Money Diary: A 31-Year-Old Assistant Artist Manager On 30k

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 31-year-old assistant artist manager living in London. When the first lockdown was announced in 2020 my company lost most of its income overnight. The entire company (bar the directors) was put on furlough and asked to take a 10% pay cut (they would top up the furlough 80% to 90% of our contracted salaries). Once flexi-furlough was introduced, my hours changed monthly right up until the end of the scheme. I am still on 90% of my salary as the company is worried about more lockdowns and our income being slashed again.
I live with my boyfriend in a flat we rent from a friend who moved abroad. We had a mortgage approved on a property at the start of 2020 but pulled out as the pandemic started to become more serious. I've only just started saving in the last two years as I spent a large portion of my 20s helping my mum pay off her mortgage. My dad died suddenly when I was 20 and in my second year of university, leaving my mum in a situation where she couldn't pay the remainder of her mortgage (Dad didn't have life insurance due to his age and previous illnesses). With the savings I have, I wouldn’t be able to get on the London property ladder on my own. My boyfriend inherited some money and with our joint savings we have enough for a deposit. I’m currently looking for a new job and we are starting to look at property again with the hope of buying something in 2022."
Occupation: Assistant artist manager 
Industry: Visual arts and events 
Age: 31
Location: London
Salary: £30,500 (currently £27,450 due to pandemic).
Paycheque amount: £1,855 (currently £1,734 due to pandemic).
Number of housemates: One: my boyfriend, T.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £450 for my half of the rent.
Loan payments: £200 for a 0% interest credit card that should be paid off in February 2022. My student loan is deducted from my payslip each month.
Savings? £5,200. I pay around £300 into my savings every month (this was more before the pandemic and will increase once my credit card is paid off).
Pension? I pay 5% and my employer pays 3%, totalling 8% a month.
Utilities: £200 towards water, electricity and council tax (split proportionally between me and T as he earns more). I also pay £175 a month into a joint account which covers joint purchases for the flat and car costs (MOT, tax, parking permit) for the year.
All other monthly costs: £30 phone bill. Subscriptions: £5.50 weekly veg box (split with T), £5 Spotify (my share of family plan), £7.99 Netflix.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Although I wasn’t pushed by my parents to attend university, at school it was the only option discussed. I studied history of art and paid using student loans.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I can’t remember having many conversations about money growing up. I was given the impression that we were comfortable and only found out in my 20s that it had been very up and down throughout my teens. My dad came from a low-income family and had a successful career. However, neither of my parents grew up in households that discussed money or was taught to invest.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out when I was 18. I took a year out before going to uni to work to save money for university and to travel for a few months.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
18. I took out a student loan to cover fees and maintenance. I was given a grant in my third year after my dad died. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
14, working in a B&B in the morning before school and sometimes at weekends. 
Do you worry about money now?
All the time. I was constantly comparing myself to others and wondering why they appeared to be doing better or more financially stable. I could have been better with money in my late teens and early 20s – especially when I moved to London at 21. I spent the majority of my paycheque (mostly on going out) and didn’t save. That really hurt when I found myself in a position in my 20s when I was suddenly financially responsible for someone else (my mum). Spreadsheets have helped me massively in having control of my finances. I have a yearly plan and every month calculate how my paycheque is going to be split. I don’t always stick to the plan but being able to see where everything is going has really helped me understand my finances and is something I’d recommend to anyone feeling completely lost – I’ve been there!
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No.

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