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Money Diaries A sales account manager on €55K in Munster looking towards retirement

This week, our reader is busy juggling work commitments and health battles but looking towards retirement with some savings.

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 Kilkenny agricultural worker who revisited her diary after four years and realised how much had changed financially. This week, a sales account manager on €55 in Munster looking towards retirement.


I’m currently living in Munster. I was self employed for 20 years so I have a personal pension, but I need to top it up to make sure we have a comfortable retirement. I pay €1,875 per month into it, as I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be working.

This is partially due to health issues (I’m on dialysis), but one never knows. There are just the two of us at home now as all three have flown the nest. We now have three grandchildren.

I don’t do too much in the way of hobbies as I don’t have the energy. What I do have, I use around the house and garden. Lately, I have painted the outside walls and the house and cleaned down all the moss on the paths and drive.

Occupation: Sales 

Age: 60

Location: Munster

Salary: €55,000

Monthly pay (net): €4,100

Monthly expenses

Transport: €100

Rent: €0

Household bills: €150

Phone bill: €80

Health insurance: €0

Groceries: €600

Subscriptions: €10

Pension: €1,870

Life assurance: €37

Bank charges: €10

Medication: €15

Property tax: €52.61



7.00 am: Time to get up. I check and reply to some emails before having a shower. Reports on two customers for the commercial department.

8.00 am: Get some breakfast. I’m not feeling too good, so I report the illness to the dialysis unit and arrange to call the unit tomorrow.

9.00 am: Off to work in the city. I sell ingredients to the bakery industry and do demonstrations as well as training, guidance, troubleshooting and product development — a bakery adviser if you will.

1.00 pm: It’s off to another location for an afternoon of training staff in the new bakery section.

6.30 pm: Home time. Have dinner with my wife. She went to Lidl today (€147).

8.30 pm: Off to bed. 

Today’s total: €147.00


7.00 am: Up and have a shower and shave. I’m fasting for a hospital appointment.

9.30 am: Arrive at the X-ray department to check the fistula in my arm for dialysis. I had trouble a few months back, so want to check there are no issues. Dye was injected into my veins to see if any blockages. A clean bill of health so all good. After a recovery period, I head upstairs to the dialysis unit to give bloods for testing. I need to get an iron infusion.

4.15 pm: Home. I follow up with some emails and orders. My wife did some shopping in the afternoon (€70). 

7.00 pm: We go to see a show this evening: Irish Annie, about an Irish pub in the UK, the goings on and people telling yarns. It had Rickie Tomlinson from the Royle Family. A B-rated show but it was nice to get out. The tickets cost €70.80.

11.00 pm: Get home and head to bed. 

Today’s total: €140.80.


7.00 am: Up and head straight in for dialysis. I do some paperwork during the morning too.

12.00 pm: On laptop to do some costings and update pricing for customers. It’s not the best part of the job, but it’s necessary. Everything is getting more expensive, so customers are looking for better prices. I place orders and organise samples for a customer who wants to develop new products. I will be working with her in the bakery next week with some ideas and new concepts.

5.00 pm: Back home. I watch the news before we have some roast chicken for dinner. After dinner, we watched an ambulance programme.

8.00 pm: Bed.

Today’s total: €0.00


7.00 am: Up, showered and shaved. Have some cereal for breakfast and take my meds. 

8.00 am: Hit the road. I’m heading to West Cork to do my monthly calls.

12.00 pm: I stop to have a homemade sandwich, yoghurt and fruit and a cordial drink for my lunch.

3.30 pm: Start to make my way home. On returning home, I stop in to collect my meds from the pharmacy (€15).

4.00 pm: Arrive home and get stuck into some paperwork on the laptop and catch up on some emails.

4.30 pm: My son and granddaughter call in for half an hour. I play on the karaoke machine for an hour with them.

6.00 pm: We have fish and pasta for dinner.

7.00 pm: Settle down for the evening. Watch a medical program on the telly for an hour.

9.00 pm: Head into bed.

Today’s total: €15.00


7.00 am: Up. Check emails and reply to the ones that need replying to. I have porridge for breakfast this morning and take my meds. Get a shower.

8.00 am: Hit the road. I’m in the city today. I have some homemade lunch on the road.

2.00 pm: Home to do some work on the laptop — pricing, bulk buying and more price increases on the way.

4.00 pm: Go on home hemodialysis for four hours.

8.15 pm: Do some shopping for a few bits — milk, bread paper (€12.45). Coming off dialysis, I do get hungry, even though I had fish and chips for dinner while on it! I had two slices of toast and an orange juice and watch a bit of telly for the rest of the evening.

9.30 pm: Head to bed after watching the news.

Today’s total: €12.45


8.30 am: Up a bit later today. Have a poached egg and bacon for breakfast. Clean up the kitchen a bit. An easy morning. 

11.00 am: I make some sourdough bread. Have a ham salad roll for lunch. Finish the process of bread and bake. My wife goes to visit her dad who’s in a nursing home.

3.00 pm: My wife went to the city to get some shopping in (€52.00). On her return home, we go for a drive. We call into my son and family — and bring them some bread! We played with the kids, talk and head out for walk before heading home.

6.00 pm: Home. Have fish and salad for dinner — and of course, some fresh bread.

7.00 pm: Settle down for the rest of the evening. Watch some 24 Hours in A&E.

10.00 pm: Bed.

Today’s total: €52.00


7.00 am: Up earlier this morning.

7.30 am: Set up the dialysis machine and get hooked up. End up falling asleep.

9.00 am: My wife comes in with breakfast to wake me up. Cornflakes, toast and coffee. I take my meds too. 

11.30 am: Get off dialysis. Clean down the bedroom and change the bedcovers.

1.00 pm: Head out of the garden to plant some pots and do a bit of tidying up.

2.00 pm: After an hour, I don’t feel too well so I head to bed. I stay there for the day.

Today’s total: €0.00

Weekly subtotal: €367.25


What I learned –

  • I don’t spend a lot of money. I go to bed early, but I like that.
  • I love my job. It’s what keeps me sane. I’m not ready to be home full-time just yet.
  • I think I’m OK with money. I have no debts and we’re mortgage free. I’m topping up my pension, which is starting to look quite healthy. Give it another few years!

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