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How I Spend My Money: A 32-year-old HR manager in Sligo on €45,000 who moved out of Dublin two years ago

The Sligo native is trying to curb spending in order to save for Christmas

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.

Last time, a 30-year-old software developer on €77,000 wrote how he balanced an active social life with saving and investments. Today, a 32-year-old HR manager in Sligo walks us through his week which involves saving for Christmas.

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I’m 32 and live in Sligo where I work for a large manufacturer as a HR business partner.

I used to work in Dublin but I made the move back home to Sligo two years ago. The cost of living and property is much more expensive in Dublin, but I spend more on transport in Sligo because I need a car to get around.

I own an apartment in Sligo, which would never have been possible in Dublin. My mortgage comes to €540 per month which I know is much cheaper than Dublin rent.

Most of my financial goals are long-term. I would like to buy health insurance but other priorities just keep coming up. I want to continue saving for a pension in the hope that I may be able to retire before 70! The idea of buying a second property is also appealing although a very long way away.

Outside of work I enjoy eating out, going for drinks, spending time with family and friends, reading and going to the gym.

Occupation: HR Business Partner
Age: 32
Location: Sligo
Salary: €45,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,850

Monthly expenses

Mortgage: €540
Mortgage protection: €15
House insurance: €10
Management fees: €85
Pension: €270
Car loan: €255
Petrol: €170
Car insurance: €60
Car tax: €23
Electricity: €100
Phone bill: €55
TV and broadband: €85
TV licence: €13
Medical expenses: €200
Groceries: €200
Subscriptions: €10.99 Netflix, €9.99 Spotify, Gym €19
Savings for Christmas: €42
Savings for holidays: €200
General savings: €200

This week my expenses were relatively high, so my extra spending came out of savings.

***

Monday

7:30am: My alarm goes off and I struggle to get out of bed - no matter how much you love your job, Monday is Monday! By 8:10am I’m showered, changed and fuelled by coffee, ready for the day ahead (or at least the drive to work).

8:30am:  I arrive at work and spend the morning with my head down. 

11:00am: Time for a cup of tea and something to eat. I’ve never been good at eating in the morning so I’m trying to make sure I get something into me before noon. Today it’s a bowl of porridge.

1:30pm: Lunch time. Our canteen in work offers free food which is a great perk. Today there is a carbonara on the menu which I can’t pass up.

3:30pm: The day is nearly over, but I’m flagging so I skip out of the office and grab a takeaway coffee in the local shop (€2.50). I could grab a cup of the instant coffee in work but in all honesty it tastes like muck! 

5:30pm: I leave the office and drive into town. I need to grab a few bits of clothes for work. I pick up a few bits in Penneys (€45.60) and pay for parking (€3).

7:00pm: I get home and make myself a chicken curry. There’s plenty left over so I’ll get tomorrow out of it as well. I’m wrecked after all of today’s excitement and settle in for a quiet night of TV.

10:00pm: Lights out

Today's total: €51.10

Tuesday

7:30am: My alarm goes off and I get up for and get ready for work. I leave the apartment at 8:10am and arrive in the office by 8:30am. It’s amazing how much of your life you get back when you are not commuting in and out of a city centre.

10:30am: It's break time so I grab some tea and porridge again. To mix things up I put a spoonful of honey in it!

1:30pm: Lunch time. On the menu today is chilli con carne which I grab with some salad. 

5:00pm: I leave the office after a busy day and head to the gym for a swim to dust off the cobwebs.

6:30pm: I grab a few bits in Tesco on my way home from the gym (€4.40). Once I’m home I eat the rest of yesterday’s leftover curry and do some laundry and ironing – who says I don’t lead a rock and roll lifestyle? 

9:00pm: I catch up on some TV and head for bed around 10:30pm.

Today's total: €4.40

Wednesday

7:30am: I get up and get ready for work and I'm in the office by 8:30am. 

10:30am: I have a quick bowl of cornflakes to keep me going for the morning.

1:00pm: It's lunch time and today the canteen has poached salmon and garden vegetables – when I think about how much money I used to spend grabbing a sandwich it sends shivers down my spine.

3:30pm: Looks like this afternoon is going to need a jolt of energy so I pop out for another one of those cheeky coffees from the local shop (€2.50)

5:00pm: I leave the office and head home. I’m having a friend over for dinner this evening. We're both decent cooks so we take it in turns to have each other over for dinner.

6:30pm: I cobbled together a caprese salad and chicken alfredo - not the most complex thing in the world but decent, hearty food. My friend brings a bottle of wine with her which is more than welcome.

9:30pm: My friend leaves and I do a spot of clean-up and catch a bit of TV before bed at 10:30pm.

Today's total: €2.50

Thursday

7:00am: I get up, shower and get ready for work. I’m a bit earlier than usual as I want to be in the office by 8:00am to get stuck into something quite heavy while the office is fairly quiet.

10:30am: The morning has flown in! Time for a little break with a cup of tea and my trusted old friend - a bowl of porridge.

1:30pm: Lunch time! I have chicken korma today which is lovely as always and cost me nothing!

5:00pm: I leave work and head to the gym. I’ve been really lazy this week, so I make up for lost time by doing an hour of cardio. I’ll be back tomorrow to do some weights, I promise…

6:30pm: After finishing in the gym I head to Dunnes Stores to do my weekly grocery shop. I know I might be crucified for admitting to doing my shopping somewhere that’s not Aldi or Lidl, but it suits me well and their €10 off when you spend €50 makes it worth my while. This week I need to buy laundry detergent and cleaning supplies as well as my weekly shop, so I spend €61.12 where I would normally spend €45.

7:30pm: I'm back home and I put the shopping away and make a stir-fry with oyster sauce. I relax for the evening and watch some TV before bed.

Today's total: €61.12

Friday

7:30am: It’s Friday!!! Usual routine and arrive into work at 8:30am.

10:30am: I grab a quick break and have some tea and porridge. 

1:00pm: It's lunch time. On Friday it’s usually something fun and a little unhealthy. Today it’s pizza – I am very happy.

4:00pm: I’ve worked extra time so I’m treating myself to an hour off today to catch up on some life admin.

4:30pm: I get a haircut (€13 plus €5 tip). Considering I would pay €20+ for a cut in Dublin this feels very reasonable. 

5:15pm: I treat myself to a decent bottle of wine (€13.99) and a sharing bag of crisps (not for one I swear) for €2.50.

5:30pm: I arrive home and reheat yesterday’s stir-fry. I would normally go out on a Friday but it’s been a long week and I skip the after-work pints and chill out at home with my bottle of wine and some cheese before bed. 

Today's total: €34.49

Saturday

11:00am: I’m being really self-indulgent today and have a lie-in. When I eventually get up, I make myself a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel – this is what weekends are made for!

12:00pm: I catch up on some reading. I love reading, but I’m terrible at making time for it so I’m challenging myself to read a book every two weeks.

3:00pm: I pop over to my friend’s house and stop for petrol on the way (€59.76). We catch up for a while and head out to dinner later. It’s my treat as it’s their birthday soon and I don’t see them nearly enough. Dinner and drinks for two comes to €90.40 – it seems expensive but we had three courses and a bottle of wine.

11:00pm: I head home and watch Netflix for a while before bed.

Today's total: €150.16

Sunday 

9:00am: I wake up and catch up on some housework. The stuff dreams are made of! 

11:00am: I head to the gym and do some weights. I’ve been very bad this week – maybe I need a gym diary instead!!!

2:00pm: Mam and Dad come to visit. It’s been a while since I have seen them properly so it’s nice to catch-up. I nip out to the shop and pick up a bottle of wine (€10.49). I do a roast chicken which takes up a good chunk of the afternoon.

5:00pm: We eat and they leave shortly afterwards. I spend the rest of the evening getting ready for the week ahead and relaxing in front of the TV.

Today's total: €10.49

Weekly subtotal: €314.26

What I learned:

  • I spent a fair bit more than I would in a normal week. I wouldn’t usually be shopping for clothes (maybe one thing once a month) even if it is Penneys and the dinner out with my friend on Saturday was more the exception than the rule.
  • I think I have a fairly good handle on my spending. I usually have a good idea on how I’m fixed and if I need to rein myself in.
  • I could probably save a little on the food side of things - every little counts.
  • Not having to pay for lunch five days per week is a big perk – I used to spend a lot on shop-bought sandwiches because I was terrible at making a packed lunch.
  • I’m only saving €200 per month which could be better. I do put aside other money for holidays etc which I don’t count as savings as it will be spent in the year. I could look at travelling less, but isn’t life to be enjoyed and not endured? 

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