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How I Spend My Money: A 22-year-old graduate surveyor living with family in Dublin

This week, our reader adjusts to life in Covid-19 lockdown and finds she’s spending a lot less.

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WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie running weekly and looking 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 55-year-old office administrator with four children, living in Galway. She wrote about her experiences in the week before Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced a partial shutdown for Ireland on 12 March. This week, a 22-year-old graduate surveyor living with family in Dublin, discusses her routine during the shutdown.


I’m currently living in the suburbs of South Dublin with my Mom and new puppy. I am lucky to be working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am a very outgoing, sociable person so I am finding isolating extremely difficult and frustrating. On a good month, I put away €500 in savings, but due to a very active social life, I often dip into my savings.

In my spare time, I go to the gym as much as I can, however, due to Covid-19, I enjoy walks as it is good to get some fresh air and some time to yourself. I also enjoy socialising with my wide group of friends which I am missing hugely during this time.

Occupation: Graduate surveyor
Age: 22
Location: South Dublin
Salary: €28,000
Monthly pay (net):  €1,871

Monthly expenses
Transport: €181 on a Taxsaver card – this is deducted from my wages
Rent: €200 is handed to my Mom every month. This includes bills and groceries.
Household bills: As above
Groceries: As above
Phone bill: €30.00
Car loan: €209.00
Subscriptions: Gym Membership: €30.00 Netflix: €7.99 Spotify: €4.99 (getting every last drop out of this student offer) Disney+: €6.99


Monday 6 April

8.00 am: I get up, open up the laptop and catch up on emails and plan my to-do list for the day ahead. We are just after getting a puppy, so I feed and play with the pup. I grab a bowl of cereal and a coffee. I’ll be signing in to work from home shortly.

12.45 pm: I make myself a ham and cheese toastie and a cuppa for lunch. I then bring the dog for a walk with my mom (staying within the 2km radius from our house) to get some fresh air. We have to officially register the new pup under our ownership – this sets me back €15.

2.30 pm: It is one of my friend’s birthdays at the weekend so we all chip in €30 and book a whiskey tasting experience in August when we can (hopefully) all celebrate together.

6.00 pm: Finished work for the day and a gorgeous chicken stir-fry is waiting to be devoured. 

7.30 pm: I have a shower and straight into the PJs. I start a new series on Netflix and chill on the couch for the evening.

10.30 pm: I have a quick scroll through Instagram before falling asleep.

           Today’s total: €45.00

Tuesday 7 April

7.30 am: I wake up and get ready for a virtual yoga class held by one of my work colleagues. I then feed the pup and grab a bowl of cereal and a coffee before lashing into the work emails and calls.

1.30 pm: I make myself some soup and a sandwich for lunch and head out for some fresh air with Mom and the pup.

2.30 pm: I grab some fruit and dive back into work for another few hours.

6.30 pm: All wrapped up for the day and it’s time for a bit of dinner with the family.

7.30 pm: I go for a walk to clear the head. The fourth week of quarantine is really making me go insane!!

9.00 pm: I watch a bit of Netflix before heading to bed.

             Today’s total: €0

Wednesday 8 April

7.30 am: I wake up to the dog crying downstairs, so I get up to feed him and let him out the back garden. I log in to work a little earlier today and prepare for the day ahead while having a coffee (I hate eating too early!!). I start work a little after that.

1.15 pm: I have a shower on my lunch break (perks of working from home) and grab some fruit and a cuppa. My aunty who lives in the States calls so I chat to her for a bit before getting back into work.

6.00 pm: I finish up for the day and the weather is lovely so myself and the family have dinner and drinks in the back garden.

9.00 pm: We tune into the 9 O’ Clock News on RTÉ to get a Covid-19 update and head to bed after.

  Today’s total: €0

Thursday 9 April

7.00 am: I wake up to the dog crying, so I get up and let him out the garden and make him some food.

8.30 am: I have back-to-back calls for the morning so I power through until the afternoon.

12.30 pm: I drive down to my local supermarket and get in the long queue to get the groceries, although, it moves fast. I pick up puppy pads, dog food and a few Easter Eggs for the weekend that’s in it. I have a few virtual table quizzes lined up for the weekend so I get a few drinks. All this comes to €51.20.

1.30 pm: The weather is gorgeous so myself, Mom and the pup go the park. I get two coffees and we share a sandwich. This comes to €7.80.

6.00 pm: Finished up work for the day and for the weekend. Myself and the girls from work have organised a virtual table quiz so I grab a drink and get the thinking cap on.

9.00 pm: All wrapped up and I watch the news to get the daily update before heading to bed.

                   Today’s total: €59.00


6.30 am: As it is Good Friday, I was looking forward to a sleep-in but I get woken up by the puppy crying so I get up to let him out the back garden and make him some food. I watch a bit of TV with some cereal.

9.00 am: I go back to bed to catch a few Zs.

12.00 pm: I get up shower and make myself feel half normal by putting on a bit of make-up and actual clothes – not that I’ve been wearing PJ’s and tracksuits for the past week. I make myself a bite to eat and sit out the back garden with the family.

2.00 pm: I decide to follow the trend so myself and Mom make banana bread – so easy and so delicious!

6.00 pm: The weather is so nice, so we all have dinner out the back garden again with a few drinks (I feel like all I’m doing is eating and drinking).

8.00 pm: Myself and the girls have organised another virtual table quiz and drinks. We all pool in €5 each to give to the winner. I came 3rd which is not too bad, my IQ must be racking up by doing all these table quizzes!! The winner ends up giving the money won to Pieta House.

11.30 pm: Table quiz is all wrapped up and I go to bed absolutely wreaked and a little tipsy.

             Today’s total: €5.00


9.30 am: I get a bit of sleep in this morning as I don’t hear the pup crying. I get up and do my puppy morning ritual – back garden and make food. I sit down to watch some telly with a coffee hoping it cures my wine headache!

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10.30 am: I get dressed and decide to go for a walk in the park – I am lucky to have Marley Park so close to where I live or else I’d be doing laps around my estate.

1.00 pm: I help my Mom clean the entire house and I spend a long time de-cluttering my room. The amount of crap I keep is ridiculous.

3.00 pm: I walk down to the local shop with my uncle end up buying two bottles of prosecco for our bunch tomorrow (yearly event). This sets me back €18.

6.00 pm: Gorgeous weather again so guess what? Dinner and drinks in the back garden.

10.00 pm: We all sit down to watch the telly and I surrender to the leaba after.

         Today’s total: €18.00


8.00 am: Puppy is awake I head downstairs to give him some attention.

10.00 am: I have a shower, put on some make-up and my Sunday best to… chill around the house – I feel like I’m on an episode of Love Island.

1.00 pm: We have a lovely brunch with a few mimosas – has to be done. We chill around the house and chat for the afternoon while we wait for the roast dinner to cook.

6.00 pm: An Easter roast is my second favourite dinner after Christmas dinner – I’m so stuffed.

8.00 pm: I catch up with my own friends over video call before I retire to bed.

                  Today’s total: €0


Weekly subtotal: €127.00

What I’ve learned:   

  • After keeping the money diary for a week, it really showed me how much I have saved from not being in a work environment and going on nights out/ socialising with friends. I usually spend the guts of €100 on a night out and also buy coffees and lunch when I am working in the office.

  • One tip I would have for myself going forward would be, encourage myself to bring my own lunch and use the coffee machines in the office as I spend a lot of money on food and drinks. I don’t think I could cut out any of my social events – that’s what your 20’s are for right…?

About the author:

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