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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 1°C
How I Spend My Money A 22-year-old psychiatric nurse on €30,000 working 13-hour shifts and overtime
The young nurse is hoping to work extra shifts next year in order to start saving

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 27-year-old software engineer on €92,000 wrote about his week. This time, a 22-year-old psychiatric nurse on €30,000 walks us through her week.


I’m a 22-year-old recently graduated psychiatric nurse from Kilkenny. I started a new job at the end of September in south Dublin and subsequently moved there. A lot of my friends remained in Dublin after graduating and my boyfriend is a Dub so it made sense to move up here.

During my internship I had the privilege of living with my mam and was able to save in the hopes of getting a car loan and for renting in Dublin. Now that I have a car and I'm living in Dublin, I am definitely feeling the pinch!

I work 13-hour shifts in the hospital and I really love my job. On my days off, I like to keep busy and get out of the apartment. I love socialising whether it be meeting friends for coffee, shopping, going for walks, going to the cinema or going out.

I don’t have any long-term savings goals at the moment but I hope to start saving in 2020 for travelling and for a masters.

Occupation: Psychiatric nurse
Age: 22
Location: South Dublin (in a flat share with 3 other people)
Salary: €30,524 (expecting a pay increment in January to €32,246)
Monthly pay (net): €2,121

Monthly expenses

Transport: €40 on Luas and Dublin Bus
Petrol: €140. I paid off my car insurance in a lump sum (€1,650) and my road tax (€200) in March 2019 so I’m dreading having to pay monthly next year!
Rent: €650
Household bills: €60
Car loan: €200
Phone bill: €20
Pension: €160. I have a HSE pension and recently started a private pension
Groceries: €65 (I’m a vegan eating for one so I find I don’t spend much on groceries)
Subscriptions: Spotify: €9.99, gym: €19, Netflix: I leech off my boyfriend's for free
Prescription: €12



8:30am: I wake up and appreciate the lie-in. I’m on annual leave at the moment and usually get up at 6:15am for work. I stay in bed until 9:30am and then get up and have breakfast. I shower, get glammed up, do a few household chores and by 12:30pm I am already getting cabin fever.

1:30pm: I text my godmother to see if she’s around in the evening to call over. She is, and invites me over for dinner after 4pm. To fill in the day, I hop on a Luas into town to have a wander. I still have a student Leap card so my round trip will cap at €5 but there’s money on it from the other week so I don’t need to top it up.

2:30pm: I head to Jervis and buy two make up bits in Superdrug (€14). I also buy my boyfriend an advent calendar for €3.60 on sale in Holland and Barrett. I was in Munich last week for three nights for the Christmas markets so I don’t have as much disposable income as I’d like to this week.

3:30pm: I pop into Spar for a bag of popcorn for 99c before I get the Luas back

4:30pm: Before heading out the door in the car to my godmother's I grab a quick bowl of homemade soup and homemade bread from the night before and pop to Supervalu for some poppadoms (€2) as it’s curry night! I also quickly text work to put my name down for overtime on either Tuesday or Wednesday this week if available.

8:30pm: I’m back home now and get changed and head to a zumba class in my gym. The classes are included in the monthly fee so I try to go whenever I’m not working.

9:30pm: I'm back home again, shower and get ready to relax for the evening before heading to bed. 

Today's total: €20.59


7:55am: I set an alarm for this time as work usually calls around 8:00am if any overtime is available.

8:30am: No sign of any overtime. I’m back to work on Thursday anyway so I should appreciate the time I have off.

10:00am: I spend the morning doing household chores and meal prepping.

1:30pm: I head to Aldi (€3.37) and Tesco (€5.13) for a few bits as my friend is calling over later.

3:00pm: My friend arrives over and we have a quick lunch and then head to the car for a spin to Bray for a walk around and a hot chocolate. She picks up the hot chocolate as I bought ingredients for lunch. I used park by text for the car which cost €1.04 for two hours.

6:00pm: I get a text from work offering overtime tomorrow, which I gladly accept. Before I drop my friend back home I get €15 worth of petrol and then head home.

7:15pm: I'm home after nightmare traffic on the M50. I catch-up with my housemate, shower, box up my breakfast, lunch and snacks for work tomorrow and give my boyfriend a call. Alarm set for 6:15am.

9:15pm: I end up doing some online Christmas shopping and buy my nieces a part of their presents (€35.20). I already have about half of my presents bought over the last few weeks.

10:00pm: I head to bed for the night.

Today's total: €59.74


6:15am: My alarm goes off and I get up and get ready for work. 

7:00am: I start work at 8:00am but have to leave in good time with traffic. This is usually the time a lot of people would get a coffee but I don’t drink it. I guess I save a few bob per week because of this?

8:00am: I'm in work and have my overnight porridge for breakfast.

12:15pm: I'm still full from breakfast so I use my lunch break to walk a few laps for 20 minutes. My work does provide subsidised meals, however there are very limited vegan options so it’s just easier to bring my own.

4:45pm: On my last break of the day and I eat my stir-fry and drink a can of Coke Zero. I bought 48 cans for €15 in Tesco about a week ago so if you want to get technical that’s works out as €0.31 per can but I won’t include that in this week’s budget.

9:00pm: I finish work and head home to relax for the evening.

Today’s total: €0 


12:01am: Car loan is taken out of my account, it's €100 every fortnight.

6:15am: I get up and get ready for work and I'm out the door by 7:00am.

8:00am: I grab some breakfast before my shift starts and then I'm straight into it until lunchtime. 

12:00pm: I take a short break for lunch and have some more stir-fry. I sign up for a Patreon subscription (€5.42) and then head back to work for the evening.

9:00pm: Work is finished for the day and I pop into Tesco and pick up a few groceries and a ready-made meal for lunch on Friday as I know I won't have the energy to cook when I get home (€13.96).

Today's total: €119.38 


6:15am: I get up and get myself ready and leave for 7:00am.

8:00am: I arrive at work and quickly have some overnight oats.

12:00pm: It's very busy at work today so I don't get a chance to have my ready-made meal and I work through lunch.

9:00pm: My shift ends and I'm exhausted. I head to my boyfriend's house to relax for the evening.

Today's total: €0


9:30am: My alarm goes off so I get up, have breakfast and get ready for the day. 

1:00pm: I drive over to my friend’s house and we head into town on the Luas to soak in the Christmas festivities and grab a few bits. I top up my Leap card by €10.

2:00pm: We head to a sustainable Christmas market on the northside and get lunch. We get vegan chicken fillet rolls, a giant cookie and a lemonade for €13.50. It was DIVINE.

3:30pm: We head back into town and I grab a pair of jeans in Penneys (€13), some toiletries in Superdrug (€6.05) and a top to wear out tonight in River Island for €22. After I buy it I think I’m going to return it as I realise I can’t afford it and it wasn’t that nice of a top anyway.

5:00pm: We head back to my friend’s house and I drive back home to get ready and throw a few things in a bag.

8:30pm: We get a bus into town as we are having pre-drinks in a friend’s new house. I buy a classy naggin of vodka, Sprite, a tube of Pringles so I’m not showing up empty handed, and a sandwich meal deal because I just realised I’m starving (€17.71).

11:00pm: We walk to a local bar which charges €7 for entry and I get two cocktails for me and my friend for €12.

2:30am: Six of us get a taxi home together which works out to be €7 each.

4:00am: Back at my friend's house, some of the group carry on the night and we order pizza but I just get some chips (€2.50).

4:30am: Bed, finally, thank god.

Today's total: €110.76 


8:50am: I wake up at my friend's house feeling terrible so I head back to sleep for a few hours.

1:00pm: I finally somehow manage to get a Luas back to mine.

1:30pm: I was going to get a delivery for lunch but I checked my bank balance and winced, so I ate an ungodly amount of crisps instead and showered. 

5:00pm: I do a few chores and start meal prepping for work for the next two days.

7:00pm: I pop to Tesco for some ingredients and get chopped tomatoes and a few other things to see me through until payday on Thursday (€4.07).

8:30pm: I get ready for the week ahead at work and watch a film before heading to bed.

Today's total: €4.07

 Weekly subtotal: €314.54


What I learned:

  • I wouldn’t consider this a usual spending week as no household or phone bills happened to fall. I also work every second weekend so if I did this money diary on a weekend I was working my spending would have been significantly lower.
  • As a new graduate who moved up to Dublin, I do feel like I am caught between a rock and a hard place. I do feel guilty at times for not putting money away every fortnight, but then again I don’t think I should beat myself up too much. I want to be able to enjoy my time up in Dublin as it’s a privilege to be able to afford accommodation up here. I should be able to socialise with friends and enjoy my money while I’m still young.
  • There is definitely opportunities to start saving in 2020. Although even on weeks I don’t spend as much money, I do find myself living pay cheque to pay cheque, so I will need to start working some extra shifts every week.

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