Money Diary: A 26-Year-Old Accountant On 35k

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 26-year-old accountant from West Sussex with two cats (who live at my mum's), a recent ADHD diagnosis (bit of an oxymoron with the job title, I know) and a long-suffering boyfriend. My boyfriend and I are in the process of buying a house as he recently sold his so it's a stressful but very busy time! My salary is £35,530 per year with a couple of side hustles (mostly eBay and online surveys). Everything I spend is strictly budgeted but I do have some impulse spending here and there."
Occupation: Industry accountant 
Industry: Hospitality  
Age: 26
Location: Sussex
Salary: £35,530
Paycheque amount: £2,300.17 (£2,129.36 when I'm in the pension scheme).
Number of housemates: Technically one, my boyfriend B. I live at his for all intents and purposes but I haven’t officially ‘moved in’ so I'm still paying my mum rent.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £100. I’m so lucky that this is all Mum asks for (it’s more of a storage fee than rent). I don’t contribute to B’s mortgage as I'm the only one who has a car so I pay for that instead. 
Loan payments: £110.24. I got a personal loan to buy a car when mine broke. I would have preferred to have saved but I needed one quick so I could get to the stables and care for the horse I had at the time. 
Pension? I do have a pension, however I decided to take a three-month break from the payments when the offer was accepted on the house to ensure I had enough to buy some white goods we need replacing and a sofa. The house fell through but I am keeping the break to save as much as possible. I am lucky to have over £30,000 in my pension pots combined so I don’t feel too worried about taking a small break. 
Savings? £23,660 for my house deposit and associated costs. We are currently viewing properties and have just had one fall through so with any luck we will find another house and that deposit will be in my bank no longer! I also have savings pots for things like my annual car insurance, my annual car tax (both pretty empty as I paid for them both last month), £500 in a pot reserved for car maintenance costs, £100 in a pot for a holiday we are planning to book mid-2023, £30 in a pot towards Mum's birthday next year and £190 towards Christmas this year. I add to these pots every pay date. This may sound barmy to some but I find if I give my savings pots a purpose then I don’t dip into them. Due to my ADHD I often spend very impulsively. 
Utilities: Included in rent.
All other monthly payments: SIM only phone, £15. Subscriptions: iPhone storage 79p. Nutracheck app £3.99. PFK donation £1 (to keep the payment line open, I donate ad hoc depending on what fundraiser they are having on their Facebook page).
 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I didn’t go to university. I just wanted to get out there, work and earn money! Instead I am studying to become a chartered accountant. I buy the books and study in my lunch break and after work. Nine exams down, only four to go! 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I don’t remember having any conversations about finance growing up. I am so lucky that my mum has always been incredible with money. It was only when I grew up that I realised how much of a struggle it must have been to be a single mum with a house of her own, paying for childcare, riding lessons (not cheap!) and everything else that comes with children and life.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out for a brief period and moved to the next county. My relationship broke down the day before I moved to be with him (I think we all know how that one goes!) but I went anyway. I can honestly say it was a horrendous mistake and I came home after six months. I have a key and stay nearly every night at B’s now but my things are still at Mum's and I’m often there if B is out as I don’t like being at his on my own so much. 
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I don’t have anyone cover aspects of my life financially but I think it’s important to recognise the privilege I have in being able to live at my mum's for such a small contribution. I became fully responsible for myself at approximately 17 when I left college. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first real job was in a shop at 16 on £3.68 an hour. I spent a lot of my childhood at the local stables, working there all day for a ride in the evening.
 
Do you worry about money now?
I wouldn’t say that I worry about things day to day, I am lucky that I am on a good wage and that B is also. I set myself back a huge amount in terms of savings by owning horses for six years (and riding all my life in one form or another). I know I have paid out £29,000 alone in vet fees across those years, which would have covered the house deposit I have managed to save since last year. 
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I haven’t, however I would count the purchase of my first car and insurance (£3,200) and my first horse (£2,000) by my mum in this bracket. 

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