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Money Diary: An HR Manager In Brighton On £50,000

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people 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 single mother working in HR in Brighton. I’ve been with my current company for eight years and undertook a HR qualification with it after I had my second child. My day-to-day work is variable — sometimes I find myself doing something like IT support — but this suits me as I prefer being busy and enjoy learning new things. I met my ex-husband at the start of my career, when he earned double my salary, but we’ve always split everything completely fairly and supported each other. He showed me the importance of building a good credit rating as I was completely terrified of debt and credit cards before I met him, although maybe that’s gone too far the other way now! We separated earlier this year, but we are co-parenting our two children 50:50 and I’m pretty proud of us for making it work and staying friends (so far). However, this has had a massive impact on my finances, as I now have the sole financial responsibility of running a family home in an expensive area. As a couple, we worked really hard to climb the property ladder to enable us to buy our (small) three bed terraced house, so I really want to try and make it work if I can. I do often think about moving out of town to fulfil my dreams of off-street parking and a second bathroom (and perhaps not such a huge mortgage), but I love where I live and right now, it’s still worth it.”
Occupation: HR manager
Industry: Construction
Age: 32
Location: Brighton
Salary: £50,000
Paycheque Amount: £3,200
Number of housemates: Two, C (7) and H (3) 
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £1,200 for the mortgage on our three-bed terraced house. This is about to go up to £1,600 in December thanks to my fixed rate ending, which I’m low-key freaking out about.
Loan payments: None
Savings?: £8,000 in an ISA, plus £750 in a “Christmas” fund
Pension?: I’m auto-enrolled in my company pension which has minimum contributions, so they pay 3% and I pay 5% (I think).
Utilities: £180 for gas and electric; £50 for water; £55 for broadband; £73 on three different types of home and health insurances and £186 on council tax because I keep forgetting to apply for single person’s discount. Oops.
Loan payments: None
All other monthly payments: I’m very lucky that I get my phone contract paid through work. I do have to pay £908 a month in nursery fees plus another £130 a month for school clubs, but this is split with their dad, so my share is £500 a month. We also agreed to continue the monthly savings for each child’s JISA, so that’s £25 a month for my share. Subscriptions: £6 on Spotify; £20 per month for NowTV; £10 to a local charity.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? 
My parents, unbeknown to me, saved hard whilst I was at school to be able to send me to university without having to take on a student loan. This was a massive surprise and a huge undertaking for them, and one I’ll always be incredibly grateful for. I worked in retail throughout my degree to supplement this, but I recognise it was a great privilege to leave university without debt. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My mum works in finance and is very sensible with money. My dad is more of the “Spend it now, earn some more later” mindset. Things were pretty tight when I was younger, but they worked hard to get to where they are now and a good work ethic was always a focus. The minute I turned 15 I got a job on their instruction and have never been out of work since. My mum always advised me to have a bit of savings, and my dad always advised me to enjoy life, so between them I think they got the balance right.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I moved out at the age of 19 to go to university and never moved back. 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
At 22, when I moved from university straight into a flat with friends (although my mum did send me the odd £50 when she suspected I wasn’t eating enough). When I was 24 I purchased my first property with my then-partner, who later became my husband, and from then all our finances were shared. Since my separation everything is on me! No pressure.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got a weekend job at a toy shop, taking on full week shifts during the school holidays. It went without saying in my house that as soon as I had my NI number, I was going to get a job, and I used the income to go out with my friends and put fuel in my car.  
Do you worry about money now?
Yes. I would be daft not to. I feel very lucky to earn what I earn, but since becoming single it is pretty concerning to know that everything falls on me. I know I’m careful with money when I need to be, and I know my parents would always help if needed, but I also know if I lose my job, my children are potentially homeless, which plays on my mind a lot. 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? No.