Money Diary: An Admissions Assistant In Edinburgh On 20k

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 originally from Ireland but haven’t lived there since I finished uni about five years ago. My financial situation has only become a focus for me since moving back from Abu Dhabi three years ago to do my master's in Edinburgh as I’d always dreamed of living in the city. I managed to save quite a lot while teaching and tutoring but funnelled this money towards travelling everywhere from Lebanon to Sri Lanka to New Zealand and South America over two years. The rest of the savings went towards covering my master's so I was starting from the ground up in 2019 when I landed my original job in higher education, which was also my first office job as I’d worked a lot as a teacher in uni and then straight after in Abu Dhabi. I worked in this department for a year and had a real interest in admissions and recruitment and was offered a fixed term role as an admissions assistant late last year until this August.
I’m currently thinking of taking the dive and getting my PGDE here in Scotland next year as teaching as a career is something that comes into my head every couple of months. Even since leaving teaching I’ve continued to work in education so I think my subconscious is trying to prove something. I have an existential crisis nearly every day over whether it's the right decision as parts of my teaching life in Abu Dhabi were not good for my mental health. But I know and friends have said that I make a great teacher so I try to remember this and have confidence in myself. My savings will probably be wiped out if I take the plunge but I am hoping to really up my saving in the coming months to set me up.
I definitely worry about not having a lot saved, not knowing what ISA or equity is and not having had a pension fund for very long and seeming so far from big life steps I see friends making back home in Ireland and elsewhere. I try to remind myself that I love to travel and I don’t think I’d change anything but it doesn’t always stop the anxiety and feeling 12 steps behind." 
Industry: Higher education
Age: 28
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Salary: £20,675
Paycheque amount: £1,418.33 (once tax and my pension have been deducted)
Number of housemates: One, L 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £875 rent per month split between us both, £135 council tax split between us, £12 for my share of the Wi-Fi and our electricity is always a bit confusing but usually between £10-20 per month. 
Loan payments: £0
Transport: Currently nothing fixed as I am not using a monthly bus pass anymore. Generally I’d maybe spend between £5 to £10 on bus tickets in the month overall. I still try to save the equivalent of the bus pass every month in a Revolut vault and use this build-up to avoid touching my savings pot when I want to splurge. 
Savings? Around £4,000 which I’ve built up since starting my job two years ago. This is split across a couple of vaults for general savings, travel, bus pass and birthday money which I’ve earmarked for new clothes eventually. I’ve about €2,000 in a bank account based in Ireland which I rarely use and so is another form of savings. I’m currently trying to maximise my savings for if I do go back to uni to become a teacher so have been using a saving challenge I found on Pinterest to try to get me to save £2,000 this year. 
Other: £10 for my phone plan with Vodafone though I now sporadically top up since the pandemic and lockdowns. Cloud storage 79p. Grüum shampoo/conditioner bars subscription every three months £11 – I originally got into these for travelling but actually really enjoy using them compared to bottles. Netflix but this comes from my Irish account and is about €8 I think. I bought the Body Coach app when on offer back in January for the year in one lump sum (£60ish). Calm Premium £17.99 – I stumbled across this amazing offer and couldn’t resist so I finally caved and I have had no regrets. I did have Spotify Premium three month trial but I cancelled it before I was charged and I hate past me's decision every time an ad comes on. 
If you're interested in completing your own money diary for Refinery29 please send some information about yourself and your situation to Published diarists are paid. Please note we are not able to respond to all emails.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series