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Money Diaries An investment consultant on €60K living in Dublin

This week, our reader is studying hard for exams.

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 sales account manager on €55K in Munster looking towards retirement. This week, an investment consultant on €60K living in Dublin.


I’ve been living in Dublin ever since I moved here for college about eight years ago. My goal is to save up about a grand a month, with an eye towards moving abroad. I love Ireland (it’s where all my stuff is) but there’s no future for a young person in this country, so I gotta go! Bleak social commentary aside, welcome to my diary.

Occupation: Investment consultant/part-qualified actuary

Age: 26

Location: Dublin

Salary: €60,000

Monthly pay (net): €3,500

Monthly expenses

Transport: €40

Rent: €800

Household bills: €75 (€15 for internet, €60 for light and heat)

Phone bill: €40

Health insurance: €10 (the rest covered as a work benefit)

Pension: I contribute 4% of my salary and a further 2% in AVCs to my pension

Groceries: €300

Subscriptions: €60 (€25 for Netflix, €35 for the gym)



8.30 am: Wake up, realise I’m never going to make it to work on time, further realise that I work from home on Mondays and feel relieved. Start the day with some toast and a coffee, and I’m reading emails by 9 am.

9.30 am: The work has really begun at this stage. We’re in the quiet period of work post quarterly reporting so there’s plenty of planning to be done for the next quarter.

11.00 am: Some longer calls with senior colleagues, to work out exactly who’s doing what and for whom.

1.00 pm: Break for lunch! Head out to Tesco, grab some sandwich stuff (Big Jar of Hellman’s – €3.50) and also a steak and wholegrain pasta (€5.75) for the dinner.

1.30 pm: Use the newly purchased mayo as part of a wrap. It’s prepared, toasted and eaten all in time for my return to the desk at 2 pm.

5.20 pm: Finish up a little later than usual, which has somehow become the norm. Force myself out to the gym. I’m not much of a gym go-er, but at 70kg, I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, and I’d like to get back on top of that.

7.00 pm: Pass by Tesco on the walk home and tell myself I deserve a treat. Skip right past Tesco, promising myself the treats I had at home. Realise I had imagined those treats. Cook up the dinner, and settle in for an evening of study.

11.00 pm: Mug of hot chocolate, (Cadbury’s, with milk, never boiling water). Watch some YouTube and play some video games before turning in.

Today’s total: €9.25


6.40 am: Jump out of bed. And you thought I had it soft. To be honest, I still do. Only need to arise this early twice a week; it’s time to visit the office. Get a cut of toast into me, and grab the bus (€2.20) into work. I’m usually there shortly before 8 am.

7.50 am: Arrive into the office. It’s a relatively quiet day today, but grab a cup of coffee from the restaurant/canteen (€1.50). One of the best perks of the job, really. I’m back in front of my laptop shortly after that and the day begins.

9.30 am: Few more calls today, similar to yesterday. Trying to get all my ducks in a row before finishing up for a couple of days.

11.00 am: Do some actual work. Modelling a pension scheme is my bread and butter, so this shouldn’t take too long.

1.30 pm: It’s taking a while. Pause for a bit of lunch. Office has a decent menu each week, and today it’s a chicken-curry-type thing. Get the main (€5.00) and some tap water.

2.00 pm: Remember that work that wasn’t going to take too long? It’s time for round two.

6.00 pm: Told you it wouldn’t take long. Grab the bus (€2.20) home, and stop by so-called SuperValu for the first time in years to grab some dinner. Super value it was not, as two chicken kievs and an (admittedly fancy) chocolate bar set me back €8.54.

7.00 pm: Get home, cook up the kievs and more of the wholegrain pasta.

11.00 pm: Between dinner, study, hot chocolate, and some scrolling through Reddit, it’s soon time to call it a day.

Today’s total: €19.44


6.40 am: Office day, round two. Grab myself a slice of toast and some juice before grabbing the bus into town. It’s always quiet at this hour so I stick on a podcast. At the moment, I’m listening to Critical Roll. (Bus fare €2.20)

8.10 am: Get off a stop early to try and get the slightest bit of activity in, fortunately, I’ve the brolly with me. Grab a coffee inside the canteen (€1.50) and return to it.

9.00 am: Really getting right back to it at this point. Wednesday is a popular day for our folk to visit the office, and the breakfast chats take far longer than anticipated.

11.00 am: Break for another coffee. I’m not a fan of these early mornings and my sleep schedule doesn’t exactly help. We’ve also got free pod coffee in the office. It’s not quite as good (or nearly as good, for that matter), but the price is right!

12.00 pm: Considering the light breakfast, I’m starved at this stage and pop down for lunch. Office canteen is serving some fishy-smelling meat, so I opt for a sandwich instead. Grab myself a premade sandwich, just a meal deal type thing, and fork over my €5.00.

3.00 pm: Have a chat with the Big Boss – remind her that I’ll be off for a couple of days to study and take exams. No issue with that. Finish off a couple of bits and bobs, and begin the commute home. Finishing early this evening, mainly because there’s nothing left on my plate. (€2.20)

6.00 pm: Get home, have a snack, and back out again to the gym. Every other day is feeling like a semi-realistic goal for now, so let’s see how long that lasts!

7.30 pm: Pop into the shop for a little teeny tiny treat. It’s beer. Clubcard helps out a little: 660ml bottle for €3.00.

8.00 pm: Throw on one of the cheap pizzas, add a few ingredients to make it my own and throw on Netflix for a bit. Watch a bit of Always Sunny; it’s a real comfort show for me and I just want something “on” while nobody else is home.

9.00 pm: Play through some Baldur’s Gate 3 with a friend online for FAR too long.

12.30 am: Bed. 

Today’s total: €13.90


10.00 am: Study Day #1. Wake up at an indulgently late hour and immediately feel the guilt of it. Have the breakfast of champions (one single cup of black coffee) and get right to work.

1.00 pm: Morning of study proceeds with little interruption, except for some weird growling noise outside. It wasn’t outside, as it turns out. It was me. I had forgotten to eat. Wolf down another wrap, using more of the chicken, cheese and some leftover salad-ey bits.

2.00 pm: Head out for a few errands. Hop on the Luas (€2.20). I’m keen on getting my hair cut, although I’m glad I’d let it go so long as the Grafton Barbers trimmed €26 quid off my wallet as well! 

2.30 pm: On a bit of spending spree at this stage, I pop into the local Dunnes. They also have a quality – but expensive – butcher built in. Between the meats and getting some more food for the rest of the week, I’m down another €50. I so rarely shop in Dunnes, and I keep putting off getting a Clubcard. Included in this purchase was a half price tub of Ben & Jerry’s. It will be a cold day in hell before I pay full price for that ice cream.

3.30 pm: I’m home again (Luas – €2.20) and it’s back to the books. I’m trying to keep motivated throughout this whole thing, but taking these exams for years reaaaalllly wears a man down after a while. Not many left to go now, but would sooner have them behind me at this point!

6.00 pm: Cook up one of the “nice bits” from earlier, a lamb burger. I also bought some black peppery cheese to go with it, and some microwave rice on the side. I’ve tried especially to cut back on the Uncle Ben’s stuff, but it’s so handy to pop in and get something tastier than my meagre cooking skills could muster.

8.00 pm: Ten points to whoever guessed my evening would include some combination of “hot chocolate”, “computer games” and “a bedtime that is in no means conducive to passing exams”.

Today’s total: €80.40


10.00 am: Study Day #2! On one hand, I’m fortunate enough to get time off, usually 25 days a year, to study for professional exams. On the other hand, I have to take professional exams. Indulge in the fón poca for too long, and get up.

10.20 am: Pop into the kitchen for a hearty breakfast of two sausages and a cup of coffee. Get the head down, and start hitting the books.

1.00 pm: Luckily I only share with one person, so we’re not up in each other’s space too much. I go for a walk, stop at the local shop and get a can of Coke (€2.00). Remembering that it’s Friday, I also swipe the Clubcard to only pay (€6.00) for my two bottles of Peroni. Continue my terrible habit of forgetting to actually eat a lunch.

5.00 pm: Throw in the towel on the study. Exams are only a few days away, but also a whole “few days” away.

7.00 pm: I put some chicken wrapped in bacon into the oven and let it cook for about 45 mins, while I shower, shave, and try to make myself somewhat presentable should I have to leave the apartment this weekend.

8.00 pm: Sit down to watch a movie before bed. Having access to a number of streaming sites is a godsend, and somebody “else” in the family pays for access to each one. The longer it is before the rest of them start cracking down on passwords, the better.

11.00 pm: After an evening of movie watching, video games and those two beers, I’m more than ready for my leaba.

Today’s total: €8.00


11.00 am: I like my lie-ins, what can I say? Get up for a breakfast so remarkably similar to the previous day, that you’d swear I had a packet of six sausages to get through while they’re ‘good’ for three days.

11.45 am: Head down, back to the books. The content is fairly technical, and I end up getting stuck on a calculation example. This takes me all the way up to about 12.30 pm, when my frazzled head has to go out for some air. Exercise is meant to be good for stress relief, so I decide to go to the gym.

12.30 pm: Arrive at the gym. Shelled out €2.00 for a bottle of water along the way, but that’s going to be my only spending today, promise.

2.00 pm: I lied. Treat myself to a burrito (€10.00) and remember I need to pick up stuff for some dinner items. I pick myself up a cheap oven pizza and a bottle of nice red wine. Total comes to €14.00 because I will spend anything if it’s a Clubcard deal.

3.00 pm: Indulge myself in a hobby: playing Dungeons and Dragons online with some friends (if you haven’t gathered already that I’m *that* sort of nerd, keep up!). It’s a great way to kill a couple of hours, it’s creative, and it also costs not a red cent. We’ll probably pitch in to get the organiser something nice in the future, but that’s a later problem.

5.00 pm: I really do need to get some sort of study done, so I power on through until …

8.00 pm: Get the tea eaten, wine corked, and settle in to watch a movie.

11.00 pm: I’ve a habit of pausing a movie/show/whatever to check my phone, so it’s late by the time it’s over. Read a little and then head to bed.

Today’s total: €26.00


11.00 am: Look, there are six sausages in the packet. How else do you expect me to ration them out?

12.00 pm: Study. Exams are JUST around the corner and I’m spending the day alternating between “I can show up and pass them both in my sleep” and “oh my god I’m a fraud and they’re all going to know”.

2.00 pm: Head out to buy some lunch items for the week. Between the pizza meal deals (it comes with garlic bread), the wraps and the lunch meal deal, it comes to a total of €22.50. I am absolutely killing it this week. I’ve stayed well on budget, and with only a few hours left in the week, there’s nothing that could ruin that.

6.00 pm: Book a holiday with my girlfriend. Flights cost €360. Oh well. She’s worth it.

Today’s total: €382.50

Weekly subtotal: €539.49


What I learned –

  • I have severely underestimated just how much I spend “popping out to the shops”. I reckon I’d been considering my grocery bills as X times the number of “Big Shops” I make, but it’s the little ones that really add up.
  • Reading back, I know this sounds like a very “different” sort of lifestyle. I usually do go out and “see people” more often, but everything’s on hold for these exams.

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