Money Diary: A Part-Time Assistant Curator On 12k

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 34-year-old living in the northeast with my partner. We’re not originally from the region but moved up here last summer for my partner's new job. In my role I plan events such as workshops, film screenings, talks and community outreach projects and develop work with partner organisations. We are expecting our first child in late spring. We have been saving for the past year to build up a pot of money for big items like a pram, cot etc. and also a pot to subsidise my/our income when maternity pay drops to SMP and then nothing. Over the past few years I have got much better at saving as moving out of my parents' house meant budgeting much more, saving for the future and gradually sharing finances more and more with my partner. We have our own accounts that our wages are paid into, then we each pay a large chunk of our wage monthly into the joint Monzo account, which covers shared bills such as rent, power, water and council tax. We also have pots we pay into monthly for car insurance, house insurance, baby stuff and emergency fund."
Occupation: Assistant curator
Industry: Arts and culture
Age: 34
Location: Newcastle
Salary £11,744 (this is for 2.5 days per week).
Paycheque amount: £754.98 (currently on basic rate tax, hoping to sort this out by the end of January).
Number of housemates: Two: partner, M, and cat, C.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: Approximately £337.50 for my half of the rent.
Loan payments: £161 personal loan.
Savings? £500 in an easy access savings account, £7,872 in a Help to Buy ISA. I also have a joint Monzo pot slowly building up for an emergency fund, which has a couple of hundred pounds in it.
Pension? 6.75% at my new work. I can’t see how much they put in but I will find out!
Utilities: I worked out a fair percentage with my partner as he earns more than me. I pay approximately a third of all utilities, which works out as: £25.15 gas and electric (with the government discount), £25.90 water, £134 council tax.
All other monthly payments: £27 phone, £12.67 phone tariff, £20 parking. Varying payments a month into my house ISA/off my credit card bill (currently sitting high at £370 post-Christmas). Subscriptions: £12 to my brother to cover Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime (my partner, sister and her partner also all chip in), iCloud £0.79.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I went to uni to study an art-related BA (Hons) degree. I took out the full maintenance loan and tuition fee loan. As I come from a low-income household I also received the full grant amount at the time, plus a small materials bursary of about £300 a year. I worked part-time in an art gallery in customer service to get some extra income during this time.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
We knew we didn’t have much as we were on free school dinners during infants and juniors until our dad got a better job during high school. The mantra in our house was 'I want doesn't get' and we were brought up to share everything. Our parents taught us not to live beyond our means, to value what we had, to share and, importantly, to cultivate a good credit score. It’s hard to educate on finances when you don’t have any!
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out for the last two years of uni, into a shared student house with friends, and moved back home after. I moved out properly in about 2017 when me and my partner both moved away for jobs and moved in with each other. Once we got jobs/turned 18, me and my sisters had to pay board money to cover food, energy etc.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I became financially responsible when I properly moved out into my first rented flat with my partner. We shared the rent and bills equally at the time as we earned the same amount. I always paid my way when living at home but was not fully responsible for all costs I incurred. When we moved away for my partner's new job, I was only able to get a part-time job, so we now split the rent/bills a little more like 70/30. This means we end up contributing about the same percentage of our income.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
If a paper round counts then this was my first job! I got it so I had money for sweets and, most importantly, CDs. My first proper job with a payslip was working in a packing warehouse at 16. I worked there every summer holiday and long school holiday afterwards (I still had the paper round at this point too).
Do you worry about money now?
Yes! All the time. It’s always been my family's number one worry. Even though me and my partner combined have a fairly stable income, the rising cost of living is really impacting us. We are also expecting our first child so we know that costs for us are only going to rise. Living paycheque to paycheque for most of our careers has meant we have only managed to scrape a small safety net together but I am very grateful to have it.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No, and will likely not in the future.

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