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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 26 January, 2020

How I Spend My Money: A bank branch worker on €23,500 who made the move to Dublin to find a long-term career

He is studying in his spare time so he can start to move up the ladder at work.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on 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.  

Last time, a chartered surveyor on €50,000 who is living between Dublin and the west of Ireland wrote about her urge to move back home. Today, a bank worker who is studying in his spare time writes about how he spends his money. 


Occupation: Branch staff with a large bank
Age: 24
Location: North County Dublin
Salary: €23,500
Monthly pay (net): €1,690

Monthly expenses
Rent: €550
Car repayments: €300
Car insurance: €95
Diesel: €60-€90 (Depending on whether or not I drive home at the weekends)
Pension: I pay €42.25 a month and my employer pays €185
Household bills: €50
Phone bill: €30
Groceries: €130-€180
Gym membership: €23.99
Tea fund at work: €5
Savings: Whatever I can afford at the end of the month

I moved to Dublin from Cork to start working in a bank. I was looking for more of a long-term career and the weekends off are nice. I took a €6,500 pay cut making the move. It’s not too big a cut, but I most certainly miss that extra bit of cash each month and the sharp increases in living costs don’t help.

At the moment the pay isn’t great, but it should go up over the next 12 months if I pass my QFA (Qualified Financial Advisor) exams that the bank is paying for.

I’m renting a room in Dublin. The cost means I can’t save much, which isn’t ideal, but it is what it is. At some stage I’d like to transfer to a branch back home, but my focus is on my exams right now.



7:45am – I wake up, jump in the shower, get dressed quickly and head straight out the door. I’m never really hungry when I wake up, so I’ll normally have something to eat when I get into work. It takes me about 50 minutes to drive to work, I arrived just before 9:00am. I catch up on last week’s paperwork and make a cup of tea and a bagel for breakfast.

12:00pm – I take my lunch, it’s a bit earlier than I’d prefer, but it’s just the way it works out today. I always have lunch in work, we have a kitchen and there’s nowhere around to get lunch – it helps with saving too. I have scrambled egg and brown bread. The brown bread comes from the tea fund at work and I bought the eggs last Friday. I have a coffee as well.

5:00pm – I finish work and hit the road. Traffic is always heavy around this time and it takes just over an hour to get home.

6:00pm – I cook some dinner and make spaghetti bolognese. I make enough for lunch tomorrow in work as well.

7:00pm – I watch a small bit of TV before doing a bit of study for the QFAs. I only manage about an hour before giving up.

8:30pm – I go down and chat to my housemates for an hour or so before feeling guilty about doing such little study. In the end I head back up and do about another hour.

10:00pm – I call it a night.

Today’s total: €0


7:30am – I wake up, grab a bowl of cereal, jump in the shower and head out the door.

9:00am – I arrive in work, make a cup of tea and start some paperwork.

12:00pm – At lunchtime, I have my leftovers from dinner with me, so I have that and a cup of coffee.

5:20pm – I get out of work. I head into town to pick my boyfriend up and we go back to his place. We buy a cooked pizza each for dinner (€4.50) and I get a large Dairy Milk for later (€1.50).

8:00pm – We go to the cinema to see Vice. It’s a really good movie, would highly recommend. Tickets are €10 each and we each pay our own way.

11:00pm – We go back to my boyfriend’s house and I stay the night there.

Today’s total: €16


7:20am – I wake up and shower. The drive is a bit longer from my boyfriend’s house, so I leave earlier.

9:00am – I get into work and make a coffee and have some toast.

12:00pm – At lunchtime, I go to a small shop across the road and buy some eggs (€1.50). I have scrambled eggs and toast for lunch and another coffee – work is very quiet so I’m really struggling to stay motivated today.

5:30pm – I finish up at work and head home. Traffic isn’t as bad as usual.

6:10pm – I arrive home and land myself on the couch for about an hour before deciding to make some homemade burgers. I realise I don’t have any burger buns so I pop down to the shop to buy some (€1.15).

8:30pm – I’ve had the heating on for the last two hours, but this house doesn’t seem to keep any heat in. It’s still freezing, so I jump into bed and do some work on my laptop. 

Today’s total: €2.65


7:20am – I wake up, shower and have a bowl of cereal and then I’m out the door.

12:00pm – At lunch, I have the same as usual. Scrambled eggs and toast with a mug of coffee.

5:30pm – I finish work and head down to my boyfriend’s house. We get pizza again (€4.50) and some Haribo (€1).

8:00pm – One of our friends calls over for the evening and we have tea and catch up with each other. My exams are in May, so I feel bad about not doing any study, but I tell myself I’ll do more as the time gets closer.

11:00pm – Bedtime. 

Today’s total: €5.50


7:20am – I wake up, shower, hit the road and arrive at work by 9:00am.

12:00pm – I have some errands to run at lunch, so I grab food while I’m out. I find a nice small café and get chips, sausages and eggs with a coffee, which comes to €9.50.

5:45pm – I finish work and head back down to my boyfriend’s house. I pick up garlic bread and ice-cream on the way (€4.50) and we have spaghetti bolognese for dinner.

8:00pm – We watch some of The West Wing online. He has watched it all before, but I’m just starting season two – it’s incredible! We go to bed around 11:00pm 

Today’s total: €14


8:30am – I’m up early since I have to go to work this morning. I don’t normally work Saturdays, but the overtime is really good, so I jump at the opportunity.

10:00am – I arrive at work and grab a coffee from Insomnia (€3.25). Coffee prices in Dublin are crazy, I almost always make it in work, but this morning I just needed that extra kick. I use my reusable coffee cup since my boyfriend is always hounding me about it.

1:00pm – Finished work for the day. I stop by Carphone Warehouse and move my deal from prepay to bill pay. I’ve been considering this for ages because I always run out of credit as I tend to call people quite a bit. It costs me nothing up front. After that, I’m absolutely starving so I grab a double cheeseburger and twisty fries from McDonalds (€4).

3:00pm – I land in at home and change quickly because I’m meeting friends in town for the rugby match. I top my Leap Card by €15 and head for the bus.

4:00pm – I get into town. I’ve been planning to buy a good warm jacket for some time now. I do a bit of hiking and have some trips coming up, so I definitely need something soon. I’ve done plenty of research so know exactly what I want. I head to the shop and buy the jacket I wanted (€180). I pay with my credit card – this is a problem for future me. I know I should be saving more, but I really do need this jacket, so I’d have to get it sooner or later. Besides, I wanted to treat myself for working that morning.

4:30pm – I get to the pub and buy a drink (€6.10). We go to another few pubs after the match and I spend another €25.60 on drinks throughout the night. My friends earn a good bit more than me and buy a few more rounds too. We all share a taxi back to my friend’s place and we have another drink there. I crash on their couch for the night.

Today’s total: €233.95


12:00pm – I get up and get the Dart into town and then another bus down to my boyfriend’s place. We pretty much just lounge around for the day watching TV and chatting. I had a dodgy takeaway the night before so I don’t feel great – all the drinks didn’t help either, but I’ll never blame alcohol. I vomited when I woke up, much to the enjoyment of my friends who were glad their hangovers weren’t as bad. 

Today’s total: €0

Weekly subtotal: €272.10

What I’ve learned:

  • I actually didn’t spend that much this week besides the jacket. And I did a big shop on the Sunday, so didn’t buy much groceries this week.
  • As much as I can, I buy my groceries in bulk for a full week. If I don’t do this, I just end up buying stuff in the nearest Centra or Spar, which can get very pricey.
  • My car is a big cost every month. I bought it when I was on better money in Cork and I’d honestly be lost without it. I live a good bit outside Dublin city and I really can’t deal with 40 minutes on a bus any time I need to do a shop or something like that.
  • My monthly shops can be quite expensive. I want to start eating less red and processed meat – for the cost and the environmental factor. I like cod, but the texture of a lot of other fish is hard to stomach.
  • I didn’t use the gym once this week, there’s always next week right?

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 

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