Money Diary: Events Manager With M.E. On 34k In Glasgow

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 currently work as an Events Manager. As much as this is one of the hardest hit sectors due to COVID-19 I feel really lucky to still be in a job and to have worked through the pandemic continually. 
I am also lucky enough to own my flat, which I bought four years ago in and up-and-coming area. I have a good amount of space and before the pandemic I had a flatmate who moved out in March. I was considering getting another flatmate however I think it’s too risky with the COVID-19 numbers increasing again and also with me being home all the time I wouldn’t want to be stuck in with someone I didn’t get along with. 
At the end of last year I was diagnosed with M.E. otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which is a neurological condition. I am lucky that I am ‘mild’ and I am currently not house or bed bound. We suspect I have had it for over a decade but it has only just been diagnosed as there are no tests for M.E and it is massively under researched and underfunded. My main symptoms include extreme fatigue but often insomnia, flu-like pain throughout the body, digestive problems, tremors in both hands, headaches, brain fog and memory issues, persistent infections and being unable to fight infections as others can. I can also experience anxiety and sensitivity to light, noise, certain foods and alcohol. Everyone’s symptoms are different and there is currently no treatment for the illness. As I am high risk this year has been a frightening time but working from home has been life changing for me. I have not had one day off sick since February and it sounds ridiculous but I am really proud of myself for being able to work through this and that’s largely due to being at home. I still have a long way to go with my health but I have made huge strides especially in the last few months.
Growing up my mum always made sure we had whatever we needed, she worked really hard, never relied on anyone and is a great example to both me and my sister. I don’t really remember many discussions about money growing up but we were always encouraged to save our allowance. My sister and I both took out student loans to get through college/university and we both have had various credit cards over the years. I don’t think I have always made the best decisions with money and have spent a lot on travelling and work that needed doing on my flat. I also think I spend an obscene amount of money on food and probably too much on clothes. I would really like to pay off the existing debt I have and be out of my overdraft as I rely on it too much.
This money diary was completed during the first week of new restrictions in Scotland. All pubs and restaurants are shut and only cafes allowed to be open until 6pm."
Industry: Events
Age: 36 
Location: Glasgow 
Salary: £34,840
Paycheque amount: £1,750.80. This is after NI contributions, pension contribution, tax, credit union savings and student loan.
Number of housemates: None 
Monthly expenses
Housing costs: Mortgage is £418 (I have a great financial advisor), unfortunately though, I pay £150 in factor fees although this covers my building insurance.
Loan payments: £110 student loan repayment which comes straight off my salary, £102 to a Bank of Scotland credit card, £75 a month to a Virgin credit card (for the record these are now cut up and I am working on paying them back) £37.85 a month for my sofa and armchair which is well worth it because I love them and most of my other furniture is basic Ikea or second hand. I often have around £35 of bank charges as I am currently in my overdraft. 
Utilities: Gas and electric is through Utilita and I had smart meters installed two months ago so I didn’t need to keep going to the shops to top them up. I use around £30 electric a month and around £25 in my gas card. I like having ‘pay as you go’ electric and gas as I feel more in control of it. Council tax is £107 and I'm currently applying for a backdated single person's allowance. TV licence is £13.37, Sky internet and TV is £50.75, life and critical illness insurance is £28.21 a month, contents insurance is £16.72.
Phone: Around £40. 
Transportation: Very little at the moment. I do not drive so therefore don’t have a car and have no intention of ever learning. After my diagnosis I was told to limit my walking so I had to start getting the train to work. To be honest I was just pleased to still be able to work as a lot of M.E patients can’t. Currently I am paying around £10 a month as I am in a bubble with my parents and I have to get the train to their house but they have been very good about offering to give me lifts home as I am trying not to use public transport if it can be helped as per the guidelines.
Savings: £550 - I put £50 a month away every month for Christmas. I currently have around £550 in this pot which will more than pay for family presents. I have another pot with £900 in as I have also been putting £50 away monthly for the last few years so I can take my sister to Iceland for her 40th.
Other: Netflix is £11.99 a month – I pay for the family package but I get to use my sister's Amazon Prime and her Disney + so it’s a good deal. Union member fees are £20 a month. Camelot Lottery is £20 a month. Spotify - £9.99, well worth the money for the amount of podcasts I listen to and albums I download every month.

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