Money Diary: A 25-Year-Old Civil Servant On 40k

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: "In general, I think I’m quite good with money. I grew up on a council estate in a family that was quite poor and after my parents divorced when I was 10, I was raised by my dad, who struggled with his mental health so found it difficult to find work and lived on unemployment benefits for a good few years. I was always aware of his struggles and learned a lot about making the pennies stretch further.
I got my first job as soon as I turned 16 and found a lot of joy in being able to contribute to the rent and food, while also being able to treat myself. Since then the longest I’ve gone without a job has been only a few months and I feel like I’ve done everything, from McDonald's to cleaning – even a brief stint in a travel company. But I never really knew what I wanted to do as a career. When I was younger, my nan liked to say that university wasn’t for 'people like us', which I internalised for a long time. But when it came to it, the opportunity was there and I chose to go. I did a degree I absolutely loved, spent a year living in the US and came out with a high first.
I’ve always been politically minded so I applied for a very competitive graduate scheme in the civil service, not thinking it would lead to anything but to my surprise I actually got onto it. Now I’m on a wage that is crazy to me – I never thought I’d be earning this much money. I’m so glad I am though, because it means I can look after my parents in their retirement and treat myself and my friends to nice things occasionally. I’m extremely glad for where I’ve ended up." 
Industry: Government policy
Age: 25
Location: Southampton (though my job is in London)
Salary: £40,656
Paycheque amount: £2,286 after tax, pension and student loan contributions. 
Number of housemates: Boyfriend (K), hamster (K), cat (A). 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £480 rent for my half of our two-bedroom house with a garage.
Loan payments: £100 to my credit card and £110.79 to HSBC for a loan I took out when I moved to London a few years ago (this will be all paid off in November, yay!).  
Utilities: £180 council tax, £33.99 internet, £25.66 water, £42 gas and electricity, £16 TV licence, all split equally with K. 
Transportation: £14 car tax, £63.40 car insurance, £17 AA, also split with K. Petrol costs are currently less than ~£20 a month. Will need to factor in train expenses when I go back to the office.
Phone bill: £42 to Three. Took the plunge on a new phone last month which comes with unlimited data, calls and texts. 
Savings? Zero. What I would put into savings currently goes to family for various reasons. However, only a month ago my salary was a good £9,000 less (yay promotion) so I will have quite a bit more to play with going forwards. Very hopeful this is going to mean I can save!
Other: £15 Specsavers for my contact lenses, £400 to my brother for his rent (he had to leave his job in August last year due to mental health problems so I am paying his rent until he gets back on his feet), circa £50-100 to my dad as and when he needs a top-up, £100 to various charities and causes (I save GoFundMe posts made by Facebook friends and make a few anonymous donations, and more recently I search on TikTok). 

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