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How I Spend My Money: A 26-year-old data analyst on €55k commuting from Kildare to Dublin to save for a mortgage

The 26-year-old is hoping to get a mortgage next summer.

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. 

You can read all the previous diaries here. This time, a 26-year-old data analyst walks us through his week.

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I'm a 26-year-old data analyst living in Kildare and commuting to Dublin daily. My girlfriend and I share a house with two other people in order to keep the rent and bills down as we're currently saving for a house deposit. I don't know how couples can justify spending €1,500-plus a month on rent.

We both put €250 a month into a joint account which we use for groceries, date nights and general shared expenses. 

In my spare time, I like going to horse racing meetings, going out with friends and playing soccer. 

Occupation: Senior data analyst
Age: 26
Location: Kildare
Salary: €55,000
Monthly pay: €3,213

Monthly expenses

Transport: €80 for an annual tax saver train ticket
Rent: €320
Electricity: €21
Bins: €6
Broadband and Sky: €26
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: €0 - I don’t have any
Groceries: €150
Subscriptions: €18 for Racing TV subscription
Car insurance: €65
Car loan: €237
Personal savings account: €250
Mortgage savings: €1,250
Petrol: €60

***

Monday

6:55am: The alarm goes off and I hit snooze.

7:20am: I finally crawl out of bed. I was at the races yesterday, so the head is a bit sore this morning. I quickly make Weetabix and some hot milk before walking to the train.

9:10am: I get into work. We have flexi-time in work so I usually start at 9:15am and finish at 5:15pm or so. It suits me much better with the way the trains run in the mornings and evenings!

10:30am: Coffee time. I will be drinking lots of this today! Work provides it for free which is handy. I head out for a quick vape. I used to spend around €60 a week on cigarettes so I switched to vaping a few months back. I only spend around €5 a week now as the euro shops sells vape refills for €1.50 which last me two days or so.

1:00pm: Since my girlfriend and I are saving for a house deposit I have started eating breakfast at home and bringing in a packed lunch to work. Beforehand, I was spending €50 to €60 a week on eating out.

3:00pm: I need coffee so I pop to the canteen to get some.

5:15pm: Finally, it’s home time so I call it a day and walk to get the train.

6:30pm: I arrive home and do some chores around the house before making dinner and lunch for tomorrow.

8:30pm: I head to soccer training and I’m really regretting the pints yesterday now!

10:30pm: It’s bed-time, thank God.

Today’s total: €0

Tuesday

6:50am: My alarm goes off but it’s 7:20am before I get up and get ready for work. I have my usual Weetabix and hot milk for breakfast and then head to get the train. I'm feeling a bit fresher this morning but fairly sore from training last night.

9:10am: I get into work and I have a cup of tea and a banana and yoghurt at my desk.

10:45am: I go out for my usual mid-morning vape and then get back to work.

1:15pm: It’s lunch time! I usually have lunch at my desk and head out for a stroll for some fresh air. I have some pasta that I made last night and a sneaky mince pie that a colleague brought in. You know it is the Christmas season when the mince pies and endless boxes of Roses start doing the rounds in the office!

6:00pm: I finish work a little late today and get the train home.

7:30pm: My girlfriend meets me off the train and we head to Aldi to pick up some shopping for the week. It comes to €51.30 which we split in half (€25.65). We have started making a shopping list and meal planning for the week to try save money.

8:30pm: We get home and make some brown bread and eggs and chill in front of the TV for the evening.

11:00pm: We head off to bed.

Today’s total: €25.65

Wednesday

8:45am: I wake up a little later today as I’m working from home. This is a relatively new thing in work, but it makes such a difference having one less day of commuting. I make porridge for breakfast and start work for 9:00am.

1:00pm: I nip down to the garda station to get a form signed and then head to the post office. I get two envelopes and a stamp for €3.40.

1:45pm: I get back home and make some soup and brown bread for lunch before getting back to work for the afternoon.

5:40pm: I was a little longer than an hour on my lunch, so I work late. After work, I go for a walk with my girlfriend. I pop into Paddy Power to throw €10 on a football match.

6:45pm: I rustle up an aubergine and potato curry for dinner and make enough for lunch tomorrow before watching Man United finally win a game.

11:00pm: I head off to bed.

Today total: €13.40

Thursday

7:20am: I get up for work and have Weetabix for breakfast and head out the door for the train.

9:10am: I get into work and have a cup of coffee and a banana that I brought in from home.

11:00pm: I have a quick break to grab some tea and head out for a quick vape.

1:00pm: For lunch, I have the potato and aubergine curry I made last night and then head out for a stroll. I grab a packet of Tayto from the vending machine on my way back into the office for €1.

5:15pm: I finish up work and head home. I have a few bits to get done before training this evening, so I work on the train on the way home.

6:30pm: I get home and have some brown bread and marmalade before working for another hour.

8:30pm: I head for training.

9:45pm: I arrive home and get ready for work tomorrow. I still have some leftover curry from last night, so I stick that into my lunchbox for tomorrow.

11:00pm: I head off to bed very excited at the thought of our Christmas work night out tomorrow.

Today's total: €1

Friday

7:20am: I get up and have some brown bread and a banana for breakfast.

9:10am: I get into work and make a quick cup of free tea.

10:20am: It’s FRYday so I head down to the canteen and have a fry and a latte. The canteen is subsidised, so it comes to €4.75 which isn’t too bad!

1:30pm: I have a late lunch today and have the curry I brought in from home.

5:00pm: I finish up work and head to Boojum to get a good feed before heading out for €8.65. I stop in the shop and get 20 Marlboro for the night for €11.80. I still haven’t been able to break the habit of smoking after a few drinks.

6:00pm: I head off to the first pub and we have a heap of pints.

5:00am: I eventually make it home full of sambuca and pints! The bank balance took a serious hit between pints and the taxi home which was €50 alone. I don’t usually go out in town because of the cost of getting home. I spend €199.50 in total on pints and a taxi. I make a mental note to stop buying rounds of shots.

Today's total: €224.70

Saturday

11:30am: I eventually wake from my slumber and I am a bit worse for wear this morning. I head over to the local shop and grab some food to help cure this hangover. I get a breakfast roll, sausage rolls, a bag of Doritos and a can of Coke for €8.10. I head home and spend the afternoon on the couch watching the racing.

4:30pm: I decide I need the cure, so I get showered and head out to watch the Manchester derby. I pop into the bookies on the way and throw €5 on a bet. I have four pints and I’m feeling much better. This come to €20.70. If I wasn’t saving, I would have no doubt ended up out for the evening. My girlfriend collects me, and we get pizza, sweets and wine on the way home. My share comes to €14.30.

8:00pm: We get home and tuck in to our goodies and settle down for the night.

11:30pm: I head to bed for a much-needed rest.

Today's total: €48.10

Sunday

11:00am: I sleep in this morning. It’s still well-needed after Friday evening. I do a few bits around the house and chill out for the day watching the racing and soccer.

5:00pm: I make dinner from the Happy Pear book and some lunches for the week.

7:00pm: I get ready for work tomorrow and watch some TV to relax before the week starts all over again.

Today’s total: €0

Weekly subtotal: €312.85 

***

What I learned:

  • I’m good at spending very little money mid-week but I tend to spend a lot on the weekends. I would usually spend €200 on a night out but I try to limit how often I go out.
  • I’m saving a lot of money by switching from smoking to vaping.
  • We’re hoping to start applying for a mortgage next summer, so I’ll need to curb going out as much as possible between now and then. We need to get through Christmas first!
  • Thankfully we don't have a dishwasher so we’re saving plenty of money on those dishwasher tablets. 

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