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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 19 January 2022

How I Spend My Money: A public policy worker on €91,000 who saves €1,000 a month

She is saving in order to buy household items after recently purchasing a home in Dublin.

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

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.

Today, a public policy worker on €91,000 walks us through her week, which involved trying to save money for household items after recently purchasing a home in Dublin.

imageOccupation: Public Policy worker
Age: 32
Location: Dublin
Salary: €91,000 plus 15% bonus
Monthly pay (net): €4,683

Monthly expenses

Transport: €0 (I cycle everywhere and have a travel allowance from work)
Rent: €1,380 in mortgage payments
Household bills: €98 on electricity and gas, €158 on car payments, €125 on car insurance, €39 on life insurance payments, €31.50 on house insurance
Phone bill: €0 (paid for by work)
Health insurance: €155
Groceries: €240
Subscriptions: €2.50 per month for Spotify (I’m on a family plan), €11.85 for Netflix



8:00am: I wake up and make myself a coffee. I have a Nespresso machine to make nice coffee with but the pods are a bit expensive. I do some household chores and get on my bike at around 9am to cycle the 20 minutes to the office.
10:00am: It’s Monday so I treat myself to a coffee. Coffee is subsided so I buy a cappuccino for €1.80.
12:00pm: Time for lunch. Our canteen is free so I grab something and have lunch with a friend.
2:00pm: I book flights to go to London for work. My meetings are towards the end of the week so I’ll stay in London for the weekend and stay in a friend's house. Total: €0
7:00pm: I leave work and head to the gym.
8:00pm: I cycle home and make an omelette with some eggs in the fridge which were going out of date. I settle down to Netflix and catch up on some messages I didn’t have time to respond to during the day.

Today's total: €1.80


8:00am: I start meetings at 9am this morning so I’m up and out the door by 8.30am.
10:00am: My 10am meeting is cancelled so I treat myself to a coffee. Total: €1.80
12.30pm: I grab lunch in the canteen with some colleagues at our free canteen.
6:00pm: I do a cooking class on Tuesday evenings so I set off on my bike to spend two hours cooking pasta. This class was €300 for 6 weeks which I bought at the start of January. It’s worth every penny.
9.30pm: I cycle home full of lovely food and pretty much head straight to bed.

Today's total: €1.80


8:00am: I wake up and it’s freezing so it’s hard to get out of bed. I manage it but get to the office around 10am.
12:00pm: It’s busy today so I grab lunch from the canteen and eat it at my desk.
7:00pm: I’m going on a date tonight so I cycle to the restaurant for 7.30pm. We have lots of small plates, some wine and some tea. We take it turn in turn to pay, and it’s not my turn so total for me is €0.
10:00pm: I cycle home and head to bed.

Today's total: €0


8:00am: I wake up and spend too long on Instagram. I make a cafetiere of coffee, change my bedsheets and put a wash on.
10:00am: I get to the office and jump right in.
12:00pm: I mix it up by having a sandwich today instead of my usual salad.
2:00pm: I get a post-lunch coffee for €1.80.
6:00pm: We have a happy hour in work with some beers and pizza and we then head to the pub. I buy two pints which comes to €10.90.
12:00am: It’s late so I forgo the bike and get a taxi for €14.10.
Today's total: €26.80


8:00am: I’m hungover today and my bike is in the office, so I get the Luas into work. I have a travel allowance so it’s expensed to work.
9:00am: I get a coffee when I get off the Luas for €3.30.
12:00pm: I have pizza for lunch seeing as it’s Friday.
6:00pm: I grab some dinner in work and head home to get ready for a friend’s housewarming party. I buy two bottles of wine in M&S for the party for €25.60.
8:00pm - I get a taxi over to the party which is €18.40. We eat a lot of cheese and the craic is great.
12:00am - I get a taxi home which costs €15.40.

Today's total: €62.70


9:00am: I get up and make breakfast of oats, yoghurt and berries that I bought last weekend. I make a cafetiere of coffee and look at my bank account so I can move money into my savings account. All of my direct debits came out this week, so what’s left is what I have to spend in the month. I move €1,500 into my savings account and I’ll use that to pay for a new back door I’m getting fitted next week.
11:00am: I’m going up to Belfast so I jump in the car and put a podcast on. I stop for petrol and it’s €35.86.
2:00pm: I head to the pub to watch the rugby with some friends. I buy a round which costs €20.80.
6:00pm - We go to a friend’s house and have some pizza and crisps. I buy some wine to bring to the house for €11.45.
8:00pm: We go to a gig which is free because my friend put me on the guestlist. I get the rounds in because they had bought food for dinner and got me into the gig for €40.
12:00pm: I get a taxi home for €8.

Today's total: €76.11


10:00am - I have a lie-in and and get up. My mum has made sausages and bacon so I have something to eat and settle down to watch a TV series I’ve been wanting to see for a while.
4:00pm: Some friends and I head out to a Chinese New Year Celebration. The tickets are free and we watch a really great show with lion dancing and other Chinese traditions. My friend drives so no taxi costs, thankfully.
7:00pm: We get a takeaway and head back to my parents house to eat it for €13.80.
11:00pm: I head to bed to get up early to drive back to Dublin in the morning.

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Today's total: €13.80

Weekly subtotal: €183.01


What I’ve learned:

  • I can’t believe how much I spent on taxis. I pay so much for my car per month and then I spend loads on taxis too!
  • Going out is really expensive, but I knew that and I’m happy enough to spend that on going out - even though I can see that it is probably where most of my money goes.
  • I hadn’t quite realised how much of an impact having food in work has on my budget. I spend really little on food each week, which definitely accounts for how I can save.

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 money@thejournal.ie.

About the author:

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