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Money Diaries An engineer on €45K in Limerick juggling work, sport and helping on the farm

This week, our reader is busy travelling for work, playing sport and trying not to overdo it in the deli.

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 civil servant on €52 living in Dublin. This week, an engineer on €45 in Limerick juggling work, travel and helping on his parent’s farm. 

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I’m currently renting a house share in Limerick with three other people. I’m currently saving €1,000 a month but also putting €200 monthly into a pension and another €200 monthly into an EFT.

I am saving hard as I really do want a house of my own in the future and that’s my main aim. I wouldn’t spend too much on clothes and stuff like that. My main expense is food (love a deli) and watching sports.

Occupation: Engineer

Age: 28

Location: Limerick

Salary: €45,600

Monthly pay (net): €3,113

Monthly expenses 

Transport: €80 diesel, €67 insurance (have a company car which I use mainly but also have my own car for the weekends)

Rent: €400

Household bills: €42.5 (electricity and gas). Going by last two months average

Phone bill: Free with work

Health insurance: None

Groceries: €140

Subscriptions: Spotify: €10.99, Netflix: €8.99, fitness app: €30, Amazon Prime: €10.95 (just noticed it there but will be cancelling as I don’t use)

Car loan: €290

Going out: €150 (average)


10.30 am: It’s a bank holiday Monday. I go out every bank holiday Sunday. That’s what I am trying to contain myself to these days. So today I wake up a bit hungover. I get the housemates up and we head into town for a sausage sandwich and a coffee, which comes to €6.15. Only finish half of it so that’s lunch sorted too. Walk around for a bit to clear the head.

12.30 pm: Get back to the house at and I won’t lie, I head back to bed for a nap.

3.00 pm: Get up around have the rest of my sausage roll and head to sit on the couch. I’m very useless when hungover, I won’t lie. I wtch Mike Bassett England manager with the housemate. Amazing movie by the way. 10/10.

6.00 pm: Starting to feel a bit peckish and you guessed it, we have to get a takeaway. Get myself a massive Fish and Chips and also a chocolate brownie and a Lucozade which costs me €37.49 as I got it delivered.

10.00 pm: Time for bed. 

Today’s total: €43.64


7:00 am: Get up and make myself an awful bowl of porridge (half-cooked).

8.15 am: Hop into the car and head to the office. I’m close by.

9.00 am: The office is uneventful today, as is often the case after a bank holiday. The focus is on really just preparing for the week.

12.30 pm: I usually go for lunch around 1 pm but head half an hour earlier as I am starving today. I blame the bad porridge. I head home for lunch as we have an hour. I have to go to a shop as I have no food at the house. Grab myself a meal deal and also some groceries for lunch (brown bread and white pudding). The meal deal and groceries were €9.54. I’m so hungry I eat the meal deal as I drive home to make my lunch.

1.30 pm: Finally fed and I head back to the office around 1:30 pm.

3.00 pm: Another uneventful stretch in the office but it flies.

5.00 pm: It’s home time. I have to stop off at the shop on the way home as I need to get my dinner. I tend to buy food for only two or three days because with my job I could have to go up the country for a day or two and I get sick of throwing out food. I grab myself salmon for tonight’s dinner and chicken for tomorrow. Get Brussels sprouts and milk also. Total comes to €18.76.

6.00 pm: Get home and put on the dinner – salmon, spouts and mash. I relax after my grub till about 7:15 pm and then head out to the shed. Since Covid, I have been buying parts for a gym slowly so I have a small set up in the shed. All second hand from Done Deal. It was better than paying €50 a month and I have them for life.

8.00 pm: I finish up in the gym and then head for a shower and watch a bit of Netflix till about 9:30 pm.

10.00 pm: Get ready for bed and asleep by 10 pm.

Today’s total: €28.30


6.00 am: Wake up as I have to go to Cork today. Again, had my awful bowl of porridge. Starting to think it’s the oats. Tried another brand but think I will be back with the good old Flahavans soon.

8.00 am: Head to Cork and get there on time. Get set up on site. Busy morning.

10.00 am: Starting to get peckish and one of the employees tells me there is a bakery nearby so I head up for the look. Grab myself a chicken Bap which comes to €6.00.

1.30 pm: Finish up on site and head back on the road to Limerick. I get hungry again and stop in Mallow for a roll and a portion of wedges. That comes to €8.20. Didn’t finish the roll so that will do for later.

5.00 pm: I leave the office and eat the leftover roll on the way home. Get home, cut the lawn, then out to the shed for some exercise. 

7.15 pm: I finish up and prepare my dinner. Chicken, mash, carrot and parsnip for dinner.

10.00 pm: Again, like the night before Netflix and bed by 22:00.

Today’s total: €14.20


7.00 am: Wake up early today. Prepare myself another bowl of porridge today which I will give a 5/10. I’m working away down in the sunny south east today and tomorrow so have to pack my bag for the overnight stay.

8.00 am: Leave the house and get to site in Wexford at around 10:30, and carry out my duties there for about two hours. Was only meeting the client for a check up and seeing how the site is getting on.

12.30 pm: I leave site and head to Waterford City where I have to go to the second site of the day. On the way, I stop for a chicken roll and a coffee which comes to €7.70.

7.00 pm: Didn’t get to leave the site until late as I wanted to get finished and didn’t want to go back in the morning. Get back to the hotel and head for grub. Get a steak sandwich and a pint of milk which comes to €20.20.

10.00 pm: Hit the hay around 22:00 after a bit of chilling out. I notice that every Thursday I have a direct debit where €50.00 goes into a vault. The vault isn’t really a savings account as such as coming near the end of the month, I usually take money out of it but I use it as a cushion as it stops me from going into my actual savings account. Also makes me that bit more conscious. Me and my girlfriend also have a holiday account where we add €15.00 each, every Thursday. Used to pay for flights and so on later on.

Today’s total: €92.90


7.00 am: Today I’m up early. Forgot to book breakfast in the hotel so went to a café on the way back to Limerick for a full Irish. This costs €14.90 as I got a coffee with it.

9.00 am: Head back to the office but head home for a shave and also want to change into shorts as it’s roasting today.

11.45 am: Not much to do in the office and have a bit of time owed so I head off home at 2 pm to enjoy the sun.

3.00 pm: Going home to my parents’ home house this weekend as I help out on the farm and play a bit of ball on the weekends. I stop for a deli delight on the way home. This comes to €4.75.

6.00 pm: Get home and go helping the aul fella on down the sheds till about 8 pm. Make myself a sandwich and watch a bit of telly.

10.00 pm: Bedtime.

Today’s total: €19.65


9.00 am: Bit of a lie in today in my parents’ place and then I have a bowl of cereal.

9.30 am: Head straight down to the sheds. I just do a bit of cleaning up and welding as the trailer is falling apart.

12.30 pm: Head for some lunch and the uncle and cousin call over. Stay chatting for about an hour and then I head out farming again.

5.30 pm: Get back to the house hoping the sister would have dinner ready but that was wishful thinking. Have to make myself dinner and find a steak in the fridge which I have.

7.00 pm-11.30 am: Watch the Limerick – Cork hurling game on the telly and what a game it is. Incredible. Watch the result of the Eurovision after that and head to bed around 11.30pm.

Today’s total: €0.00


9.30 am: Another relative lie in. Make myself a coffee and a bowl of cornflakes.

11.30 am: Have a game at midday today so I head off to that. The game went well but we got hammered.

2.00 pm: Head then to watch the Leinster and Ulster finals after the game with some of the lads and grab myself a dinner and have dessert too as it’s Sunday. The food comes to €32.95. Was tasty to be fair.

7.00 pm: I head back to Limerick after the Ulster final. Arrive down around 8 pm and put on a clothes wash. I’m wrecked tired so I hit the hay early, about 9:30 pm.

Today’s total: €32.95

Weekly subtotal: €231.64


What I learned –

  • That I keep delis around Ireland in business. The only saving grace is that I can put my lunch down as an expense and also the dinner and breakfast when working away. So, I get most of that money back at the end of the month.
  • In general, I don’t spend much on activities as I keep myself busy with either work, farming and football.
  • I know my job has great perks as in the car and expenses so I am very lucky.
  • I would advise people who have Revolut to use Vaults because it’s so handy when I want to go on holidays that you have that money saved up over winter for example and it’s not a killer on the account when you’re booking the flights. Also, the €50 a week I’m putting into the other vault makes me think I don’t have money in my account so it stops me from buying that pair of shoes and if I ever need something to fall back on, I have that money without going into my actual savings.
  • We live in a consumer world and if I was advising any person, I’d advise them to get off TikTok, Instagram and such apps because they don’t need that new trend…
  • I’d also recommend buying equipment and clothes off second-hand websites such as Depop and Done Deal as second-hand stuff is usually just as good (maybe a scratch) but half the price and they are more sustainable. Can get some great deals on these websites.

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