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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 22 March, 2019
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How I Spend My Money: A chartered surveyor on €50,000 splitting her week between Dublin and her partner's home out west

She is studying part-time in the capital and long-term wants to move closer to home.

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’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.  

At the weekend, a secondary school teacher on €41,000 talked about how she balances saving with a healthy social life. Today, a chartered surveyor living between Dublin and the west of Ireland writes about her spending over the course of a week.

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Occupation: Chartered surveyor
Age: 30
Location: Dublin + the west of Ireland
Salary: €50,000
Monthly pay (net): €3,066

Monthly expenses
Rent (Dublin): €400
Household bills: Included in the rent
Rent and bills (west of Ireland): €100
Car payments: €262
Loan repayment: €164.03
Phone bill: Covered by my employer
Health insurance: Covered by my employer
Car insurance: €61
Skiing membership: €200
Groceries and food: €150
Savings: €1,000

The first thing I would to point out is, yes, I live in Dublin for €400 (bills included), but it’s a room you couldn’t swing a cat in. I only stay there four nights a week and I give my boyfriend (who lives in the west of Ireland) another €100 towards his rent and bills as I spend Friday to Monday with him. This is not something he wants off me, but it makes me feel better when I spend a Saturday using his tumble dryer to get my clothes dry.

My boyfriend and I are like most couples. We’re trying to save for a deposit so we can build our own house. We met two years ago, but knew early on this was it. My boyfriend, who is 38, is conscious of his age because he doesn’t want to be an old dad, so we are trying to fit in 10 years of dating into two years before we settle down and have kids. This means that last year we went on three large holidays and six mini breaks.

***

Monday

I drive from the west of Ireland every Monday morning to my job in Dublin. Like every Monday, I fill my car with petrol (€63.94) and grab a coffee (€2.50). I arrive at work for 10:30am and grab some porridge (€0.65) and have a cup of tea. Tea and coffee are provided in work for €2 each week.

I grab a subsidised salad for lunch (€4.50) and eat at my desk – I can’t stay late at work today because I have college this evening. I arrive at DIT and pay €2.90 for an hour of parking. Paying for parking in the city is my pet hate, I always leave work super early to ensure I get a space on the road and don’t have to pay €10 to go into one of the multi-storey places.

I grab coffee and a banana in the students’ union shop for €3.10 hoping that this will get me through the next two hours. Once college is finished, I head to Tesco to do my weekly shop. This consists of milk, water, strawberries, porridge sachets, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce, pitta bread, cheese, ham, chocolate and chicken. While this might not seem that exciting, I just buy enough food to do me for the week.

I have chicken, veg and pitta bread for dinner two nights a week and grab a takeaway curry on a Wednesday that does me for two nights before I head west again on Thursday. I spent €32.77 in Tesco today and €9 of it was on water. I have my dinner once I’m home and head to bed.

Today’s total: €112.36

Tuesday

I head into work for 6:30am as I have loads to do and I’m still trying to prove myself since my promotion last month.

I have a breakfast of porridge and strawberries that I bought last night and tea provided from work. Lunchtime is another salad at my desk (€4.73). I stay at work late as I go skiing in Kilternan in the winter two nights a week. I think it’s expensive at €200 a month, but I’m not a fan of the gym and if I was sitting in my shoe box of a bedroom all night I would go crazy.

I head home after skiing and have chicken, pitta bread and salad for dinner.

Today’s total: €4.73

Wednesday

Another early start because I have college again this evening. I’m studying part-time for a degree in facility management. While I enjoy college and having this qualification will enhance my career in the future, going back to school at 28 was tough!

I head into work and have the same breakfast I have every day – porridge, strawberries and tea. I have a really busy day as we have an audit, so eat a wrap I got in the canteen for €3 at my desk while checking a few emails.

I don’t get out of the audit until 5:45pm, so I have to park in the multi-storey across from the college when I get there, which costs €10. On my way home, I collect my usual Wednesday night curry (€12). I also buy a box of Marlboro Touch (€11). Yes I know, I shouldn’t smoke, but now I only smoke two cigarettes a day. After a going to a Liverpool game in March, I plan to quit.

I cook up some of the carrots and broccoli and eat half the curry, saving the other half for tomorrow night.

Today’s total: €33

Thursday

I get up this morning and head to one of my work’s sites in Cork. I stop on the way down and grab a coffee along with some porridge and fruit (€5.50).

I spend the day working in Cork and pay €3.80 in tolls. I take my team out for lunch and use the company account. I head back up to Dublin and get some petrol along the way and that sets me back €45.11.

Before I head out to go skiing, I stop off in Blanchardstown shopping centre as I need to pick up some new gear for skiing abroad as we’re heading off next week. I need a few new pairs of ski socks (the sock monster is real) and a new pair of goggles. I decide to splurge on a pair of Oakleys and use my student card. So in total, it was €190 for a few pairs of socks and the goggles. I probably should have picked a less expensive hobby.

I head out skiing and have a great laugh. I do, however, stand out like a sore thumb with my GAA hat and culchie accent. When I’m back at home I finish off last night’s curry and pack up my clothes so I’m ready to go straight home tomorrow. I wouldn’t be a big TV fan at all, but on Thursday night’s I catch up on Grey’s Anatomy using my boyfriend’s SkyGo app. 

Today’s total: €244.41

Friday

I head into the office for 6:00am. I want to get as much work as possible done before I escape from the office at about 2:00pm – my plan is to miss the traffic on my way home. I go crazy on a Friday and combine my breakfast and lunch into one and have an omelette and toast that costs €4.30.

I have my monthly meeting with my team, so I pop into Krispy Kreme and treat them to some of these donuts that have caused havoc. They cost €25, but I make a lot of people happy so it was worth it.

My little sister is studying for her masters in the UK and I transfer her €25 for some new make-up. She was my personal hairdresser/make-up artist over Christmas so I don’t mind treating her to the odd thing.

I leave work at 1:30pm, make it out west for 5:30pm and then flake on the couch. My boyfriend makes fajitas for dinner and we chill out over a bottle of wine for the evening.

Today’s total: €54.30

Saturday

I don’t wake up until 9:30am and when I did, my boyfriend was there with breakfast in bed for me – a bacon sandwich and tea. He really is the best!

My boyfriend spends his Saturday farming, so before I attack some household chores and our washing, I go for a swim that costs €9. After about 60 lengths I’m done.

Once all the housework is done, I head to Tesco to pick up a few bits for the house and for our dinner. It costs €32.42, but I use my boyfriend’s money. He doesn’t let me pay for anything in the house as I give him €100 at the beginning of the month.

We head to the pub for a few drinks while watching a Liverpool game. What was supposed to be only a few turns into a bit of a session and dinner. When we get home, we continue the party and have a few more beers followed by a few gin and tonics while watching some fight on TV.

Today’s total: €9

Sunday

Another lie in for me today because we were up late last night and are both feeling the effects of the drink and the cigarettes.

I check the contents of my purse. I took out €100 yesterday while I was in Tesco and I have €7 left – so I spent €93. It’s not too bad for a night out with some food – and I also have half a box of cigarettes left.

I make a late breakfast of bacon and cheese omelettes, avocado and asparagus. Sounds extremely fancy, but it’s just what was in the fridge. After a lazy start to the day we go and meet my parents for dinner. My dad pays, so it costs nothing.

After dinner, I pack up my stuff for the week and cling to my boyfriend’s leg while we catch up on the weekend’s soccer. I’m always a bit needy on a Sunday evening.

Today’s total: €93

Weekly subtotal: €550.80

What I’ve learned:

  • From looking at my spending, I feel like I spend so much money on food. I probably could save more money by bringing my lunch to work, but I tried that once and found I was chucking out a lot of food. 
  • I thought that I didn’t really spend that much money at the weekends since my boyfriend pays for most things, but reading this I spent over €100 – we had a good time though! I feel it’s really important for us to enjoy our time together as sometimes it feels so limited. 
  • While €550.80 seems a lot to spend in one week, the goggles and socks cost nearly €200 and they are an investment.
  • While I save €1,000 each month in our joint account, I always have a couple of hundred euro left at the end of the month. I should probably save that opposed to spending it on something I don’t need. 
  • I know as a couple we are extremely lucky to be able to rent and still save for a mortgage. A lot of people think I’m crazy driving back to the west every weekend, but it’s just something I have to do right now. My boyfriend has no interest in moving to Dublin and I want to move home. So for now this situation just works for us.

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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