Money Diary: A 27-Year-Old TEFL Teacher In Spain On 12k
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 27 and living in the south of Spain, teaching English. Most Spanish children and teenagers receive extra English classes after school and I currently teach a range of ages, from 5-year-olds to 60-year-olds. I'm also involved in the recruiting and admin side so I have a role outside of the classroom, too. Before the pandemic, we were super busy and on the up. Things are far calmer now and although this means at times I'm worried about my job security and the future, I'm enjoying the slower pace of life too.
I live with my partner, M, who works for the same company (in fact, he's my boss! This isn't as weird as it sounds...). We were together for a year before I joined the company and, unlike what most people think, it's great to work together. We have our moments, of course, but for the most part, being able to support and understand each other on so many levels, both professionally and personally, has strengthened and deepened our relationship.
We have a joint account and do a budget of shared expenses together each month. We then split this 50% and transfer what we owe into the joint. Before the pandemic, we split it percentage-wise as M earned a good bit more than me but he is currently on partial furlough (working reduced hours), so now we're going 50-50.
Like everyone, we've been impacted in various ways by COVID-19. Spain had one of the strictest initial lockdowns last year and we didn't leave the house for 50 days, apart from going to the supermarket. Now, restrictions come and go every month depending on the infection rates, but we have so far avoided another full-scale lockdown. My partner and I both lost about 20-25% of our expected income last year, as lockdown meant our opportunities to earn bonuses vastly decreased. We're only really coming to terms with what this means financially for us now, and are trying to budget more so that ideally, we can keep saving to buy a house."
Industry: Education (private sector) Age: 27 Location: Cádiz, Spain Salary: €14,400-16,000 (£12,420-13,800) gross (range due to possible bonuses). Paycheque amount: €1,000-1,100 (£863-949) – this ranges each month depending on taxes, which tend to go up and down due to the way the Spanish system works. Number of housemates: One, my partner of five years, M.
Housing costs: €675 (£582) rent (split). This is quite expensive for the area we live in, however it's a steal for what we have: a three-bedroom house with a study, living area, kitchen and large pantry. The house also has a basement and two gardens, back and front, which are large. We moved in December 2019 and the house was an absolute blessing in lockdown – my partner and I each had a separate work area, which meant we could keep the living area clear of work. The garden was and is a godsend – I've become obsessed with plants. We appreciate it so much and although if we lived somewhere cheaper we would save more, our quality of life living in such a wonderful space is great. We couldn't dream of living somewhere for this price outside Spain, or even in a city here. Loan payments: €100 (£86) car loan, split. The car was bought two years ago and we have another two years left to pay off €2,150 (£1,855). We looked at paying this off using savings but it would only save us €100 in total so we prefer to keep the safety net of savings and keep going slow and steady with the loan. Utilities: €40 (£34.51) electricity, €20 (£17.26) water, €40 internet, all split. Water goes up in the summer months as I need to water my veggie patch a lot, due to the heat. I feel a bit guilty about this BUT it really is such a satisfying hobby and consuming organic veg is better for us. Transportation: €20 (£17.26) approx on petrol a month. I walk to and from work every day so we only use the car for shopping and errands and to drive to our friends' house who live about an hour's walk away (but a 10 minute drive). Phone bill: €9.99 (£8.62) a month. This gives me 1GB of internet and free calls and I have no need for anything more! Savings? I have a few savings accounts and really need to sort out a better system... I have €5,800 (£5,000) in long-term savings, which ideally will go towards a house deposit. €3,300 (£2,847) of this was inheritance when my grandfather passed away two years ago and the other €2,500 (£2,157) I've managed to save. €160 (£138) in a shared car savings account with my partner. We put €10 (£8.63) each a month into this account to pay for any car repairs – it had €240 (£207) last spring when our power steering broke. I felt like I had achieved peak adulting when we were able to use the savings. It really relieved the stress that can come with an expense like this...although I haven't yet learned to apply this elsewhere. €240 in a 'holidays account' although not sure if I should repurpose this money... I have two other savings accounts with the names 'fun money' and 'short term savings' which have the grand total of €1.13 (97p). These haven't been topped up since the pandemic started and I used the money in them to buy a new phone when mine broke. Other: €9.99 (£8.62) Spotify. I held off on getting premium for so long but the ads were driving me crazy and although I'm not a music obsessive, I listen to it enough that I think it's worth it. €15.99 (£13.80) split with partner on our beer box subscription. We get six craft beers a month delivered to our door and it's become a tradition of ours to sit in our garden on a Friday night to enjoy one together. We started doing this during lockdown and it's one of the good things that has come out of the past year.
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