Money Diary: A Film & TV Freelancer On 40k

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 32-year-old working as a freelancer in film and TV production. I have recently moved to the northwest of England after 17 years in London. The move was expensive: I paid six months upfront to secure an in-demand rental property, had to buy items like a dishwasher and washing machine that I didn’t previously own, paid movers to pack up and drive all my furniture and had to buy a new car at the same time. On the plus side, my lifestyle is much cheaper up here (my rent is almost half what I was paying in London, for a much bigger flat) and for the first time in my life I feel like there is the potential to buy my own house and generally save more money for the future. I have a boyfriend but we don’t want to live together at any point. I want to live alone and don’t like the idea of being financially entwined with anyone.
As a freelancer I flit between working for short, intense periods and having lots of time off. Currently I’m in a middle ground of working very flexibly from home in a job that is tiding me over while I have been taking some time for myself to focus on health and building a life in my new home. This has been great but I am now at the point where I will need to find another part-time job to sustain my current outgoings."

Occupation: Freelance junior production manager
Industry: Media
Age: 32
Location: West Yorkshire
Salary: Around £40,000 (it changes every year).
Paycheque amount: Approximately £3,300 per month before tax (but I don’t necessarily get paid monthly).
Number of housemates: None.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £725 rent.
Loan payments: None.
Savings? £7,500 (but I imagine most of this will go towards tax). I spent most of my savings on the move and a new car. It was an expensive month!
Pension? This is not something I’ve ever been able to think about but I am now wanting to take my future finances more seriously and after my next big job will open one.
Utilities: £22.59 Yorkshire Water, £124.52 British Gas, £22.13 broadband, £13.77 TV licence.
All other monthly payments: £22.59 mobile phone, £179 personal trainer (I am just doing this for three months), £12.23 Barclays Partner Finance (I don’t know what this is?! I’ve now cancelled it to see if anything happens…). Subscriptions: £11.25 trade union fees, £1.59 extra online storage.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I trained to be a ballet dancer so it wasn’t so much about getting a degree as going to one of the professional schools (the one I went to happened to be a degree course). I took the maximum loans with some support from parents here and there.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I think I was quite protected from any money issues. I don’t think we had lots of money but we still had 'nice things'. When I went away to ballet school at 12 (on scholarships), I was given £200 per month to manage myself. I think this was quite generous but also was a good lesson in managing my own money. It prepared me to move to London on my own at 16. School for me really was a privileged microcosm and I didn’t have a concept of money in the wider sense really.
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved away to school at 12, then to London at 16 to continue studying.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I suppose after my degree, aged 20, but I was still given money here and there by parents for a couple of years. My stepmum has been incredible and supported me with loans during lockdown, too.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
In holidays I occasionally worked on my mum’s market stall from about age 14. It was just for extra spending money and I don’t think I did it all that often.
 
Do you worry about money now?
I worried a lot in my 20s. I really struggled with the high cost of living in London. Sometimes I worry a bit now but I know I’ve been in much worse situations. I’m pretty relaxed about the fact I don’t have financial stability as a freelancer.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I haven’t formally received inheritance money although I borrowed money off my stepmum when my industry had no work during lockdown. I paid most of this back but it did get to a point where she wrote it off as she acknowledged I didn’t get an inheritance from my dad. I’m not sure exactly how much though.

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