Money Diary: A University Lecturer In Wales On 20.2k
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 29 years old and currently work two roles at a university as a senior administrative officer and a lecturer. I am 36 weeks pregnant and about to go on maternity leave. My teaching contract is due to end at the end of the month so I won’t be returning to that role after my maternity leave; my administrative role is a recurring contract which has been confirmed to continue when I return from maternity leave. I’ve always considered myself quite good with money but I’ve never lived in particularly highly paid areas or chased high-paying jobs. I have lived with my husband for five years and we bought a house together about eight months ago. Though we adore our home it has been nothing but a financial nightmare, with a leak and endless spiral of problems appearing the day after I found out I was pregnant. My husband’s children are from different relationships and his daughter is with us 50% of the time, broken into the 5 5 2 2 system, which works really well for us all. His son lives further away so is with us alternating weekends and then the similar 5 5 2 2 pattern during school holidays."
Occupation: Administrator and lecturer Industry: Education Age: 29 Location: Wales Salary: £12,090 for my administrator role, £8,185 for my lecturer role Paycheque amount: £1,385 after deductions such as tax, pension, national insurance. Number of housemates: One husband full-time (S), one stepdaughter (L) and one stepson (P). Pronouns: She/her
Housing costs: £520 split equally between my husband and me. Loan payments: I owe about £24,000 in student loans and pay the minimum each month. My husband and I also owe my parents about £50,000 as they helped us with emergency house repairs (for which we are eternally grateful). Pension: I have a very basic pension and pay in about £40 a month. Savings? I have about £5,000 in savings but we have some ongoing work taking place in our house and I owe our plumber about £2,000, which will be paid on completion of the work. I plan to give most of the remainder to my parents afterwards to start paying back our debt. Utilities: Split equally with my husband our bills include: internet £41, water £30, gas and electric £120, council tax £230. We pay for home insurance annually. All other monthly payments: £52 a month for my phone plan, which feels disgustingly high (it does include accidental damage insurance though). Subscriptions: National Trust membership £11, life insurance £12, charity donations £11, Now TV £2.99 (I’ll cancel this when it goes up), Amazon Prime £79 annually.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I paid for my undergraduate degree with student loans and worked part-time when possible. Student loans were not available for master's programmes when I did mine but my dad kindly paid for my master's tuition fees with money he received from inheritance. I worked alongside my master's to pay for my living expenses. For my PhD (which I withdrew from), I received a full fee waiver from the university so I did not pay any fees. I did not receive any stipend so I worked alongside this.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I was always aware of money growing up, though I don’t recall many specific discussions about it with my parents. I was taught the difference between essentials and non-essentials, which has always stuck with me, and I was always fairly aware of what we could afford. I knew some children had a lot more money but was also aware that I was more fortunate than many.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I stayed at college for an extra year because I was indecisive so I moved out for university at 19 years old. I did move back for a couple of short periods (one or two months at a time) in between years of study and jobs.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I feel like I have been financially responsible for myself since I moved out of my parents’ house but at the same time they have always been there as a safety net and I knew they were always there to help if I needed it – for example our roofing issues! My husband and I share bills so I feel like although we are financially responsible for ourselves, our finances are also very much intertwined and we would struggle without each other now.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a copy and print centre. I got it because I applied for hundreds of jobs and was available on the days they needed cover.
Do you worry about money now?
I do. I used to worry terribly about money but had gotten a lot more relaxed (no longer always picking the cheapest option on the menu for the sake of 30p) until we had to spend thousands of pounds on emergency work on our house and are now in massive debt to my parents. I feel very guilty for any expenses I make while owing them money. I’d love to have a pregnancy massage as I’m pretty sore these days but I absolutely cannot justify spending £50 on myself right now, even though I know they wouldn’t mind me getting something to help myself. At the same time I also feel awful for worrying when I know that I am in a really privileged position to be able to rely on my family for such generous help.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I received about £50,000 in inheritance which allowed my husband and me to buy our home. We were ready to look at buying at the time anyway but could never have afforded a house of this size, and without this money we likely would not have been able to consider having a child together (without this having a negative impact on his other children).
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