Money Diary: Charity Researcher On £40k In London

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 am a 29-year-old researcher at a London-based charity. I am, like most office bods, working from home because of the pandemic.
I have been at this job for about four years. For the past three years, I have been studying through evening classes for an advanced professional degree.
I am a wheelchair user and need help with almost everything physical. I employ three personal assistants (PAs) who help me with all my personal care. I get some assistance from the council and pay part of their salaries myself.  In lockdown only one, S has been helping me. One of the others is stuck abroad and the other is isolating herself as she too is vulnerable.
Industry: Charity
Age: 29
Location: London
Salary: £40,000
Paycheque amount: £2444.56 after tax, NI and every month, I get £356 of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which goes in its entirety towards PA costs.
Number of housemates: My sister K. One of my personal assistants S lives with us rent-free in return for helping me with cooking, housework and personal care. 
Monthly Expenses

Housing Costs:
I am incredibly lucky that I live rent free in my parents’ flat. They have now moved out of the UK and my sister K and I have run of the flat. I pay £91 council tax (with my disability related discount).
My sister was a student and then on a low-paying internship so I paid for the bulk of our monthly expenses. She started a new job in March and we are now moving towards dividing expenses more equitably.
Loan Payments: £0.
Utilities: £72 for electricity and gas. K pays Wi-Fi (£21). Water is communal and included in the building’s service charge which my parents still pay.
Transportation: I travel for free on public transport. Usually, I drive an adapted car, which I generally fuel up £60 every two weeks (£120 total). I have been saving that in lockdown.
Phone Bill: £10.75 sim only. I got a bonus last year for covering for a colleague’s role while she was on a maternity leave and spent half of that on a new iPhone XS. To be fair, I use the phone for everything including writing this Money Diary because my laptop is a five-year-old clunker that freezes every five minutes.
Savings: I have £1,750 in a high-interest savings account. £250 from my current account gets transferred into that savings account every month by standing order.
I have another £8000 in an ISA and £3000 in a savings account which I intend to use to visit my parents (I have to buy tickets for me and my PA).
Other? Until last month (June), I was paying £370 per month for college. I’m so excited about having an extra £370 every month. £3.99 Amazon Prime (K pays £10.99 for Netflix). £0.79 iCloud. £21.95 for a chocolate subscription: the goal is to only eat the bars that come in the subscription every month so I don’t eat unlimited sweets and chocolate. I have never stuck to that. But I get to try lots of great craft dark chocolate so let’s consider that a win.
£98 private health insurance. This seems unnecessary given the absolutely amazing NHS but some years ago I had a range of health issues which the NHS kept procrastinating over and I ended up having to pay to get it privately dealt with. So now I have health insurance. I think, with my condition, my body’s balance is quite precarious and I feel safer knowing that I can depend on insurance if I need to. I’m incredibly grateful I can afford to pay monthly towards a maybe-one-day problem.
I spend £800-900pm towards paying for the PAs on top of what the council offers but this is partly funded by my PIP so it’s about £400 from me.
£40 divided amongst various animal and women’s health charities.
Once a year I pay £249 for a Financial Times subscription and spend £160 on home insurance.

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