Money Diary: An Audiologist On 41k Going Through IVF

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: "We were lucky enough to buy a house in outer London in 2015 and spent a few years renovating it. We borrowed a lot of money to do this – from family, on credit cards and by taking a further £53k out of the mortgage to convert the loft. Throw a wedding into the mix and you’ve got quite a stretched financial situation. Four years on and we’re finally out of the red and, for the first time, feel like we’re able to live fairly comfortably without panicking about how we’re going to pay the plumber or the credit cards. Our mortgage is pretty massive (£362k) but we tell ourselves this is typical for London and we’ve added value to our house in the long run. 
However, after two and a half frustrating years of trying to get pregnant, our next potential financial hurdle is IVF. We’re fairly fortunate in the IVF postcode lottery in that we get one fresh and one frozen round on the NHS. Although this doesn’t meet NICE guidelines (which recommend three rounds) we still feel incredibly fortunate to live in the UK and be entitled to any free healthcare at all. I started the IVF process in August and, after a few bumps in the road, am finally ready to have our first embryo transferred this week. Statistically it has a one in three success rate so while we’re feeling excited, we’re also cautiously pessimistic. We’re trying to save as much as possible each month so that if these two rounds don’t work, we still have options and can consider a few private rounds.
I’ll be navigating a full week at work as an audiologist at an NHS hospital, while also pumping myself full of artificial hormones and trying to remain calm, collected and healthy for my embryo transfer on Friday."
Industry: Healthcare
Location: London
Age: 32
Salary: £41k
Paycheque: £2,382 (after 9.3% goes into an NHS pension)
Number of housemates: 2-4: Husband J, best friend C and quite often one of two Airbnbers who stay in our loft (a kind of studio flat set-up), plus our two cats.
Monthly Expenses
My husband earns more than I do so we’ve agreed to pay about 70% of our salaries into the joint account (£1,650 for me) as well as the income we get from Airbnb. This covers:
Mortgage: £1,515
Savings (ISA): £1,500
Bills: Gas and electricity £93 (we recently switched to Bulb, which invests in 100% renewables and was £20 a month cheaper than what we were paying. Do it now). Internet £27. Council tax £143. Water £38. TV licence £11.50. Pet insurance £16. Parents £125 (this is paying them back for the money they lent us a few years back to renovate our house, and will continue for many years to come. We’ve asked to increase the amount to pay them back at a quicker pace, but they refused).
From my remaining 30% (£700ish) I also pay:
Phone: £15
Spotify: £10
Lifetime Investment ISA: £100 – the government pays 25% interest on up to £4k a year, but you can only remove the money to buy your first home or when you’re 60. I’ve just started paying into this through the Moneybox app and 60 seems so far away, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up. I opened it after reading an article about how few investments women in the UK have compared to men and how a lot of us get shafted with our pensions due to pay inequality and fewer years paying in due to maternity and childcare leave. I know nothing about investments so thought this sounded like an easy first step. I really don’t want to work until I’m 70 so hoping this will be a little Brucey Bonus to help me escape the clutches of the NHS a decade early.

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