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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019
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How I Spend My Money: A property surveyor on €45,000 who regularly dips into his savings

He wonders if he’ll ever be able to contribute to a pension or health insurance.

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 construction manager on €38,000 wrote about how he is spending less since the arrival of his first child. Today, a property surveyor on €45,000 records how he usually dips into his savings in order to provide for his family of five.

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Occupation: Commercial property surveyor
Age: 35
Location: Dublin
Salary: €45,000
Monthly pay (net): €3,263
Children’s Allowance: €420

Monthly expenses

Transport: €270 (this is an average monthly cost and includes both diesel and M50 tolls)
Mortgage: €940.50
Insurance: Mortgage protection, life and home insurances €102.36
Bin charges: €20
Gas and Electricity: €163
TV and Broadband: €73.48
Phone bill: €25 (wife’s phone). Mine is covered by my employer
Car loan: €453.02
Loan repayment for a gas boiler replacement: €89.90
Credit card repayments: €100 – €150 depending on the month
Groceries: This can vary month to month but on average around €400
Netflix: €7.99
Savings: €500
Eldest child’s dance class: €32

Monday

7:30am: I get up, shower and shave, and put on a pot of porridge for the family’s breakfast. I grab my lunch (sandwich and fruit), drop my daughter to school and head to work.
11:00am: I buy a new rain cover online for the pram as the old one has ripped (€44.00).
12:00pm: My wife picks up some groceries (€15.89) and a birthday present for a friend (€32.40).
1:30pm: On the way to a meeting with a colleague, we stop for a coffee as we haven’t had lunch. I get these (€6.40).
2:45pm: I head back to the office and I finally have a chance to have my sandwich.
6pm: I leave work and go home for the evening.

Today’s total: €98.69

Tuesday

8:00am: I get up, shower, and get ready for work. I grab my lunch (sandwich and fruit), drop my daughter to school and head to work.
12:30pm: I’ve had a headache all morning – starting to feel a sinus pain. I go to a local pharmacy and get some decongestant tablets and a bottle of water for €7.55.
1pm: I have lunch at my desk as usual.
6:40pm: I leave work and go home.
7:15pm: I get home, have dinner (my wife made a stir-fry) and spend time with the kids before bedtime. There’s enough dinner leftover for tomorrow’s lunch – so that goes in a lunch box.
9pm: The kids are put to bed and I watch some TV with tea and biscuits.
11pm: I head to bed.

Today’s total: €7.55

Wednesday

7:00am: I get up, shower and shave, and put on a pot of porridge for the family’s breakfast.
8:50am: I grab my lunch (stir-fry and fruit), drop my daughter to school and head to work. I stop off for a coffee on the way for €3.25.
1pm: My wife goes to our local supermarket for some groceries (€26.77).
3pm: I have a formal event to attend tomorrow, and have hired a tuxedo so I pop out to pick it up. It costs €50.00.
6pm: I leave work and I head for the hospital to visit my mother who is recovering from surgery.
7:30pm: I leave the hospital, car parking is €2.40 per hour, go home and spend the rest of the evening at home with my family.

Today’s total: €82.42

Thursday

8:20am:  We’ve overslept so I get up in a hurry and take my daughter to school.
9:05am: I leave for work and I have a client meeting at 10.30am which I’m in plenty of time for. I stop off for a coffee and muffin as I haven’t had breakfast for €5.25.
1pm: I didn’t bring lunch today and I am going straight out after work tonight so get a roll and a packet of crisps for €5.50.
4:45pm: I go home and get ready for the formal dinner tonight. I shower, shave, put on the tux and have a lift arranged into town to meet up with colleagues.
7pm: I go to meet colleagues for a drink before dinner. I get there early so have a pint (€6.00).
7:45pm: I get a taxi to the hotel which costs €15.00.
10:30pm: Dinner is over and we hang around chatting and then head to the bar. I get a couple of rounds in for €36.00.
01:30am: I get a taxi home for €20.00.

Today’s total: €87.75

Friday

9:30am: I get up to find my good wife has breakfast ready for me – happy days! 
11:00am: I head to work and work through lunch.
5:30pm: I finish work and head home. I stop on the way to get diesel (€60.00).
6:15pm: I arrive home and we order a pizza with sides, drinks and dessert for €38.85.

Today’s total: €98.85

Saturday

09:00am: I get up and take the eldest child to dance class. I meet one of the other dads there so we head off for a coffee for half an hour (€6.80).
11:30am: We take a short family shopping trip to the supermarket. We pick up some groceries and ingredients for baking later as well as some goodies to give to a friend for their birthday (€58.20).
2pm: We arrive home for the day, have some lunch and do some cleaning. Later the kids are baking while the rugby is on. We stay home for the rest of the evening and have a home-made Indian.

Today’s total: €65.00

Sunday

10:00am: I’m home with the kids while my wife goes out for brunch with friends (€20.00).
2:30pm: My wife brings me home a sandwich which is delicious but WAY overpriced when I see the €7.95 sticker on it!
3:30pm: I go to the hospital to visit my mother for a couple of hours. I buy a newspaper (€1.20), coffee (€2.50) and a bar of chocolate (€1.30).
6pm: I leave the hospital for home. Car parking – €7.20 and I decide to treat the family to some chips since it’s too late to start making a ‘Sunday Dinner’. I get the kids and go get some chicken nuggets, sausages and chips for them and some food for myself and my wife for €24.60

Today’s total: €64.75

Weekly subtotal: €505.01

What I’ve learned:

  • I generally stick to a fairly monotonous routine. It’s the events, one-off items and impulse buys that really add up.
  • I didn’t need to buy take-aways or coffees, and if I wasn’t out at an event I wouldn’t have been drinking, and probably wouldn’t have spent money on a take-away the following night.
  • I thought I had a good handle on my spending, as I already do track and plan for all recurring monthly outgoings (mortgage, bills, fuel etc.) but it’s the small things that all add up such as coffees, take-aways and drinks.
  • It’s a worry that some months it gets very tight in the last week before payday, and we sometimes resort to dipping into savings to make sure monthly direct debits are covered.
  • I’m wondering whether I’ll ever be in a position to contribute towards a pension or take out health insurance.

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