We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Money Diaries A client manager on €90K living in Co Wicklow

This week, our reader is the sole provider for the family for a short time and is managing to make it work.

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 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 a business development specialist on €54K living in Dublin. This week, a client manager on €90K living in Co Wicklow.

money diary banner2

I am a 36-year-old woman. I live in a rural area with my husband, three kids and our dog. We also now have cats, which seem to have adopted us and I can’t say I’m too mad about it because they are lovely to have around the place.

I work full-time in a hybrid position and my husband works from home full-time. At the minute, he is self-employed and is setting up a new business so his income is down to zero and we are relying solely on mine.

It’s been a bit of an eye-opener but we are getting by. We did have a few rough weeks where everything broke down or needed repair and we basically decimated our savings trying to fix everything.

Occupation: Client manager

Age: 36

Location: Wicklow

Salary: €90,000

Monthly pay (net): €4,600

Monthly expenses 

Transport: €540 (for two cars)

Rent: No rent but mortgage is €800

Household bills: Approx. €1,200

Phone bill: €30 (two phones)

Health insurance: Covered by employer for all of us (thank God!)

Groceries: €675

Childcare: €850

Subscriptions: €85 (gym, Amazon, Spotify)

Pocket money for kids: €90 (€5 per week for the two smallies, €10 per week for the big one)



5.30 am: My smallies always have me up early. For reference, a lie in here is 7.30 am. My husband and I do one morning on/off each as it’s the fairest way. We make porridge for breakfast and sit down and watch cartoons (don’t judge me ok). Then we get dressed, husband heads to the gym and I drop them off at creche and school. The oldest kiddo gets the bus and we have already waved her off.

9.20 am: I get to work and I HAVE to grab a coffee. The scones look way too nice so I grab one as well. They heat it up, €7.20. Start work.

1.00 pm: Lunch. I know I should bring my own lunch, but I don’t. Grab a wrap and snack from a local deli (€6.95) and a can from work as they supply us with drinks during work hours.

6.30 pm: Leave work and I grab some bread (€2.25) on the way home as I noticed we were running low when I made the middle fella his lunch (I hate making lunches).

6.40 pm: I get home and husband has the kids dressed for bed and fed. He pops into his office to work and I do the bedtime routine. Once they are down, I make dinner for myself and the eldest. I’ve started rewatching Grey’s Anatomy again but my husband came on in S1 Ep2 and now I can’t move on without him, so I check if he is pulling an all-nighter or not. He says he is, so no Grey’s tonight. I do some work instead. See an ad online for the LauraLynn Foundation and start bawling. End up donating (€25), then I end up donating to the Bumbleance (€20) and then I have to go to bed because I am now in a state.

Today’s total: €57.00


7.00 am: My lie in today, so don’t have to get up til 7.30 am. Husband has kids fed and dressed for school. I make myself a cup of tea and get ready for work. We wave the eldest off again, and remind her to bring her jacket, which she apparently doesn’t need and will “be the only one with a jacket UUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH”. She leaves with a jacket nonetheless. I drop the smallies again and head to the office.

9.30 am: I don’t get a scone today, but I do get my usual coffee (€3.50).

1.00 pm: Lunch time is only 15 min today, so I grab a sambo at the local café which I don’t usually go to. It wasn’t great and was pretty expensive for a sambo like (€8.50).

4.00 pm: I need more coffee so I go get another latte (€3.50).

6.20 pm: Finish up and head home, but the young lad has soccer today, so we race to that and stand in the freezing cold watching them play.

7.30 pm: Home and have a bowl of soup for dinner. We can watch Grey’s tonight so we binge a few episodes while my husband asks every question on the earth about the episode we watch. “Which one is he?” “Does he like Christina? “He is holding that scalpel wrong, the point is facing up.” He works in IT, by the way. Bed at 10 pm before I kill him.

Today’s total: €88.50 (husband also bought some petrol)


7.30 am: Writing this, I have noticed how boring I am, but to be honest, I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Same old routine again. Brekkie, uniforms, lunches, teeth and hair. Wave the eldest out the door WITH her jacket on. Husband took the smallies today as I needed to be in early for a few meetings. Because of this, I bring coffee and brekkie from home.

1.00 pm: Lunch is in a local pub today for a treat (€16.00), so we sit down and have a natter.

4.00 pm: Another coffee is needed again (€3.50).

6.00 pm: Finish up, but I have to go to Dealz. Grab some sweets to stock up, get some cleaning products and stock up on the birthday cards for all the parties my kids seems to be at every weekend. I remember Dealz being cheaper and I’m quite shocked at the cost (€43).

6.30 pm: Get home and eat the stew I threw in the slow cooker this morning. Kids start crying because I made stew so I eat my dinner to the sound of my children starving.

7.30 pm: Bedtime routine and I get down to work because with all my meetings, my actual work is being neglected.

11.00 pm: I realise I haven’t seen my husband all evening. Go looking for him and find him fast asleep at his desk. I wake him up and tell him to go to bed. He is working so much and he needs to give himself a break.

Today’s total: €62.50


6.30 am: Let husband have my lie-in as he is wrecked. Do the morning routine and eldest hits me up with her request for home economics ingredients. She does this ALL THE TIME. She also misses the bus because we are too busy fighting with each other over the ingredients. Turns out I have everything she needs in the press, but now I have to drop her off at school. She spends the ride making TikToks and I ponder where I went wrong in life. Drop her and the smallies and get to work late because the roads are icy so I don’t get time to grab coffee and my mood doesn’t improve.

1.00 pm: Lunch. I get McDonald’s. Feck it, I don’t care. I deserve it. I also get myself the limited edition pie (which I NEVER get) because the kids are always with me and I have to say it was really, really nice. Raging it’s limited. Although it’s probably for the best. (€11.50)

4.00 pm: I grab my usual 4 pm coffee and spend the rest of the evening in dispute and conflict resolution which is really hard for your head.

6.00 pm: When I leave, I take the long drive home listening to a podcast episode to try to relax and not bring that anger home with me. I also stop for petrol and milk (€91.50).

7.00 pm: Husband does the bedtime routine so I tackle the house. We used to have a cleaner who came once a week and it was a godsend, to be honest. Now with the one wage, we can’t justify it and I miss it so much. It really helped with the big jobs such as bathrooms, bed sheets, etc. Jobs done, I eat a sambo. I have not been eating proper dinners that much lately and I need to start, but I am so wrecked when I get home I haven’t the energy.

8.00 pm: No TV tonight, but I call my mum, dad and sister to check in and make plans for the weekend as I haven’t seen them as much as I would like.

Today’s total: €103.00


7.00 am: I work from home today, so I don’t have to worry about makeup and work clothes. I throw on a trackie and get the kids to school.

9.00 am: I log on, do a few bits and start the washing. I try to get all the clothes washed on a Friday so I can relax at the weekend. I hang washes and iron in between meetings.

1.00 pm: I make my own lunch in the kitchen – scrambled eggs and toast with a mug of tea. My husband joins me and we have a laugh and a chat.

2.00 pm: Because I’m working from home today, I get to collect the kids, which I love and miss being able to do. I love their happy faces when they see me and I get a big hug from each of them. I pay the creche fees today and I also stop in the shop for jellies (€12) for a Friday treat. We used to get takeaways every weekend and sometimes we would even grab a lunch out as well, but those days are well gone now, so the jellies will do for them.

4.30 pm: We get home and the eldest wants to go to a disco, so that’s money (€30) as well as back into the car to drop her over to her friend’s house to “get ready”. I remind her I’ll collect her at 11 pm. She tries to argue but no budging on this one.

6.30 pm: I make a curry with wedges for dinner and we all eat together. Kids head to bed and husband tells me he will collect the eldest if I wanna get an early night. I’m grateful for this as I was diagnosed with some health issues and a side effect is extreme tiredness, which I try not to go on about too much, but I appreciate that he notices these things.

10.00 pm: Bedtime.

Today’s total: €42.00 (creche not included as outlined above already)


8.00 am: Up early and we all clean the house. Husband does the bathrooms, I do our room and kitchen. Kids tackle their rooms and the sitting room where the majority of their toys were (and yes I was once that person who said when I have kids there will be no toys in my sitting room, oh how naive was I).

11.30 am: After we are done, everyone gets their pocket money (€15). Smallies put it in their piggy banks, eldest pockets hers and begs for a tip to Penneys. Husband agrees and he drops myself and herself off and brings the smallies to the playground for the hour.

12.00 pm: We muse around, and I’m adamant I’m not spending but of course I do and of course, she “forgot” her Revolut card and I’m on the hook for that (€97).

1.00 pm: Husband collects us and we head home where I make sausage sambos. Smallie and husband go for a nap while I build a puzzle with the middle fella.

4.00 pm: For dinner, we decide to make homemade chips and pizza which turn out lovely and much nicer than the pizzas we used to get from the chippers.

9.00 pm: When the kids go to bed tonight we binge Greys but I absolutely warn him and he really really does his best to contain it, I do see him Googling like a mad man but I ignore it.

11.00 pm: Bedtime and I know I’ll regret this in the AM.

Today’s total: €112 (and yes, I made her pay me back when she got home she is old enough now to learn, she has enough money and I’m not going to keep taking the hit)


8.00 am: I LOVE Sunday, I get up early. Pop a ham in the slow cooker and prep the veg.

9.30 am: I throw the kids in the car and we visit my parents. They throw an excessive amount of sweets into the kids but I let it go, they see them so rarely now because of our jobs that I don’t want to start fights over a few sweets. My mother gives me a load of clothes which I’m grateful for, she always remembers things like socks or underwear or PJs for the kids and we always need socks. She is really good like that, she also hands me books she picked up in Easons that I mentioned I was going to buy and I’m delighted. She won’t accept any money from me but I’ll bring her to Ikea next week as she loves it and my dad won’t drive to Dublin.

12.00 pm: We are about to leave and my sister calls up, which is handy because we wouldn’t have to make another stop so we have another cup of tea with her. She has more sweets for the kids but we keep those for “later” (ie for me, LOL).

4.00 pm: We have to collect the shopping on the way home, we do click and collect and we also have to get petrol. Husband reminds me about the animals so we have to get their “special” food and that’s another stop at the pet store. I never wanted these additional animals but I couldn’t turn them away and then they turned out to have some issues which required special diets and sure I couldn’t give them away after that so now they are ours and are costing me more than my children (€140).

5.30 pm: We get home, put the shopping away, and have our dinner. Eldest is up and clearing away the plates and I’m instantly suspicious, turns out there is another disco next week. I tell her I’ll think about it and she’s content with that for the time being. I do the bed routine today and help my husband with some of his business stuff and I get to bed approx 10 pm.

Today’s total: €140 (groceries not inc as outlined above already)

Weekly subtotal: €605.00


What I learned –

  • I could really cut down on the coffee in the local beside work and I know I should but honestly, I don’t want to.
  • We still spend a lot even though we don’t eat out anymore and honestly, I’m embarrassed about the amount of money we must have spent in the past. I don’t even want to calculate it, to be honest.
  • The issues we had at the start of the year really shook me and I have always been good at saving so we were able to cover it all but I have never had my savings this low before and I’m not too comfortable about it at all.
  • This is the first time in my life ive every earned a wage this high and I’m still not in the best position I should be in. I am thankful that I am able to support my family and that we don’t have to go without the basics for this reason.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Author reader
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel