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Dublin: 16°C Friday 20 May 2022

How I Spend My Money: Construction manager on €38,000 spending less since birth of first child

He used to spend more money on trips and recreational activities.

TheJournal.ie reader

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

We’ve asked 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. 

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 public policy worker on €91,000 walked us through her week, which involved trying to save money for household items after recently purchasing a home in Dublin. Today, a new father living in Dublin with his partner talks about his spending over the course of a week.


Occupation: Manager in the construction sector
Age: 36
Location: Dublin
Salary: €38,000
Net pay: €2,500
Rent a room scheme: €1,000

Monthly expenses

Transport: €50 (I have a company van so I use my own car only at the weekends)
Mortgage: €800
Household bills: €150
Groceries: €0 (normally my partner pays for this)
Car loan: €242
Personal loan: €170
Joint savings account: €250
Phone: €30
Subscriptions: Spotify €10


6:20am: I wake up and have a quick shower and I’m out the door by 6.45am.
I’m not really a breakfast person but I pick up a coffee on my drive in to work for €3.35. I arrive at work at 7:15am and head to our first job site.
10:00am: I stop for breakfast and usually bring a packed lunch but today the temptation to buy something hot is hard to resist so I get a wrap and a coffee €7.50.
5:00pm: After work I pick up a TV stand that my partner bought online and it costs €50 which we take from our joint savings account.
The rest of the evening is spent having dinner and watching TV after bathing our baby.

Today’s total: €10.85


6:20am: The alarm goes off and I’m up and gone by 6:45am. I pick up a coffee on my way in (€3.35).
10:00am: For breakfast I have my usual Weetabix and banana. The last couple of weeks I’ve been quite good with not buying food while I’m out and about during the week.
1:00pm: For lunch, I eat a salad brought from home, courtesy of my partner (I’m next to useless in the kitchen). She would normally do most of the cooking while I do the washing up.
5:00pm: I finish up at work and I’m home for the evening. I normally take the baby in the evening time to give herself a break so we usually just spend time at home.
8.00pm: We relax for the evening before heading to bed.

Today’s total: €3.35


8:30am: I’m off today so I sleep in until 8:30am. My partner is meeting some friends in town so I’m looking after our baby for the day. I head straight out the door to finish off a few things I’ve been meaning to do for days and while I’m out I pick up a coffee and also some wire mesh for gardening. These come to €28.50.
1:00pm: I’m home then for most of the day with the little one except for when we visit my sister.
8:00pm: My partner arrives home and we relax before bedtime.

Today’s total: €28.50


6:20am: Alarm goes off and I leave for work by 6:45. I grab a coffee and a pint of milk for €4.45.
10:00am: One of the boys treats me to a chicken fillet wrap which I thoroughly enjoyed after I got him breakfast the week before.
1:00pm: For lunch I have a homemade salad courtesy of my partner. I’m definitely saving more now I that I try to bring lunch with me as much as possible, and I feel the better for it too.
5:00pm: I arrive home and spend time with my wife and daughter. I usually go to the gym after work but haven’t had time since our baby was born so at home I try and do 20 mins exercise.

Today’s total: €4.55


6:20am: Alarm goes off and I leave for work by 6:45 as usual. I grab a coffee and doughnut seeing as it’s Friday for €4.25.
10:00am: For breakfast I have my usual Weetabix and banana but that’s the only food I brought so for lunch I get a wrap and coffee for €7.75.
5:00pm: I arrive home for the evening and do a few chores before heading to bed early.

Today’s total: €12.00


8:00am: I wake up and take the baby downstairs to make us all breakfast.
10:0am: I help my sister move some furniture into her new house.
12:00am: We visit my other sister for tea and sandwiches and watch some rugby. The little one isn’t feeling the best so we head home soon after.
5:00pm: We have a nice chilled evening spent at home and watched some TV. We decide to order in for dinner and get sushi for €35.20.

Today’s total: €35.20

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8:00am: I wake up and head over to my sister’s house to help her move some more furniture.
10:00am: I return home and myself, partner and baby decide to head out as the weather is nice. We walk about the shops and then stop for lunch in Nandos (our first time there and not particularly impressed). Lunch costs €32.40.
1:30pm: After lunch we pick up a doughnut each, they seem to be everywhere now and difficult to resist (€5.00). Before going home we pick up a TV that we bought a few weeks ago before for the living room.
5:00pm: We get home and have salmon for dinner and spend the evening with the three of us on the couch in front of the fire.
10:00pm: Get ready for bed and I’m eternally positive the little one’s sleeping habits will improve. 

Today’s total: €37.40

Weekly subtotal: €131.18

What I learned:

  • I’m normally pretty careful with my money without being strict, if we fancy buying something we normally go for it.
  • I think since the little one came along, we’re actually spending less as we spend more time at home and much less going to the pub, restaurants or cinema. Life has changed so much in the past few months but all for the better. We were big travellers before and spent a lot of our money on weekend trips and normally a big trip around Christmas time but now we go for the more family orientated trips.
  • One thing I do miss though is the gym, before we used to go together about three times a week.
  • However, I’m pretty content with my spending.

About the author:

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