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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
How I Spend My Money A 28-year-old video editor on €39,000 who works freelance in Dublin
The Donegal native works on documentaries and hopes to travel

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 32-year-old HR manager in Sligo walked us through his week which involved saving for Christmas. Today, a 28-year-old freelance video editor on €39,000 writes about his week.


I’m a 28-year-old freelance video editor from Donegal but based in Dublin. After two years of working full-time, I made the jump back to freelancing in August. I was fairly depressed and unhappy in the work I was doing and it’s always been my end-game to work in film and television. I’ve been freelancing on two documentaries and various other jobs for creative agencies.

I’m hoping to move to Toronto or London in the future for better work opportunities and I try to put aside €250 a month but it normally ends up being around €150.

Occupation: Video Editor
Age: 28
Location: Dublin
Salary: €39,000 (approximately, before tax) 
Monthly pay: I pay myself 70% of what I earn (€2,275 roughly) and keep the rest in my business account for tax. Some months are nicer than others. 

Monthly expenses

Transport: €20 for my leap card - I usually cycle everywhere.
Rent: €679
Household bills: €45
Phone bill: €30
Groceries: €160
Subscriptions: €255.47. (This includes office studio rent and all the software I use for freelancing. I also expense Netflix and Spotify as “research” and contribute to the  Blindboy podcast Patreon)



8:30am: I wake up with an awful head-cold and roll over in bed back to sleep.

9:00am: My girlfriend, who is studying in Belfast this year, stayed in Dublin for the weekend and she’s getting the bus back to Belfast this morning. It’s lashing so we take the bus to O’Connell Street and I pay for us both on my Leap card (€4.50).

10:00am: I leave her off at Busáras and run to the Boots near my studio to pick up a 24-pack of Nurofen Cold and Flu (€10.40). I then pop into M&S and pick up a ready pot of porridge and a blueberry muffin (€4).

2:30pm: I plough through a good chunk of work and have my lunch. I brought in a packet of miso soup and have it with a baguette.

3:00pm: I get a package delivered to the studio. I open it and realise it’s a birthday present I ordered for my friend back in October. It’s a bunch of props from a music video by his favourite band. I messaged them asking if I could have some stuff and they sent me a heap for free. I PayPal them the price for the postage and packaging from NYC (€37.50).

5:00pm: My friend who I got the present for calls into the studio on his way home from work. We catch up for about 20 minutes.

7:00pm: I finish work and contemplate heading home because I’m still not feeling very well but it’s one of my best friend’s graduation today and I’d feel guilty if I missed it. I meet them at Pygmalion and get a round of cocktails (€27).

8:30pm: I head home and put on some veggie dumplings and broccoli. I generally do a food shop at the weekend and plan out my meals for the first three days of the week.

9:30pm: I forget I have to clean my retainer before bed. I recently got my braces off after two and a half years! I then read for about 20 minutes and call my girlfriend before heading to bed.

Today's total: €83.40


7:30am: I wake up feeling much better today. I make my morning coffee and I jump back into bed and read a chapter of my book. I’m trying to spend less time on my phone in the morning doing the endless scroll.

8:30am: I take a shower and have some peanut butter on toast for breakfast. I remember I have to ring the dentist to reschedule an appointment.

10:00am: I arrive into the studio and catch up with one of my studio buddies. I share an office with four other creatives and it’s a really nice work environment.

10:30am: The documentary I’m working on is in the final month of the edit so I’m going to be working from their office instead of mine for the remainder of the schedule. I order a MyTaxi and pack up my stuff (€11). I can expense this on my next invoice so it’s free.

11:00am: I get into their office and catch up with the director and editor and they tell me the plan for the next few weeks.

1:30pm: I make some cheese on crackers for lunch and have some nuts.

3:30pm: The director pops into me and checks how I’m doing and asks if I want a coffee. He grabs me an americano and I’m delighted.

6:00pm: I walk across town back to my studio and collect my bike which I left there this morning. I cycle home and get the dinner on.

7:30pm: I get home and make pesto pasta and catch up with my housemate in the kitchen. He’s from Greece and we have a chat about Greek food. I look up a recipe of one of the veggie dishes he tells me about because I’m trying to cook more.

9:00pm: I head up to my room and do some work on a blog post I’m writing as part of an editor mentorship programme I’m doing with the Irish Screen Editors. I’m shadowing an editor on an Irish drama for a few days and have my last day this week.

10:15pm: I get into bed and read my book for a half hour and then I decide to call it a day.

Today's total: €0


8:30am: I get up, make coffee and read for 30 minutes. I don’t have to be in until 10am for the documentary work so I can take my time in the mornings. I make a boiled egg and toast and cycle to work.

12:00pm: I pop out and grab coffees for the director and me, returning the favour from yesterday. I go to a semi-fancy place and get two coffees (€6.40). Takeaway coffees are a huge luxury for me and I don’t do it often when I’m in working from my own studio.

1:30pm: I take my lunch and have leftover pesto pasta from yesterday’s dinner with some walnuts. I could have gotten two days lunches out of this but I only have one lunchbox so I just throw everything into this one. I don’t normally have dinner until quite late during the week so I tend to have bigger lunches anyway.

6:30pm: I finish work and cycle across town to my speech support group meeting. I’m on a speech course for people who stutter called the Maguire programme and we have a meeting every two weeks. The programme has honestly changed my life and has given me so much confidence, I feel like myself more and more everyday. The main aim of the programme is - as they say - to become an eloquent speaker.

9:00pm: I cycle home, stopping into Tesco to pick up a few things to keep me going until the end of the week (€9.80).

9:30pm: I’m starving when I get home so I make a toasted veggie sausage sandwich.

10:00pm: I binge watch the last two episodes of Dublin Murders and feel cheated.

1:00am: I head to sleep

Today's total: €16.20


8:30am: I wake up, make a coffee and take two Nurofen tablets.

9:00am: I stop feeling sorry for myself and make porridge with bananas and raspberries and start to feel a bit better.

10:15am: Before getting into work I pick up a two litre bottle of water. I’ve been paranoid about drinking tap water since the boil notice (€1.80).

11:00am: The director texts me to ask if I want a coffee. He arrives in with an americano and two tea-cakes and I feel like a new man.

1:30pm: I have my lunch. I bring in two sandwiches and have it with crisps.

2:30pm: I’ve been waiting on a cheque all week from a client. A buddy from my studio gives me a heads up that something resembling a cheque came in the post for me. I ask if I can nip out to go to the bank. This is a very rare case of being paid by cheque! I cycle across town and run to the bank. Chasing clients for payment is an everyday struggle of being freelance but to be honest the majority of companies I work for I know quite well so I don’t run into issues normally.

6:45pm: I work a bit later today because I popped out to the bank earlier and I won’t be in tomorrow as I have my final mentorship day.

7:00pm: I go over to Stephen's Green and pick up a thank you card for the editor who has been mentoring me (€2.45).

8:30pm: I get home and don’t feel up to cooking after a very tiring day. I cave in and order a burrito bowl from Deliveroo. This comes to €14.50 including a tip for the driver.

9:00pm: I do some research for my final mentoring day tomorrow and go to bed.

Today's total: €18.75


8:30am: I wake up and make a coffee. Our washing machine broke this week so I pack a load of laundry with the idea of bringing it to the laundry place around the corner. I’m not supposed to be in until 11am but I get a text asking if I can come in earlier as it’s quite a busy day.

9:30am: I get time for a coffee but no breakfast. I drop into Tesco on my way and pick up a box of chocolates as a thank you gift for the editor who has been mentoring me (€5.74).

11:00am: I grab a quick coffee break.

2:00pm: It’s a busy day in the office as the team are picture-locking an episode today and also reviewing a sound-mix from a previous episode. I get a few minutes to pop down to a cafe down the road and grab a cheese toastie and a packet of crisps (€6) and it’s straight back to it.

4:30pm: I thank the team for having me in for the past few weeks and leave feeling very inspired and grateful for the opportunity to see the behind the scenes of a high-end TV drama show.

5:30pm: I cycle over to my friend's house to collect some clothes I left in his house before we went to a Halloween party. We have tea and the chats for a bit.

8:00pm: I cycle back home through town and suddenly realise how hungry I am. As a Friday treat I go to Zaytoon and get a falafel wrap meal deal (€9.50).

10:00pm: When I get home I chill out for the evening and binge Netflix before heading to bed.

Today's total: €21.24


8:30am: I wake up and have a coffee and read my book in bed for the morning. 

10:00am: I finally get time to drop a monster bag of laundry to the laundrette around the corner from my house (€12).

11:30am: I got paid by a client during the week so I transfer 70% of the payment to my personal account from my business bank account. This is a habit I’ve developed thanks to my accountant. Before when I was working freelance I’d have everything in one account and it would get real messy whenever I’m doing tax returns. I’m going to London next week for a few days with a friend and I book a single ticket on Ryanair (€19.99). I’m not sure when I’m staying until so I don’t book a return.

1:00pm: I head to my favourite café - the Fumbally - and have eggs and a coffee for €12.90. I read my book and chill for the afternoon.

2:30pm: My girlfriend begs me to drop a roll of film to the shop to be developed. I find an undeveloped one of my own and drop the two rolls into a camera shop. This comes to €20.

3:00pm: I go to my studio and do some work for an hour.

4:15pm: My friend works in a cinema and she offered me free concession for a film. I head to see the new Ken Loach film and I pick up a takeaway tea in lobby (€2.60).

7:00pm: I get home and have a heap of veggie dumplings with hot sauce. I think I have an addiction.

9:30pm: I run around to the off-licence before it closes and grab two cans of beer (€4) and then relax for the night.

Today's total: €71.49


10:00am: I wake up with a strong appetite. I go to my local Tesco and grab a few things to make for breakfast and some kitchen roll for the house (€6.53).

12:30pm: I cycle into the city centre to meet an old friend for a coffee and a catch up. I get a flat white with oat milk for €3.50.

2:30pm: I head to Dunnes in Stephen's Green and pick up an oven-dish for the house. I also buy a wall clock - justifying it by convincing myself it will stop me from looking at my phone in the morning. This comes to €16.

3:00pm: I have a browse around some charity shops and pick up a rain jacket, turtleneck and scarf for €21. They're all really good brands so I’m delighted.

4:30pm: I get home and have peanut butter on toast with banana as a snack. I’m heading for dinner tonight with my family to celebrate my sister's graduation and don’t want to ruin my appetite.

7:30pm: We go for dinner in a Mexican restaurant in town. I throw in €20 for what I got. Since I’ve gone back to freelancing I haven’t had time to see my family much and because my parents live in Donegal, so we all have a great evening catching up.

Today's total: 67.03

Weekly subtotal: €278.11

What I learned:

  • I think I have a serious coffee addiction!
  • I need to have a stricter budget and have an actual goal to work towards. I might try using Revolut to send myself €100 and try stick to that for general expenses.
  • I need to break up my weeks with more exercise!
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