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Money Diaries: A 25-year-old customer support technician living with flatmates in Galway

This week, our reader details how he’s working from home and hanging out with flatmates, while also playing Football Manager.

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WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie that runs weekly and looks at what people in Ireland really do with their cash.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, how much they save if anything, and what they spend their money on over the course of one week.

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.

If you’d like to document your spending, or lack thereof and any lifestyle changes during this Covid-19 period, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to money@thejournal.ie and we’ll be in touch.

Last week, we heard from a 29-year-old software engineer who lived in Dublin with her boyfriend and three flatmates. This week, a 25-year-old customer support technician in Galway. He’s working from home during the lockdown.

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I’m currently living in Galway City a stone’s throw from Eyre Square. I live in a small apartment with two housemates I have known since college. We are renting and have been in the house since 2016 even though I left for a year to work in the US. When I returned, space opened up in the house again.

It’s great to live with people you know rather than strangers. I’m from Leitrim but I have not been home to see my parents and family for over two months because of lockdown, so I am missing them quite a bit. My parents are retired so I am keeping away to protect them.

I am working from home along with one of my housemates. I like running so try to get out every week. I’m not a big baker but have been baking a little since lockdown. I love my GAA and football so spend much of my time on fantasy football or watching the games with friends in the pub or at home, normally. I am a good saver and can usually save €1000+ per month. I don’t usually put it into my savings account though as I have to go to the bank to do so, but I should.

Occupation: Customer Support Technician with German (IT)
Age: 25
Location: Galway city
Salary: €35,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,423

Monthly expenses

Transport: Commuter Leap card through work, €74. Bus tickets home costs €40.
Rent: €350 per month each (nine months) €250 per month each (summer months) Galway is quiet in the summer and our landlord is good to us.
Household bills: Electricity, €50 each. Internet + TV €17.50 each
Phone bill: €10 
Health insurance: Work pays for it 
Pension: I pay around €60 (2% of salary) work pays €230 (8% of salary)
Groceries: €200+ 
Subscriptions: Betting online around €100 per month

***

Monday 25 May

12.30 pm: I usually work late shifts and start at 1 pm so I wake up quite late and go to bed later also. I have a shower and switch on the laptop. My housemate is already through half of his day when I walk into the kitchen. I make my usual tea and toast and go through my emails and messages. I also notice that I’m running low on contact lenses so I order a six month supply online for €91.68.

3.30 pm: I make a cup of tea and a rasher and egg sandwich. It’s hard not to eat more during lockdown compared to office work. Work isn’t as busy at the moment as we work with a lot of hotels, which are mostly all closed during Covid-19 or working a shorter day.

5.00 pm: I decide to go to Lidl as they have a few offers on from today and pick up some bedsheets €18 and a few other bits for baking later in the week, €2.82.

7.30 pm: I start dinner after buying a new cooking book last week. I try the Sweet and Sour Cod with Coconut Rice.

9.30 pm: I finish work for the day and play Football Manager for a few hours on my laptop. I’m in my 15th season with Salford City competing for Europa League places. Buying FM was probably my best investment during the lockdown. It’s just so addictive!

12:00 am: I watch some episodes of a series on Netflix and have two of my last cans of Guinness and my favourite craft beer and head to bed around 2 am.

                              Today’s total: €112.50

Tuesday 26 May

2:00 pm: I wake up a bit later today as our manager has been giving us extra hours off each week due to Covid-19 and it not being so busy. I have a shower, make my usual breakfast of tea and toast and get ready for my work training scheduled remotely for 3pm.

5:00 pm: I make a blueberry spinach and strawberry smoothie.

7.00 pm: I make a raspberry log from my new cookbook but it breaks so it’s now a raspberry buttercream sandwich. I also heat up yesterday’s Sweet and Sour Cod for dinner and watch some Bundesliga football, which is back since last week.

9.30 pm: Finish work for the day.

10.15 pm: A series both myself and the housemate watch is about to start. We enjoy the raspberry log with a cup of tea.

12 am: After I watch some of another series I realise I have run out of cigarettes. I am trying to give up lately and realise I need to give up this bad habit. I take a walk to my local 24-hr Gala and pick up the cigarettes and some sausage rolls coming to €14.00. I am so addicted to the series that I don’t realise it’s already 3 am so I go to bed.

                   Today’s total: €14.00

Wednesday 27 May

12.30 pm: I wake up have a shower and walk into the kitchen and have some cereal and a cup of tea. I have a meeting with a customer at 1 pm so need to do some quick research before that.

5:00 pm: It’s a great day so I go for a 20-minute walk. After I get back I make a smoothie and some potato waffles.

7.30 pm: I don’t have much food in the fridge and need to go shopping tomorrow. I make a chocolate-chip and honeycomb sausage sandwich (crazy flavour of sausage I picked up in the shop to try out) and also some curly fries.

9.30 pm: I finish work for the day and watch a movie.

12:00 am: I watch some Netflix and have some more of the Raspberry log. I’m thirsty so I pick up a can of coke zero from the newsagents next door €1.10.

3:00 am: I hit the hay for the night.

            Today’s total: €1.10

Thursday 28 May

2:00 pm: I took today off work as I have worked some bank holidays. I am trying to use some of my holidays to give myself shorter weeks as everyone will be looking for holidays after lockdown.

3:00 pm: I buy some credit on my phone costing €20 which usually does me two months as I have free data, calls and texts for a month. I then use the €20 which is left of my balance to buy data for the next month.

4:30 pm: I head down by the river with my housemate and two friends with some cans my housemate bought. It’s great having both the beach and the river so close by within the 5km limit.

8:00 pm: On the way home I grab a pizza deal coming to €12.50. I also pick up some cigarettes €12.

9:00 pm: I have a headache after being out in the sun all day and go to bed and wake up around 11 pm I stay up for another hour but still not feeling well I go to bed.

               Today’s total: €44.50

Friday 29 May

9:00 am: My usual days off are Friday and Saturday so I’m glad I still have another day off after today. I am up way earlier than usual due to not feeling well yesterday and all the sleep I got. I do some chores and my housemate comes in. He can’t believe his eyes as I have not got up before him in months. I have some cereal and watch some TV.

12 noon: I go to Lidl to get some shopping for the week ahead along with a crate of beer as I was drinking the housemate’s beer yesterday shopping comes to €43.27.

3:00 pm: I have the rest of last night’s pizza heated up in the oven. It tastes just as good if you splash some water over the pizza before putting it in.

5:00 pm: We walk up to the square to get the bus to our friend’s house who has just recently moved back to Galway. I have not been on public transport since mid-March so it’s a bit weird that nobody else is on the bus for the whole journey. We also take all the precautions. I top up my Leap card with €15 euro shop take 50c charge coming to €15.50. I pay for my housemate as he does not have a Leap card.

7:00 pm: Enjoying the sun I run out of beer so our friend runs to the shop to get some shopping and I Revolut her €15.  She also cooks us homemade goujons and chips in an air fryer which I have been thinking of investing in. I must look up the price online this week.

11.30 pm: Time has gone so quickly after catching up so we rush for the last bus and we get into the city after 12 am.

1:00 am: I watch some Netflix and go to bed around 3 am.

                      Today’s total: €73.77

Saturday 30 May

1:00 pm: I wake up and have some cereal and tea. I watch some of the Bundesliga games.

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3:00 pm: I go to the corner store and pick up some cigarettes €12.00.

5:00 pm: I go for a half-hour walk. Usually, I would go for a run but it’s very hot outside today so I give it a miss.

6:30 pm: I start dinner with another recipe from my cookbook – Chorizo and Basel Spaghetti. It’s really good and I save the rest for tomorrow.

8:00 pm: I watch a film on TV. Usually, I might be going out with friends on a Saturday night for a few beers but instead, I settle for a beer or two in front of the TV.

11:00 pm: I play some Football Manager, I have Salford in the Europa League this year and we won the FA cup the year before so I am itching to go.

2:00 am: I catch up on the SpaceX space mission. It’s hard to believe with Covid-19 going on they are sending a rocket up to the International Space Station but it’s a welcome distraction from the 24-hr, Covid-19 news which is getting quite annoying now.

                     Today’s total: €12.00

Sunday 31 May

12:00 pm: I am back to work today so I take a shower and boot up my laptop. Sunday’s aren’t really busy for me so I work on some of the cases I already have.

1:00 pm: I started work a bit early so I run to Aldi and they have a growing programme for small producers for two weeks. There’s some Boxty produced in Leitrim in store, I can only get it back home, so I pick up two packets and some others bits coming to €10.29. I meet a friend on the way and we chat for a while and arrange to meet up next week. I have met more people this week in the first phase of re-opening than in all of the other two months combined. I have a fry with some Boxty for breakfast.

3:00 pm: I put on a wash and keep working. I also call my parents as I keep forgetting to ring them. We are down to about one phonecall a week now. I must make more of an effort to stay in touch.

6:00 pm: I have the other half of yesterday’s dinner and watch some news.

9.30 pm: I finish work for the day and play some more Football Manager followed by Netflix and go to bed around 1 am.

                         Today’s total: €10.29

Weekly subtotal: €268.16

What I’ve learned:   

  • I learned that I am probably spending more during Covid-19 than I would if it wasn’t happening, but buying the contact lenses would have pushed up my total even though it is a bi-annual expense. I save on transport but end up cancelling that out with a higher grocery and electricity bill.

  • I need to give up smoking it’s an expensive habit I have given up before for a long time so it’s no harm to try again.

  • I definitely save more than the average person and I am glad I am in a position to do so.

  • The fact that I’m not getting as many takeaways as I usually would, makes me feel better.

  • My time at home has given me more time to cook new meals which will help me in the future.

  • I am drinking way more during Covid-19 than I usually would and should be exercising more.

About the author:

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