Money Diary: A 30-Year-Old Copywriter In Hertfordshire On 50k
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 people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
As every person's financial situation is unique, going forward we're asking diarists to complete a series of financial-based questions to provide readers with more context to their relationship with money. Please remember before commenting that the diarists are from a range of backgrounds and cultures and their experience, education and mental relationship with money might be very different from yours. Money Diaries are designed to provide readers with diverse experiences of spending, saving and asking for morein the hope that by learning from each other, we can build a more positive financial future together.
This week: "I’m a 30-year-old copywriter and I split my time between London (living with my boyfriend, M) and the Shires (living with my parents). I’ve been a copywriter for about nine years, mainly working agency-side for technology companies. I’ve just started a new job, client-side, in the DEI space. Earlier this year, my mental health crashed. Looking back to the Worst Days, I can barely remember a thing. Just a big, bluey black void. It was shit. So I left London, moved back in with my parents and crossed paths with a horse. Horse, C, was going through his own shit but he helped me heal. He was quiet and calm, and dragged me out of the hellhole in my head. When his owner asked if I’d like to buy him, it was a pretty obvious decision. He cleared out my savings but who needs mortgages and holidays and new clothes anyway? I haven’t lived the day-to-day Horse Life for about three years, after my old boy retired. So balancing that with London living, with starting a new job remotely, with spending time with M and friends… Yeah it’s a few plates to spin, I guess."
Occupation: Copywriter Industry: Consultancy Age: 30 Location: London/the Shires Salary: £50,000 Paycheque amount: I haven’t had a paycheque from this role yet but somewhere (hopefully) in the region of £2,800 (after NI, pension, tax and student loan). Number of housemates: In London, one (M). Outside of London, two (Mum and Dad).
Housing costs: I pay £560 rent for the flat in London. I stay there around three days a week and M covers the rest. Loan payments: Personal loan £197 (I was an idiot about three years ago and took out a loan to buy a 4x4 and trailer). Savings? I have about £1,000 left after buying C. Enough to hopefully cover any big vet bills/car repairs. I try to save about £500/month. This will likely take a hit now C is on the scene and I’m trying not to stress about that. Utilities/phone: Energy £40 for my half, council tax £104 for my half, water about £15 for my half, phone £12 for a SIM-only deal. Subscriptions: Spotify £9.99, Disney+ £59 yearly, Netflix £6.99, Cats Protection £5, contact lenses £18, British Horse Society £60 yearly. Pension? As this is a new role, I won’t start contributing for another couple of months. Other: £30/month into a Monzo pot for car expenses (my insurance is about £300/year and tax is £20/year). Horse-related expenses… I put £500/month into C’s pot in Monzo, which covers £280/month for stable, feed, hay and bedding, £45 every six weeks for his shoes and £60 every six weeks for his physio appointment. I also budget for his vaccinations and dentist (one or two times a year), and when/if we start competing, that’ll be another, oh, say billion pounds per month.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? I don’t really remember any conversations about paths that weren’t via uni tbh. At a pretty formative age, I was told if I wanted my own horse, I’d need the money for it. And if I wanted to earn enough money, I’d need a good job. And if I wanted a good job, I should go to uni. If I did it again – knowing what I know now about my career – I wouldn’t go. But back then I had this real, physical pain to have a horse and I was like, yeah sure. Get me to that horsey world ASAP (which meant going to uni). I took out student loans and worked part-time jobs around my course during term-time, as well as full-time during summer holidays. (Two years in a row at a shoe shop. I have felt Things.)
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? We didn’t have loads of money growing up. My parents had me quite young and moved to the UK when I was small. I didn’t really notice the money thing 'til secondary school, where we were the only ones who didn’t do foreign holidays and stuff like that. But my dad has a great attitude to money. He’s worked SO HARD to provide for us and for a dream retirement for him and Mum. He’s always happy to help me with financial planning but doesn’t get why I’m willing to spend so much on horses.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house? I moved out for uni, then came back after graduating. Moved out to travel aged 22, then returned at 30. I’m so grateful to have parents who put up with my boomeranging. And tbh, they’re the best people I know so it’s cool to hang out with them more.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? Sort of when I was 21 and got my first post-uni job, though not properly. I was paying my parents some rent but not much. So I guess officially around 22 when I left to travel then moved in with a boyfriend.
What was your first job and why did you get it? I had a part-time job at John Lewis when I was 16-18, which covered all the usual stuff: Reading Festival tickets, petrol money, alcohol, horse-riding. My first job after uni was as an editorial assistant for a health and safety publication. I worked four days a week and learned a lot about slurry pits.
Do you worry about money now? Yeah. Money is an evergreen, year-round-flowering branch on my Worry Tree. I’ve made a few big financial mistakes (see ‘Taking Out Personal Loan’ and also ‘Buying A Horse Spontaneously’) so I work hard and move jobs often for better paid opportunities to make up for it.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Nope, and as far as I’m aware, it’s not on the cards.
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