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How I Spend My Money: A 26-year-old recruiter on €40,000 living in Dublin

The 26-year-old is adjusting after moving out of her family home reader

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. Want to take part? Details on how to do it are at the bottom of the piece.

Last time, a 33-year-old HR manager in Cork on €50,000 wrote how she lives at home with her mother in order to save for a mortgage. This time, a 26-year-old recruiter on €40,000 in Dublin walks us through her week. 


I’m a 26-year-old recruiter for a large financial services company in Dublin. I left college three years ago and I’m lucky that I really like my job.

I’m originally from the southside of Dublin but I moved out nearly 18 months ago. My apartment is really close to work which was key and I also wanted my own space.

To be honest, I’m not really focused on saving for a mortgage now. I have about €10,000 in savings from working part-time in college and then working full-time while living at home when I graduated. 

Occupation: Recruiter
Age: 26
Location: Dublin
Salary: €40,000
Monthly pay (net): €2,600

Monthly expenses

Transport: €50 on diesel and I top up my Leap card by €30
Rent: €700
Household bills: €50 for electricity and €45 for Wi-Fi (that’s my share)
Phone bill: €35
Health insurance: Paid by my employer
Groceries: €150 on average
Subscriptions: €10.99 on Netflix, €9.99 on Spotify and €7.99 on Audible
Gym: €80
Pension: €133 a month contribution



7:00am: I get up and get ready for work. I’m only a 20 minute walk from the office so I usually give myself 40 minutes in the morning to get ready. I leave just before 7:35am and I love listening to a podcast on my way in.

8:15am: I’m in work and head down for some breakfast. We have a subsidised canteen and it is actually pretty good. I get my usual two poached eggs and some toast and butter. This comes to €1.85.

10:30am: My colleagues and I head downstairs to one of the on-site coffee shops. I try to only get americanos to save money and calories (€2.10).

1:00pm: For lunch, I have a chicken and vegetable stir fry. I really try to make my own food and bring it into work but it can depend on the week. My team and I head down to the canteen and catch up on our weekends. I grab a bottle of water for €1.20 from the on-site newsagents. 

4:30pm: I finish work for the day and head back to my apartment. My complex has an underground car park which is really handy. I head into my car and drive out to my parents’ house. They live in the suburbs so I try and get on the road early to make sure I don’t hit major traffic.

6:00pm: My mum and I head to Dundrum Town Centre because she’s picking up a new phone. I head to Penneys to get a jumper I saw over the weekend. In the end I grab two jumpers, make-up removal pads and a pretty blouse that will be nice over the Christmas season. This comes to €27.

6:30pm: I grab a coffee (decaf because of the hour) in Costa for €3.95 and look around Tesco. I pick up some veg and cashews to make a stir-fry tonight along with some other ingredients. The total is €10.76.

7:15pm: I head back to my parents’ house and my mum is having my cousin over for dinner so I cook us all a stir-fry and add some chicken to bulk it up.

8:30pm: I head to the shop with my cousin so he can grab some food for tomorrow. I grab some treats to have for I’m a Celeb for €2.74.

9:00pm: We all sit down to watch I’m a Celeb and an episode of The Crown.

11:00pm: I go back to my apartment and head off to bed.

Today's total: €49.60


6:30am: I’m up and have a shower and get ready for work. I grab my keep cup and head out the door at around 7:45am.

8:30am: I head down to the canteen to grab my poached egg and toast for €1.85.

10:30am: I grab another americano with my team – since I brought my keep cup they knock 10c off and you get double stamps on your loyalty card (€2).

1:30pm: My team and I head to lunch. I grab a wrap in Fresh and a bottle of Diet Club Orange for €7.25.

4:30pm: I head home and walk to my car. I've agreed to meet my friend in Dundrum, and when I'm there, I see a nice shirt for my dad in House of Fraser. It's €40 and will be nice as one of his Christmas presents. I also spot a nice Tommy Hilfiger jumper down from €150 to €40. Once I go to the till the shirt is marked down to €24 so the total comes to €64.

5:00pm: I pop into Tesco again and I get some sweet potato fries, melon and a Diet Coke. The shopping and parking comes to €12.38.

7:30pm: I get a start on dinner which is gammon, sweet potato fries and peas and then do the washing up.

9:00pm: I head to bed, turn on I’m a Celeb and have a bowl of melon.

Today's total: €87.48


6:45am: I’m off today and I’m up early as I have to head to the hospital for a clinic appointment. I recently had an operation so it’s just a check-in to make sure things have been fine since.

8:15am: I get to the hospital and wait my turn.

10:00am: I’m out of there and thankfully no bad news. The parking is €9.60! I detest hospital car parking charges, it’s such a money grab.

11:15am: I head over to see my mum.

1:30pm: We go to lunch in a local restaurant and I order an omelette and chips. My total comes to €11.70.

2:45pm: I run into the pharmacy to pick up my favorite shampoo and conditioner. They usually have a special offer. Today it’s the conditioner. I pick up both for €9.70 and head back to my parents’ house for a little bit.

5:00pm: I go to the local Tesco as a few of us are meeting up tonight to have a wine and cheese night. I grab some alcohol-free rosé, sundried tomato and bread. Usually if I’m driving to these things, I would just bring a soft drink but there are some decent options now for alcohol free nights. I've had alcohol-free rosé before and it’s lovely. The total comes to €6.42.

5:30pm: I whip together a vegetable curry and some cauliflower rice - not having to cook meat saves so much time.

7:00pm: I go to meet my friends. Everyone enjoys the wine and food and it’s nice to meet up and relax mid-week.

9:00pm: A gang of us have decided to go to London in January and we want to see a West End show while we're over there. We’ll be there for my birthday weekend which will be nice to do something different. The flight is €35 and the hotel is €150 for two days between me and another one of the girls. We book our tickets for the show as well which cost €80. We’re all super excited and it’s nice to have something to look forward to – you always need to have a trip booked!

Today's total: €302.42


10:00am: I’ve taken another day off, so I give myself a nice long lie-in and haul myself out of bed.

12:00am: I decide to make a trip to the doctor since I have the time off today. The GP cost is €70 but I get 75% of that back from my insurance so this comes to €17.50.

1:00pm: I go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for €7.

2:00pm: I make my way to a nearby café to just relax and grab a coffee for €3. I really enjoy listening to a podcast and writing about my day, I think it will be nice to look back on in a few years.

3:30pm: I head to the shop to grab fake tan for the weekend. It's on special offer €15.50. I also pick up a pair of heels for €37 in a local boutique.

6:00pm: I have my dinner – chicken and vegetables - nothing too extravagant.

7:30pm: I’m part of a local amateur musical theatre group and we have rehearsal tonight. It’s great to be part of something that's so enjoyable and it’s nice to have a hobby to put down on my CV.

9:30pm: I go home, hop into the shower, do some washing and pop on the TV.

Today's total: €80

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8:00am: I’m working from home today, so I work through my emails. I make myself some toast and cream cheese and work away. It’s nice to be in a more informal setting but I do miss the chatter in the office.

1:00pm: I log on to do some shopping and I see my mum's favourite perfume is down from €100 to €75. It's in a lovely gift set, so it’ll be perfect for Christmas. After some more browsing I have a small snack and get back to work.

4:30pm: I log off and head to the hairdresser around the corner. It’s our Christmas party tonight so I'll at least have my hair looking good. I get a cut and blow dry for €54.

5:30pm: I start getting ready for the party - there will be food there so I don't need to get dinner now.

7:30pm: I head into the bar where the party is being held. It’s within walking distance from my apartment which is handy. I meet up with the rest of my team and take full advantage of the drink tokens.

10:00pm: I grab a round for myself and two others for €31.

11:30pm: I’ve used up all my tokens, so my Aperol Spritz costs me €10.

1:30am: I head home and my friend comes and collects me which is very nice of her.

2:00am: I’m all snug in bed hoping I don’t feel too bad tomorrow!

Today's total: €170


10:00am: I have a nice lie-in and make myself some toast and turn on Netflix.

12:00pm: I head to the local shop and grab some basics for €3.60. I head to the off-licence and grab some wine. I get ID'd in the process - I’m hoping it’s not because I look too rough from the night before! The wine comes to €8.

6:00pm: I head into town to meet one of the girls and I top up my Leap card by €20. We’re heading to a comedy gig tonight and decide to get some food first which my friend buys because I got the tickets. 

8:00pm: We head to the gig which is just up the road.

10:30pm: The gig was hilarious and the whole place was in stitches. Both of us decide against heading for one and to head home. I grab the Luas and head out to my parents’ house.

11:30pm: My cousin is over visiting my mum and dad and we all decide to stick on another episode of The Crown.

1:00am: We’ve all binged a few episodes of The Crown and I decide to crash at my parents’ house. I head up to bed and doze off.

Today's total: €31.60


10:00am: I sleep in again and the house is freezing so I stay in bed for another hour.

11:00am: I haul myself out of the bed and take advantage of my parents' fully stocked press and fridge! I make poached eggs and sourdough - the rest of the family have a full fry up but I’m just not in the form for it.

4:00pm: Mum lets me use some of the vegetables to make a stir-fry for the next few days. My family are heading away to Spain tomorrow for a few days so she’s happy for me to use up some of the food. Stir-fry and cashews will be on the lunch menu for the next few days.

6:00pm: I have a shower and set down for the evening. Then I remember I need to pay my car tax. I pay €50 for the three months. The next payment will be February 2020’s problem!

Today's total: €50

Weekly subtotal: €771.1


What I learned:

  • After keeping the money diary for a week, it really opened my eyes to how much I’m spending on little bits and bobs that add up. Water here, coffee there, I could easily curb my spending.
  • Mum was right – there is food at home!
  • I know I’m quite good to myself, maybe I don’t need to be. I am aiming to not be so liberal with my disposable income going into next year.

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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