Money Diary: A Data Analyst In The West Midlands On 31k

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'm a 25-year-old data analyst based in the West Midlands. I grew up here and then moved to London for uni. When my university course ended, my relationship did too so I ended up moving back home and taking an admin job here. This was supposed to be temporary but three years later I'm still here, though luckily my job has evolved. About six months into the role I changed to an analyst position based in the UK, which I did for about two years, then six months ago an analyst position came up at head office based in France, which came with a decent (and much-needed) salary increase. I’ve definitely got a lot better with money in recent months and for the first time in my life I actually regularly put money into my savings account, which has helped me not to get into further debt when unexpected expenses crop up. I do have to give credit to my boyfriend as he forced me to look properly at my finances and start to make a plan for the future. It is definitely difficult not to feel shame when looking at my debt but I have to remind myself that there is no easy fix and it will take time to get myself into a better financial position."
 
Occupation: Data analyst
Industry: Logistics
Age: 25
Location: West Midlands 
Salary: £31,200
Paycheque amount: £1,988.36
Number of housemates: Three: both parents and one younger brother. I split my time between my family home and my boyfriend T's house (he also lives with his parents).
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £150 to my parents.
Loan payments: £30 student loan (I'm on Plan 2). £550 credit card repayment. I got a promotion about six months ago but before this I stupidly spent beyond my means and managed to get myself into approximately £10k worth of debt, which I'm slowly plodding through in the hope of moving out with my boyfriend next year.
Savings? I have less than £1,000 between a stocks and shares ISA and easy access savings account (recently depleted by some unforeseen car expenses). I save £300 a month (£50 into S&S and £250 into a standard account), although as my credit card debt comes down this will increase a lot. 
Pension? I pay the minimum 3%, which my employer matches. I think I have about £5,000 in my pension currently. 
Utilities: Included in payment to parents.
All other monthly payments: £52 car insurance, £12 road tax, £16 AA membership, £10 phone insurance (my parents started paying my SIM-only phone bill while I was at uni and never stopped). Subscriptions: £35 gym membership, £10.99 Netflix for my family, £2.49 iCloud storage.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I graduated from university in London in 2019. I had a maintenance loan, however this was a little bit less than my rent so I also worked two part-time jobs for the majority of my course for my day-to-day living costs. As well as this I was very fortunate that my grandparents set up a smallish trust when I was a baby, with an emphasis that it would be used to help towards costs at uni. My nan was a teacher and really valued education and I was very grateful for this as it allowed me to buy my MacBook and some other, more extravagant education-related purchases that I would otherwise not have been able to afford.
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Money wasn’t a huge topic of discussion growing up, although my parents always encouraged me and my brother to save where possible and tried to teach us the value of money (sadly this advice didn’t quite get through to me). We didn’t struggle in general but also weren’t flush with money and our family financial situation has definitely improved in more recent years. My mum’s parents were always around to help out financially and paid towards various school trips and I definitely think this influenced my parents to help us where possible too.
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out for uni but moved back in with my parents after my relationship broke down. I'm planning to move out again next year.
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
Personally I would say that while I cover pretty much all of my living expenses, my parents are definitely still there as a safety net and I have never been completely financially responsible for myself. I am very aware that there is absolutely no way I would be able to move out and only pay £150 for rent/bills and the subsidy is greatly appreciated. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I taught children’s gymnastics from the age of 13. I fell into it completely by accident when I stopped going myself, starting as a general 'helper' and then becoming L1 qualified when I was old enough. My first office job was when I was 18 as a grossly underpaid apprentice during a year out before going to uni.
 
Do you worry about money now?
Constantly. I am a very impulsive spender and until recently didn’t really earn enough to cover my lifestyle so I just kept spending on a credit card. Looking back pains me as I have no clue what I even spent it on and I spent a very long time blissfully ignorant of how much debt I was accumulating. While I would say I’m in a good position now to pay it off, it really opened my eyes to how easy it is to slide into a bad financial position.
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
I received approximately £6,000 when I turned 18 in a trust from my grandparents. This wasn’t technically an inheritance, however my nan died just after my 18th birthday so it kind of ended up feeling that way.

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