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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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How I Spend My Money: A marketing analyst in Dublin on €32,000 who saves over €500 a month

She lives in her partner’s parents’ apartment and they pay €1,000 in rent a month.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie looks at what people in Ireland really do with their cash.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, how much they save, if anything, and what they spend their money on over the course of one week. Want to take part? Details on how to do it are at the bottom of the piece.

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.  

Last time, a PhD student who came to Ireland to study wrote about having second thoughts on her big move. Today, a marketing analyst who walks us through her week and talks about plans to up her saving. 

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Occupation: Marketing analyst
Age: 27
Location: Swords, Co. Dublin
Salary: €32,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,095

Monthly expenses
Rent: €400 (my partner pays €600)
Household bills: Electricity and gas (€70)
Transport: Car loan (€195), petrol (€50), Swords Express tax saver ticket (€139.90)
Phone bill: €32
Health insurance: €0 (This costs €946.40 annually and is paid in full by my employer)
Groceries: €125 (my half)
Subscriptions: Netflix (€4), Birchbox (€15.10), Spotify (€7.50)
Pet: €10 (my half of the €20 we spend) 

We’re currently saving for the future. We’re in no rush to buy yet as we live in my partner’s parents’ apartment. We moved here last June and are slowly making it our home. That means rent is cheap at €1,000 per month – it’s amazing! But we would like to get married one day and save for a deposit on a house.

We save separately and together as well. Each month I put away €300 into my personal savings account and €225 into our joint savings account. Together we save about €450 per month, but we were dipping into it to buy dinners out, cinema dates and so on.

We decided from last month that we can only use our joint savings for furniture for the apartment, underestimated bills (sometimes our electricity or gas is higher than we expected) and emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.

***

Monday

7:15am – I get up and get ready for work. I try to be on a bus by 7:50am. It takes about 40 to 50 minutes into the city centre depending on traffic.

10:00am – For breakfast, I have a big bowl of porridge – supplied by work luckily.

10:30am – I go out for coffee (€2.80) with a few colleagues. Even though we have tea and coffee in the office, it’s nice to get out to stretch the legs and clear the mind.

1:00pm – For lunch I brought in homemade pasta from the weekend, but forgot to eat it. I bought grapes and a bag of popcorn and had those instead (€1.71).

6:30pm – For dinner we have homemade turkey chilli. We do our grocery shopping for the week on the previous Sunday as we both are home at different times due to work and don’t want to have to go to the shops.

Today’s total: €4.51

Tuesday

7:15am – I’m up at the same time as yesterday and get ready for work.

10:00am – I have porridge and fruit – again supplied by work – for breakfast again.

1:00pm – For lunch I had my homemade pasta from the day before.

8:00pm – I got home late after work, so I ordered a takeaway for dinner (€11.20). My weekdays are generally quiet. Drinks after work are frequent, but I limit that to once a month as I live in Swords. Since I work in the city centre, I don’t want to miss my bus. Other than that, we mostly stay in and then go out during the weekend.

Today’s total: €11.20

Wednesday

7:15am – I get up at the regular time and for breakfast have some of the fruit in work.

10:30am – I nip out for a coffee with some colleagues (€2.80) – this is my treat to myself. We have a perfectly good coffee machine in work that I already use, so I work out I’m saving €30 to €40 a month already when I use that. So even though I’m going to be more focused on saving soon, I’ll still nip out for the odd coffee. 

1:00pm – No lunch made for today, so I bought a Mexican sandwich from Pablo Picante (€5.95).

7:00pm – We have beef stir fry for dinner tonight using ingredients we bought on Sunday during the weekly shop.

Today’s total: €8.75

Thursday

7:15am – I get up and get ready for work. For breakfast it’s the same again – it gets a bit boring, but it’s free! I opt for office coffee today instead of heading out.

1:00pm – Luckily my dad kindly brought me out for lunch, so no expense there.

7:00pm – It’s pasta for dinner tonight with ingredients bought the previous weekend.

Today’s total: €0 (very rare!)

Friday

7:15am – You know the drill by now. I’m up and out the door to work.

10:00am – I mix things up a bit and put honey in porridge today for a change – very exciting!

10:30am – No outings for a coffee today. The office is usually very quiet on Fridays.

1:00pm – I’ve no lunch made for today, so I end up just grabbing the last bit of free fruit in the office instead of heading out to get something.

7:00pm – We make some Mexican food tonight, which consisted of some delicious chicken tacos. I had to buy some avocados (€2.79) in the shop though.

Today’s total: €2.79

Saturday

9:30am – I get up and clean the house.

11:00am – My partner went to the shops and bought breakfast for us – fruit, eggs, turkey rashers and dinner for tonight. I pay for half of the bill (€7.99).

7:00pm – We had the leftover pasta from Thursday night and stayed in. 

Today’s total: €7.99

Sunday

10:00am – I have a lie in today. A lovely breakfast is ready for me when I wake up – the other half popped out to the shops and bought the ingredients. After that, we relax until the afternoon.

2:00pm – We went to Malahide Castle and did the castle tour as well as walk around the grounds (€11). It’s definitely worth a visit – I haven’t been there since primary school. The whole place is full of history and is beautiful, especially if you get the weather for it! We popped into the Avoca café out there afterwards and bought a takeaway coffee, hot chocolate (with loads of marshmallows) and a wrap to share (€12.10).

6:00pm – We popped into the local Lidl in the evening to buy vegetables for dinner for the next week – my partner paid. We’ll only be around Monday and Tuesday as we’re heading off to Kerry.

7:00pm – My partner’s parent provide us with a lovely Chinese takeaway dinner. Nice ending to a relaxing weekend!

Today’s total: €23.10

Weekly subtotal: €79.34

What I’ve learned:

  • Since writing the diary I got engaged, so now my saving has so much more importance. Everything I spend my money on is definitely thought through and I’m looking at other ways I can save.
  • I will be cancelling my Birchbox subscription next year and that will be an extra €15 a month saved. It doesn’t seem like much, but if I put that €15 away until my wedding (September 2020), that’s an extra €300. It’ll pay for our DJ.
  • It was very interesting to see how I spend my money. I use my card for everything and don’t really notice what I spend until I look at my balance. Now I have a good idea of what is in my account, so I debate whether I actually need to make this purchase or not.
  • After seeing how much we spend on groceries and throw away, we are re-evaluating how we shop. The amount of food that we throw away from not using it was disgraceful. So now we make a menu and stick to it. We also cook big portions so they do us for lunch the next day.
  • From January, I’m setting myself a strict budget in order to save more. I will increase the amount I’m contributing to my savings and our joint savings. That will leave less money for me to spend on what I want.

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. 

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