Money Diary: A Junior Doctor In Manchester On 34k

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 25-year-old junior doctor, living in Manchester and currently working in women’s health. I’ve lived alone for most of the year and I actually love the solace and contentment it brings. Living on my own has been a big adjustment both financially and socially but I'm slowly trying to rebuild my savings while maintaining an active social and dating life."
Occupation: Doctor
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 25
Location: Manchester
Salary: £34,000 base pay and £12,000 unsociable/additional hours pay.
Paycheque amount: £2,350 after pension deductions, student finance.
Number of housemates: Zero humans. Many scarily large spiders lurking in corners.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £795 rent for a two-bed house.
Loan payments: My student loan is usually just under £300 for both undergrad and postgrad loans. I pay my credit card off in full every month and use it sporadically when I remember I should be bettering my credit score.
Pension? I have an NHS pension so pay the 9.3% into this, which comes out of my paycheque each month.
Savings? £4,500 in an ISA, £3,200 in a Lifetime ISA. I have about £700 total in Monzo pots earmarked for my car insurance and Christmas presents. I usually aim to save £200-300 a month into the ISAs and £100 a month into the Monzo pots. I’ll put a bit more in if I do any locum shifts.
Utilities: £27.27 water, £119 energy, £125 council tax, £21 internet.
All other monthly expenses: £10 mobile phone SIM only. £20 gym, £20 contact lenses, £19.99 BMA (British Medical Association, the doctors' union) fees, £3.66 contents insurance, £18.99 road tax. Subscriptions: I use our Spotify family plan, split Amazon Prime annually with my brother and also use his Disney+.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I did a five-year undergraduate medical degree and an intercalated master's in the middle of this. I paid for it using student finance and the NHS bursary for my final two years of medicine. I also received a one-off, means-tested bursary from my university in first year.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Money was pretty tight most of my childhood as we were a single-parent family. I think I am quite thrifty as a result and I try to cook economically and love discount codes. We didn’t have lots of conversations about money except to say there was a lack of it so I suppose most of my learning was passive.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out for university at 18 and haven’t really lived at home since, except briefly in lockdown.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I would say I became financially responsible aged 18 when I went to uni. I worked throughout uni, particularly in the holidays. However, I suppose I became truly financially responsible when I graduated and moved away last year.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I’ve had so many! I think my first job was as a waitress in a cafe aged 16 but I have worked in pubs and tutoring science since. I wanted to learn to drive so I needed a job to pay for lessons.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes I do. I am fortunate with my salary but living alone was a big financial commitment that I'm still adjusting to. I remind myself that it is worth it for my mental wellbeing, even though my other high expenses like GMC (General Medical Council) fees and travel can be a bit of a hit.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
My dad gave me £5,000 for my master's degree. I have included this for posterity but I don’t really count it as he didn’t pay child support for years so in my head it’s more like a delayed payment.

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