Money Diary: A 21-Year-Old Geo Engineer In Durham On 20k

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 am a 21-year-old geology graduate. I was successful in gaining a three-month summer internship at a local geotechnical company and following its completion I was offered my first full-time 'proper' job as a geoenvironmental engineer! This basically means I work wherever they send me, supervising drillers, taking samples and logging what’s drilled. I’m very happy to continue living in my university town as I love the area and I’m not made for the big city. I like not being cooped up in an office but being outdoors all day in the rain is no fun either!
While they do vary, my hours can be very long for the pay. Particularly when I run smaller sites alone, I’m so busy I only have time to type up my logs at home. I’m also expected to drive up to an hour and a half to and from site depending on the location. However, the experience I’m gaining and low cost of living in the northeast helps justify my decision. 
I generally hold the view that money isn’t everything but it does give you the luxury of choice, and that choice makes it easier to be happy. I think this really influences how much I spend and what I categorise as a 'need' so I can save more to be secure."
Age: 21
Location: Durham
Salary: £20,000
Paycheque amount: £1,348 plus occasional weekend work.
Number of housemates: Two (house share, including with the landlord).
Monthly Expenses
Rent: £280. I literally JUST moved, with a major factor being how low the rent is. The place I moved from was £420 a month which is more typical of the area. I plan to save and invest the difference.
Loan payments: £0. I am extremely privileged in that the cost of my university education was covered by my ex-stepfather, meaning I have no student loans. 
Utilities: £0. Bills included. 
Transportation: Usually £0 as I drive a company van and walk everywhere in Durham. I spend around £35 every few months on a train ticket when I visit home.
Phone bill: £18.75 (SIM only). High, as both here and at my previous place there’s no broadband, so I have an unlimited data package. It makes more sense for me when I travel around the country for work too.
Savings? £23,000 spread out over a Help-to-Buy ISA, Peer-to-Peer lending, stocks/shares and an easy access savings account for my emergency fund. I’ve always been a saver, even as a child with birthday money, and my amazing mum has really helped instil a saving mindset. I’m saving as much as I feel happy to now, since I want an early start in taking advantage of the magic of compound interest! I currently save £400-£500 each month after payday into my savings account, until I have a lump sum I can invest with. If I have to dip into it, I make a note and pay it back the following payday.
I also just started a workplace pension at 6% salary sacrifice as this is the maximum percentage my employer will match. So that’s £200 a month into my pension. 
Other: Times online student subscription £2.17.

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