Money Diary: A 37-Year-Old In Advertising On 150k

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’ve worked in advertising since I left university. I had a strong work ethic but went absolutely feral for a few years, enjoying the London lifestyle and acting like the discount version of Ab Fab. I took cabs everywhere and wouldn’t think twice about buying a new outfit before a media party. Short-term it was very fun but I quickly got into a spiral of credit and racked up a lot of debt – £35,000 in fact.
After a few years, I was barely sleeping for the panic. I didn’t want to ask my parents to bail me out so I finally got a seven-year consolidation loan from the bank. It was tough to pay off but also the best thing I’ve ever done. 
When I turned 30, I finally became debt-free. I have worked hard at my career and so thanks to the rising wages, I quickly saved up a small deposit to buy my first flat. In the same month I completed on that flat, I broke up with my boyfriend and started a new job, so it was quite an intense time! I realised I needed to reassess what made me happy, particularly if I was likely to be single for a while (which, it turns out, I have been ever since). I’ve worked on that throughout my 30s. I think it means I’m still a bit too laissez-faire with my money but I like to use it to make the best of life. My parents are generous to a fault, with time and money, and I think I get a bit of that from them. 
I also stopped drinking in my early 30s and although I feel miles better for it, I try not to be one of those evangelic types. It has saved me a lot of money though! I sold my first flat for a decent profit after four years and bought my house. It’s been a true haven in the last year, especially my little garden.
I got into debt again when I bought the house but it was because I needed to buy a new roof, boiler and car in a short period so I don’t feel so guilty about this and I set up a clear payment plan from the off, which I overpaid on last year. I’m now about six months away from being debt-free. I know I could pay this last bit off a bit more quickly but I’m enjoying living life again after lockdown. Learning to save and not spend all my money at the start of the month is my next money goal! That said, I do have a decent pension, having set one up after I last cleared my debt.
I’m very close to my family and I think in the end, it’ll be my responsibility to provide financial security for them all. My mum was the main wage earner in the family while she worked so now she’s retired, I see that as my job. At times in the last year, it’s been challenging being single and living alone. However, I ultimately know how lucky I am, with a safe home, good job and great friends. Overall, I’ve never been happier." 
Industry: Advertising
Age: 37
Location: Crystal Palace, London
Salary: £131,000 base, plus minimum annual bonus amounting to approx. £150,000/year.
Paycheque amount: £6,350
Number of housemates: None
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £1,350 mortgage.
Loan payments: £572 on my loan, £59 on a payment scheme for my windows.
Utilities: Water £29, council tax £100, gas and electric £100, TV licence £13, car tax £13, car insurance £49, home insurance £12.
Transportation:
£40 on petrol. Nothing at the moment on public transport as I’ve been working from home, but usually £120 on my Oyster card.
Phone bill: £35 for SIM only.
Savings? None, that is a work in progress after years of debt!
Other: Spotify £9.99. Caved in to all the TV subscriptions during lockdown: Disney+ £5.99, BritBox £5.99, Netflix £6.99, Now TV £9.99. Clothing via Stitch Fix £10. Cleaner £80. Posh gym membership £146, which is extravagant but is the only way I can make myself go! National Trust £6. Ocado delivery pass £9.99. Regular charity donations £350.
If you are interested in doing your own money diary, please send some information about yourself to moneydiary@refinery29.uk. Each published diary will receive £100. Apologies but we aren't able to reply to every email.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series