Money Diary: An Archaeologist Living In Edinburgh On 23k

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 am a Canadian/German immigrant living in Edinburgh. I work in commercial archaeology; I started off as a digger for two and a half years on temporary contracts before transitioning to a permanent office job (at an archaeology company) that's higher paid and requires less travel but means I spend almost no time doing fieldwork, my original passion. My new role involves training people and doing various marketing things because I am somewhat savvy on social media. Having spent a few years in school getting degrees I am now just trying to focus on saving money for future life events (eye surgery, house, wedding, etc.) but am finding it surprisingly hard to rein in spending now that I don’t have to live on a shoestring budget or worry about not having work next month/week (yay for a permanent contract!)."
Industry: Archaeology/Heritage
Age: 29
Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £23,000 – with potential for bonuses
Paycheque amount: £1,540
Number of housemates: 1 – my partner (R)
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £432.50. We pay £865 a month for a two-bed which is about the low to middle end of the spectrum in Edinburgh.
Loan payments: None at the moment. My parents helped out with university and I have an agreement to pay them back but only when I am financially stable enough to do so (they'd rather I worry about buying a house first).
Utilities: £105.50 – council tax, internet and gas/electricity (my partner insists on a quarterly power bill so I set aside money for it each month).
Transportation: £53 a month for my Ridacard, luckily there is a bus that goes almost straight from my house to work. We have a car but my partner likes to pay all the insurance/road tax for it annually instead of monthly; he is also the one using it 95% of the time so usually pays for the petrol. I still get anxious driving manual (the cars I drove back home were automatic) so I am trying to make myself drive more.
Phone bill: £31.04
Savings? Varies. I try to at least put a couple hundred pounds into my savings each month, but I usually have SOMETHING to pay off. Right now I’m trying to get rid of credit card charges from our trip to Canada for Christmas and save up to have eye surgery in May (I'm not eligible for Lasik so have to get something much more expensive). I’m also putting aside £50 a month right now for spending money on a holiday I have booked in June for my 30th birthday (going to Turkey with my best friend – so excited!).
Other: Stair cleaning £3, Netflix £4, camera insurance £3.49, Historic Scotland membership £3.91, gym £58, sewing class £94 every eight weeks.

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