Money Diary: A Senior Engineering Consultant In Solihull On 38k

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 am a 29-year-old engineering consultant, living and working in Solihull in the West Midlands. I have been working from home permanently since March. 
I have been living with my parents for a few years to enable me to save up a deposit for a house. I find that there is a big stigma attached to living at home in your late 20s, as though you have somehow failed in life because you still live with your parents. For me, it has been a great opportunity to boost my savings and spend quality time with my parents, whose company I really enjoy.
We were living under tier 2 between September and November, followed by a full lockdown in November and tier 3 restrictions thereafter. This has meant that I haven’t seen my friends in an indoor setting since September and haven’t seen the inside of a restaurant since I third-wheeled my parents' anniversary dinner in October. I have been for more socially distanced walks than I can count and baked more cakes than I wish to remember. 
I had two weeks of annual leave over Christmas which were difficult to fill given that we were living under tier 3 restrictions. To keep myself active and try and avoid the inevitable "What day is it?" conversation between Christmas and New Year, I set myself little jobs to do each day and promised myself that I would leave the house at least once a day, no matter how bad the weather or how comfortable my dressing gown. My cousin who lives nearby has formed a support bubble with my household, as is allowed within all tiers. She is also working from home in the same tier 3 area so her social contact is also very limited.  
A couple of years ago, I found out that my employer was paying more junior members of staff (all male) a higher salary than me, despite me having a more senior position with greater responsibilities. I raised the issue with my line manager and after six months of discussions, my salary was increased. Unequal pay for men and women doing the same or similar job has been illegal in the UK since 1970. I know that many women will feel uncomfortable asking for a pay rise to bring them up to their male counterparts’ level. However, it is your right to be paid equally and if you don’t raise the issue, the feeling of being undervalued will continue to eat away at you until you yourself feel that you are worth less than men."

Occupation: Senior consultant
Industry: Engineering
Age: 29
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Salary: £38,200 
Number of housemates: Two, my parents!
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £0
Paycheque amount: £2,187.95 after deductions for benefits including pension.
Loan payments: £121 on student loan.
All other monthly expenses: Utilities: £45 on car insurance. Transportation: approx £35 on petrol. Netflix £5.99. £5.50 on a razor subscription.
Savings? £12,000 in a Help to Buy ISA, £31,000 in a savings account. Living at home for a few years rent-free has allowed me to save a substantial amount which I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. 

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