Money Diary: A Document Controller On 22.5k

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 24-year-old woman living in Surrey with my fiancé and our two cat babies. We moved to Surrey in
March after living in a one-bed flat in London for around a year and a half, saving our money. I work in document control for a large national construction company and was put on furlough for around four months at the start of the pandemic. This obviously impacted my finances but made me think about looking into how better to spend my money. I work at three sites during the week and also in one of our offices, which definitely helps my mental health after WFH during COVID times. We are currently looking into affordable weddings but two years after getting engaged it still seems like quite a while away."
Occupation: Document controller
Industry: Construction
Age: 24
Location: Surrey
Salary: £22,500 per year pre-tax
Paycheque amount: £1,519 after deductions
Number of housemates: I have three housemates: my fiancé, H, and our two cats, J and S.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £550 towards my half of the rent. H pays the other half.
Loan payments: £150 a month for personal loan payments. I took out a personal loan to pay off some credit card debt as this was something I wanted to get on top of.
Savings? I currently have £5 in a Help To Buy ISA as this is the minimum amount required. I did have £500 but I found myself without work and living in London about two years ago and needed to use this money.
Utilities: We live above a shop and split our utilities with them. They send us a bill every month. It usually comes to around £70 for all utilities and we split this between H and me. I also pay £105 for my half of the council tax.
Pension? I do have a pension and I currently pay in £100 a month, which is matched by my employer. When I start earning more I will pay more into this.
All other monthly payments: My phone bill is currently paid by my mum. I know I’m an adult but she hasn’t said I need to start paying it yet so I’m holding out as long as possible. Subscriptions: £48 for my gym membership, £15 Simplyhealth dental plan, £10 Spotify, £5 Hayu, £8 Amazon Prime, £4 Now TV film, £5 Now TV entertainment. £4 flat insurance, £10 J's pet insurance, £33 to Currys for my iPad and AirPods.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I didn't attend higher education. I applied and got accepted into Chichester University to do early childhood studies with the idea of going into teaching. I decided to defer this for a year to go into full-time work to earn some money and then decided to decline my offer as at that stage in my life I didn't want to go to university. I ended up doing an admin assistant apprenticeship in an insurance brokers and worked there for two to three years instead.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
We didn’t massively discuss finance when we were growing up but we were never very well off. My parents both had stable jobs but it was only once I was about 16+ that my dad ended up in a better paid career and became comfortable with money. I used to have to do jobs around the house if I wanted money for going out with friends or anything like that.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents' house?
I moved out of my parents' house when I was 21 and moved into my now-fiancé's house in Cambridge. I got a job and had to begin paying bills and doing our food shopping. I had to move for personal reasons within my fiancé’s family at the time but we have lived together ever since.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I have had a job since the age of 16 but I'd say I became financially responsible for myself when I moved out at the age of 21. I had to pay my way after this. No one else covers any aspect of my financial life but I'd say my fiancé or my parents/his dad would step in and help us financially should we ever need it.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was when I was 16, in a cafe that was linked to the car wash up the road from us. I decided to get the job so that I had my own spending money and didn't have to rely on my parents for money if I wanted to go somewhere.
Do you worry about money now?
I definitely worry about money now, especially having a personal loan that is being paid off. My partner and I are very open about discussing money troubles. We always make our rent and have food on the table but I'm trying to get better at budgeting every month and not overspending.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? No.

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