Money Diary: A 27-Year-Old Digital Marketer On 23k In Brighton

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 partnership with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), we're with a woman working for a digital marketing agency based in central Brighton.
FSCS is a free service which automatically protects your money, from £1 up to £85,000, in UK banks, building societies and credit unions. They also have loads of helpful money tips and guides, including a future savings calculator, to help you find out how much money you could save (now and for your future!). Whatever you’re saving for, your money is safe with FSCS.
She lives with her boyfriend in a flat they bought together about two years ago. They're coming up to the end of their current fixed rate mortgage, which is scary, considering they haven’t got round to any of the renovations they planned when they moved in (replacing windows and redoing the bathroom). They became vegetarians just over a year ago and are trying to eat healthily and sustainably, as well as do more exercise – they both joined a gym at the end of last summer and her boyfriend is currently training for the Brighton marathon. She has been quite strict recently about bringing lunch into work as she could tell most of her money was going on food. They recently finished booking all the accommodation for a two-week stay in Japan they have coming up in May, so that plus Christmas has hit her bank account hard.
Industry: Marketing
Age: 27
Location: Brighton & Hove
Salary: £23,000 (boyfriend’s salary £40,000)
Paycheque amount: £1,526.46 after deductions – tax, NI, tiny pension contribution, and student loan repayment (approx £40).
Number of housemates: One – boyfriend who is a web developer, also working in central Brighton.
Monthly Expenses
My boyfriend and I have a joint account that we transfer money into monthly to cover the mortgage and bills, plus a bit extra for the majority of our food spending and the occasional treat (meals out, cinema).
Mortgage: £778.68
Bills: To cover mortgage, bills and Netflix (plus a bit extra) we each pay £688 into the joint account each month.
Loan payments: I am currently using my credit card for day-to-day spending, then paying it off every payday. So although I never get charged interest, technically I am always in debt of a month's worth of spending because I use all my ‘real’ money to pay it off. This month in particular it was higher than usual because of paying for hotels and Airbnbs for a Japan trip we have planned in May. I have a plan to budget during February and March so that I can stop using the credit card apart from in emergencies. Student loan comes out automatically from my paycheque.
Transportation: We walk or cycle everywhere in Brighton so trains/taxis are paid for as and when.
Phone bill: £15.86 for sim-only contract and £33.45 to pay off my handset as I got it direct from Apple (only a couple of months left until this is paid off).
Savings? I have £5,000 in a bond that is mainly from inheritance. We are planning to use this to redo our bathroom. My boyfriend has upwards of £8,000 that we are hoping to use to shave some time off our mortgage when it comes to renewing in April.
Other: £9.99 Spotify Premium for me and £5.99 Spotify for my boyfriend (we should really get a joint plan but our music taste is so different – don’t know if that would be an issue?), £20 gym membership + £80/£100 for personal training sessions (ouch, don’t like seeing that written down, but it’s really helping me with my motivation to lose weight and get my blood pressure down). The service charge for our block of flats is £967 every six months which is very steep, but the shared lawn, car park, hallways, etc are all immaculate and we get two free annual parking permits included in the cost.

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