Money Diary: An Art Teacher In Wales On 41k

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 32-year-old art teacher living in Wales. I completed on my house purchase at the beginning of the month after almost a year of trying to get it sorted and about six years of a combination of short-term (very questionable) rental situations, living with family and sofa surfing. I even lived in my converted van at one point. So to have my own home is the most overwhelmingly brilliant thing that has ever happened to me. Having said that, it’s also terrifying that it’s all on me financially. In these first few weeks of living here I am veering wildly between absolute bliss and sheer terror. I grew up with the attitude that I was a person who would never have money so why try? But lockdown was a total epiphany and since then I have saved about £10,000. I think the power of mindset is huge. I used to have a negative attitude towards money and now I feel really excited about my earning and investing potential. This year I plan to rebuild my savings in order to furnish and decorate my house as well as travel during my school holidays."
Occupation: Teacher
Industry: Education 
Age: 32
Location: Wales
Salary: £41,000
Paycheque amount: £2,400 (my tax code seems to have been wrong a few times so the last few months I have been paid slight variations of this amount, +/- £100).
Number of housemates: None
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £677 mortgage.
Loan payments: £170 student loan.
Savings? £2,000 left after recently completing on my house purchase and using my savings for the deposit etc.
Pension? 9.6% of my salary a month, which is around £343.
Utilities: £39.99 life/critical health insurance for mortgage, £209 electricity and gas, £29 water, £25 internet and landline. £326 house insurance and £268 van insurance and breakdown cover, both paid annually.
All other monthly payments: £15 SIM only phone contract, £15.67 teaching union membership, £24.06 van tax. Subscriptions: Netflix £5.99, Spotify £9.99.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?

I have a degree, master’s degree and postgraduate certificate in education. I had the full maintenance grant and full loan from student finance to fund my degree. I was the first person in my family to go to university and I remember when I was looking at applying, my mum telling me I couldn’t go as we couldn’t afford it. I was awarded a full scholarship and bursary for my master’s degree. I was also awarded a bursary to fund my PGCE under a scheme to recruit teachers. I then worked double shifts in a hotel every weekend alongside teacher training to cover my living costs. 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?

I don’t remember having any conversations about money at all. As an adult I have learned that there were many times where bailiffs came to the house and we were nearly made homeless on more than one occasion. I had no clue this happened. I do remember that when we (rarely) went out for dinner as a child, I knew to order the cheapest thing on the menu so I guess I must have known money was tight somehow. 
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out at 19 to go to university and have ping-ponged back a few times since. I lived with my mum during the third year of my degree and part of the first year of my master's. I then recently lived with her again for seven months while waiting to complete on my house purchase.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I have been financially responsible for myself since I went to university but my mum refused rent when I was living with her recently. So while I did buy food and try to contribute where I could, I haven’t been paying bills or rent for the past seven months.
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started working when I was 13. I used to go to work with my dad on a Saturday and clean his company showroom. £20 for 7am-5pm! I got a job in Spar at 14 on weekends and after school. I always had a job from then on through my higher education years. At one point I had a retail job during the day and a bar job at night to pay for the petrol to get to college in the week.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes. Especially having just taken on a mortgage and house entirely on my own. My family has had times when there has been no money at all and there was a time as an adult where I couldn’t pay for the bus or buy a cup of tea. I don’t think that feeling ever leaves you so I will always be conscious of that. However, I think I have educated myself about money in a much more positive way in the past few years and this change allowed me to save and understand money enough to get to the position of being able to buy my house.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain. 
My mum gave me and each of my siblings £3,000 when she sold her house and downsized. She said she would rather we have inheritance while she is around to see us enjoy it. I used this towards my house deposit. 

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