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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
How I Spend My Money A 33-year-old HR manager in Cork on €50,000 putting in a lot of hours at work
The Cork native is hoping to buy her own home next year

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.

Last time, a civil servant on €38,000 living in Kildare walked us through her week. This time, a 33-year-old HR manager in Cork on €50,000 writes how she lives at home with her mother in order to save for a mortgage.


I’m a 33-year-old HR specialist working and living in Cork. I’m saving for a mortgage while I live at home with my mom. I plan on buying a home in late 2020 in my local area. I’m saving as much as I can but every so often a school fee or a car service payment will eat into my savings.

I'm currently doing an 18-month management course which costs €4,000. I paid a €250  deposit in September and I've €1,750 paid off so far. I just have three modules left to pay for and I pay for these every four or five months as they come. It's my last year of school for a long time if I can help it, so hopefully that will help me save for a deposit.

Occupation: HR manager
Age: 33
Location: Cork
Salary: €50,500 - not including shares and bonus paid annually.
Monthly pay (net): €3,087

Monthly expenses:

Transport: €120
Rent: €500 - paid to my mom
Household bills: €60
Phone bill: €45
Health insurance: Paid by work
Groceries: €240
Subscriptions: Netflix €9.99
Gym: €29


7:00am: I'm up and get ready for work. I’m lucky that my commute to work is only 15 minutes and I usually drive in. I’d love to be able to take public transport but there is none where I live so I rely on my little car to get me everywhere. Walking or cycling is also out of the question because of the country roads.

7:15am: On my way to work, I stop at the local shop for some scones and muffins (€11.20) for a meeting later.

7:30am: I'm at my desk and ready to go. I like getting in early while it's quiet, so I pop in my headphones and fire through some work.

8:30am: The rest of my team arrive into the office and we have a stand-up meeting which only lasts 10 to 15 minutes but out come the scones and muffins. After the meeting it’s back to work again. We have some heavy deadlines this week so we remind ourselves that we've a night out on Friday to keep the motivation going.

12:30pm: I hit the gym. I’ve been trying to go more often so my lunch break is a great time to head off. I do 45 minutes, shower and then head back to work. I have some homemade soup and a sandwich at my desk once I’m back.

7:30pm: I finish work late due to deadlines and then stop on the way home to get bits for dinner in Lidl. I get salmon, vegetables and rice which comes to €8.20.

9:00pm: I watch some Netflix in front of the fire and do my online shop for delivery later in the week before heading to bed around 10:00pm.

Today's total: €19.40


8:40am: I get up for work a little later today as I’m working from home. I’m lucky to have great flexibility and be able to work from anywhere. I’ve a lot of calls today so working from home gives me the ability to make them from the comfort of my kitchen in trackies and a hoodie.

10:00am: My school fees are due today and €750 swiftly leaves my current account. I’m paying in instalments - usually I pay the college per module every four or five months - so it’s a bit easier on my bank balance. 

1:00pm: I take lunch and have more homemade soup and some brown bread. Simples.

2:00pm: My Tesco delivery comes. I shop online because it's way easier for me. I do a big shop once every two months or so to get the big things like fire logs, dishwasher tablets (on offer 65 for €12), and toilet roll etc. This shop is a big one as I’ve also bought in some of the Christmas treats (horrified that chocolate Kimberlys are now €12 a tin). With wine, spirits and the treats it's still pretty reasonable at €230.50.

Today's total: €980.50


7:40am: I'm up, showered and out the door by 8:15am.

8:30am: I'm at my desk and I start working away for the day. I order lunch because I can’t face the soup again, so I order from a local Thai place that delivers to our office. Crispy tofu stir fry for €7.99 will keep me going for the day.

2:00pm: Lunch arrives and unfortunately it’s eaten at my desk. Everyone else on the team is working away and having lunch at their desks and it’s a reminder that we need to take some time out during the day for fresh air. This is our peak time of year with a few projects coming to a head but the promised pints and chicken wings on Friday night is keeping everyone focused on the end goal.

6:00pm: The day speeds by and I’ve not stopped. I finish up at work and meet a friend at the gym - it gets me away from my desk and gives me some much-needed exercise.

7:30pm: For dinner, I make stir-fry prawns, vegetables and noodles from the Tesco order and then clean up a bit around the house. I’m not the tidiest person but I try my best because I know it annoys my mom.

8:00pm: I log back into my work email to clear out some emails and send some thanks to my team. We have a reward system where I can send points to their accounts that can then be redeemed for gift vouchers. They have really performed and kept the spirits up the last few months so it's well earned.

11:00pm: I log off work and fall into bed.

Today's total: €7.99


7:10am: I get up and get ready for another busy day of work.

12:00pm: I work through the morning and for lunch I have some leftover dinner from last night.

3:00pm: I make a vending machine run for chocolate (€1.10), Taytos (€1.20) and a can of Fanta (€2.10).  I try to avoid the vending machine but today it's needed to perk me up.

9:30pm: I'm still at work with some of the team finishing off stuff. The security guard kicks us out of the office and sends us home eventually.

10:00pm: I fall into bed after a busy day at work. We are 90% there with the sign-off for a few projects so it’s a final push and then we are on the home-stretch until Christmas.

Today’s total: €4.40


6:40am: I'm up for work and it's finally Friday.  After a long week I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and blowing off some steam. 

7:15am: I’m at my desk and preparing for the day ahead. Lunch will be al’desko again as I have a busy day ahead.

8:30am: The team start arriving and the relief is palpable that most projects have finished up. The final presentations for some of the team are today so I pull them aside to make sure they are ready.

1:00pm: I’ve ordered lunch from a local sushi place for my standard Friday treat. A large miso soup (€4) and large tuna poke bowl (€12) comes to €16.

3:00pm: I send my team home an hour early as they’ve worked really hard the past few months and the last presentation went without a hitch so it's time to party.

7:00pm: We've our work night out tonight and I’ve booked a space in a super hipster bar for drinks and I’ve put the corporate card behind the bar for a few drinks and dinner.

11:00pm: I’ve school tomorrow morning so I’m being a bore and heading home. I close the tab and leave the young’uns to party away and enjoy the rest of their night. Parking cost me €7.20 but the rest of night was paid for by the company so it’s a win in my eyes.

Today's total: €23.20


8:00am: I'm up for school today because in my industry, continuous improvement is a necessity. It’s all day Saturday and Sunday twice a month so it really bites into my free time, but I’m assured it will be worth it in the end (doesn’t feel like it when dragging myself out of the bed at 8am on a Saturday though). I make it to the course with just enough time to spare.

1:00pm: Lunch is at the hotel where the course is held, and the food is mediocre and massively overpriced, so I head to get a super healthy hot chicken roll and can of Coke in the local petrol station for €6.20.

5:00pm: After the course, I meet a friend for coffee in the city. We don’t get to see each other often as she lives in Dublin so when she’s down we always make the effort. Tea and cake is €10.60 and the chats were worth the wait.

8:00pm: Girls night! My friends try to get together once a month but since everyone started getting married and having babies it can be a challenge. We meet in someone’s house for drinks and a takeaway (€20) and chats. Sometimes, it progresses to clubbing but as I have school tomorrow, I’m Dessie driver and drop my merry friends into town after 12:00am and head home to bed.

Today's total: €36.80


9:00am: I have school again this morning so I'm up early to get ready. I stop and fill the car with petrol on the way. It sets me back €60.19 to fill the car but that will keep me going for almost two weeks.

10:00am: I’m ready to go with school and it’s a busy day. The time flies and soon it's quitting time so I head to the gym. I don’t bother with lunch and just take a protein bar from home to get me though.

4:30pm: I do an hour in the gym and it lets me decompress from a long week before heading home.

7:00pm: Dinner is pasta bake because I couldn’t be bothered cooking anything properly and I have all the bits in the house already.

11:00pm: I crawl into bed after cleaning up and putting on a clothes wash. I'm looking forward to having next weekend off already!

Today's total: €60.19

Weekly subtotal: €1,132.48

What I learned:

  • While this week was a typical week in my spending (apart from school fees) it wasn’t typical for my workload.
  • I need to focus a bit more on prepping my own food and bringing it with me to work as there is clearly way too much takeaway food.
  • Not drinking for the weekend made a big difference to my spending, which I know will change coming into Christmas.
  • While I’m paying full rent to my mom it really helps to be able to save on sharing bills and expenses. She’s retired so I do pay most of the bills so I feel like this will only stand to me when I have my own place.
  • Even with my school fees, I still had plenty left over to put into my savings account at the end of the month. This will disappear pretty quickly after the next payday as I still need to do all of my Christmas shopping!

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