Money Diary: A Facilities Manager On 21k In York, Postponing Her Wedding

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 31-year-old facilities coordinator living in York. Originally from the Midlands, I spent my 20s travelling. I did a ski season, worked as an English teacher in Cambodia, travelled around South America and eventually ended up in New Zealand where I met my fiancé, S, within two months. We moved to the UK in 2016 and chose York for its history and beautiful countryside. We just bought our first home, a three-bed cottage in the countryside just outside the city. Due to the above bumbling around the globe, I brought nothing to the table financially; the deposit was from S’s Kiwisaver (retirement fund) and inheritance from his grandmothers. I’ve told S I contribute my excellent taste and personality, which is obviously just as valuable.
I normally work 9-4.30 at our head office in York. My job varies day to day and I can be doing anything from a window replacement project to putting up whiteboards. I’m a dab hand with a drill and a spreadsheet, it’s all about balance.
Starting Monday, I will work alternate days at home due to COVID-19. Not sure we have enough to do from home but we’re trying to keep contact to a minimum. I’ll alternate with my colleague going in to open the building for our business critical staff until we either reopen fully or close. At the end of last week I felt emotionally and physically drained and I’m hoping a little more clarity from the government will alleviate some uncertainty and stress... I won’t hold my breath."
 
Age: 31
Location: York
Salary: I earn approx £21,000 and S earns £19,500. We work for the same company and get a living wage increase each year.
Paycheque amount: £1,479.22 and £1,397.08. We have a joint account and all our spend comes out of this. I would like to say we split everything evenly but I’m sure I probably spend more throughout the month. We’ve always put our money together and I’m generally in charge of it. We sometimes give ourselves some money out the pot to spend on what we like but we spend so much of it on things for us both, it never seemed worth splitting it.
Number of housemates: One.
Monthly Expenses 
Housing costs: £635 mortgage, £40 house insurance, £40 life insurance. 
Loan payments: £225 personal loan. We borrowed £5,000 18 months ago to cover holidays, S’s visa and clear a high interest credit card. We pay it off next March.
Utilities: £34 electric, approx £30 water (still not had a proper bill since moving here in January), £35 internet. Approx £150 every three months for wood. We have a back boiler – basically we start a fire and eventually it starts the radiators throughout the house. It’s not the best system but there’s no gas to the village and we’ve not quite worked it all out yet.
Transportation: £164 car lease, £12 tax, £40 insurance and approx £30 per week on petrol.
Phone bill: £100 for both.
Savings? £6,500 left over of S’s inheritance money. This is in my cash ISA until we decide what to do with it. I topped it up with my PPI refund of £500 which I received last week. Having known S’s gran, I don’t want this going to waste or being frittered over time. I would rather keep putting into it than taking any out.
Other: £5.99 Netflix, £5.99 bimonthly subscription to Rock N Roll Bride, £25 per month sofa payment, £16.67 per month healthcare (I had to visit a physio once a week after tearing a disc in my back, it worked out best to extend my work healthcare coverage so I could claim more money back), £0.79 iCloud storage.
£34.99 per week Gousto boxes. We have recently started this, getting four meals per week. I find it incredibly tedious and stressful having to plan what to eat day in, day out and have found this so helpful. We dip in and out of doing it every week as it is expensive but in the current crisis with nothing on the supermarket shelves, knowing you can get ingredients for four meals delivered is reassuring. It also stops us ordering takeaways, although now I’m a country bumpkin I can’t get pizza delivered, which is equally great as it is devastating.
£17 a month student loan. I am nearly a graduate, I’ve been doing my degree with the Open University part-time over the course of many years. I deferred my course this year but by July 2021 I will be a Bachelor of the Arts – I can’t remember why I started or why I’m still going but damn I’ll be happy when I’ve done it!

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