Money Diary: An Assistant Health & Safety Manager On £35,000

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last penny.
This week: “I’m a 27-year-old living in Bristol. I moved here six months ago after taking a year out to go travelling with my boyfriend, B. This is something I had wanted to do since I was 18 but never managed to save for until lockdown. Since getting home I have been working hard to get myself back into a good financial position, while starting from square one and navigating a move to a new place! I worked in health and safety for years before my travels after falling into it randomly. I honestly didn’t think I would end up back here, but the money is good, and it meant we could move to a city. Overall, I do enjoy my job, but in the future I’d love to work for myself. B is way more frugal than me, and has a safety net through inheritance he received — although as a freelance creative he’s always had to be more money conscious. He’s begun a new venture since we moved here, and his income is slowly becoming more consistent. We split most things 50/50 but will also treat each other depending on who has more disposable income that month. He helped me out massively while we were in Australia, funding the last few months for us both as I had eaten through my savings, which I’m paying him back for monthly. I also have a little debt split over my overdraft and credit card that I’m trying to get rid of as soon as possible! I’m naturally a spender, and used to be terrible with money, despite nearly always having two jobs. Nowadays, I’m a lot more considered with my spending; my short-term goal is to save an emergency fund. I would love to be in a position where we can buy a house in the future.”
Occupation: Assistant health and safety manager
Industry: Events
Age: 27
Location: Bristol
Salary: £35,000
Paycheque Amount: £2,260
Number of housemates: Three — my boyfriend B, housemate J, and our cat, M.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £480 rent (me and B pay 30% each, our housemate pays 40%)
Loan payments: £250 to B monthly; £23 monthly on a coffee machine (0% over 12 months).
Pension? I pay 5% (around £95 pcm) and my employer pays 3%.
Savings?: £100 in a holiday savings account.
Utilities: My third comes to £77 council tax; £52 energy/gas; £10.83 internet; £16.67 water.
All other monthly payments: £12 flea, tick and wormer subscription; £6.54 pet insurance; £21 car tax, split with B. Subscriptions: £14.99 Spotify, split with B. 
£10 rolling phone contract; £34 car insurance; £2.99 Apple storage.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
No, I remember thinking I couldn’t go to uni because it cost too much money. Looking back, I wish I had understood my options more clearly as maybe I would have gone. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I remember it being a point of contention, especially between my parents who weren’t together, and didn’t speak. My dad lived very hand-to-mouth, and my mum used to buy a lot through catalogues and got herself into some bad debt. My mum had us young and took on all of the childcare costs (apart from when we stayed with Dad every other weekend). We never went without food and clothing, however I didn’t really go on family holidays and I never received pocket money. I wouldn’t say either of them ever advised me on money. I just knew it was important to earn it as soon as I could.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I moved out of my mum’s when I was 16 and lived with various family members over the next few years.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I was in full-time work at 17. I still lived with extended family, but I contributed towards rent and food, and paid for everything else on my own (phone, clothing, car and driving lessons, et cetera). However, I understand I paid a lot less than I would have done renting privately. Now I split rent and most living costs with B. I suppose I’m not 100% independent, but I know that if anything ever happened, I would be able to survive on just my wage.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a soft play centre aged 14, hosting children’s birthday parties (ironic as I was still a child myself). I loved this job — I worked with all my friends, and got paid £4.20 per hour which funded weekend cinema or Topshop trips.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes, especially at the moment. I got myself into around £6,000 worth of debt at aged 18, which I ignored for years until eventually paying it off during lockdown, before I went travelling. Nowadays, I’m facing my debt a lot more head on because I never want to find myself in that position again. 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No, I haven’t.