Money Diary: A 24-Year-Old Archaeologist In Birmingham On 20.5k

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 24-year-old working in Birmingham as a project archaeologist. I live at home with my family with my mom and four siblings. Alas, I am the middle child but where's my middle child gang gang?! I also studied at uni here. I got a bachelor's degree in history, graduated 2018 and went on to do a master's here, too. I graduated in December 2019 and hoped to explore more the following year and consider my options for the future.
However, that all went up in smoke when COVID made its grand entrance. Graduate schemes and jobs alike completely halted and I was placed on furlough from my weekend job working as a chocolate maker. To top it off, I was let go from my casual museum job as they just couldn't cope unfortunately. So my life just stopped entirely, all within the space of a month.
I still had my weekend job, which was something, but I genuinely felt like I had accomplished nothing this year. That is, until I got a job offer to become an archaeologist! The goal is to become an Egyptologist but I've gotta bide my time and make my way up. This contract is only for three months but I have wanted and needed the skills for a very long time to progress further so I took the risky leap!
I guess I'm just worried about what comes after this is finished but at the moment I'm trying to learn as much as I can and gain that experience.
Just a side note but I have noticed within this sector how very few POC there are, especially as a Muslim hijabi. I end up standing out so much but all for the greater good. This also makes me all the more determined to succeed and grow within this sector!"
Industry: Heritage and archaeology
Age: 24
Location: Birmingham
Salary: £20,600 but I'll earn a quarter of this since it's a three-month contract (scary!).
Paycheque amount: £1,780.11 after tax
Number of housemates: Five (six if you include my cat).
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: None thankfully! (It's the norm here for many others to move out aged 18 but in my culture, we tend to stay at home.) However, I do help out with the groceries more and any extra things needed. This varies from £30-50 every couple of weeks. I also usually transfer money to go halves on things like takeaways, which is usually another £20-40. I'd say about £100 or just over, every month.
Loan payments: None atm as I don't earn enough. Is that a good or bad thing?
Utilities: None, as my older brother and mom deal with these. I feel grateful to be able to save as much as I do because of this.
Transportation: £32.50 – would usually be £65 but I applied for a new job bus pass that gives you three months at half price. Such a great thing, if only it was longer!
Phone bill: £6.14
Savings? At the moment I have just over £3,000 in my current e-saving account. I also have a savings account with about £5,000 so far. I've found that having this extra money does come in very handy for rainy days, which I've seemed to have a lot of. Should be getting paid earlier this month for Xmas!
Other: Nothing else atm. Netflix, again at the courtesy of my older brother. Thanks bro. I wish I could say gym but I love food too much. Woe is me. I have to say that at this time of year there are a lot of birthdays so I tend to spend more for those people and tend to stock up on the skincare on offer. Additionally I buy presents in advance for the year ahead, which actually saves me more money in the long run. I may not celebrate Christmas but ngl I do love the sales!

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