microwave curry) for €6.48. Dublin looks so nice when there’s a clear sky and sunshine.

8.15 am: I sit down in a café and get a ham and cheese croissant for €4.75.

9.00 am: Get stuck into emails and plan out my day around calls and meetings.

11.00 am: Feeling peckish so I get two sausages from the deli. This costs €2.

1.00 pm: Lunchtime, and I have the curry I got in Dunnes.

1.45 pm: I pick up an iced latte from Beanhive – this cost €5.10.

4.00 pm: There are whispers of pints around the office due to the glorious sun streaming in the window. Not a whole lot is getting done but everyone’s in a good mood due to the weather.

6.00 pm: We rock up to the pub – I get a Corona (€6.30) and we hang out in the beer garden for a while.

8.00 pm: Cycle home.

9.00 pm: Dinner – I make fried rice with pork. Me and my boyfriend watch TikToks together, mostly cute animal videos for a bit of light entertainment.

10.30 pm:  Bedtime.

Today’s total: €24.63


7.40 am: Wake up and get ready to go to the office. I cycle again this morning because the weather is still nice. I bring my usual pitta bread with me for breakfast.

9.00 am: Start the day with an iced latte from Starbucks. It’s Earth Day, so I get a free reusable cup when I buy my drink. The coffee costs €5.

12.30 pm: A few of us are in the mood for a pub lunch so we go to Doheny & Nesbitt – I order the BBQ chicken panini with chips and coleslaw and a pint of Miwadi. Was delicious – well worth the €12.50. A few of my coworkers get a pint with their lunch but I abstain – I’m trying to cut back on alcohol.

1.30 pm: Back to work for the afternoon.

4.00 pm: We wrap up early on Fridays after our team meeting so I grab my bike and head home. There are free drinks and my colleagues are going to go out for a few drinks but I have my own plans this evening.

5.00 pm: Land home and start deep cleaning the flat. One of my good friends and her boyfriend are coming from Galway to stay with us this weekend. We have an air mattress that we offered them as it was going to cost them more than €300 for two nights in Dublin (in a hostel, 32-bed shared dorm). That was the cheapest option available which is an absolute joke.

6.30 pm: My friend arrives with oven pizzas in tow – that’s dinner sorted! She also brings a bottle of wine so we have a glass and watch TV. Her boyfriend isn’t arriving until around 10 pm and my boyfriend is having work drinks so we have a lovely girls’ night in.

8.00 pm: More wine is required. I pop to Spar and get a bottle, crisps and chocolate for €18.14.

11.00 pm: The lads have arrived and want to go to the pub but I’m wrecked tired and stay home. Time for bed for me.

Today’s total: €35.64


9.30 am: Wake up and cook some sausages and eggs to make breakfast bagels for everyone.

11.30 am: Hop on the bus to go to the Guinness Storehouse. Tickets were €26 each and I buy my boyfriend’s ticket too. (€52)

1.30 pm: Enjoy a lovely pint of plain in the Gravity Bar. Of course, today had to be the first rainy day all week, but the views of Dublin are still great.

3.00 pm: We go to a nearby pub for some lunch. I get bangers and mash for €15. My friend buys us a round of pints.

6.00 pm: Myself and himself get the bus home. My friend is bringing her boyfriend out to dinner – they invited us to join but we really can’t afford it this week.

7.00 pm: Stop into the off-license and pick up some wine for later. We were going to go to the pub together after the others were finished their dinner, but it’s cheaper to stay in and hang out at home. Three bottles for the four of us costs €32. Me and my boyfriend split this. (€16)

9.00 pm: The four of us spend the evening drinking wine, and playing 30 Seconds.

11.00 pm: We stick a conspiracy documentary on Netflix and watch it until we’re all sleepy and ready to go to bed.

Today’s total: €83.00


9.30 am: Wake up and greet our guests in the living room. My friend’s boyfriend goes to the shop and gets the makings of a fry for us.

10.30 am: Our friends head off to do a bit of exploring before heading back to Galway. It was really nice to have them up – I just wish we had a spare bedroom. Our apartment consists of three rooms – our bedroom (with my boyfriend’s desk shoved in for working from home), our bathroom and our kitchen/living room/TV room/my office/dining room. We would love to have a bigger place but not a lot of landlords accept cats and this place was the only apartment that was offered to us 1.5 years’ ago after multiple viewings.

12.00 pm: Lounge around for a lazy afternoon at home.

3.00 pm: Get ready to go to the gym – I haven’t been all week despite my exercise classes.

4.00 pm: Work out for an hour or so – weight lifting and then 10 minutes of the stair master.

6.00 pm: Laundry, dishes and dealing with the Sunday Scaries.

7.00 pm: Meal prep for the next few days – I make a soy sauce/ginger/garlic chicken stir fry and a creamy chicken pasta (new recipe with blended cottage cheese). My boyfriend did the shop this week, so I’ll pay for our next one. We’re not religious with tit-for-tat moneywise, I know he’s got me covered when I’m low on funds and vice versa for him. If we go for a date night, I’ll get dinner and he’ll pay for the cinema after, etc.

10.30 pm: Apartment is clean, laundry is done and I’m showered and ready for work in the morning. Time to get some sleep.

Today’s total: €0.00

Weekly subtotal: €202.56


What I learned –

  • After keeping the money diary for a week, I realised that I’m not using my gym membership enough to justify the monthly cost of it. Part of the reason is that my local gym branch is renovating its sauna/jacuzzi facilities which I love to use after a session. My free trial with the ClassPass is finished now so I’ll try to go to the gym more this week.
  • Not surprisingly, meals out really add up. I usually just meal prep my lunches for the office but some mornings I really struggle to get out of bed. This leads to me rushing out the door and then buying breakfast on the go. I’m going to start meal prepping my breakfast pitta bread so I can just fire it in the microwave when I get up.
  • I can save a decent amount of money by cycling into work – almost €15 per week or €60 per month.
  • Even though my job can be very stressful, they are good to us in terms of ordering in coffees and having free drinks on Friday available.
  • I decided after Christmas to cut back on drinking alcohol, especially out in pubs and clubs as the cost is just too high (I know it doesn’t really seem like I’m trying to cut back as I did have a few drinks this week, but I used to drink a lot more per sitting!). By cutting out a weekly lunchtime pint, I shave almost €7 off my lunch bill.

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