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Money Diary: A Data Analyst In Edinburgh On £30,000

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 28-year-old data analyst living in Edinburgh. I work in the third sector in climate change and public health; both of which I’m really passionate about. This also means I’m a fan of secondhand fashion and try to avoid spending money on flights. I sometimes feel conflicted between earning more in a faster-paced environment, remaining with this organisation that aligns with my values or totally shaking things up and moving abroad — still a lot to figure out. I love a spreadsheet and after a few years of not tracking my money, I’ve recently started tracking it again which has felt good to be more in control and boost my savings. I co-own a flat with my brother which he lives in with a friend while I rent from a friend/live-in landlord. People sometimes find it strange that I don’t live in the flat I co-own but this situation works well for us for now. I’m known to be the spender in my family but I think it’s all relative as I definitely spend less than most of my friends! I love the outdoors and sport but have recently had quite a setback with a debilitating injury. I’m a foodie so I enjoy cooking food as well as being a sucker for a pastry and the odd meal out — this is probably where a good portion of my money goes… Let’s see.”
Occupation: Data analyst
Industry: Third sector
Age: 28
Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £30,000
Paycheque Amount: £1,949
Number of housemates: One — my friend, S, who owns the flat.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £500 for my half of the rent.
Loan payments: £16 student loan repayments, though this has just stopped as they’ve raised the threshold in Scotland so I no longer earn above this.
Pension?: Yes, I pay £174.49. I recently increased my contribution from 6% to 7%, my employer contributes 7.5%. I’m trying to stick by the “half your age” (when you start paying into a pension) rule.
Savings?: £7,000 in an easy-access, £5,000 in an ethical S&S ISA, £1,658 in a Monzo pot. I also co-own a flat with my brother (he lives there with a flatmate so they both cover the mortgage and living costs).
Utilities: £13 wifi, £40-50 gas and electricity, £63 council tax.
All other monthly payments: £10 for phone, £18 union membership, £1.59 Google storage, £8 bike insurance, £30 gym membership, £5 to conservation charity, £5 to Samaritans.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Thankfully, I went to university in Scotland so there was no tuition fees. I took partial student loans to help with living costs and my parents also kindly gave me £300 a month for a couple of years to help with living costs. I worked during the holidays at university to supplement this. I was keenly aware how lucky I was to have this support during university.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents have always been very open and careful with money which has afforded me and my siblings many opportunities. Growing up we were lucky enough to do music lessons, play several sports and enjoy many family holidays (always in Scotland, rarely abroad). My mum especially is very on it and encouraged us all to get a help-to-buy ISA way back when the rates were really good.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I moved out for university at 18 but I lived back home on and off after graduating between travelling, different jobs and chronic illness, then I completely moved out when I was 23.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
As above, at 23 when I moved out. Before that I’d always pay digs when staying at my parents while I was earning.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked in a B&B as a waitress and chambermaid from the age of 16. I got the job to start working and earn my own money.
Do you worry about money now? 
I do sometimes worry about money, especially due to earning a lot less than most of my friends, my recent job uncertainty and not being able to work in the past due to long-term illness. However, I am also very aware of how privileged I am and that it seems quite silly to be worried when I’ve been so fortunate. I’m determined to be financially responsible and make smart choices — I have a spreadsheet tracker of my monthly budget and try to stick to the 50/30/20 budget rule (needs/wants/savings). I also use Monzo round ups and have an automated 1p savings challenge set up. I’m thinking of moving abroad in the next year so I am wary that this will need a good chunk of cash for setting myself up.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?

I received £25,000 inheritance from my grandparents who passed away a few years ago. This, alongside some of our own savings, enabled my brother and I to buy a flat together with a decent deposit. I try to be very transparent about this as it’s the only way we could have afforded to buy a two-bed flat at that time (especially with Edinburgh prices).