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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
How I Spend My Money A 23-year-old engineer on €33,600 who works as a GAA referee at weekends
The Offaly man works in Limerick but travels home at the weekend.

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 tech writer wrote about how she is saving to buy her second home. Today, a young engineer in Limerick walks us through his week which involves going home to Offaly at weekends to work as a referee. 


I'm a 23-year-old engineer and I work in Limerick but travel home to Offaly most weekends where I work as a GAA referee. I’m currently trying to save €400 a month with the hope of moving to Australia in a few years.

Occupation: Engineer
Age: 23
Location: Limerick
Salary: €33,600
Monthly pay (net): €2,592

Monthly expenses 

Transport: €200 on fuel and car maintenance
Rent: €400
Household bills: €50 
Phone bill: €20
Health insurance: Covered by work
Groceries: €120
Subscriptions: €15 (Spotify family and Netflix)
Car loan: €200


8:00am: I get up and shower before leaving for work. I’m usually up earlier but I’ve had a busy weekend, so the extra hour of sleep really helps.

9:00am: I get to work, which is a 15-minute drive from my apartment. One of the people I live with also works in the same place so we share the driving and today it's my turn to drive.

9:10am: We have a canteen at work that serves a buffet breakfast so I get two sausages, a rasher and two slices of toast for €2.25.

12:30am: After a busy morning at work I head for lunch and have a chicken pasta bake from the canteen for €5.15 and dessert for €1.65. I try not to buy lunch and breakfast at work but today I was tired and I didn't get a chance to prepare anything last night.

3:00pm: After another few hours at work, I stop for tea and buy a chocolate bar (€1.10).

5:15pm: I get home and head to get a few bits of shopping for the week. I only do a light shop this week because I did a big one last week. It comes to €14.93.

7:30pm: There's a soccer game on tonight so I head to the pub to watch it with some friends. I get dinner for €12 but don't drink. I thought it would be hard not to drink with the lads in the pub but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.

10:00pm: I head back home and play the PlayStation for a while before heading to bed.

Today's total: €37.08


8:00am: I end up sleeping in again as the fire alarm in the apartment block was going off all night. I shower and head to work.

9:00am: I get breakfast before starting work which costs €1.99.

12:30pm: Again for lunch, I buy it at work which comes to €6.41. I really should start preparing food to bring in but I was tired again last night. 

5:15pm: I arrive home from work and get ready to head to the gym. I'm usually fairly good at going to the gym at least twice a week. I've been motivated recently to become more healthy because I feel like I have been slipping a bit. 

8:00pm: I get home from the gym and I make some dinner before watching Netflix and getting an early night.

Today's total: €8.40


7:00am: I finally get a good sleep and get up at my usual time for work. I shower and make lunch for later. I'm out the door by 8:00am.

9:00am: I head for breakfast in work which costs €1.52 today.

12:20pm: Since I had cooked lunch for today, I go home to enjoy it. I pick up some bread on my way home for €1.59.

1:00pm: I head back to work and do another few hours of work.

5:15pm: After work, I go to the gym. I'm glad I'm getting into the routine of going.

7:30pm: I get back from the gym and shower and make dinner.

9:00pm: I play the PlayStation for a few hours before bed.

Today's total: €3.11.


8:00am: I get up and shower and I'm at work for 8:30am.

9:00am: I head for breakfast before I start my day which comes to €2.41.

11:15am: I meet a friend for lunch which comes to €5.70 and I make a mental note of how much I'm spending on eating out this week already!

5:00pm: We’ve been told by work to head home early due to a storm, so I head home and stay in for the night, playing PlayStation and watching Netflix.

8:30pm: I get a takeaway with my housemates which comes to €7 and we spend the night chilling before heading to bed at 11:00pm.

Today's total: €15.11


8:00am: I'm up, showered and at work for 8:30am.

9:00am: I get breakfast in work again which comes to €4.76 today.

12:00pm: I head home for lunch as I have a few things to do. I put on some laundry and pack a bag to bring home for the weekend before heading back to work for 1:00pm.

4:00pm: I leave work for the weekend a bit early as I’m heading to see my girlfriend. She lives in Longford so it’s a long drive from Limerick. I put €50 worth of diesel in the car.

8:00pm: I pick up my girlfriend and we head for McFlurrys which cost €5.40. We head back home and chill for the night.

Today's total: €60.16 


11:00am: I have a nice lie-in this morning, before getting up and making breakfast.

2:00pm: My girlfriend and I meet a friend and then I drop my girlfriend home and head back to Offaly.

8:00pm: I have dinner at home with my family before I get ready to head out to the pub to meet a few friends.

2:00am: I get back home after the night out. I wasn’t drinking as I was driving but I had two bottles of non-alcoholic beer and two cokes for €15.00. I also got food for €8.30. It was hard not drinking with my friends as I usually do back home but I'm doing some refereeing tomorrow and don't want to be hungover.

Today's total: €23.30


9:00am: I get up early and get ready for the day ahead.

2:00pm: I head to a hurling match as I’m doing linesman for it. 

4:30pm: Afterwards, I meet my family at a restaurant for dinner and I pay for my own which costs €12.95.

6:30pm: I have my second match of the day and I’m refereeing this one. I get €35 for this. Refereeing on the weekend is a handy way to make some extra money and I enjoy doing it.

9:00pm: After the game, I head back home and shower. I usually head back to Limerick on a Sunday but I’m too tired to drive back so I head to bed early for the drive back tomorrow.

Today's total: €12.95 

Weekly subtotal: €160.11


What I learned:

  • Keeping the diary for the week opened my eyes to how much I spend on transport costs. I have to travel home most weekends and public transport just isn’t viable, so that can’t be helped.
  • I’m also surprised by how much I spend on food in work which is a cost I’m going to reduce as it is unnecessary and down to me being lazy.

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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