Money Diary: An HR Manager On £74,000

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 33-year-old HR manager who recently moved from London to a town in East Sussex. I’m originally from the other side of the planet, and left ten years ago to pursue a career overseas. Eight of those years have been spent in London. Last year, it became apparently that with rising costs and a dog, it was no longer possible for me to find an appropriate place to live in the city, so after obtaining a 100% remote role, I decided to move further afield. I landed in a lovely three-bed bungalow in a seaside town for £500 less per month than my one-bed in London. I have historically lived paycheque to paycheque, with my monthly costs increasing with each promotion. I’m terrible at managing my money but I’m seeking to change that dramatically. I have a dog and a cat who I am terrified might be put in a risky position if I were to lose my job suddenly. My three-year goal is to pay off my debts (partially done), save for an emergency fund, and build towards a house deposit. With my tendency towards impulsive spending and illogical decision-making it might be a struggle, but I’m working hard to imagine a world where I don’t fear rent increases or suddenly being tossed out of my home.”
Occupation: HR manager
Industry: Legal services
Age: 33
Location: East Sussex
Salary: £74,000
Paycheque Amount: £4,163.16
Number of housemates: Zero humans, one cat, one dog.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £1,450 rent
Loan payments: £100 on my credit card.
Savings? £250 in my savings account (I cleared a significant amount of debt last month).
Utilities: £174 council tax, £10.30 water, £65 gas/electric.
Pension? I contribute 4% while my company generously contributes 10.5%.
All other monthly payments: £72.07 phone bill, £30.88 wi-fi, £13.25 TV licence, £45.51 pet insurance, £105 dog walker. I also pay £134.95 home and contents insurance (annually). Subscriptions: £7.99 Google Storage; £16 coffee subscription; £8.99 Amazon Prime; £10.99 Netflix; £8 Blink; £26 CIPD membership (quarterly); £119.99 Playstation Plus (quarterly).
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, I paid for it via various loans which is where my debt comes from. I still owe around £20,000 back in my home country. I didn’t qualify for allowances due to my father’s salary but I didn’t receive support from family either. I took out every loan I could and worked three jobs to barely cover the costs.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Zero. My parents are both from very poor backgrounds. My dad is the first in our entire family to graduate university and I’m only the second. They spent impulsively and often above their means and I have followed suit. I have very little financial literacy.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
At 18 years old.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
After turning 18 I’ve had no other financial support.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
When I was [around] 15 or 16. My friend and I decided to get jobs to have experience and to earn spending money. It was a terrible job in a sketchy bakery-cafe where we did everything from serving to cooking and baking in the back.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes. I’m highly aware of my terrible money management throughout my 20s and I have taken steps this year to improve things. I’ve just paid off my credit card with a retention bonus I negotiated and I’m now aggressively saving towards an emergency fund and eventual house deposit.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?