Money Diary: A 34-Year-Old Academic On 42k Going Through IVF

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 have been working in higher education, as a lecturer, for the last six years after completing my PhD. The last three years have seen me promoted to senior lecturer and take on more responsibility for running the course. During this time I also got married, travelled and attempted to start a family, which hasn’t gone well. It hasn’t gone well at all!
After two years of trying and undergoing numerous tests, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility (possibly the world’s most frustrating diagnosis). We are now undergoing our one and only free round of IVF on the NHS. This week I attend scan appointments, wait for news on our developing embryos and try to live as normal a life as possible while on the emotional rollercoaster that is IVF."
Industry: Academia
Age: 34
Location: Sheffield
Salary: £42k
Paycheque amount: £2,407.83
Number of housemates: Just one (husband)
Monthly Expenses
Student loan: £0. I was really lucky and only had £9k student loan due to help from my parents with tuition fees. I also had a bursary to fund my PhD studies. I was able to pay off my loan in full a few years ago, prior to that I was paying £160 a month. As a higher education employee I see the stress student loans cause today's graduates. Recently there has been a discussion around reducing fees to £7.5k, which seems great until you find out that the repayment period would last for 10 additional years, potentially meaning students would pay more back in the long run. I’d support the removal of fees as I believe that we all benefit from a highly educated workforce.
Pension: I pay 9.6% of my pre-tax salary into my pension (£336.29) with work contributing a further 16.5% (£577.29).
Savings: I save £1,000 a month split between a Vanguard stocks and shares ISA (£450), a First Direct regular saver at 5% (£300) and a Nationwide regular saver at 5% (£250). I have about £10k in savings. I have been saving this much for a while but always dip into this money for things like mortgage overpayments, house renovation and any extra money needed for holidays. My husband is really money savvy and I have learned a lot from him over the years. We are aiming to pay off our mortgage in eight years while interest rates are so low and are very close to doing so, which is a huge achievement. It helps that we live in an affordable area, as our mortgage was £117k for a three-bed Victorian terrace.
Other savings: I also save £150 into a holiday fund, £150 into a food shopping fund, and £150 into a house fund (for any renovation or house items). My husband matches all of these and they are joint accounts. I don’t drive as I hate it and have hated it since passing my test at 18, but I do contribute £50 a month towards husband's car, as we use it a lot together. I also save £60 a month into a Christmas and birthday fund.
Spending money: Currently around £440 a month to spend on clothes, transport, a few work lunches, socialising and anything else that takes my fancy.
Mortgage: £423.66 (fixed at 1.99% with Nationwide) and split equally with my husband.
Bills: All bills are split 50/50 with my husband as we earn very similar amounts. Council tax £118, water £41.50 (with no payments in Feb or March), gas and electricity £54 (this has recently been halved after we had a wood burner installed). Sky £42 and includes our phone line and internet. It used to be double this as we had sports and movie packages. Netflix £5.99, phone £6 sim only deal as I wanted to get more than two years' use out of my phone. Also I hate shopping for tech. TV licence £12.83. House insurance approximately £125 which we pay yearly out of the house fund as it’s cheaper than paying a monthly direct debit. Life insurance £6.16, Spotify £4.99 still on a student deal. Window cleaner £6.
Other: Contact lenses £21. St Luke’s lottery £4.99 – this is a local hospice that cared for my great aunt through her cancer when I was a child. I have volunteered there and always try to support them. I’ve never won though!

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