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Money Diaries: A 26-year-old data analyst living alone and working from home in a new job

This week, our reader is living in her own apartment in the city centre and is working from home in a new job.

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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 22-year-old software engineer working through lockdown from his home in Dublin. This week, a woman living in Dublin City Centre starting a new job as a data analyst.

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I’m currently living in Dublin city centre. I’ve been renting my own apartment for the last six months. The rent is very high, especially considering my income, but I was living with nightmare housemates for the last year, and decided life’s too short!

I was lucky to get a nice place in the city centre. Some of my friends are baffled that I’d spend so much on rent, but I still manage to save up to five hundred euro a month, so I’m not doing too badly. I split my savings between the credit union and post office. One is for a potential house deposit in the future, the other is for emergencies/holidays, whenever I can go on holidays again.  

I like going to the theatre, cinema and gigs in my spare time, but with Covid-19, that’s all out so I’m saving a lot more money than usual. Now that places are opening up again, I’m going to museums and galleries with my friends. I’m doing a lot more reading, writing and playing keyboard - free stuff! 

I haven’t gone on any mad bouts of online shopping yet. I’ve been using the click and collect service in the library, which is great especially for a bookworm like me. 

Occupation: Data Analyst
Age: 26
Location: Dublin city centre
Salary: 26,000
Monthly pay (net): €1925

Monthly expenses

Transport: €50
Rent: €885
Household bills: €40 (Virgin Media), €40 (Electric Ireland, every two months)
Phone bill: €30 per month
Health insurance: Work pays for this
Groceries: €150-200 per month
Subscriptions: €7.99 Netflix per month.


Monday 29 June

10.30 am: I’m starting a new job (remotely), but today we only have a team meeting at 2pm so I have a nice lie-in. I get up, have some tea and toast. I wanted to go out for a walk, but it’s lashing rain so I half-heartedly attempt a few squats, then watch some TV.

2.00 pm: I have my first team meeting, and everyone seems lovely (a relief!). We finish up at 2.30 so I’m free for the rest of the day. I have my lunch (chicken korma - leftovers from yesterday). Then I head into town, buy an extension lead and shampoo, which comes to €8.50.

4.00 pm: I get home and do laundry, two loads. The laundry machine in my building costs €1 euro per load. 

6.00 pm: I’m not that hungry, so I have a sandwich for dinner. Then I head out for a walk. Not much nature around, but I love all the red brick houses in my neighbourhood. I come home, and watch a load of old New Girl episodes. 

11.00 pm: I head to bed and read a few chapters of The Hate U Give, it’s so good I’m still reading at 12.30am. 

                             Today's total: €10.50

Tuesday 30 June

9.00 am: I get up and make myself some porridge. I have a work meeting at 10, and that goes on until 12. I go through a few emails and have a cup of tea.

1.00 pm: I have quiche lorraine for lunch. Then I go for a walk around town. I’m tempted to go into Chapters to pick up a few books, but I didn’t wear a mask so I don’t. 

3.00 pm: I do some self-study and training for work, which ends up being over three hours of staring at PowerPoint presentations. I have a quick phone call with my Dad. He’s working full time, and I worry about his social distancing, but he assures me that he’s being safe. I feel like I’m the parent since Covid-19, worrying about their safety! 

6.00 pm: I have pasta and a salad for dinner. I call my brother for a quick chat, and we make plans for when I’m home next week. We’re both big film fans and can’t wait to go to the cinema again. 

8.00 pm: I watch a few episodes of New Girl. 

10.00 pm: I head to bed and finish my book. I’m not tired enough for sleep, so I start re-watching Breaking Bad. It’s so good, I’m up until 12 am. Lights out.

                           Today's total: €0.00

Wednesday 1 July

9.00 am: I have a meeting at 9.30, so I have a quick tea and toast and dive in. It’s only a half-hour, then self-study for a few hours. 

1.00 pm: I have leftover pasta for lunch, then head to Chapters. It’s my first time back in four months, so I have a good long browse. Pick up four books for €14 euro. Not too shabby. 

2.00 pm: Home again, I have an online training session that goes on until five. I do some vacuuming and dishes. I chat with my friend about weekend plans. We’re hoping to have a picnic in the Phoenix Park, weather permitting. 

7.00 pm: I have haddock, spuds, peppers and spinach for dinner. Have a chat with Ma for a bit. I have a shower, watch Gilmore Girls for a while, already dozing off. 

10.00 pm: I head to bed. Too tired to read, I’m out like a light. 

                     Today's total: €14.00

Thursday 2 July

9.00 am: I have tea and toast, and start work for the day. I have a team huddle, and it turns out our training doesn’t start until two today, so I have a few hours to relax. I’m still hungry, so I make some porridge. I check my social media for a bit, then read some of my book. 

12.00 pm: The sun’s shining so I go for a walk. I call Mam for a chat; I was living down-home during the lockdown, so being back in Dublin we like to keep each other updated on our daily lives. I head home, make a salad for lunch. 

2.00 pm: Training starts for the day. It’s an intensive few hours, watching online presentations can be tedious! I’m just glad that I can make tea and food whenever I want. 

5.00 pm: We finish up, and I go out to meet my friend at a cafe near my apartment. I get tea and a muffin for €5.50. We sit outside and catch up for a while. It’s nice to be out socialising again, and thankfully there aren’t too many people around.

7.30 pm: I cook quiche lorraine for dinner. I do a quick exercise routine, then hit the shower. Turn on some telly for the night and relax. 

10.30 pm: I’m tired so I head to bed, I don’t even read.

                             Today's total: €5.50

Friday 3 July

9.00 am: I have a bowl of porridge and sit in on my work team’s daily meeting.! I make tea, take notes and we finish up around 10. I do some self-study and send a few work emails. 

11.30 am: I head out for my weekly shop in Lidl. I prefer doing the grocery shop early in the day, so it won’t be as busy. It wrecks my head that people can be so careless, not wearing masks or social distancing. I have a shopping list so I get in and out as quickly as possible. The shop comes to €38.80, which is fairly good for almost a week’s worth of shopping. I pop into the library to pick up a few books I ordered - libraries are such a great resource.

1.30 pm: I head home and have salmon salad sandwiches for lunch. Training starts up at 2 pm. It takes all my willpower not to scroll through social media during this training. It’s very repetitive, and people are asking unrelated questions that drive me up the wall. We finish up at 5 pm, I send a few more emails, then turn off the work computer  - relieved to be away from it, such a small screen. 

5.30 pm: I do a bit of a home workout. I hate watching exercise videos on YouTube because it’s inevitably these worryingly thin people with the energy of a five-year-old, so I just create my own routine of crunches and obliques, blast some Lizzo to get energised. I’m ravenous afterwards, so I make my dinner. I have pizza and watch some Breaking Bad.

8.00 pm: I do some online wishlist shopping, add a few bits to a shopping cart but don’t order just yet. I’ll sleep on it. 

10.30 pm: I’m in the mood for some comfort viewing, so I watch Pride and Prejudice. I have a quick call with my brother, then head to bed. 

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12.30 am: I start reading A Keeper by Graham Norton, and I’m hooked from the first page. I read for a lot longer than I intended.

                                 Today's total: €38.80

Saturday 4 July

11.00 am: I have a lovely lie-in. I get up and treat myself to some pancakes. I do a bit of a wardrobe clear out. There are some clothes in there that do not spark an ounce of joy, so I’ve filled a bag for the charity shop. Then I order a couple of tops and a dress online for €25.98.

1.00 pm: I head into town and meet a friend at a gardening centre. I buy a geranium and some gardenia seeds, along with two pots. This comes to €17.95. This is my first foray into planting, but I felt like something new. We go to a cafe, I order tea and a  brownie for €6. We sit outside and chat for a few hours. 

6.00 pm: I head home and put on my dinner. I make paella - divine. I have a video call with a friend in Belgium, over a few drinks. We had been planning to go on a trip to Ljubljana (where we met during a study abroad year), but it’s postponed due to COVID. 

10.30 am: Exhausted after the day, hit the bed.

                                    Today's total: €49.93

Sunday 5 July

11.00 am: I’m awake but want to stay in bed longer. I make a cup of tea and read a bit.

1.30 pm: I go out and meet my friend at the Tenement Museum for a tour. I ordered the ticket online (€9). It was very interesting, learning about slum landlords charging large sums for poor living conditions - not much has changed there. 

We go for a late lunch in a Brazilian cafe nearby. I get ham and cheese rissoles, delicious coconut cake and coke, all for €7.

6.00 pm: Back home, I reheat leftover paella for dinner. I play my keyboard for a while, do a bit of writing. I record some audio for voiceover work I’m doing at the moment. I’m an actor, but doing a ‘regular’ day job to pay the bills. The voiceover work pays, but it’s sporadic so I don’t factor it into my budgets. 

10.00 pm: I have a chat with Mam for a bit, then head to bed. Don’t want to start off the week feeling wrecked. 

                         Today's total: €16.00

Weekly subtotal: €134.73

What I learned –

  • I’ve learned that my spending isn’t too bad.
  • I splurged a little with the online shopping and plants, but these purchases wouldn’t be regular occurrences. Although I’d usually spend that amount at least by going to the pub/gigs etc.
  • I’m cooking more during Covid-19, which means I’m saving money and eating healthier, which I’m happy about. I usually spend a good chunk of money eating out/getting takeaways.
  • I definitely save money by using the library, and grocery shopping in Lidl saves a lot.
  • I’ve hardly drank alcohol at all during lockdown, which means I’ve saved a lot of money that way.
  • I’ve been exercising more than usual, so I’m feeling good.

About the author:

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