Money Diary: A 30-Year-Old Market Researcher In Belfast On 34k

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
This week: "I'm a 30-year-old market researcher living in Belfast with my partner, M, and our dog, T. We've been living in M's uncle's house for the past couple of years, which means we get cheaper rent than you usually would for this area. This puts us in a really privileged position to be able to save towards our own house one day. We haven't got a timeframe in mind to achieve this goal and are just enjoying living together. 
My relationship with money is a mix between being sensible and impulsive. My mum has always been very good with money, saving her whole life and encouraging me to take up part-time jobs from the age of 14 to have my own spending money while my dad has always been very flippant, buying expensive purchases on a whim. I think I've taken on both of these traits and attitudes!
When I was in uni I never had a lot of money left after rent and student fees were paid. What I did have I used to spend on enjoying multiple nights out and then I'd have to live on plain porridge and pasta for two weeks until the next monthly payment. As I got older and got my first graduate job, my spending was erratic and often and I never saved anything. I've some regrets about being so foolish with money but I was a bit immature and on the flip side I enjoyed some amazing holidays and festivals. I never saved anything up until about four years ago when I began saving towards an emergency fund and a holiday fund which I now find really satisfying. The emergency fund came in handy when I was made redundant two years ago, I would have been in real trouble without it. I've been in my current job for the last two years and when the pandemic hit and I began working from home, one of my coping mechanisms was buying stuff. Looking back, I don't even know what I have to show for it and have really tried to curb my spending recently. I don't always win but I'm trying my best to detach emotion from consumerism!"
Industry: Market research assistant
Age: 30
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Salary: €40,000 (approx £34k according to the exchange rate today) – I work for a company in Ireland, currently from home.
Paycheque amount: €2,498 (approx £2,132) into my Irish bank account after tax and pension deductions.
Number of housemates: My partner, M, and my dog, T.
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £200 for my half of the rent.
Utilities: Each month we each put £250 into our joint Monzo account. All costs given are for my half: groceries (£25-30 a week), pet food (£17 every two months), flea and worming treatment (£7 a month) and monthly utilities which are internet (£23.25), pet insurance (£13), sofa (£20), electricity (£25). Each year we buy a full oil tank which is £215 for my half. TV licence £20 every quarter, M pays for our coffee beans.
Loan payments: I pay £115 a month for student loans.
Savings? £6,500 in a Help to Buy ISA, £630 holiday Monzo pots, £3,000 in my UK account and £3,500 in my Irish account.
Transportation: £155 PCP (personal contract purchase) payment per month for my car, £34 car insurance, £14 road tax, £40 petrol a week in normal life. With COVID I only travel to my bubble and to the park/beach, so averaging about £40-60 a month.
Phone bill: £11 SIM only payment.
Other: Monthly: £11.50 Benenden Healthcare, £7.99 Amazon Prime, £9.99 Spotify, £8.99 Netflix, £4.99 Hayu, £5 BPAS. As a woman living in Northern Ireland, the fight to access vital abortion healthcare is still ongoing. BPAS does great work to support anyone struggling and provides objective help for women exploring their pregnancy options. £10 to FareShare, £28.70 Les Mills On Demand every three months, £38 groomers for T every six weeks.
If you're interested in completing your own money diary for Refinery29 please send some information about yourself and your situation to moneydiary@refinery29.uk. Published diarists are paid. Please note we are not able to respond to all emails.

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