Money Diary: A 29-Year-Old Editorial Assistant On 25k

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 29-year-old editorial assistant in London. I was born and raised in London but after university I did a lot of travelling and working abroad in a different industry. I left a higher paying job to pursue my dream career in publishing and while I absolutely adore my job now, the lower pay is a huge adjustment. During the pandemic it was great because I was able to save a lot but now that we’re commuting into the office, I can feel the pinch. I’ve always been a saver but I tend to save up for a purpose e.g. saving up £6k and going travelling for four months or more recently saving up £5k and using it for a course. Living in London is really fun but this is my first time being here long-term as an adult and I didn’t anticipate quite how much the cost of living is when you’re single!"
Occupation: Editorial assistant
Industry: Publishing
Age: 29
Location: London 
Salary: £25,000
Paycheque amount: £1,640
Number of housemates: None
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £600 rent for a subsidised studio apartment where I live alone. This includes payment for gas, electric and water.
Loan payments: I have a 0% credit card with £1,150 on it, I usually pay off about 10% each month.
Savings? £1,700 in a Moneybox general investment account, £600 in a Help to Buy ISA, £300 in crowdfunded shares on Crowdcube.
Pension? Yes, I pay automatically through a workplace pension. I contribute 10% and my employer matches it.
Utilities: £87 council tax, £27.18 Wi-Fi.
All other monthly payments: £10 mobile phone, £7.99 phone insurance, £9.12 pet insurance (but my cat lives with my mum). I recently moved so I have a backdated council tax bill which has made money really tight lately. I've been paying almost £300 additionally for the last two months. Subscriptions: Spotify premium £12.99, Now TV £9.99.
 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I studied a BSc in biology and paid for it with student loans and maintenance grants. It was tough financially so I also worked part-time through most of my degree and during summers.
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
We didn't talk much about money besides knowing that we couldn't afford much. My mum doesn’t have the best relationship with money and as an adult I've seen the extent of her debt and I'm very scared of being in debt myself. I’m always trying to learn good habits but conscious of the bad ones. It's really tough.
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out when I was about 24 and lived abroad. I did come back for a year during the pandemic but left again recently.
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I would say at 18, once I left home for university. Saying that, I could always ask my parents for help if things got absolutely dire, e.g. if I lost my home I could move in with one of them.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was at a fast food restaurant and I got it when I was around 16/17 so I could do more fun things and socialise with my friends. My parents could only afford to give me small amounts infrequently and I hated asking.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes, a lot. I use a financial tracking app, Emma, and I pretty much check it daily to make sure things are okay. The pandemic helped a lot as I managed to save about £5,000 and that was a great security blanket – but then I invested most of it in an evening course which I'm hoping will help my career long-term.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No.

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