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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
How I Spend My Money A 21-year-old business student on an internship earning €20,000
The 21-year-old business student is hoping to go on a J1 next summer.

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’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 21-year-old business student on an internship writes about his week.


I’m a 21-year-old business student in UCD and this year as part of my course I’m doing an internship for a tax company in Dublin. I'm enjoying the internship. I’m on minimum wage which I’m fine with as the job isn’t particularly challenging and it’s good to get some experience.

In my spare time, I like to hang out with my friends, watch sport and play rugby – although a recent injury means I can only play tag rugby now. I’m trying to save at the moment so that I can go on a J1 next summer.

Occupation: Intern
Age: 20
Location: Dublin
Salary: €20,000
Monthly pay (net): €1,667

Monthly expenses

Transport: €120 - €80 on my Leap Card and €40 on petrol
Rent: €700
Household bills: Included in rent
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: None
Groceries: €80
Subscriptions: €5 Spotify



7:45am: My alarm goes off, but I allow myself a 15-minute snooze.

8:00am: I drag myself out of bed, throw on some clothes and grab a protein bar for breakfast.

8:15am: I get the bus to work, which is only about 25 minutes from my apartment which is very handy! I’m loving my internship at the moment, so I don’t have the dreaded Monday morning feeling. I’m working in tax compliance and the work varies depending on the day – some days you can be flat out and other days you’re begging for something to do.

11:00am: I grab a free banana for my morning break at work. There’s chocolate bars and crisps but I’m on a strict diet for the last while so my willpower is good.

12:30pm: For lunch I get a chicken and jalapeno wrap from the canteen (€2.80). This hasn’t quite filled me, so I go back up and get a bag of popcorn too (€0.75). I walk to the shop with my friends from work, but I don’t buy anything, sticking to the diet.

5:30pm: After a busy day at work, I’m on the bus and I’m home for 6:15pm. I live in a nice apartment with my friend that we got very lucky to find and thankfully the commute from work isn’t long.

6:30pm: I cook dinner and then drive to the gym. Afterwards, I play basketball for a while with a friend and then do some running. I buy water from the vending machine for €1.

9:00pm: I get home and chill for the evening before heading to sleep at 11pm.

Today's total: €4.55


7:45am: I wake up and wrestle with the idea of going to the gym. I decide it’s unlikely that I’ll go this week in the morning and so I avoid my morning porridge.

8:10am: I’m out the door and I top up my Leap Card by €20 before grabbing the bus to work.

9:00am: I start work for the day and put my head down for the morning.

12:30pm: For lunch I get a wrap and popcorn again. I meant to bring my own popcorn in this morning, but I forgot amidst the rush of topping up my Leap Card (€3.55).

5:30pm: Work is finished for the day and I head home and make dinner.

7:00pm: It’s my turn to bake in our floor’s bake-off at work, so I head to Tesco to get some ingredients. I’m getting Betty Crocker and hoping nobody notices (they do) (€5.98).

8:00pm: I buy a bag of creatine online (€19.39).

9:30pm: I head to the pub with my friends for the evening but I’m driving so I get two Cokes for €3.90. I don’t mind not drinking as I’m not one at all for social pints. It makes no difference to me what I’m drinking, it’s more just about spending time chatting with mates.

12:00am: My friends all get Chinese after the pub, but I don’t order even though I’m starving. I’m trying my best to strengthen my willpower and stick to a strict diet because I was trying to lose weight recently and want to stick to it.

1:00am: I’m at home and in bed.

Today's total: €57.82


8:15am: I get up later today and grab another protein bar before heading for the bus.

8:50am: I’m in the office early and get started on work for the day. After spending a year on an internship, I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to going back to college next year but it’s nice to get a taste for the industry!

12:30pm: I head out for lunch today because the canteen selections didn’t impress my workmates. We go to Dunnes and I get a tuna salad and popcorn (€6.20).

5:30pm: I leave work and get the bus home.

8:00pm: I have tag rugby this evening and I’m going to a party afterwards, so I go to the shop and buy two cans of Red Bull to get me through work tomorrow because this will probably be a late one.

12:00am: The friends I’m going to the party with finally turn up, and I’m already second guessing heading out. The party is only a ten-minute walk from my house so we don’t need to take a taxi.

4:00am: I’m home and not looking forward to getting up for work tomorrow already.

Today's total: €6.20


10:00am: I wake up late (surprise surprise) and dash into work on the bus but thankfully it’s quiet enough at work so nobody has really noticed that I’m late.

12:30pm: We’re doing an open day today for students at work who are looking for an internship for next year and I’ve been asked to talk a bit about my department at it, so we get a free lunch in a hotel.

5:00pm: It’s someone’s birthday at work so we have a small party for them. I get out of work a few minutes early too and I’m on the bus heading home in no time.

7:00pm: I start baking for our office’s bake-off with the stuff I bought earlier in the week. I’m tempted to get a takeaway but I have chicken in the fridge and the oven is already on so I go with that instead.

9:00pm: I head into UCD with my mates because one of our friends has a basketball game.

11:00pm: After the game I drop my friends home and head back to my own apartment to sleep.

Today's total: €0


8:00am: I get up and head straight out the door for work. I skip breakfast and get some free fruit in the canteen. The bus is also free now because I’ve hit the €20 per week student card limit.

12:30pm: I’m heading out tonight to Bingo Loco with the other interns from work, so I get my dinner in the middle of the day. We settle for chicken wings (€12.45).

5:30pm: I’m finished work and head out for the rest of the evening and night. I imagine it’ll be a late (and expensive) night but I’ve been looking forward to it for ages so I’m not worried about it.

6:30pm: We head to the pub and grab a pint for €6.20 before going to Bingo Loco.

Evening: We head to the first nightclub and the night just takes itself away from there (€68). I’d usually spend about €30 on a night out but I just decided not to worry about it.

4:00am: I get home and head to bed.

Today's total: €86.65


11:30am: I wake up and decide to write off today as a Netflix day. I get a chicken roll, wedges and can of orange for €6.10. I tried to order Chinese but it wasn’t open yet, believe it or not.

3:00pm: The bad food and Netflix approach wasn’t working to making me feel better and I’ve skipped the gym for almost the whole week, so I head to the gym in the afternoon.

6:00pm: After the gym I drive over to Ashbourne to meet my friends to go to see Le Mans ’66 in the cinema (€4.99). I don’t normally go to the cinema in Ashbourne and I’m pleasantly surprised by how cheap it is. I’ve loved motorsports my whole life, so I’ve been looking forward to this film for months and it doesn’t disappoint.

10:00pm: Because I went to the gym I treat myself to a spice-bag and watch Formula 1 with my mates (€7.15). They weren’t into it at all when I first met them but I’m slowly getting them interested in it.

1:00am: I drive home and when I get in my roommate is watching UFC - his sporting obsession – so I watch a bit of that with him and then head to sleep.

Today's total: €18.24


10:00am: I wake up and head straight to the gym. I’m doing a good job of relieving myself of the guilt I built up during the week by skipping the gym.

12:30pm: I cook some chicken for a wrap for lunch and do boring things like ironing.

2:30pm: The ironing and chores have bored me to death, so I go into town to meet my friend for coffee (€2.80).

4:00pm: I head to the gym again so this way I don’t feel at all guilty about not going during the week.

5:00pm: I watch the Formula 1 race that’s on. It was a good race which is great for the sport because it had started to get a bit dull over the last few years.

7:00pm: For some reason I feel full of energy so I go for a run which I accidentally make way longer than I wanted to because I got lost.

8:00pm: I’m back from the run and cook a big pasta dinner.

10:00pm: I wore a slightly damp body warmer on the run and it was very cold. I have dodgy tonsils and I’ve had tonsillitis a couple of times already this year… and I have it again. I can feel it coming on. Woohoo. Doubt the damp body warmer has anything to do with it, but I have to pin the blame on something.

12:00am: I head to bed hoping I’ll be feeling better tomorrow (I did not at all).

Today's total: €2.80

Weekly subtotal: €176.26

What I learned:

  • The main stand-out was how expensive the night out was. I don’t really mind because this isn't a usual occurrence and I was looking forward to this particular night for nearly two months but surely it could be done cheaper.
  • At the same time, it highlights to me how easy it would be (excluding travel) to spend less than a fiver a day.
  • I didn’t do any grocery shopping this week because I had enough frozen food but it normally costs around €20 for my weekly shop.

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