Money Diary: A 27-Year-Old Ex-Barista In Manchester On Universal Credit

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 27-year-old with no skills or degree who worked as a barista but lost my job during lockdown when the cafe I worked at closed down permanently. I started receiving Universal Credit and my boyfriend, who I live with, told me I do not have to contribute to bills during this time. I have been living with him for two years in the flat that he owns in Manchester and he has never asked me to contribute towards rent.
I decided to use this time of unemployment to try to self-learn programming so I can get a job as a software developer but that was derailed a bit by a period of depression, a condition I have been struggling with since I was 17. I'm much better now than I was so I am working towards getting everything back on track."
Occupation: Unemployed
Industry: Currently teaching myself coding in the hope of getting a job as a software developer.
Age: 27
Location: Manchester
Salary: £530 a month in Universal Credit, which is going down to £450 this month.
Number of housemates: One, my boyfriend, A.
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: None. I live with my boyfriend in the flat he owns and he pays all the bills.
Utilities: £0
Loan payments: None.
Savings? I try to save up £200 a month.
Pension? None.
All other monthly expenses: £10 for a giffgaff SIM card.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My parents didn't have any expectations when it came to me attending higher education. I didn't get great grades in school so those expectations were placed on my sister, who had much better grades.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
The only conversations I had with my family growing up about money related to the fact that we didn't have any.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out at 22.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I became financially responsible for myself when I was 22 and moved out. I was completely financially responsible for myself up until two years ago, when my boyfriend asked me to move in with him in the flat he owns. I was giving him my share of the bills up until a year ago when I lost my job due to the lockdown. He then said he would cover my share of the bills until I find another job.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was tutoring. I got it by posting an ad online offering my services.
Do you worry about money now?
I don't have to worry about money right now but I definitely worry about scenarios in the future if my boyfriend and I break up before I find a job.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No.

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