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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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How I Spend my Money: A 30-year-old primary teacher on €37,000 living in a mobile home

This week, our reader is a primary teacher living in a mobile home with her new husband, in the hope of saving for a house.

TheJournal.ie reader

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.

Want to take part? If you do, send us an email to money@thejournal.ie. We’d love to hear your story.

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.  

Last week, we heard from a 26-year-old chef in Co. Kildare, earning €35,000. This week a primary school teacher is hoping to save a deposit for a home with her new husband. In order to manage this, they’re living in a mobile home.

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I am a 30-year-old primary school teacher living in a town in the Midlands. My husband and I are currently living in a mobile home on his parent’s property to try to gather money for a house deposit.

We were renting a house in the town for €800. When our lease was due for renewal, they told us their son wanted to move in (I have my doubts). Rents had then raised to €1,000 per month for a house in the same estate one year later. We made the decision to invest in a decent mobile for €10,000 and hopefully sell it on to get some money back when the time comes. We are in it a year and a half now.

The current mortgage repayment average for this area is €1,000 per month, so we both transfer €500 each per month to our joint savings account. We are also recently married so a portion of this is paying off our wedding loan, therefore it will take longer to reach our savings goal.

Occupation: Primary school teacher
Age: 30
Location: Co. Offaly
Salary: €37,804
Monthly pay (net): €2,304
Monthly expenses
Rent: €0 (husband is paying off a loan we took out to purchase the mobile)
Savings/Wedding Loan: €500
Household bills: €70 (€25 refuse and €50 gas, in-laws cover ESB)
Phone bill: €85 phone and broadband
Education Loan: €260
Car loan: €160
Subscriptions: Netflix, €16; Contact lenses, €16

***

Monday

7.30 am Get up, get ready for work and make lunch.  This is one of the upsides (and sometimes downsides) about being a teacher, you have to pack your lunch every day. So I’m saving money here. I make tea and bring it in the car; it keeps me warm on my 30-minute drive to school.

4.00 pm After work I go to pay for my car that needed work done over the weekend. The mechanic is a relative so he charges me just €65, score! 

Today’s total: €65

Tuesday

7.30 am Wake up, make lunch, brew tea, and head to school.

4.00 pm Go for a walk after school with a friend. Stop at the shop to pick up some veg and other bits I need at home. This comes to €6.96.

6.00 pm I get home, make dinner and chill for the evening.

 Today’s total:  €6.96

Wednesday

7.30 am Up for work, but this morning I stop in at the petrol station to fill up my car. I put €40 in it and grab a 2L bottle of water for €2. 

4.00 pm Head for a run after work and home then for the evening.

Today’s total: €42

Thursday

Today is payday. This is the day I can lose the run of myself. I get paid fortnightly so I can feel like I have loads of cash to spend before it all leaves my account for loans and savings tomorrow.

4.30 pm I stop into Mr Price to pick up a few bits for school, costing €24. I pick up a bottle of wine for €9 and head out to my sisters for the night!

 Today’s total: €33

Friday

8.00 am Have a bit of a head so stop at the shop and pick up a bottle of Lucozade and noodles for lunch (don’t judge me). It costs €3.40.

12.30 pm At work, I get €20 back from the Principal for school items yesterday. Getting money back all depends on what I buy. Yesterday’s items were for art so I could hand that in. 

4.00 pm After work, I pay €75 off an upcoming hen party. The total is €150 and it’s abroad for two nights.

6.30 pm No cooking this evening, it’s Friday! We get a Thai takeaway (€20) and head home for the evening.

Today’s total: €78.40

Saturday

8.00 am I get up and do some jobs around the mobile. We then spend the morning clearing out the shed and make two trips to the dump (electrics were free and the second load was €23 which my husband paid).

12.30 pm I pick up some groceries to make soup with ham and cheese rolls, mmm… hearty! Total cost is €14.80

4.00 pm I call to visit my parents for a while in the afternoon and on the way home I get more groceries in Lidl for dinner and nighttime snacks, total cost €25.48.

9.00 pm I have a quiet Saturday night in with a movie on Netflix and in bed by 12. What a rebel.

 Today’s total: €40.28

Sunday

8.00 am The weather is awful today so I have a lazy morning around the mobile.

1.30 pm We then head into town and go for a gym and swim in the leisure centre. I have leftover coupons I purchased a few weeks ago which are 5 visits for €25. 

2.30 pm After this, we head to Dunnes Stores to pick up the weekly groceries. I have just changed from Aldi in the last few weeks, as I feel that with the €10 off vouchers, it’s better value for money, and the food is better quality. I usually buy loads in Aldi then I have a lot of waste at the end of the week. This week’s shop comes to €85 and I have a €10 voucher so €75. I have €50 in my wallet and my husband pays the rest. This will usually get us our lunches and dinners until Friday. I might have to restock on milk and small bits during the week, but that’s it.

4.00 pm We then go and meet my family for a carvery dinner in the town. My husband picks up the bill for this and I get the desserts €9.95

 Today’s total: €59.95

Weekly subtotal: €325.59

What I’ve learned:   

  • I always read these Money Diary entries on TheJournal.ie and think that they are not realistic. I wanted to submit mine because I feel like I am one of the many typical late 20s/early 30s category trying to find my feet financially. 
  • In many ways, this was a typical week for me so it is very accurate. I usually go for some weekend drinks with friends but I am taking into account the €65 I paid for my car as the money I would spend on a few drinks on a Friday evening.
  • I also want to highlight the €75 that I paid towards the hen trip. Almost every paycheck I have someone’s birthday, wedding or hen party to put money aside for. I’m not complaining, I am just noting that is the reality of it and I need to take that into account when spending my money.
  • I really don’t think I could have cut down on anything this week. I like to think I am good with my money. But, you might think differently! If I spent like this every week that’s around €1,300 for the month which leaves me with a €103 monthly deficit.
  • So I have no extra cash for health insurance, car tax and maintenance, appointments such as doctors, hairdressers and beauty, or clothes. If I actually had a house and had to pay ESB, gas/oil and all the extras I don’t know how I would survive! This is a primary school teacher in Ireland 2020, a supposedly comfortable job.

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