#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 17 May 2022

How I Spend My Money: Engineer in Perth on €75,000 wonders if it's cheaper to live in Ireland

The Dublin-born engineer is preparing for the arrival of twins.

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 sales manager on €67,000 in Kildare wrote about saving for unpaid maternity leave. Today, an engineer from Dublin – but living in Perth for the past eight years – wonders if it is cheaper to live back home as he prepares for the arrival of twins.

 imageOccupation: Production Engineer
Age: 32
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Salary (including mandatory 9.5% pension contribution): €75,300
Monthly pay (net after pension contributions): €3,600

Monthly Expenses

Council rates: €101
Water: €69
Electricity: €64
Gas: €28
Internet and TV: €63
Phone: €25
Netflix: €9
Patreon Podcasts: €9
Vehicle registration (Car, trailer, boat, boat trailer): €58
Fuel: €80
Car insurance: €39
Home insurance: €37
Health insurance: €93
Life and disability insurance (paid from pension fund): €30
Groceries: €0 (wife buys groceries – estimated €375 per month)
Gym membership: €40
Mortgage interest: €375
Additional mortgage payments (savings): €1,250



8:00am: I wake up a little late today as I stayed up late last night watching football. I’ve been a bit more leisurely around the house in the mornings recently because my wife is expecting twins and has started her maternity leave. I have some tea and toast and leave for work.

9:00am: I drive to work and stop for petrol on the way in. This comes to €119. The petrol station is doing free coffees for the month if you bring a reusable cup and I’ve come prepared.

9:15am: I start work.

1:00pm: I have a tuna sandwich and an apple for lunch which I prepared the night before. I buy Barry’s teabags in bulk and have a stash in work which I use throughout the day.

5:15pm: I finish work and head home. I take the dog for a walk in the park and throw the ball for about half an hour.

5:45pm: I cook spaghetti bolognese for dinner and then relax in front of the TV for a bit.

8:00pm: I spend 30 minutes doing some rehabilitation exercises as I had knee surgery a few months ago. 

11:30pm: I head to bed.

Today’s total: €119


7:30am: I wake up and have a cup of tea and a few biscuits. I take the dog for a walk before I head into work for 8:30am.

1:00pm: For lunch I have last night's spaghetti bolognese. 

2:45pm: I have a follow-up appointment for my knee with a specialist. I pay €2.60 for parking for the hour. I get an X-ray and have a quick chat with the doctor about my knee. He's happy with my progress and there's no out-of-pocket costs for me. I’m not sure which but it’s either covered by my private health insurance or the Australian public healthcare system.

4:00pm: I stop at the swimming pool on the way home and spend an hour exercising. I’ve recently stopped going as much as I did in the months immediately after surgery so I consider cancelling my membership.

5:30pm: My wife cooks chicken wings and rice for dinner.

6:30pm: I do 30 minutes on the exercise bike before spending the rest of evening in front of the TV before bed.

Today’s total: €2.60


7:30am: I wake up and have tea and toast for breakfast before walking the dog. I usually cycle to work as it's only 10 minutes away so today I cycle for the first time since my surgery.

9:00am: I get into work on time and the day begins.

1:00pm: I eat last night's dinner for lunch again and then head back to work for the evening.

5:30pm: I finish work and cycle home. I normally do a 30-40 minute detour after work but I’m easing myself back into it.

5:45pm: I cook a chicken stir-fry and noodles for dinner.

6:30pm: After dinner, I spend a couple of hours designing a planned kitchen renovation using the 3D design software from work.

9:00pm: I’m really not feeling the exercise bike this evening but I manage to do 30 minutes before bed.

Today’s total: €0


7:30am: I wake up and have tea and biscuits and then I walk the dog. 

8:30am: I decide to take the car to work this morning.

1:00pm: For lunch, I again eat last night's dinner.

5:30pm: I finish work and head home to find my wife napping. The dog is looking at me expectantly, so I bring her for another walk. I used to bring her twice per day but have been too busy with the knee rehab recently.

7:00pm: There’s an Aussie Rules football game on so we head to a local sports bar which does good burgers. A couple of burgers and three pints for myself comes to €50.

10:00pm: We arrive home and I have a glass of wine while I watch TV before bed. 

Today’s total: €50


7:30am: I wake up as usual and take the dog for a walk before starting work at 8:45am.

1:00pm: I work until lunch and eat the rest of the spaghetti bolognese that I made earlier this week.

3:00pm: We usually finish off Friday with a beer or two in the office while working. I just have one today because I want to get a cycle in after work.

4:30pm: I finish work and pick up some supplies for a poker night at my house tonight. I go to the tobacconist and pick up a couple of cigars for €30. I used to smoke cigarettes when drinking but have recently given them up. I now enjoy the occasional cigar instead. I pick up prawn crackers and some dip for €8.50.

5:30pm: I get home and do 30 minutes on the bike before cooking steak and vegetables for dinner.

8:00pm: My friends come over and I drink quite a few cans which I had in the house, smoke a couple of cigars and manage to get back €12.50 from my €25 stake.

1:00am: I head to bed.

Today’s total: €51


10:00am: I have a lie-in this morning. My wife had an appointment so she picked up a couple of Vietnamese rolls on the way home for brunch.

12:00pm: Spring has started so it’s time to tend to the gardens which haven’t been touched since early winter. I spend the rest of the day pulling weeds and cutting the grass. I'm feeling quite tired so I forego the dog walk and the exercise bike. The dog has been following me around all day so I’m happy enough she’s had her exercise.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

5:00pm: I grab fish and chips for dinner for €12.50. I’m out of wine which I usually bulk buy so I get a bottle from the local shop for €12.50.

7:00pm: I spend the evening drinking a few beers and a glass of wine while watching some football before heading to bed at 12:00am.

Today’s total: €25


9:00am: I have a bit of a lie-in and relax for the morning. My wife has found a dresser on a second-hand website that would be good for the babies’ room. It’s still unused in flat-pack boxes and a price of €95 is negotiated. A quick Google says it is retailing for €190 at the store so we decide it's not a bad deal.

12:00pm: My wife, dog and I head out to pick up the dresser and then find a nice dog-friendly café for brunch. We have brunch in a nice courtyard under some big trees on a beautiful day. A coffee, banana milkshake, chicken panini and Japanese savoury pancake comes to €30.

1:30pm: We go for a walk at a nearby park where the dog has a great run and play for an hour.

2:30pm: We stop at a hardware store as my friend recently gave me some chilli seeds for planting so I grab some pots, fertiliser, tomato seeds and a hand fork for €35. We also pick up a clothes horse for €25.

3:00pm: We swing past the supermarket and pick up some milk on the way home for €3.

3:30pm: Once we're home, I plant the chillis and tomatoes and spend some time maintaining the sprinkler system.

5:00pm: My wife cooks a Thai green curry for dinner while I get my 30 minutes in on the exercise bike.

6:30pm: I spend an hour on Skype with my parents and finish the evening watching TV. I have a few beers and some wine throughout the evening before heading to bed at 11:30pm.

Today’s total: €188

Weekly subtotal: €435.60


What I learned:

  • Eating last night’s dinner for lunch is quite an effective money saver. I also like the convenience of it and the lunches are usually tasty and reasonably healthy. I’m lucky that my wife is very good at planning our meals, as I don’t think I would have the discipline to ensure I’ve consistently got enough food for the next day’s lunch. I might pay for lunch once or twice per month, as we sometimes go out for lunch at work the occasional Friday.
  • I spend a lot of money at the hardware store. I usually go once a week and easily spend up to €100. I really enjoy doing DIY projects around the house, but I sometimes look at all the tools I’ve accumulated and think about how often I use them. Will I ever even use the hand-fork I bought on Sunday?
  • I’ve always thought the cost of living is a lot less in Australia than in Ireland. And although I’m not saying this isn’t the case, I did notice that my water charges and council rates are more significant than I had realised. These are homeowner costs only and don’t apply if renting.
  • Although I don’t get drunk too often, I probably do drink alcohol a bit too frequently. I might have to extend my no-alcohol days when I’m not out. I currently avoid alcohol Monday to Wednesday, and might have to extend this to include either Thursday or Sunday.

About the author:

TheJournal.ie reader

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel