Habit Binge

Money Diaries: A management consultant on €62K living in Dublin with his dog

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WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on The Journal that looks at how people in Ireland really handle their finances.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, what they save if anything, and what they’re spending their money on over the course of one week.

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. We would love to hear from you.

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, so let’s be kind.

Last time around, we heard from a barista on €19K living with her partner in shared accommodation in Dublin. This week, a management consultant on €62K living in Dublin with his dog. 

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I’m a 30-year-old living in Dublin by myself with my dog. I do own my house, however, this was bought in a relationship that ended last year. We agreed that as the initial deposit was mine and the first year(s) of a mortgage is essentially interest, I would look to assume the full mortgage. My focus over the past year has been to simply overpay as much of the mortgage as possible, to bring it down to both within my income limits and second time buyer loan allowance.

While I do recognise that I’m fortunate not to be renting, overpaying is not ideal – and mentally quite tiring as it feels as though I’m essentially saving for another deposit. I hope to be in a position where I can assume the full mortgage by next summer, for both my own sake but also so that my former partner isn’t bound by anything. Any relationship breakup is obviously sad, but we parted on amicable terms and want the situation resolved as fairly and quickly as possible for both of us. It is a big weight in the back of my mind and does colour my judgment of really any purchases or financial decisions I make.

Bizarrely, hard lockdowns actually made overpaying easier as there really wasn’t anything else to do. I’ve reduced this as things begin to reopen and want to balance discipline along with being able to socialise again. I have been extremely conscious of spending this year, but it’ll be interesting to see if I can maintain this focus as life begins to return to some normal. I’m naturally a strong saver and have been since leaving university, which is probably a legacy of growing up during the Great Recession. I’m not saving a lot at the moment but would like to keep some savings if even to just maintain the habit.

Occupation: Management consultant
Age: 30
Location: Dublin
Salary: €62,000
Monthly pay (net): €3,342 (after 6% pension contribution)

Monthly expenses

Transport: €0 – I try to cycle most places – did so to the office pre-Covid – and just top up my Leap card as needed.
House Account: €1,450 – my mortgage is €1,225 and house bills are about €200. I transfer a little bit of extra each month into an account I use for house expenses so I (in theory) always have a little bit of breathing space.
Mortgage Overpay: I transfer €800 into my mortgage as soon as I’m paid, however will also try to transfer any money I’ve left in my account at the end of the month.
Health insurance: €24 – I don’t have health insurance (yet) but do have dental insurance.
Pet Insurance: €12.75
Groceries: €250 approx.
Subscriptions: €39.49 – Spotify (€9.99), Patreon (€10) and Now TV (€19.50 – shared with my sister)
Charity: €60 – three €20 standing orders for animal charities.
Savings: €300 – €150 into a rainy day Revolut vault and another €150 into another vault for personal spending, which is really just delayed consumption.

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Monday

7.00 am: I let the dog out to the garden and watch NFL highlights whilst foam rolling before a gym session. I bemoan the fact that a few years ago I’d have just stayed ‘til 02 to watch a full game and certainly wouldn’t need to foam roll… When I moved in, I converted the shed into a gym – it’s a bit basic, but has everything I need and was a Godsend during lockdown(s). It did cost a bit to get everything, but after two years of no gym fees, it has definitely paid for itself. After the gym, I make a smoothie and shower.

9.00 am: I’m actually off work today, so take the dog for a walk to a park about half an hour from us – he’s usually walked well before 9 am so hopefully a change of scenery placates him.

11.00 am: On the way back from the park, the two of us stop for brunch. I usually try to avoid eating out on weekdays but today’s not a workday so doesn’t count. I get eggs royale, two coffees and a scone, while the dog gets a sausage. Apparently, it’s my turn to pay so I pick up the bill. (€22.00)

4.00 pm: After some half-hearted gardening – mostly consisting of napping in the sun – I make a couscous salad for lunch and do some journaling and life admin.

7.00 pm: Meet a friend for a run. Decide to treat myself to a pizza as I walk home but realise I’ve forgotten a mask. Crisis averted.

10.00 pm: Take the dog out for a quick night stroll around the block before going up to bed. Reflect that it actually wasn’t a bad day off.

Today’s total: €22.00

Tuesday

7.30 am: Back to work today, so take the dog for a morning walk immediately after I wake up. Listen to a podcast and go through emails on the walk. When we get back, I have a smoothie for breakfast, shower, and then start work at around 08.45.

1.00 pm: Why does any break from work longer than a regular weekend feel so difficult to get back into? Endless Zoom meetings probably don’t help… in any case, it’s lunch! I do some laundry and then make enough tuna pasta for both today’s lunch and a food box for the fridge. The food box doesn’t make it into the fridge.

2.00 pm: Back to work and the dog’s now at my feet looking for a belly rub. I’m looking for a footrest so it’s a win-win as I enjoy a rare break from meetings and do some actual work.

6.00 pm: I finish work itself around 5 pm but then study for an exam for another hour or so. I then leave to go to my mum’s house for my sister’s birthday. It’s about an hour walk – especially with regular lamppost sniffs – and I call a friend in Spain along the way.

10.00 pm: Have a lovely evening with presents, cake and pizza. Feel that I should walk back to lessen the damage of the evening, but the sister offers a lift home and it seems rude to turn it down.

Today’s total: €0

Wednesday

7.00 am: Get up a bit earlier than usual for a gym session to work off yesterday evening. The dog spots me all the while urging me not to forget our regular morning routine.

8.00 am: Get a coffee on the way to the park (€4.20), go through emails while the little man runs around. 

8.50 am: Arrive back at the house, make a breakfast smoothie and then begin work.

1.00 pm: Take a break from work to go downstairs for lunch. After a spot of brain freeze, I end up making the same couscous salad I have for lunch most days. Truly a creature of habit.

7.00 pm: Finish work a bit later than usual, mostly due to endless Zoom meetings meaning I didn’t really get any work properly done until about 3 pm and so felt I needed to take advantage of the momentum. I generally do like working from home and enjoy my actual work, but the number of daily meetings has definitely increased over the past 18 months. By this stage of the evening, the dog has basically put on his own harness so out we go.

8.30 pm: Struggle immensely with takeout temptation on the way from the evening walk, but thankfully no mask means no entry. When we get home, I make a giant cauldron of spaghetti by way of compromise. In an unexpected turn of events, I do manage to leave enough for a foodbox. It’s all about moderation.

9.30 pm: Go on a quick grocery run after realising I’m…

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