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Money Diaries: A bank analyst on €63K living in London but working through Covid from home in Cork

This week, our reader is back with his parents and working remotely from Cork during the pandemic.

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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 a software engineer on €50K in Dublin. This week, a banking worker who normally lives in London but is home and working remotely during Covid.

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I am a 23-year-old male living back at home in Cork during Covid, who works in London during regular times (if they exist any more). I’m currently working at a multi-national bank as an analyst and have been there for just over one year now.

Initially, I tried remote working over in London but found it incredibly isolating alone in the apartment so decided to relocate for the last lockdown for some of the home-life luxuries! It isn’t nice spending money on an apartment I’m not using but I do appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with my parents.

I have been incredibly lucky to be in a position that I was not affected financially by the lockdown. I have seen the repercussions on my friends who have been out of work for almost a year now.

My week will likely strike many as incredibly boring. The hectic nature of the job doesn’t leave time for much else but that’s something I knew coming into it and my intentions are to put my head down for a couple of years and hopefully work up to a position where the hours ease up (slightly).

Occupation: Banking Analyst
Age: 23
Location: Cork
Salary: €63,800 per year (£55,000) + bonus
Monthly pay (net): €3,950

Monthly expenses

Transport: €0 during Covid, €150 usually
Rent: €1,000 per month in London (including bills).
Phone bill: €20
Gym: Onsite at the office usually
Health insurance: Covered by employer
Groceries: €300
Subscriptions: Spotify – €9.99
Savings / Investments: c. €2,000

Monday

8.30 am: Wake up as late as possible before an 8:45 am team meeting after a long Sunday night. Have a bowl of porridge and a coffee. I used to visit the local coffee shop three or more times a day but invested in a Nespresso machine for the house and absolutely love it. I still try to get down to the shop a couple of times a week to support local though.

1:30 pm: Break for lunch. A quick trip to the deli to get out of the house. I get a tuna wrap (€4.50) and head back home to have a cup of tea with my parents. As an only child, I have disrupted the childless and care-free life my parents were leading, although they were delighted that I came home, initially at least, maybe they didn’t realise this would stretch on for months!

5:30 pm: My parents eat quite early and I try to sit down with them but it doesn’t always suit and I prefer to eat later so I pass on the fish and chips today and continue with work.

8:00 pm: Things are settling down for the evening so I take the opportunity to order Deliveroo from the local fish and chips shop (€15.00). The smell from earlier must have put me in the mood. One of the perks of working late is that there is a meal allowance so dinner is on the company. Working in the evening is also usually more relaxed and I pop on some Spotify and just work through things.

11:45 pm: Finish up for the night, stretch my legs outside for 10 minutes and in bed for midnight.

                                           Today’s total: €4.50

Tuesday

08:00 am: Up slightly earlier today so I can get a quick run in and shower. I’m trying to lose a few pounds at the moment, spurred on by Operation Transformation, although I don’t know where all the takeaways fit into the meal plan. Have a banana and coffee for breakfast and log on for 9 am.

12:00 pm: On calls most of the morning although not saying much, if anything, so I can be working away at the same time. There are three of us on the Wifi all day and it is definitely struggling!

1:30 pm: Cook some cheesy pasta and chicken for lunch and head out for a coffee (€3.50). The weather isn’t great but the air in my room feels like it’s ageing me three times quicker.

5:30 pm: Eat with the parents tonight. My mam’s cottage pie beats any Deliveroo offering hands down.

8:00 pm: Order some soft drinks and snacks (€15.00) on Deliveroo as I hate to see the allowance go to waste when I am working late. It will all be eaten over the next couple of days.

2:30 am: Things dragged on a bit tonight and the work laptop refused to play ball so only finishing up now. Hit the bed and pass out quickly.

                                 Today’s total: €3.50

Wednesday

08.30 am: Up, showered and logged on for 9 am.

12:30 pm: Take an early lunch today after skipping breakfast. I generally try not to skip meals as it just leads to more snacking later on. I head to the garage and get a chicken fillet roll (a rarity in London) and a Diet Coke (€5.00 together).

3:30 pm: Order some more Nespresso pods as I am going through them at an alarming pace. I end up being sucked in and buy 100 of the limited edition pods (€55.00)

8:00 pm: Opt for the later dinner as things were busy earlier, so I order a pizza (€20.00). I can’t imagine the leaders of OT would approve but my fall guy excuse is that the Deliveroo options where I am aren’t extensive. I would DEFINITELY be having a salad if there was one available (strange how there were none available in central London either…)

1:30 am: Finish up for the night, get a quick stretch of the legs around the back garden and into bed.

                                  Today’s total: €60.00

Thursday

08.45 am: Up again. Porridge, a banana and a coffee.

09:00 am: In work, more calls and virtual meetings. The main project deadline that has kept me up this week is tonight, so the weekend is looking (relatively) free.

1:30 pm: Break for lunch. Stick to pasta and chicken followed by a yoghurt.

8.00 pm: The Deliveroo driver is starting to get worried about me. Nevertheless, the pizza (€20) tonight is particularly delicious and the mushrooms and peppers almost convince me that it’s not so bad.

12:00 am: Submit the work for review by the seniors tomorrow morning so head to bed knowing I don’t have to be up too early.

                                   Today’s total: €0.00

Friday

09.30 am: Up and have a leisurely morning drinking coffee and catching up on news.

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11:00 am: Work from last night comes back with only some minor revisions. So I start working on them. Overall, the bosses seem happy with it so getting stuck indoors all weekend seems unlikely unless they have some cruel change of heart.

1:30 pm: Opt for fish and chips (€10.00) for lunch as a Friday treat.

5:30 pm: Dinner with parents.

8.00 pm: Call it a day, log off and head out for a socially distanced walk and a can or two with a friend (€6.99 for a four-pack, which we split). It’s nice being able to catch up with friends at home, although I am conscious of living with my parents so am careful about following the rules. Quite a few people out about the streets in small groups, which gives some sense of normality.

                                        Today’s total: €13.50

Saturday

10:30 am: A lie-in for me. Wake up to the smell of bacon and eggs, a huge perk of living at home. Have numerous sandwiches, washed down with a couple of cups of tea.

11:00 am: Log on to check and reply to emails and do some admin-type work. A lot of this stuff gets put off during the week when things are busy.

4:00 pm: Log off and decide to head into the city for a walk around and a coffee. It is just about inside our 5km which is lucky. Unsurprisingly, I go for a coffee (€3.00) (as opposed to all the other open options) and amuse myself with some window shopping.

6:00 pm: Back home for dinner. I run down to the shops to grab a few missing ingredients and a bottle of wine (€25.00).

7:30 pm: Try to get a home workout in following some perfectly sculpted individual on YouTube. Never has training five times a week for hurling seemed more distant.

9:00 pm: Settle in to split my time between watching a movie with the parents and completing Tinder. Succeed in neither tonight and fall peacefully asleep just before midnight.

                           Today’s total: €28.00

Sunday

10:00 am: Head out to puck a ball around with a friend for a bit. It doesn’t get more socially distanced than standing at opposite ends of the pitch, at least in sports. We grab a coffee and a sandwich (€8.00) after and catch up.

2:00 pm: Get home and log on to work for a couple of hours to organise the week ahead. I find planning ahead as much as possible really helps, although at times it can be impossible to know how the week will go.

6:30 pm: The smell of my mam’s delicious Sunday dinner drags me away from my laptop. I am certainly going to miss these the most when things eventually get back to normal and I am back over in London.

8:00 pm: After a long dinner, I am back on the laptop but feeling a lot sleepier. I call it a day at 9:00 pm and spend the rest of the evening flicking through Instagram.

                                  Today’s total: €8.00

Weekly subtotal: €117.50

***

Lessons I learned –

  • This would be a fairly typical week in lockdown although the Nespresso pods were a bit out of the ordinary. I am more a saver than a spender, although I haven’t really decided what I am saving for.
  • Before I get torn to shred in the comments, I offered my parents €100 quid a week towards rent and food but they wouldn’t take it. They get that I am working hard and are trying to help in any way they can, something I am eternally grateful for.
  • Not drinking nearly as much has seriously saved me. Drinks on Thursdays / Fridays usually set me back c. €100 quid a night. Quite a lot, I know, but it’s something I feel in control of and some socialising is needed!

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