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Money Diary: A Design Coordinator On £39,300

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 design coordinator working in the construction industry, sitting in the site office five days a week. Three and a half years ago I got a three-month internship in the UK and I’m still here, as, despite the horrible weather, I quite like it! I met my partner, D, in the UK (although we’re from the same country), we lived together for some time and then a year ago he changed jobs and his new employer sent him to Europe so we are doing long distance. I think I’m quite savvy with money and not really a massive spender, but I love travelling and being outdoors, so that takes most of my ‘want’ money. I go by the rule that I love good bargains, but quality is the most important thing to me, so if I buy something, I usually go for better quality items (which is mostly connected with being more expensive, oh well). Since I’m long distance with D, I spend more as we try to see each other a minimum of once a month and my ‘spend’ money fluctuates from month to month, depending on where we see each other and what we do.”
Occupation: Design coordinator
Industry: Construction 
Age: 28
Location: Birmingham 
Salary: £39,300 
Paycheque Amount: £2,519.60
Number of housemates: Three, I rent a room in a house.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £430 rent for a room in a shared house (bargain, I know!).
Loan payments: £232.48 for my car, hoping to pay it off by the end of this year.
Savings?: £14,000 spread over different accounts — £7,500 as an emergency fund, £3,000 locked for a year in high interest account, £2,500 in LISA (which I will probably lose if the government won’t increase the threshold), £1,500 in easy-access pots with various aims. It may not seem like a lot, but I was able to start saving only three years ago when I moved to the UK. 
Pension? I pay 5% and my employer adds 7.5% (the maximum the company pays). I want to increase my contribution once I get to a £45,000 salary.
Utilities: £0, everything included in the rent.
All other monthly payments: £10 SIM card, £25 gym. Subscriptions: £5 Spotify (it’s set up for my home country). I keep promising myself that I need to add health and life insurance, but I keep postponing it. 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? 
I have two master’s degrees. I studied in my home country, so I didn’t have to pay for it. I was actually more “paid to study”, as due to my academic and sports results, I usually had a minimum of one scholarship per term. I’m really glad I grew up in a country where education is free and find it quite sad that people here need to pay such a massive amount of money for it. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I don’t remember having any specific conversations about money with my parents. We were a normal middle-class family, but since I was 12, money was tighter. Even so, my parents prioritised my education and broadening my horizons, which I’m very grateful for. 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I moved out when I was 21 and haven’t come back since. My uni was a three-minute walk from my parents’ flat, but the urge to be independent was too strong in me.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I would say I became fully financially responsible for myself at 21 when I moved out during uni as I was then paying for rent and food. Before that, I was paying for everything that I wanted/needed and my parents were paying for food and rent (which obviously are the two biggest expenses in daily life). 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was around 16, as a hostess presenting different products during weekends, usually during conferences or expos. It wasn’t permanent, it varied every month, depending on how many events I managed to be booked for. At 18, I started working as a windsurfing instructor, then worked in a theatre as customer service during plays in the evening. That work arrangement allowed me to have a comfortable “student” living and be able to focus on my studies. Both of my jobs were connected with my passions and I miss them.   
Do you worry about money now?
I do and I don’t worry about money. I have a comfortable salary and can save a fair bit of it (around 40% in the past). My savings rate took a stab when my relationship changed into a long-distance one, as now I travel frequently abroad to see my boyfriend. I absolutely don’t mind spending that money as I'm still saving quite a lot (around 20%). My biggest worry though is my parents. I’m the only child and I emigrated, so somehow I’ll have to take care of them when they’re older. I’m very grateful for how they raised me and who I have become thanks to them, so I’m trying to pay for their holidays and other pleasures as much as possible. It’s not a massive problem for me, but on the other hand, that is money that I could spend on my house deposit. I’m planning to buy a house with my boyfriend in the next two years, so that’s another piece of the puzzle, and in the long term, I need to be able to buy a house that will also have a space for my parents — if they like it here. If not, I will have to find them high-quality supported homes in my home country. I’m kind of torn between making their life better now versus saving money to make my life better, but I think I have a good balance.    
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No, but my grandpa paid for my driving license after I got my first engineering degree.