Money Diary: An Intensive Care Doctor On 54k In London

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 31-year-old doctor working in London and I’ve been specialising in anaesthesia and intensive care for the last six years. Last year was very challenging as I spent most of the year looking after patients with severe COVID, as well as trying to finish my postgraduate exams. It was exhausting to work 80-hour weeks, especially in full PPE. It was also emotionally really hard to see so many patients dying or seriously debilitated from COVID. By the end of 2020 I was burnt out, so I decided to reduce my working hours to 80% which meant taking a bit of a pay cut. My mental and physical health is slowly recovering, and I don’t think I’ll go back to full-time hours any time soon. 
I live with my husband (B) who works in charity (right now he’s working from home) and earns about the same as me. We have our own current accounts but share our savings. Two years ago when we got engaged, we started planning a big fat Indian wedding. Then we realised that a big wedding wasn’t really our style so we had a tiny civil ceremony at our local town hall, and used our savings for a deposit on our flat instead. After moving seven times in the last 10 years for medical school and hospital rotations, it was amazing to finally put down roots and have a space to call my own. 
Growing up, my parents worked extremely hard but weren’t very good with money, and I always felt anxious about it. I’m definitely a saver rather than a spender but sometimes I do impulse buy things to make myself feel better, and then end up feeling guilty about it. Recently I’ve tried to relax my day-to-day spending, and indulge a bit more on things like fancy groceries and skincare, and a few months ago I splashed out and got Invisalign braces. Perfect timing as I’m practically always wearing a mask!
Industry: NHS
Age: 31
Location: London
Salary: Approx. £54,000 (used to be £65,000 when I worked full time)
Paycheque amount: Varies based on shifts but usually £2,950/month after tax, student loan, NI and pension. I sometimes do extra shifts which amounts to £300-500/month.
Number of housemates: One, my husband B. 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: Mortgage £745 (for my half). Our mortgage is a two-year fixed deal at 1.29%. Ground rent £125/year. No service charge.
Loan payments: Student loan £356/month (plan one) taken directly from my pay. I have about £11,000 left to pay. 
Utilities: £40/month energy, £73/month council tax (both my half). Water (about £200) and home insurance (about £350) is paid annually. 
Transportation: I work in central London so get either monthly or weekly travelcards depending on how many shifts I’m working. Usually it’s about £150/month.
Phone bill: £20/month for a SIM-only deal including unlimited data (I hotspot from my phone data instead of having broadband)
Savings: B and I each save on average £1000/month and currently have £29,000 in savings. Normally we would use this to overpay on the mortgage, but we are thinking about starting a family so we might keep some aside for maternity leave and baby-related costs.
Other: £250 a month into a joint account, which covers our groceries, meals out, date nights etc. Also shaving subscription £9.99, Netflix £14.99, donation to Wikimedia £9.99. Spotify Family £9.99. iCloud £0.99. I also pay £408/year for my medical license, £175/year for Royal College of Anaesthetists membership and £130/year for medical indemnity. I claim back tax on these as they are work expenses. Earlier this year I started Invisalign. I’ve always been very conscious of my teeth and decided to finally get them straightened. I found a great local dentist who takes payments in instalments and so far I’ve paid £2,000 towards it and have £800 left to pay. 
If you’d like to submit your own money diary then please do send a bit of information about you and your situation to We pay £100 for each published diary. Apologies but we’re not able to reply to every email.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series