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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
How I Spend My Money An Irish engineer in Toronto on €62,000 looking to put down roots and buy a house
He has to miss out on a stag do because the trip home would be too pricey.

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 single parent who moved back to Ireland from Australia talked about making a tough move home. Today, an Irish engineer living in Canada walks us through his week.


Occupation: Project engineer
Age: 28
Location: Toronto, Canada
Salary: €62,000 (bonus included)
Monthly pay (net): €3,727

Monthly expenses
Rent: €630
Household bills: Electricity (€15.50), broadband (€22.50)
Transport: Bus fare (€140)
Phone bill: €30
Health insurance: €0 (company benefit)
Groceries: €215
Gym membership: €6.50
Subscriptions: None
Tenant insurance: €11
Retirement contribution: €260 (company matches it with €260)
Savings: €1,084 (I usually put away a minimum of €500 each payday)

I moved to Toronto four years ago and now working as a project engineer for an aerospace company.

I live with my Canadian girlfriend – who is a graphic designer – in a small apartment that we rent. At the moment, we’re saving to hopefully buy a house in the next few years.



I get up 5:00am and head to the gym for a 30-minute run – there’s a gym in my building luckily. I’m trying to shed some fat I picked up over the Christmas so I’m exercising most days, eating clean and off the booze and cigarettes since 1 January. So far so good.

I come home, shower, change and get out the door for 6:00am. I don’t own a car, but my girlfriend does. That means getting to work for me takes a subway train, a bus trip and then a 15-minute walk. It usually takes an hour each way.

The temperature today is -21° celsius (-30° RealFeel). I get to work at 7:00am freezing cold, my face spends the next hour burning from a mere 15 minutes in the cold.

Work is straightforward today. I don’t eat any lunch since I forgot to make any Sunday night and I’m too stubborn and stingy to buy some. I finish work at 4:30pm and I’m home for 5:30pm.

I cook some chicken fillets wrapped in bacon with green beans and mushrooms. My girlfriend usually arrives home at 5:30pm. Later on I snack on cheese, deli meat and cashews. I have a cup of tea and some dark chocolate before bed.

We’re watching Game Of Thrones all over again. I read something on Facebook that said if you start watching an episode every weekday from today, you will be finished in time for the new season.

I also spend some time in the evening working on my laptop, which won’t start. I hit the hay at 10:00pm.

Today’s total: €0


I get up 5:00am again and head to the gym for a 30-minute run. It’s the same routine every day and I head to work for 7:00am. Another seriously cold day (-21°, but -25° RealFeel) so my face takes another beating from wind burn.

For lunch, I have leftovers from last night. I’m finished work at 4:30pm and home again for 5:30pm.

I make burgers with cauliflower, mushrooms and bacon for dinner. My girlfriend is working late, so I put her dinner back in the oven. She gets home at 6:30pm.

Later on I snack on cheese, deli meat and cashews and have a cup of tea and some dark chocolate. We watch more Game of Thrones this evening before heading to bed for 9:30pm.

You may have started to notice I’m a creature of habit.

Today’s total: €0


I get up 5:00am and it’s same routine as usual. I arrive at work at 7:00am, but in a different manufacturing plant. I work in two plants which are about 10-minutes apart, but take the same amount of time to get to. 

I get a nice surprise that the company has paid out the quarterly cash bonus of €470 into my account. It changes each quarter based on company performance.

For lunch I have leftovers from last night and finish work at 4:30pm – I’m back home again for 5:30pm. 

We don’t have any decent meat left in the fridge for dinners, so I just cook myself some bacon and eggs and my girlfriend can make herself a salad when she gets back. She decides not to and just eats deli meat, turkey and cheese instead.

We have some more snacks while watching Game Of Thrones and drinking tea… again. I told you I’m a creature of habit.

We head to the cot for 9:30pm.

Today’s total: €0


I get up 5:00am and go for my run as usual. Then I’m at work by 7:00am.

I received an email saying my transit card has been topped up by €35. It tops up automatically from my account so I don’t have to worry about getting stranded with no change for the bus.

For lunch I have leftovers from Tuesday night since my girlfriend forgot her lunch the day before. I’m finished at work by 4:30pm and home for 5:30pm.

I make myself an omelette with onions, mushrooms and spinach for dinner. I made some extra as well for my girlfriend, who will be home later since she’s going to yoga.

With my laptop finally working, I get my GoPro and download photos from a trip we took to Vancouver and Calgary last summer. I spend the evening reminiscing about our trip.

I hit the hay at 9:00pm and watch some TV in bed until my girlfriend gets home. 

Today’s total: €35


Same routine as usual and I get into work at 7:00am.

I spent most the morning looking at flights for a friend’s stag in Liverpool, but I finally decide that it’s just too expensive and difficult to get to for just two nights. Missing events like this is one of the hardest things about life abroad.

I finish work at 3:30pm and head straight for a haircut (€27), then I meet my girlfriend in Walmart to do the food shop for the week. It comes to €190, so that’s €95 each because we will split the food bill. We split all bills down the middle using a nifty app called Splitwise to keep track of it all.

We get home at 6:00pm and we start cooking dinner. She makes herself a homemade pizza and I have some deli sausages with eggs and spinach. We hit the hay at about 10:00pm. 

Today’s total: €122


I get up 8:00am, have a coffee in bed and watch the news. I still head to the gym, but not until 9:00am. I spend an hour there and then come home.

We have just changed our internet provider and purchased a TV package, so a guy comes to the apartment to set it up.

I shower and then start cleaning up the apartment while my girlfriend cooks breakfast. She makes these egg muffin cups in the oven which are quite quick to make. While they are in the oven, she heads to the gym and I continue cleaning and helping the guy with the internet when I’m needed.

We have breakfast, I finish cleaning up and leave the apartment about 4:00pm. We go to an electronics shop to buy a Kindle Fire Stick to use our new TV package on. It was €38, so that’s €19 each.

After that, we go to my girlfriend’s sister’s place for the night to play poker. We grab some coffees on the way (€3 each). Unfortunately I lost €10 in the poker.

Today’s total: €32


I get up 9:00am and get treated to breakfast by the girlfriend’s brother-in-law.

Today we’re going to a remembrance service for an old neighbour of my girlfriend. We leave at 11:00am and head to my girlfriend’s parents’ place first to get ready and catch up. Then we head to the service for 2:00pm.

We leave at 4:00pm and go for a quick walk in town before heading back to my girlfriend’s parents’ place to pick up our stuff and hit the road.

We get home at 7:30pm, I make myself some sausages with brussels sprouts and hit the hay at 10pm.

Today’s total: €0

Weekly subtotal: €189

What I’ve learned:

  • Compared to diaries entered by other readers, I don’t really have much of a life outside of work during the weekdays. This is something I should change. There’s not much point working hard to make money if you don’t get to spend time enjoying it.
  • When it comes to saving, I think I tick all the right boxes. I track my expenses and keep unnecessary spending to a minimum. I also try to maximise the return on my savings using high-interest savings accounts and mutual fund investments.
  • I try to save as much as possible for both of us since I hope to buy a house and set some roots down in the next few years, but houses here cost double what they would at home. This makes it difficult to get the deposit together. I also fear that I would be stuck with a worthless house if a recession hit since I’ve seen firsthand what this can do to people.

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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