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Money Diaries: A software engineer on €50K living in Dublin with her parents to save for a home

This week, our reader has moved back to the family home in order to try to save money for a house, which she feels is out of her reach.

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WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie 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 occupational therapist working in Dublin. This week, a software engineer earning €50K who is working remotely so has moved back in with her parents to save a house.

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I’m currently living in Dublin but my job is still in Galway (I work 100% remotely now due to the pandemic). In January, I moved into my parent’s house in Dublin to save some money.

Now I’m saving around €1,500 a month to go towards a deposit for a house – however, this is looking less and less likely as I cannot get a high enough mortgage approved.

Recently there was uproar when it was reported that the average couple in Dublin cannot buy a property as they would need a combined salary of €95,000. I got very angry when I read this as this would indicate that individuals or single people are automatically out of the running when it comes to purchasing a home.

Before the pandemic, I spent a lot of money on pole dancing in my local dance studio. Now I’ve installed a pole in my bedroom in my parents’ house and I take online pole dance lessons.

Occupation: Software Engineer
Age: 31
Location: Dublin
Salary: €50,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,700

Monthly expenses

Transport: Car expenses vary depending on the month
Rent: None
Household bills: Wifi (€30)
Phone bill: €20 per month
Health insurance: Already taken out of monthly pay
Groceries: I take out €100 cash at the start of the month to spend on groceries throughout the month
Subscriptions: Netflix (€13), Spotify (€10) Storage Facility (€60)
Online pole conditioning classes: (€35.29 for three classes per week: M/W/F)

***

Monday

8.00 am: I start the day as I always do, with coffee. I sit at my desk in my bedroom and work from around 8 am until lunchtime.

12.00 pm: I take a walk in Phoenix Park with my mom at lunchtime. Last Sunday night I made a huge batch of sweet potato and carrot soup so I reheat some homemade soup and have it with falafel for lunch.

5.00 pm: I take my online Pole Conditioning Class which I pay for at the start of the month. It works out at €2.94 per class. I reheat some homemade soup and falafel for dinner.

8.00 pm: I take an online pole dance class, which costs €9.59 for one hour. After my class, I’m still 1,500 steps off 10,000 so I head out and get these done before settling in for the night.

                                      Today’s total: €9.59

Tuesday

8.00 am: After checking my emails I go to do my AM skincare routine when I notice that I’m running low on all my products. I log onto Deciem.com and re-order my usual four products (from The Ordinary brand). This costs €45.30 with free delivery, this should last me at least six weeks, hopefully, more.

9.00 am: I drink coffee and work until noon.

12.00 pm: At lunchtime, I take a walk, have a shower and then drive to Boots pharmacy as I need to buy a leave-in hair conditioner. Hair products are three for the price of two so I buy three bottles of the leave-in conditioner: This saves me €8.99 and I use this product every day. I also buy nail files and iron supplements, the total is €28.25. I was tempted to get a Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee on the way home but the drive-thru queue was too long. Instead, I get home and reheat my usual soup and falafel for lunch.

14.00 pm: After lunch, I drink coffee and work until around 6 pm.

7.00 pm: I get out of the house for a 5 km jog and then reheat soup and falafel for dinner.

                               Today’s total: €73.55

Wednesday

8.00 am: After working for an hour or two I bring my car to the mechanic as it failed the NCT at the start of the month. I have a 2005 BMW 1 Series which I am trying to get rid of as it is a complete money pit. As soon as it passes the NCT I will put it up for sale. I don’t need a car now that I’m in Dublin and I can also be a named driver on my dad’s car for any time I need it.

I walk home from the garage and resist the urge to get a takeaway cappuccino on the way.

12.00 pm: I take a walk in the park at lunchtime. I use this time to listen to my WhatsApp voice notes from friends and reply to them. I often wonder how much harder this pandemic would be if it happened 10 years ago before Whatsapp, Snapchat and Zoom etc. In a way, we got very lucky. I reheat soup and falafel for lunch.

5.00 pm: I take my usual online Pole Conditioning Class and afterwards I reheat soup and falafel for dinner.

8.00 pm: I take an online floor work class with a burlesque performer from Galway. This costs €13.27 for 1.5 hours and is 100% worth the money.

                                    Today’s total: €13.27

Thursday

8.00 am: After checking my emails I book into an online Pole Tricks and Combos class for next week with a Galway pole studio. This costs €15.00 which is a bit more than most online classes but I’m trying to support small businesses so I don’t mind.

9.30 am: I want to order some coffee disks for my machine but Tassimo.ie are not delivering still, due to Brexit related supply chain issues so I guess I’m sticking with instant coffee for a while longer. I drink coffee and work until noon.

12.00 pm: My mom and I go for our usual lunchtime walk. I’ve done 10,000 steps a day every day since New Year. This is part of my routine now. Work has sent me a “Make your own pizza” kit as part of an online event so I assemble it and put it in the oven and my mom and I have pizza for lunch.

14.00 pm: The mechanic calls and says it will cost €450.00 to fix the car, I tell him to go ahead with the work. After lunch, I drink a diet energy drink and work until around 6 pm.

7.00 pm: I pop out for a quick walk to get my 10,000 steps in and go to the atm for the mechanic. Then after dinner (penne and falafel), my mom makes homemade popcorn and we watch The Chase together.

                               Today’s total: €465.00

Friday

10.00 am: I drink coffee and work until lunch.

12.00 pm: After my usual walk I assemble a quick lunch from whatever’s in the kitchen (my mom always has something in the fridge ready to eat!) I then walk to the mechanic and collect my car. I pay with the cash I withdrew yesterday.

5.00 pm: I take my online Pole Conditioning Class. After class, I spend another half an hour by myself working on some choreography.

7.00 pm: I pop to Supervalu to get something tasty for dinner. I settle on oven chips and chicken goujons (€5.00). I then watch Netflix for the night. No crazy Friday nights here.

                                 Today’s total: €5.00

Saturday

8.30 am: I start the day with a coffee in bed. I do some sudoku and read a few chapters of a self-help book I’m reading (“Attached” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. I definitely recommend it for anyone who struggles with anxiety or avoidance in relationships).

9.30 am: After I’ve woken up a bit I get dressed and go for a 10km jog (5km there and 5km back, making sure to stay within my 5km radius!).

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2.30 pm: My mom makes me lunch. And I pour myself a gin and tonic.

7.00 pm: I decide to go for a walk to get out of the house so I walk to the local Aldi and get a vegetarian wrap for dinner. This costs €2.00.

I then watch Netflix for the evening.

                                   Today’s total: €2.00

Sunday

8.30 am: I start the day with a coffee in bed. I do some sudoku and read a few chapters of “Attached”.

12.00 pm: After I’ve woken up a bit I get dressed and walk to Aldi to do my weekly shop (and pick up some items for my mom also). I purchase instant coffee, natural yoghurt, granola, cereal bars, salad and salad dressing, some falafel, celery and carrots.

The entire cost is €22.71 and this will do me for the week (I am currently in a calorie deficit, trying to lose weight). I will have coffee for breakfast and a salad for lunch and dinner every day next week.

7.00 pm: I go out for another walk to listen to some music and get my steps in. I reheat some lasagne that’s in the fridge for dinner. Then I watch a bit of Netflix and prepare for work again tomorrow!

                                   Today’s total: €22.71

                                  Weekly subtotal: €591.12

***

What I learned –

  • I see now that I tend to splurge on certain items like skincare and haircare. But these are what are important to me currently, so why not? What else have I got to spend money on right now?
  • My weekly total of €591.12 is unusually high this week. If my car wasn’t broken it would have only been a weekly spend of around €130.00 which is a lot nearer my average.
  • I should probably set up some recurring donations to charities or something. I do generally donate to any fundraiser I see on my Facebook feed, but now that I’m not paying rent I should probably donate more.
  • For me to buy a house in Dublin I probably need to save another €100,000. At my current rate, this will take me five years. I plan to move out of my parent’s house and rent again as soon as the pandemic is over. I will probably never own a home.

About the author:

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