Money Diary: A 33-Year-Old Lawyer In Manchester On 52k

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 33-year-old lawyer living in Manchester, predominantly working from home. Similar to many, I have had to adapt to a new way of working since the pandemic hit and it has been tough at times but I feel that I have somewhat got the hang of it now. In all honesty, navigating the pandemic has enabled me to have a number of breakthroughs, from purchasing my first home on my own to realising the importance of a work/life balance and a support system. I used to be an avid spender in my early 20s, always shopping and pumping my wages back into the stores I worked for (counterproductive, I know). I always knew that someday I wanted to buy my own house so I set about a plan to be able to do that around age 27 when I opened a Help to Buy ISA. Fast-forward five years and I was able to buy my first house at the age of 32 by myself during the pandemic. I believe that saving for my house deposit has helped me to be a little savvier when it comes to saving."
Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Legal
Age: 33
Location: Manchester
Salary: £52,000
Paycheque amount: £2,880 (after deductions for tax, pension and student loan)
Number of housemates: None
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £780 mortgage.
Loan payments: Other than my student loan, which comes out of my pay before I receive it, I have a £233.83 car payment each month.
Savings? I usually try to put between £500 and £800 each month in savings, although on occasion I will end up transferring some back depending on social activities for the month.
Utilities/phone: £100 council tax; £81 gas and electric; £13.45 boiler service cover; £40 water (I have recently had a meter fitted so this payment should go down to around £27); £13.37 TV licence; £40 TV and internet package.
All other monthly expenses: £32 mobile phone plan; £4.90 WordPress fee (for when I become a famous writer). Subscriptions: £9.99 Netflix, £7.99 Amazon Prime.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I was the first person in my family to attend university. I was classed as an independent student owing to my family background and income and as such I obtained the full student loans and maintenance grants available (which I am still paying off now). 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I grew up with my grandparents, who were not originally from the UK and found it quite difficult when they arrived here. My sibling and I were placed with my grandparents when I was around 6 years old. When we went to live with my grandparents they were retired, however they both obtained cleaning jobs to help support the family finances in putting us through school. My grandparents worked low income jobs and my nan used to tell me to try my best at school so that I could earn a decent living. Unfortunately, my grandad passed away when I was 11 years old and my nan became a single parent raising two young children. My nan gave up work to look after us and money was tight and precious. I got a job as soon as I could work and enjoyed having the ability to buy nice things for myself, which meant I didn’t really save when I was younger. However I have an appreciation of money now.
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out originally in the first year of university into private student accommodation with my friend and two other girls where I was paying around £550 in rent. After a year, I wanted to move back home (nothing like home comforts) and I stayed at home for a while. In that time I went travelling with friends, obtained full-time employment and eventually moved out at 26 with my then boyfriend into a rented flat. 
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I have always been quite independent and was aware of the need to contribute when living at home. I would give a nominal amount for 'keep' when living at home from the age of 21 after I graduated university (around £250 each month). I would say that I didn’t become fully financially responsible for myself until I moved out and got a flat at age 26. While it never happened, I knew that if I were ever in trouble with finances I could have approached my nan for help. I am responsible for myself entirely.
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working part-time in retail when I got my NI number. At the time, I knew that if I needed anything I would have to earn my own money. I loved this job and stayed there for a number of years, working part-time while studying at college and university. 
 
Do you worry about money now?
I am lucky that I was able to work from home last year and didn't suffer a loss of income. I always had my savings as a safety net, however now that I have bought a house I do slightly feel the pressure of having a mortgage that I am solely responsible for. As I bought during the pandemic, the bank wanted 15% deposit to secure the mortgage and this obliterated my savings completely. I continue to put money aside each month to build up my savings and to have the ability to undertake any home improvements in the future.
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No, I have never received passive or inherited income. My nan passed away unexpectedly a few years ago without a will and as I was never legally adopted by her, the estate is subject to intestacy rules.

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