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 work for a small education charity, with responsibility for holding the relationships with partners, funders and donors. After a blistering six months of stress, worry and long days at a laptop, I am being made redundant from my role as our organisation is sadly closing down due to the impact of COVID-19 on funding and the sector.
After a decade of renting in London, earlier this year I bought my own flat and relocated to the coast (couldn’t be happier about the timing of being by the sea during lockdown). I had financial support from my family and I know I was very fortunate to have some inheritance to enable me to have a deposit to buy on my own. I have progressed in my current organisation to a senior role which meant my salary helped get me the mortgage I needed.
Having always lived with close friends it has been a huge adjustment to solo living. There are many amazing perks to having my own space completely to myself but wow, lockdown was incredibly challenging and I felt very alone and overwhelmed on a daily basis. Fortunately I met some wonderful neighbours during that time, and had two friends within walking distance that I could meet for doorstep coffees.
As of mid-October I will be unemployed and I am very worried financially for my future (job hunting in the charity sector during a recession – yay). I have taken a mortgage holiday for three months, analysed my savings (I have around three months' living costs to fall back on), cleaned out my direct debits and completed a balance transfer from a credit card to a new interest-free one. All in preparation for the worst-case scenario of longer term unemployment than my redundancy pay will cover."
Industry: Charity sector
Location: East Sussex
Paycheque amount: £2,754 after tax, NI, student loan and employee pension scheme
Number of housemates: None
Housing costs: Mortgage is £730 a month, ground rent £150 a year and service charge £1,650 a year.
Loan payments: £100 a month to a credit card that has around £2,000 on (a build-up of purchases from the last two years such as flights, some small furniture for the flat, big food shops etc), £200 a month student loan repayment which comes straight out of my paycheque.
Utilities: Gas/electricity is currently £28 a month with Bulb, this will go up a bit once I cave in and start putting the heating on for winter. Council tax is £114 a month, water £25, internet £17.99, TV licence £12.
Transportation: None. I was commuting four days a week pre-pandemic and it was costing me around £400 a month so that’s been a huge saving. I walk or cycle everywhere that I need to get to where I live.
Phone bill: £37 a month. For years I have been meaning to move to a SIM only contract so I aim to sort this out in the next few months.
Savings? £6,300 in a flexible ISA. I have been able to save around £800 a month since lockdown, mainly due to no travel costs and, of course, no socialising. This is a lifesaver given my impending unemployment but has also opened my eyes to how much I spent on small regular purchases like coffee, lunches and impromptu after-work drinks. I use Monzo for my weekly spending (everything other than bills) and have the round-up pot. I try to live off £100 a week but honestly there is usually at least one £30+ purchase that I use my current account for which is a lazy habit and skews my spending budgets.
Other: Contact lenses £14 a month, Netflix £5.99 (soon to be cancelled, am looking for someone’s account to tag onto please!), Amazon Prime £7.99 (soon to be cancelled), home insurance £20, Spotify £9.99 (debating whether to cancel but I hate adverts and love my downloadable playlists so we will see).
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