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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Money Diaries A 22-year-old kitchen assistant living at home in the south of the country

This week, our reader is conscious of spending and trying to be careful with finances.

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 part-time adult tutor on low and infrequent pay living in Leinster. This week, a 22 year old kitchen assistant living in the south of the country. 


I’m living in Munster at home with my parents and brother. I work in the city which means I have to commute via train. I’m looking for something new to have a change of career. On a good month, I try to put away maybe around €300. I don’t have any rent or bills to pay although I do offer my mother money if it’s needed.

My new “hobby” I’ve found that’s fun is vinyl. I’ve started collecting them and try to get some from my favourite artists. In my spare time, I really just try to switch off and forget about everything around me. I find that walks can help with this.

Occupation: Kitchen assistant

Age: 22

Location: Munster

Salary: I’m unsure. My working hours vary from week to week. I’d have to say somewhere in the €18K-€20K region.

Monthly pay: Similar situation. No two months are the same. Probably €13-1400 average after tax.

Monthly expenses

Transport: €50 Young Adult Card + Petrol €60

Rent: N/A but I offer money if needed.

Household bills: Same situation as rent.

Phone bill: €13

Health insurance: Don’t have health insurance

Groceries: Same situation as bills but I do offer if needed.

Subscriptions: iCloud storage: €2.99 Spotify €9.99

Loan repayments: €407



5.30 am: I wake up at this time to make sure I have time for my morning shower because I have work at 7.30 am.

6.20 am: I leave the house. I don’t like to eat breakfast so I leave after getting my bag packed. I can’t drive yet so I have to leave at this time to make the train.

7.30 am: Start work. It’s a relatively easy day as Mondays are.

11.50 am: Time for my half-hour break – I don’t like to eat lunch at work because I am never comfortable eating in front of others and people come and go in the staff area so I just don’t eat. I spend my break catching up on the news or listening to music to distract myself.

2.00 pm: I’m finished for the day. It’s a short day but it was one of those days so I just wanted to get out of there. I decide to go for an hour’s walk after I buy an iced latte. (€4.60)

4.00 pm: Walk finished, now I need to wait until my Dad is finished work so I just sit with my thoughts for two hours while enjoying the sun.

6.00 pm: I have my third driving test next week so I’m driving as much as possible. I head home but the normal route is closed off so I have to make a detour.

6.45 pm: Finally home!

7.30 pm: Groceries were bought today so for dinner, I make myself a steak sandwich. It was tasty.

8.00 pm: After dinner, I start to decompress from the day. Our new kittens help with this. They’re getting so big so quickly!

10.00 pm: Time for bed. Up early again. Get to sleep around 10.40 pm.

Today’s total: €4.60


5.45 am: Bit tired this morning. Slept in a bit later than planned.

7.30 am: Similar routine as yesterday.

2.00 pm: I’m lucky in that today was the same as yesterday and I finished 10 minutes later than yesterday. I like consistency in my life.

2.30 pm: Decide to treat myself for the last time this week. I buy another latte (€4.60) – this time mostly just because I need some interaction in my day.

3.00 pm: Remember to check my current account. I realise it’s Tuesday which means it’s loan repayment day (€101.66). I took out a loan for a car which I think was an OK but not great decision. It’s not a fancy car, it just happened to be a good enough deal.

6.30 pm: Home a bit earlier today.

7.00 pm: Car needs a lash of the hoover so I tip away at this for 40 minutes or so while listening to more music.

8.00 pm: Car finished. Decide to make bolognese for dinner. It goes down well.

8.30 pm: Time to feed the animals. They’re hungry too!

9.00 pm: Decide to finish for the day after putting on a load in the machine.

10.00 pm: Time for bed again. Day off tomorrow so I need to decide what to do.

Today’s total: €106.26


8.00 am: Time to get out of bed. I need to hoover the car.

9.00 am: I get hungry so I have a couple of pieces of toast.

12.00 pm: Decide to cut the grass, it’s not necessarily long but I need something to do.

2.00 pm: Time for some lunch, which is just a ham and cheese sandwich today.

4.00 pm: It’s after getting a bit too hot for my liking so I’m staying indoors for a bit. I decide to finish tidying my room from last week.

6.00 pm: Now it’s a bit cooler I need to give my car a clean because it’s white so the dust/dirt shows easily.

8.00 pm: For dinner, I reheat yesterday’s leftovers while I flick on my favourite show on Netflix – It’s Always Sunny.

9.00 pm: Spend some time enjoying the good weather with the cats before I get ready for work tomorrow.

10.15 pm: Lights out. I’m feeling a bit tired today.

Today’s total: €0.00


7.30 am: I start work. It’s a Thursday so for me it’s a relatively busy but easy enough day.

9.00 am: I’m a bit peckish so I have a Nature Valley bar and water for my “breakfast“. €0.00 cost as brought from home.

1.40 pm: I’m finished everything from my side for the day so I take my break. I’m supposed to be finishing at 3 pm so I’ve timed it well.

2.00 pm: While on my break, I get an email saying a custom charge is due so I pay the €12.70 to make sure I receive my item. It’s only a vinyl so I’m unsure about the reason for the charge. Frustrating.

3.10 pm: I managed to finish on time thankfully. Time to get the train.

4.30 pm: Arrive at my dad’s work. I get in my car and top it up. I spend €39.53 on a three-quarter tank worth of petrol and a bottle of Lucozade. I spend my time waiting to leave and catching up on my phone.

6.30 pm: Arrive home and I make a sandwich because I’m not feeling hungry enough for a big meal.

10.00 pm: I watch Black Mirror and doze off. I go to bed.

Today’s total: €52.23


5.30 am: I wake up and take a shower. I leave at 6.20 am to make sure I’m on time for the train.

7.30 am: I start work. It’s Friday which means it’s one of the busiest days for me. Thankfully it turns out to be an okay morning with the size of deliveries.

10.00 am: Take a mini break from work and catch up on cleaning the kitchen. It’s very hot so I’m trying to keep cool. I have water that I brought from home. €0.00.

2.20 pm: I take my break. I’ve finished everything so after my break I just have to cover people’s breaks. This is easy so it’s like a sort of cool down for me – work-wise.

4.20 pm: I’m finished work a bit later than I expected. I go to the shop and buy a drink because I’m gasping. I spend €2.60 on a drink.

5.00 pm: My roster for next week has been sent so I top up my Leap card. (€11.45)

7.00 pm: Home after going to the shop – my parent does a mini shop.

7.45 pm: I’m starving so I decide to make a curry. It turns out to be very tasty and delicious which is nice after a busy day at work.

8.30 pm: I flick on another Black Mirror episode – the twists in them are amazingly entertaining.

10.00 pm: I go to bed – this time I put on Netflix but just listen with my eyes closed because I need some noise to sleep.

Today’s total: €14.05


5.20 am: Frustratingly I wake up naturally at this time.

9.00 am: Thankfully I fell back asleep and I get up at 9am. I have toast for breakfast.

10.30 am: I do a load of washing and put on some music.

1.00 pm: I tidy the kitchen and hall and hang out some more washing.

3.00 pm: I go out to wash my car because it’s a bit dusty from the dry roads.

5.00 pm: After taking my time washing the car, I come in for a snack. I have a bowl of pasta.

7.00 pm: I watch another episode of Black Mirror. This episode is a bit too creepy for me though, so once finished I go outside in the cool air to enjoy the remaining light.

9.00 pm: After feeding our cats their food, I spend some time with them.

10.30 pm: After enjoying the evening I decide to go to bed. I manage to fall asleep around 11.30 pm which for me is a bit late.

Today’s total: €0.00


9.00 am: Today I woke up early again but only get up at 9 am.

10.00 am: I have a quick shower and breakfast and I spend time doing laundry, etc.

12.00 pm: I get ready for my practice driving test and revise some questions and road signs.

2.00 pm: Leave for my test.

3.00 pm: Start my test. It goes okay but I’m still worried about failing it. I make too many teeny mistakes and I need to do better. I pay the instructor €50 for the lesson – should have been €40 but I only had €50 so now I pay €10 less next time.

5.00 pm: Return home after driving home. On the way back I pop into the shop and buy my brother a Monster and chewing gum as a thank you for lending me €50 that I pay back. This cost €4.15.

6.00 pm: Have a small dinner, a toasted panini sandwich that my Mam bought.

7.30 pm: Spend more time with kittens while we still have them as they must find new homes unfortunately.

9.00 pm: Decompress and watch a show on Netflix.

10.00 pm: Go to bed. It was a busy-ish day so I want to start the week fresh as possible.

Today’s total: €54.15

 Weekly subtotal: €231.29


What I learned -

  • After keeping this money diary for a week, it opened my eyes to how much I’m worried about my finances. I’m always looking at my bank account constantly stressing that my savings aren’t going up. Doing this has allowed me to find out exactly where my money goes in one week.
  • I feel like I’m being a bit frugal considering my age with the odd treat item here or there but it feels necessary to me.
  • This week’s subtotal is probably about the average amount with my different purchases but similar prices so I realise that this is why I’m struggling to save much money.

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