Money Diary: A 28-Year-Old Aviation Worker In Bedfordshire On 70k

·15-min read

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 28-year-old accountant who has recently got engaged and finally taken the plunge to leave the company I have been with since I graduated. X and I have only been together for a year (or just about) and we have been engaged for the last few months. I currently work in the aviation sector and despite being so different to my previous company, I am loving it. Somedays I have a great time and know what I am doing. Other days, I panic and question whether I have oversold myself. I got a big pay rise by moving companies and honestly, girlies, have faith in your skillset, do your research and get that pay rise! I am a saver but I also love spending money on holidays. I always wanted three things: a house, car and a nice watch. I have managed to achieve the first two and slowly building up the courage to spend a good amount on a watch, although the wedding is currently taking a priority."

Occupation: Finance Manager
Industry: Aviation
Age: 28
Location: Bedfordshire
Salary: £70,000
Paycheque Amount: £3,670 after tax
Number of housemates: 0
Pronouns: she/her

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £806 for my mortgage.
Utilities: £130 council tax, £85 electricity and gas, £30 water bill, £15 for First Direct insurance (breakdown cover, travel and phone).
Loan payments: Car payment of £270, although in the process of either buying my car outright for £9,500 or moving to a different PCP. I'm also paying my student loan off but that's pre-tax. It's roughly £375 per month. I also have an interest free credit card until Jan 2023 and it's creeping up slowly but currently something like £80.
Savings?: £3k in Vanguard (personal pension plan), £1k in fixed savings account, £11k in Marcus (wedding), £3k in various pots (holiday, car insurance etc)
Pension?: I paid money into my previous company’s pension plan. I do not know how much but I invested the maximum. Currently waiting on my current company to sign me up but it will be a maximum of 7%.
All other monthly expenses: £25 phone bill. Subscriptions: £17 Spotify premium (sharing with family but I pay. My sister pays for Amazon Prime (I pay every other year), Netflix and ASOS.

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?

My parents weren't lucky enough to go to university and they didn’t want me to face the same struggle they did. Student Finance England paid for my tuition and maintenance loan payments. My parents supported me where they could with housing costs in first year (I moved back home for the remaining years) but mainly survived through part-time jobs in the summer, placement year and working through the term.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?

My parents became more open about finances as I grew older. My saving habits and the inherent requirement for stability comes from seeing my parents struggle so much. My parents moved in the later stage of their life to a Western country with three children who were starting to be teenagers. I still turn to them for financial advice and to check whether the decision I'm making is good or bad. My parents are big advocates of preventing lifestyle creep and living within your means. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you need to have a fixed amount of outgoings each month.

If you have, when did you move out of your parents or guardians house? I moved out officially when I was 26, when I bought my own place. Other than that, I was in their house during my graduate scheme and travelled into London and other offices.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? My parents were always keen to support me and didn't want me to worry about it. I fully began to cover everything and pay for things at 26.

What was your first job and why did you get it? I always helped my parents out with their business growing up and got pocket money as a result.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes. It's irrational but I don't feel like my money is ever enough. My Dad is always telling me off but I guess until I get to a stage where the amount of loan (whether it's my mortgage, car payments etc) is reduced, I won't ever think I am earning enough.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? My parents gifted me £10k towards buying my house. I feel super blessed and grateful for this.

<strong>Day One</strong><br><br>7.30am: It's a Saturday and despite not sleeping until 2am (yay for TV dramas), my body betrays me and wakes me up before my alarm. I get distracted by my phone until 8.30am and run around like a headless chicken before I pick up my sister and head to my local car dealership. <br><br>9am: My PCP is coming to its end (due in November) and I have left it late to figure out what I want to do. My car is valued more than I expected and I am tempted by an upgrade to a different model. This means a difference of £130 per month, which I know I can afford but have a hard time rationalising. I tell the salesman I will be in touch and manage to escape without committing to anything. <br><br>10.30am: My sister and I head off to a local Asian store to pick up vegetables that you don't normally find in superstores. I find raw mangoes which I have been craving and purchase other things we fancy such as banana flower and jackfruit seeds (God bless Mum for having to cook them). I pay for the shop in cash and the total comes to £54.49.<br><br>11am: We went to The Range and find some cute Christmas things. My sister absolutely adores decorating her house for for the season and she wants to decorate her conservatory this year too. She also finds a big glass standalone lantern for £15.99 which she's pleased about. I find a reed diffuser for my partner X's flat. The total bill is £35, which my sister pays for. <br><br>12pm: Drive to Tesco to get my sister's passport photo done (she's winning by not looking like a serial killer). We also purchase chicken, mint, the cutest pumpkin outfit for my niece, a smock dress for myself and some snacks. Again, my sister pays this bill costing £55. <br><br>1.10pm: My sister and I finally make it home and debrief my Mum and brother-in-law on the car debacle. Brother-in-law (car lover) is all for me trying the new model but he gets my concern. We agree on me calling other dealerships to try and see if I can get a cheaper deal and try to negotiate with my current dealership. <br><br>2:00pm: I look after my niece while my sister makes the best biriyani. Obviously, a rice lunch combination means I now need a nap. <br><br>5pm: I set an alarm so I'm able to call few wedding vendors. I get in touch with decorators for my Asian wedding and chase on the other vendors I haven't heard from and update our wedding spreadsheet. The wedding budget has already been upped and it's a sad reality knowing how much we are paying yet we are still having to meet in the middle ground. <br><br>6:30pm: The desk I purchased from Amazon to fit nicely into my alcove in my dining room to serve arrives. I struggle to put it together as I initially attach the wrong pieces to each other. I resolve to accepting defeat and try to convince my brother-in-law to do it tomorrow.<br><br>7.30pm: Pop over to my parents, play with my niece and chill with my brother-in-law. It's been nice to have him and my sister around (they moved in with my parents for my niece's birth) and I am not looking forward to when they will move back to their own place. They live an hour and 15 minutes away from us so it will be a pain. But my niece will be worth the drive. <br><br>10pm: Come home and aim to go to bed for 11pm.<br><br>12.30pm: The joke is on me like always. I get distracted by dramas and go to bed late. <br><br><strong>Total:</strong> £54.49
Day One

7.30am: It's a Saturday and despite not sleeping until 2am (yay for TV dramas), my body betrays me and wakes me up before my alarm. I get distracted by my phone until 8.30am and run around like a headless chicken before I pick up my sister and head to my local car dealership.

9am: My PCP is coming to its end (due in November) and I have left it late to figure out what I want to do. My car is valued more than I expected and I am tempted by an upgrade to a different model. This means a difference of £130 per month, which I know I can afford but have a hard time rationalising. I tell the salesman I will be in touch and manage to escape without committing to anything.

10.30am: My sister and I head off to a local Asian store to pick up vegetables that you don't normally find in superstores. I find raw mangoes which I have been craving and purchase other things we fancy such as banana flower and jackfruit seeds (God bless Mum for having to cook them). I pay for the shop in cash and the total comes to £54.49.

11am: We went to The Range and find some cute Christmas things. My sister absolutely adores decorating her house for for the season and she wants to decorate her conservatory this year too. She also finds a big glass standalone lantern for £15.99 which she's pleased about. I find a reed diffuser for my partner X's flat. The total bill is £35, which my sister pays for.

12pm: Drive to Tesco to get my sister's passport photo done (she's winning by not looking like a serial killer). We also purchase chicken, mint, the cutest pumpkin outfit for my niece, a smock dress for myself and some snacks. Again, my sister pays this bill costing £55.

1.10pm: My sister and I finally make it home and debrief my Mum and brother-in-law on the car debacle. Brother-in-law (car lover) is all for me trying the new model but he gets my concern. We agree on me calling other dealerships to try and see if I can get a cheaper deal and try to negotiate with my current dealership.

2:00pm: I look after my niece while my sister makes the best biriyani. Obviously, a rice lunch combination means I now need a nap.

5pm: I set an alarm so I'm able to call few wedding vendors. I get in touch with decorators for my Asian wedding and chase on the other vendors I haven't heard from and update our wedding spreadsheet. The wedding budget has already been upped and it's a sad reality knowing how much we are paying yet we are still having to meet in the middle ground.

6:30pm: The desk I purchased from Amazon to fit nicely into my alcove in my dining room to serve arrives. I struggle to put it together as I initially attach the wrong pieces to each other. I resolve to accepting defeat and try to convince my brother-in-law to do it tomorrow.

7.30pm: Pop over to my parents, play with my niece and chill with my brother-in-law. It's been nice to have him and my sister around (they moved in with my parents for my niece's birth) and I am not looking forward to when they will move back to their own place. They live an hour and 15 minutes away from us so it will be a pain. But my niece will be worth the drive.

10pm: Come home and aim to go to bed for 11pm.

12.30pm: The joke is on me like always. I get distracted by dramas and go to bed late.

Total: £54.49
<strong>Day Two</strong><br><br>9am: Rudely awakened by my alarm and roll out of bed. I have my coffee and start cleaning my house. I tackle the living room and the kitchen as the dining room is still a mess from trying to build my new desk. <br><br>11am: I get distracted catching up with X and trying to figure out what I want from my dealership. Decide to do an oil hair treatment, which takes a while.<br><br>12.15 pm: Leave for the car dealership and make the mistake of thinking we will be only gone for an hour and opt for a late lunch. <br><br>1pm: Arrive at the dealership and quickly grab a coffee and some Biscoff biscuits. I look like a pig but I am starving. <br><br>3.30pm: I get a message from my preferred wedding make-up artist that she is not available on the day of my civil wedding. Boo. Now I am really stuck on who I want.<br><br>4.30 pm: 3.5 hours, a test drive and various discussions later, I have ordered a new car and I want to get home as soon as possible. The downside is that I am £1,000 poorer to pay as a deposit for building my car. My monthly payments rise by £90 per month but it’s something I am able to digest. Toy with the idea of putting a further deposit down but one for the future. <br><br>5.20pm: Get home, with a headache and have very late lunch/early dinner. I head off to catch my fiancé before his night shift. It's very rare that I see him during his night shifts but I miss his face so why not.<br><br>9.30pm: Try to get past the headache and fail. I fall asleep at X's when he leaves for work, so I catch up with his flatmate and then head home only to get into bed. <br><br><strong>Total: </strong>£1,000
Day Two

9am: Rudely awakened by my alarm and roll out of bed. I have my coffee and start cleaning my house. I tackle the living room and the kitchen as the dining room is still a mess from trying to build my new desk.

11am: I get distracted catching up with X and trying to figure out what I want from my dealership. Decide to do an oil hair treatment, which takes a while.

12.15 pm: Leave for the car dealership and make the mistake of thinking we will be only gone for an hour and opt for a late lunch.

1pm: Arrive at the dealership and quickly grab a coffee and some Biscoff biscuits. I look like a pig but I am starving.

3.30pm: I get a message from my preferred wedding make-up artist that she is not available on the day of my civil wedding. Boo. Now I am really stuck on who I want.

4.30 pm: 3.5 hours, a test drive and various discussions later, I have ordered a new car and I want to get home as soon as possible. The downside is that I am £1,000 poorer to pay as a deposit for building my car. My monthly payments rise by £90 per month but it’s something I am able to digest. Toy with the idea of putting a further deposit down but one for the future.

5.20pm: Get home, with a headache and have very late lunch/early dinner. I head off to catch my fiancé before his night shift. It's very rare that I see him during his night shifts but I miss his face so why not.

9.30pm: Try to get past the headache and fail. I fall asleep at X's when he leaves for work, so I catch up with his flatmate and then head home only to get into bed.

Total: £1,000
<strong>Day Three</strong><br><br>7.40am: I wake up without a headache, yay me! I forgot to set an alarm so I'm grateful for my body clock. <br><br>8.30am: Showered, coffee consumed and get started for the day. <br><br>11am: ASOS got my order wrong and they send me my replacement, yay!<br><br>1.20pm: I make a quick tuna wrap and get back to work. <br><br>6.30pm: Work is a bit manic and I'm in various back-to-back meetings. It's a wonder how I get any work done. <br><br>7pm: Quickly grab some dinner and pop around to my parents to see my niece. <br><br>7.15pm: X's cousins are moving countries and I promised to go round before they leave. It's a big commitment for a school night but decide to head over.<br><br>8.30pm: Catch up with X's parents and cousins and grab a quick Turkish takeaway costing £10.40.<br><br>12.15am: Get back late and I set my alarm for later so I can roll out of bed just in time for work. <br><br><strong>Total</strong>: £10.40
Day Three

7.40am: I wake up without a headache, yay me! I forgot to set an alarm so I'm grateful for my body clock.

8.30am: Showered, coffee consumed and get started for the day.

11am: ASOS got my order wrong and they send me my replacement, yay!

1.20pm: I make a quick tuna wrap and get back to work.

6.30pm: Work is a bit manic and I'm in various back-to-back meetings. It's a wonder how I get any work done.

7pm: Quickly grab some dinner and pop around to my parents to see my niece.

7.15pm: X's cousins are moving countries and I promised to go round before they leave. It's a big commitment for a school night but decide to head over.

8.30pm: Catch up with X's parents and cousins and grab a quick Turkish takeaway costing £10.40.

12.15am: Get back late and I set my alarm for later so I can roll out of bed just in time for work.

Total: £10.40
<strong>Day Four </strong><br><br>8am: Convince myself to roll out of bed, shower, make coffee and get started. I'm struggling to concentrate today and feel a bit defeated at the moment. <br><br>10am: Have a meltdown at X that I am stressed about my job. Since I've started, I've been focused on a project and not necessarily the BAU tasks and I feel useless. <br><br>12.25pm: Have some of the chickpea curry X made for me. It's lush and I'm too lazy to have anything else. <br><br>2.55pm: Make tea and scoff down some dark chocolate digestives before my meeting. No wonder X always says I spend my life in meetings. <br><br>5pm: I try to finish up work and fail. We end up having to get some slide decks out to the wider team to communicate.<br><br>6.30pm: Finish work and head off to my parents to play with my niece. She heads back to her home tomorrow and I am not looking forward to seeing her be far away. I already know the struggle is going to be unreal.<br><br>8pm: X comes home to say bye to the little one too. We ended up sharing cuddles with her.<br><br>11pm: Come home and get into bed early for the day in the office.<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> £0
Day Four

8am: Convince myself to roll out of bed, shower, make coffee and get started. I'm struggling to concentrate today and feel a bit defeated at the moment.

10am: Have a meltdown at X that I am stressed about my job. Since I've started, I've been focused on a project and not necessarily the BAU tasks and I feel useless.

12.25pm: Have some of the chickpea curry X made for me. It's lush and I'm too lazy to have anything else.

2.55pm: Make tea and scoff down some dark chocolate digestives before my meeting. No wonder X always says I spend my life in meetings.

5pm: I try to finish up work and fail. We end up having to get some slide decks out to the wider team to communicate.

6.30pm: Finish work and head off to my parents to play with my niece. She heads back to her home tomorrow and I am not looking forward to seeing her be far away. I already know the struggle is going to be unreal.

8pm: X comes home to say bye to the little one too. We ended up sharing cuddles with her.

11pm: Come home and get into bed early for the day in the office.

Total: £0
<strong>Day Five</strong><br><br>7am: Why do I have to go into the office again?<br><br>7.40am: Snooze and snuggle until it's very apparent I am going to be very late.<br><br>8.20am: Get into the office and have a quick chin wag with a couple of my colleagues. Yes, I do live fairly close to my office but I usually give it 30 minutes to get into the office and it's always stressful. <br><br>8.50am: My manager gets in and fancies a coffee. He purchases me a latte (starting to become a tradition) and he refuses to let me pay.<br><br>11am: Implementation of the project doesn't go well and I'm ready to pull my hair out. When did I become the expert?<br><br>1.15pm: My manager and I go for a wander to grab food. Pret fails me so I end up with an M&S meal deal of BLT, sweet chilli crisps and coke costing £5. <br><br>6.30pm: Are you seeing a pattern of what time I start and finish yet? Leave the office and go directly to my parents. My grandma messaged to say that she's made dinner for me and I couldn't refuse. <br><br>7.30pm: Catch up with my old work friend on Facetime for the first time in ages. Trying to plan a wedding, have a niece and start a new job is taking a toll. <br><br>8pm: Catch up with my parents, who just get back from settling my sister, brother-in-law and my niece at home. It feels weird to be in my parent's house without my niece. <br><br>9.30pm: I am absolutely shattered so I head home and get into bed. I barely make it to see it hit 10 pm. <br><br><strong>Total: </strong>£5.00
Day Five

7am: Why do I have to go into the office again?

7.40am: Snooze and snuggle until it's very apparent I am going to be very late.

8.20am: Get into the office and have a quick chin wag with a couple of my colleagues. Yes, I do live fairly close to my office but I usually give it 30 minutes to get into the office and it's always stressful.

8.50am: My manager gets in and fancies a coffee. He purchases me a latte (starting to become a tradition) and he refuses to let me pay.

11am: Implementation of the project doesn't go well and I'm ready to pull my hair out. When did I become the expert?

1.15pm: My manager and I go for a wander to grab food. Pret fails me so I end up with an M&S meal deal of BLT, sweet chilli crisps and coke costing £5.

6.30pm: Are you seeing a pattern of what time I start and finish yet? Leave the office and go directly to my parents. My grandma messaged to say that she's made dinner for me and I couldn't refuse.

7.30pm: Catch up with my old work friend on Facetime for the first time in ages. Trying to plan a wedding, have a niece and start a new job is taking a toll.

8pm: Catch up with my parents, who just get back from settling my sister, brother-in-law and my niece at home. It feels weird to be in my parent's house without my niece.

9.30pm: I am absolutely shattered so I head home and get into bed. I barely make it to see it hit 10 pm.

Total: £5.00
<strong>Day Six</strong><br><br>8am: Despite heading to bed early, I still struggle to get out of bed. Why am I ridiculously tired of late?<br><br>10am: Work is actually too much recently. Trying to prioritise and keep on top when things are coming from various angles is quite difficult. I wish I can have a day break just to sort myself out at work. <br><br>12.30pm: Quickly break for lunch and carry on with work. <br><br>6.30pm: Finish work and have a quick nap. I am that tired.<br><br>8pm: I have a snack. X is going to Nando’s and the movies with friends (I didn't really fancy watching a film) so he is grabbing me a takeaway.<br><br>9pm: Finally time for a food shop. Head to Aldi and grab olives, halloumi, feta, avocado, focaccia and some candles for £17.46.<br><br>11pm: X gets home and I scoff down half the Nando’s. Not sure I am a fan of the imitation wrap (I think it's to do with the chilli jam.)<br><br>12pm: Bedtime. Why do I sleep late knowing work is horrendous?<br><br><strong>Total:</strong> £17.46
Day Six

8am: Despite heading to bed early, I still struggle to get out of bed. Why am I ridiculously tired of late?

10am: Work is actually too much recently. Trying to prioritise and keep on top when things are coming from various angles is quite difficult. I wish I can have a day break just to sort myself out at work.

12.30pm: Quickly break for lunch and carry on with work.

6.30pm: Finish work and have a quick nap. I am that tired.

8pm: I have a snack. X is going to Nando’s and the movies with friends (I didn't really fancy watching a film) so he is grabbing me a takeaway.

9pm: Finally time for a food shop. Head to Aldi and grab olives, halloumi, feta, avocado, focaccia and some candles for £17.46.

11pm: X gets home and I scoff down half the Nando’s. Not sure I am a fan of the imitation wrap (I think it's to do with the chilli jam.)

12pm: Bedtime. Why do I sleep late knowing work is horrendous?

Total: £17.46
<strong>Day Seven</strong><br><br>8am: Struggle to get out of bed again. Surprise.<br><br>8.35am: My previous company has been crappy with picking up my laptop, desktop and chair. The courier turns up unannounced just as I get out of the shower. I am so annoyed but not sure who to show it to. <br><br>8.50am: Log in after a slight delay and get started. <br><br>11am: My manager and I write up a list, of which we have only ticked off one thing so far. How?? <br><br>12.30pm: Find out the major flaws to our project. Highlight this as a risk to my manager and we have a backup plan sourced. <br><br>1.30pm: Finish the remaining Nando’s off and get back into work.<br><br>3.30pm: For everything I tick off my to do list, another two things get added.<br><br>6pm: The biggest joke is that my manager wanted to finish around 3pm today. Email our next steps and the decisions we require from everyone and log off. I plan to log in for a bit this weekend and do some work.<br><br>7pm: Nap for an hour. My head hurts.<br><br>8pm: Have dinner (pasta can do no harm). I figure I'm still shattered and just laze around on the sofa.<br><br>10pm: I am so tired I get into bed at 10 pm. Yay. <br><br><strong>Total:</strong> £0.00
Day Seven

8am: Struggle to get out of bed again. Surprise.

8.35am: My previous company has been crappy with picking up my laptop, desktop and chair. The courier turns up unannounced just as I get out of the shower. I am so annoyed but not sure who to show it to.

8.50am: Log in after a slight delay and get started.

11am: My manager and I write up a list, of which we have only ticked off one thing so far. How??

12.30pm: Find out the major flaws to our project. Highlight this as a risk to my manager and we have a backup plan sourced.

1.30pm: Finish the remaining Nando’s off and get back into work.

3.30pm: For everything I tick off my to do list, another two things get added.

6pm: The biggest joke is that my manager wanted to finish around 3pm today. Email our next steps and the decisions we require from everyone and log off. I plan to log in for a bit this weekend and do some work.

7pm: Nap for an hour. My head hurts.

8pm: Have dinner (pasta can do no harm). I figure I'm still shattered and just laze around on the sofa.

10pm: I am so tired I get into bed at 10 pm. Yay.

Total: £0.00
<strong>The Breakdown</strong><br><br>Food & Drink: £87.45<br>Clothes & Beauty: £0<br>Home & Health: £0<br>Entertainment: £0<br>Travel: £0<br>Other: £1,000 <br><br>Total: £1,087.45<br><br><strong>Conclusion</strong><br><br>"Despite being an accountant, it always shocks me how much things add up. I definitely err on the side of impulsive spending. X and I cannot say no to each other and we do end up getting takeaways quite a bit. Recording my spend has been scary but it also made me very conscious. The car deposit was a one-off which makes my figures look quite high. Work being busy has meant generally my spend is actually a bit lower than usual. I want to carry on doing a weekly total of my expenditure so that I consider my impulsive spending and prevent unnecessary spending too."
The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £87.45
Clothes & Beauty: £0
Home & Health: £0
Entertainment: £0
Travel: £0
Other: £1,000

Total: £1,087.45

Conclusion

"Despite being an accountant, it always shocks me how much things add up. I definitely err on the side of impulsive spending. X and I cannot say no to each other and we do end up getting takeaways quite a bit. Recording my spend has been scary but it also made me very conscious. The car deposit was a one-off which makes my figures look quite high. Work being busy has meant generally my spend is actually a bit lower than usual. I want to carry on doing a weekly total of my expenditure so that I consider my impulsive spending and prevent unnecessary spending too."

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