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Money Diaries A 25-year-old marketing assistant on €35K living in South Dublin

This week, our reader is enjoying a very busy social life in the lead up to Christmas.

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 42-year-old public servant on €67K living in the Midlands. This week, a 25-year-old marketing assistant on €35K living in South Dublin.


I’m originally from Ballymun but am in a lucky enough situation that I could move out and I’m currently renting in South Dublin with my girlfriend and two flatmates. I’ve been working for a large tech multinational for the past few years and really like it here.

They’re flexible with hybrid working so I usually try to get into the office at least two days a week to see the team.

I always try to put away €800 every month as soon as I get paid, but my good intentions are sometimes in vain as I often have to dip into my savings a bit towards the end of the month just to get through to payday.

I’ve gotten really into running this year and am hoping to run a half marathon early next year. If I’m not out for a drink on the weekend with my mates you’ll likely find me in the cinema or with my Kindle in hand.

Occupation: Marketing Assistant

Age: 25

Location: South Dublin

Salary: €35,000

Monthly pay (net): €2,350

Monthly expenses

Transport: €50 – I don’t drive so I usually just get public transport everywhere

Rent: €460 – me and my girlfriend split a large double room together

Household bills: Internet is €20 per month for my share and electricity varies but is usually around €80 paid every two months

Phone bill: €20

Groceries: €160

Subscriptions: Spotify – €2.50 (on a family plan with a few mates), Apple TV – €7.99 (the rest of my family pay for all the other streamers), iCloud storage – €3.99, NYTimes – €4, The Athletic – €8



8.00 am: I work from home on Mondays so thankfully only have to get up at 8 am so I can shower and make myself a coffee before logging on at 8.30 am. My manager is off this week so I have a couple of things to cover for, which keeps me busy through most of the morning.

1.00 pm: Whenever I’m working from home, I’ll try go for a run on my lunch break and almost always on Mondays as it’s a nice way to start the week. I run a 5k and then have a quick shower. I throw together some quick noodles before logging back on at 2 pm for the afternoon.

5.00 pm: It’s my girlfriend and my anniversary, as well as one of our flatmates’ birthdays, so I walk down to the shops in Blackrock to pick up a few bits. I pick up a cake for our flatmate in M&S (my share is €5) and some flowers for my girlfriend (€15). The place we’re going for dinner tonight does BYO wine on Mondays, so I pop into the off-license in Blackrock and after a lovely chat with someone there, he helps me pick out a nice bottle of red for dinner (€30).

6.30 pm: We surprise our flatmate with the cake and pop a bottle of prosecco we have lying around to the tune of 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’.

7.30 pm: My girlfriend and I head into town as we’re going for some drinks before the dinner. We both have two cocktails then grab the bill and head to dinner. I’d said to her beforehand if she got the drinks, then I’d grab the tab for the dinner so thankfully this one is €0 for me.

9.00 pm: We get seated for dinner and have ourselves an absolute feed.

10.30 pm: In the end, the bill isn’t as bad as I feared so I stick a nice tip on top and pay as we make our getaway (€120).

10.45 pm: We are both far too full of food and drink to be waiting around for a bus so I flag down a taxi and pay with a note I had stuffed in my wallet (that’s basically free money) (€25).

Today’s total: €195.00


6.30 am: I’m up early this morning as we have a company conference today and I’m certainly feeling a bit worse for wear after last night’s antics. I stumble through the motions of getting ready for the day and make my way down to the Dart station where I’ll get the Dart to the venue.

7.30 am: I run into one of my friends from work who’s also heading to the conference, and we grab a much-needed coffee from Pret in Connolly station (€4.75 as I get double shots in mine) and make our way down to the conference together.

9.00 am: We get in for the conference and it’s a relatively inoffensive affair with updates from around the business.

1.00 pm: A few of us get a bit thirsty at lunch and sneak across the road for a tasty pint before the second half of the day. To our surprise, we’re not the only ones with this great idea and the bar is already pretty full of top drinkers from across the company. One of the girls grabs this round so I’ll be sure to get her back at some point tonight.

5.00 pm: After the conference, there is a free bar open, and we are determined to strike the balance between getting our money’s worth and not making fools of ourselves. Against all odds, we somehow pull it off by the time the free bar ends.

7.30 pm: We convene the greatest minds on the team and hatch a plan to go on the lash for the night. Quick taxi into town (€14.00) and we find ourselves in another bar soon enough. One of our braver soldiers offers to get his card out and the rounds begin. Eventually, it’s my turn and it comes to a hefty €38.20.

11.00 pm: We make our way to a late venue as we heard there were more people from the team here. At this point, it’s all a bit of a blur but according to Revolut, I spent €17.60 here on a few drinks at some point.

2.00 am: Quick pitstop in Burger King for soakage (€10.75) and I hail a taxi home (€23.20). My girlfriend is up early the next morning so it’s the couch for me tonight.

Today’s total: €108.50


8.30 am: I am certainly feeling it this morning and it’s most definitely a morning to work from bed. I battle the hangover with hydration tablets and a paracetamol and before too long, I’m beginning to see the light again. I somehow manage to turn it into a relatively productive morning.

1.00 pm: I head into the office at lunch as I’ve got a work thing on tonight as well. I’m not brave enough to eat anything yet, so I grab a protein bar and a coffee on the way to the office (€4.75).

2.00 pm: I put the head down and get some work done for a couple of hours while trying not to get too distracted chatting away in the office.

4.30 pm: We’re off for the night now as we have some people from London over and they’re putting on a show for us. We start off with a cocktail-making course which lasts about two hours as we get to make a couple different of types and drink them ourselves. A few of us struggle with this as I wasn’t the only one on the team out last night, but we put on our bravest faces and manage to drink them all.

7.00 pm: We hop across the road for dinner which is also lovely, especially as it’s my first real meal of the day. After the food and a few more drinks, I’m really starting to feel shattered though.

8.30 pm: Two of the team over from London are determined not to head in any earlier than 10 pm since they travelled all this way, so me and my colleague dig deep to find the strength within us and we decide to bring them to The Gingerman since they’ve just put up all of their Christmas decorations. We get a few rounds in on someone’s company card and have ourselves a jolly old time.

10.15 pm: I top up the Leap card (€5) and grab a packet of crisps (€1.50) while I wait for the Dart. I make it into the apartment around 11 pm and crash into bed.

Today’s total: €11.75


8.00 am: I usually work from the office on Thursdays but while not particularly hungover, I’m a shell of the man I once was after three nights on the trot. I’m feeling very grateful this morning that I have the flexibility to work from home when I want to. I spend the morning fighting demons and putting out fires and manage to make it out to the other side in one piece.

1.00 pm: I usually play five-a-side after work on Thursdays and it’s easier to get there from my office so I head into town at lunch. I don’t have time to stop for food, so I grab a protein bar and coffee (€4.75) on the way in.

5.00 pm: After work, I pick up some bits I can quickly heat up in Tesco for dinner (€9.80) and grab a slice of pizza from Bambino (€4.50) before making my way down to the bus.

6.00 pm: It’s raining, and I’m already soaked and feeling a bit miserable, so once I start seeing the buses delayed and cancelled at my stop, I make the executive decision to just head home for the night.

6.30 pm: I remember I have to pick up toothpaste, so I quickly do that (€3.75) and top up my Leap card for the Dart home (€5).

8.00 pm: I had planned on chilling out and reading for the rest of the night, but I can’t take my eyes away from Twitter and the news as I follow the protests and riot in Dublin tonight.

10.00 pm: I head to bed in a very dour mood after all that’s happened, but I’m glad I called it quits on five-a-side or else I would have been stuck trying to get across town in the thick of it.

Today’s total: €27.80


8.00 am: It’s a normal Friday working from home but turns out to be quite busy as we have to get an important report finished by the end of the day so the morning flies by.

1.00 pm: I’m still feeling the effects of the week, so I decide to put the lunchtime run off for today. Instead, I pop down to the shop for a chicken fillet roll with a drink and crisps (€8.10) and watch a bit of YouTube on my break.

5.00 pm: I finish up for the week and vegetate on the couch for a couple hours watching Seinfeld.

9.00 pm: We all watch the Toy Show together tonight in the flat and have a good laugh over a few cups of hot chocolate kindly made by my girlfriend.

11.30 pm: Head to bed after the Toy Show and I’m certainly looking forward to a lie in tomorrow.

Today’s total: €8.10


11.00 am: I eventually get out of bed around 11am. I usually try to go for a run on a Saturday, but I have a headache this morning (no doubt facing the consequences of my own actions here) and decide I would be best to put it off. I have a slow morning instead and have a bagel and coffee for breakfast while I flick through the news.

12.00 pm: I watch the build-up to the football and the match while my girlfriend heads to the gym and shops. She picks up a few bits for tonight and my share is €8.

3.00 pm: We’re housesitting the dog at her parents’ tonight, so we drive up to their place in the Dublin Mountains. As soon as we’re there, we head for a walk with the dog, and I grab a coffee for myself and a Matcha latte for the girlfriend (€7.70).

5.00 pm: We’re back at the house and decide to make a start on dinner. I saw a TikTok earlier in the week about making homemade gyoza so that’s what’s on the menu tonight. My girlfriend had picked up the gyoza wrappers from the Asian market in Stillorgan earlier and we make veggie filling for hers and beef filling for mine.

6.00 pm: They come out great and we’re both fairly chuffed with ourselves.

7.00 pm: We try to find a movie to watch on TV but we end up watching a couple of episodes of HBO’s Girls as I’d recently put my girlfriend on to it.

8.00 pm: We’re all excited as the cheese board makes an appearance!

10.00 pm: Feeling very full after all the food, we head in for an early night.

Today’s total: €15.70


9.00 am: My girlfriend is up early to meet a friend for breakfast so that means I’m up early too. We drive down from her parents’ house and she drops me close to the apartment so it’s just a short walk in.

10.00 am: Since I skipped out on my run yesterday and it’s a mild morning, I decide to go for a long run for all my sins. I pop some electrolytes and head off as I go down by Sandymount, along the canal in town, and back through Donnybrook in a run that ends up just under 13km in total.

11.30 am: Once I’ve showered, I make a bit of a fry for breakfast and watch some YouTube while I eat (Yes, I’m an iPad baby).

12.30 pm: I get a notification on my phone reminding me to buy tickets for the Leopardstown Christmas races as their early bird prices end soon. I send a reminder to the lads in the group chat and pick up a ticket for myself and one of the lads who’s in Canada but coming home for Christmas (€62.50). He says he’ll pay me back when he gets paid (unlikely). I’ll undoubtedly make more than my money back in winnings on the day, however (unlikelier).

1.30 pm: I have no coffee beans left so I pop down to the coffee shop down the road to grab a latte (€4.00).

2.00 pm: Watch the Spurs match at home and scream my head off until it inevitably ends in misery (priceless).

4.00 pm: Instead of wallowing in my sorrows after the match, I play some video games with my girlfriend. We picked up the new Mario game recently and have been having a good bit of fun with that.

5.30 pm: I get cracking on dinner and make a Bolognese ragu that I had been planning for a while. Thankfully I make enough to feed a few families, and this should last me up until payday as I have no groceries left.

7.30 pm: I have a gig tonight and I’m just going by myself, so I try to time leaving so that I’ll arrive just in time to grab a pint in there and a decent spot before the band comes on. Quick top-up on my Leap card (€5) and I’m on my way.

8.45 pm: My masterplan is executed perfectly, and I get into the venue just as the support is finishing up. I grab a pint at the bar (€7.80) and secure a good view for the gig.

10.30 pm: I’d say I knew about half the setlist, but the band were great. I feel bad I don’t do enough to support smaller artists since I listen to everything on Spotify, so I pick up a t-shirt at the merch stall on the way out (€30).

10.15 pm: All the standing around has me starving and I pick up something from Supermacs while I wait for my bus (€11.95).

Today’s total: €121.25

Weekly subtotal: €488.10


What I learned –

  • Well, there’s no doubt I went well over budget this week. But to be honest I’m not all too worried about it. An anniversary only comes around once a year, so it was well worth celebrating and it’s not every week that we have a company night out with most people from my team there so I’ll just stick that one down as an investment in my career.
  • I only had to dip into my savings a little bit this month and I’ll be paying that back in as soon as I get paid.
  • One thing I definitely need to look into is some sort of long-term savings or investment fund I can pay into monthly, which is probably something I’ll look into in the new year.
  • In my own mind, as long as I’m putting away a decent bit towards my savings (and I currently have an amount there that I’m happy with) then the rest of it all I’m not too fussed about as I’m busy enjoying my life.

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