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Money Diaries A software manager on €75K living in Tipperary

This week, our reader is busy working full time but also taking on a second role to keep the money coming in.

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 accountant earning €73K details life and spending in Dublin. This week, a software manager living in Tipperary on €75K.

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I am a 29-year-old software manager living in Tipperary with my girlfriend. I work remotely for a firm in Dublin and commute to Dublin once a week for an in-office day.

I also have a side job that I do in the evenings and on weekends. I am really interested in personal finance and keep an Excel budget that I update once per month, i.e. I am “one of those people”.

My main financial goal, having recently (in the last two years) become a homeowner, is to pay off my mortgage early by saving as much as I can. As this is a long-term goal, I’m trying to strike a balance between saving the pennies but also splashing out now on then on a nice holiday, gifts for family, etc.

Occupation: Software manager

Age: 29

Location: Tipperary

Salary: €75,000 gross per annum (€89,000 including side job)

Monthly pay (net): €4,083 (net of pension contribution)

Annual income from side job: €14,000 gross per annum. Net of circa €6,720 after tax so roughly €560 per month

Monthly expenses 

Savings: €1,500 per month plus the majority of after-tax income from side job (total circa €1,900 per month on average)

Transport: €150 petrol (some weekly travel reimbursed by work)

Mortgage: €974 (overpaying on monthly repayments by 10%)

Electricity and bins: Circa €100 and €20

Phone and broadband bill: €10.99 and €35

Health insurance: €113

House alarm: €48

Serious illness and mortgage protection insurance: €25

Medical: €120 (DPS of €80 + €40 on average for doctor visits, consultants averaged out etc.)

Groceries: €300

Subscriptions: Netflix – €8.99

I use a lot of Revolut vaults to allocate out my monthly paycheck so I don’t lose the run of it. I also save monthly for bigger annual expenses such as;

Car insurance, servicing and tax: €110

House insurance: €25

Holidays/nights away: €200

Xmas spending on gifts, décor, nights out etc: €100

The balance not included above I spend on takeaways, Amazon stuff, unnecessary takeaway fancy coffee etc.

***

Monday

7.00 am: I work from home most of the week so the morning routine is fairly mundane. Up at 7 am, breakfast, coffee, enter computer password wrong twice, etc. I like starting work a little earlier at 7.30 am. It’s almost like the calm before the storm of emails and I feel I get a good chunk of actual work done rather than reacting to the fires that emerge throughout the day.

10.00 am: Work up to lunch involves various meetings and team updates, nothing hectic going on at the moment.

1.00 pm: I like to get out for a 2km walk at lunch (the route I usually do) and listen to music. No dog to walk, although my partner and I are considering getting one. I just have reservations about the days we are both out working for 8+ hours and the dog would be on its own all day. At lunch, I realise I am nearly out of coffee pods so I order more online (€71).

2.00 pm: Back to it after lunch for more of the same.

5.00 pm: Have an early finish. My partner is home at 6 pm and we go for a walk, catch up on the day’s events etc.

6.00 pm: I usually cook dinner. Today is pizza bagels with wedges, not as bad as you might think as we have low-calorie versions of the ingredients and homemade wedges with the right seasoning.

Today’s total: €71.00

Tuesday

7.00 am: More or less the same as yesterday, work from home with the usual routine and habits.

12.30 pm: At lunch, I head to the local start-up coffee shop. They are by no means cheap but don’t mind giving it to them as they are good local lads running it and I like to support them (€4.20).

4.00 pm: I work on my side job after an early finish at work. My main employer is aware I do this extra work so no issues there, but I did have to notify them upfront before starting it to ensure no conflicts etc. I work on my own initiative but have hard monthly deadlines for when a piece of work needs to be done. I work at my own pace so I do the majority of this at evenings and weekends. As we are going away this weekend, I am anxious to get a good chunk done. I am paid a few times a year for this based on output so the income is sparse and is all taxed at the top rate of 52%. It’s done through payroll so because I have no credits allocated against it, it’s 40% tax, 8% USC and 4% PRSI. Sometimes I don’t know why I bother doing it but, if I calculate out the hours I put in versus the amount I am paid, it works out OK. As I am paid by output the rate per hour varies but is decent even after 52% tax. I mainly do it to generate extra income to put towards holidays and the mortgage (I would say it’s a 20%/80% allocation split).

8.00 pm: Quiet evening after I finish: a quick walk, dinner, shower, Netflix etc.

Today’s total: €4.20

Wednesday

9.00 am: Payday! It always feels like forever coming around. Always a nice kickstart to the day. Work seems to go a little quicker these days.

1.00 pm: During lunch, I transfer out money to my Revolut vaults, savings accounts and investment account. Money earned on savings is small at 2%. My investment account is self-directed and I invest in the S&P 500 stock market index in America. The goal with the money in savings and investments is to eventually have enough to pay off the mortgage. I purchased the house in early 2021 for €282,000. It is a new build so economical (to an extent) to run and I got a contribution towards the deposit via Help to Buy. Admittedly I did get a gift from my parents of €10,000 to help me with the deposit. However, after getting everything over the line, I paid this back to them as I felt it was too much after all the years living at home, them putting me through school, college etc. I cleared this in early 2022. Since then, my goal is to save as much as I can (whilst also having a life) and pay off the house early. I project at the current rate I will have enough saved up to match the remaining balance on the loan by the end of Year 7 of the mortgage.

5.00 pm: I head down to Woodies before it closes to buy some draught excluders (€23). As the days are getting colder, we feel there’s a cold breeze in the front door and some windows, so we’re looking for a quick fix. I know they need to be properly adjusted but not bothered to get anyone in for the time being as I will probably be told they all need replacing or something like that (even though the house is only two years old!).

8.00 pm: I celebrate payday by treating myself and girlfriend to pizza and beers (€42).

Today’s total: €65.00, plus movement of funds into savings, vaults etc.

Thursday

6.15 am: My weekly trip to the Big Shmoke. On the train for 7 am listening to podcasts and music to pass the time. I have time to grab some avocado toast and coffee before work (€14.80).

11.00 am: Good day in the office catching up with colleagues and grabbing multiple coffees. I pay for myself and my colleagues as someone else paid last week (€13).

1.00 pm: Work gets hectic in the afternoon so just have time to grab an overpriced pre-packed sandwich (€5.80) for lunch.

5.00 pm: Back on the train for 5 pm listening to music for the trip. The rest of the evening is spent putting up Halloween decorations and running to the shop to stock up for trick-or-treaters. My travel expenses will be reimbursed euro for euro by my employer so not counting them here.

Today’s total: €33.60

Friday

10.00 am: I’m on leave today as we are heading away for the weekend. Long drive ahead but it’s worth it.

3.30 pm: Check in. Expensive day today as the hotel charged the two-night stay up front (€1,156). I knew this expense was coming but that chunk of money for two nights still shocks me. That said, we do have a spa package, dinner, breakfast and we are in a suite so I guess it’s justified?! My girlfriend sends me half so the net cost to me is €578. Today is also the day the mortgage comes out of the account so big dip in the numbers on screen today!

6.30 pm: Dinner is delicious and we head out on the town for the rest of the night. We meet up with friends so rounds of beverages are had. My total spend for the night was €76.40.

Today’s total: €654.40

Saturday

10.30 am: Hotel breakfast consists of multiple trips up to the buffet for a questionable assortment of bread, sausages and tiny orange juice glasses.

12.00 pm: Today is our spa day and it is well needed. I have numerous health issues (too many for my age) but a good massage is just what the doctor ordered.

4.00 pm: We head for a walk in the afternoon and grab some lunch which I pay for (€28.60). We like taking mini breaks as it really does recharge the batteries but we are doing this less and less due to the sheer cost of hotels in the big cities.

7.30 pm: Dinner is again had in the hotel and we have a few quiet drinks at the hotel bar (€32).

Today’s total: €60.60

Sunday

12.00 pm: Check out. Today is travel home day and time to do the Sunday reset.

3.00 pm: The afternoon is spent cleaning, tidying, arguing about cleaning and tidying jobs etc.

6.00 pm: We head out to buy food for the week (my half is €52). We like to plan our meals for the week and stay somewhat healthy. We generally avoid junk food unless we have a good reason (like a Friday night) etc. We are both relatively health conscious but don’t get a whole pile of exercise in or go to the gym.

9.30 pm: Finish off with a late evening walk in the dark and an early night.

Today’s total: €52.00

Weekly subtotal: €940.80

***

What I learned –

  • This was a relatively cheap week (outside of the nights away). Most of this week’s spending, outside of any bills, was actually on food and drink. I spend a bit on coffee, both on the pods at home and takeaways but I feel it breaks up the day a little and is my equivalent to a smoker’s break so it doesn’t bother me too much.
  • My health is not as good as I would like it to be at age 29 so I see my goal of paying off the mortgage earlier as a matter of security. This thought is also compounded by the fact that I was refused an income protection policy (although I have only tried one provider).
  • If something were to happen to me, I would have a large amount in savings to help cover mortgage repayments or I would take the lump sum in Year 7 and pay the mortgage off. Either way, it’s a sense of security for me. I think I am doing well financially for my age, but at the same time, I know with loans that everything can be taken from you in an instant. This is my personal goal and I’m happy with how it’s going and my reasons for wanting to get there.
  • I am generally against taking out loans to upgrade the car etc. However a mortgage is essential. No one my age can buy a house (should be full stop there really…) without a mortgage, however I am a believer in paying it off early and being debt free, given I have the income to do this and don’t have additional costs such as childcare, consumer debt etc., which prevents people from saving the amount I save.

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