Money Diary: A 27-Year-Old Marketing Manager Surviving Christmas In Debt

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 27-year-old marketing graduate working in fashion e-commerce as a marketing manager. After flitting around in tech startups for a while after I graduated, then for some ungodly reason heading back to retail, I have finally managed to land a marketing job within the fashion industry. I love my job and although the pay was awful at the beginning, I’ve worked my butt off and managed a steady increase of £10k in rises over the two years I have been here.
 
One of the main reasons for the crazy ride I have had in my career and my bank balance was the sudden death of my partner four years ago, which sent me into a frenzy of loans and credit cards. Initially for the funeral and then it spiralled, with more loans and advances for an array of beautiful clothes and shoes which my head told me would fill the hole in my heart. It didn’t, obviously, and eventually I ended up in an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) to try and save myself from the £550 minimum payments I had found myself paying each month without declaring myself bankrupt. All by the ripe old age of 25.
 
I’m happy to say the hole in my heart is now filled with my amazing partner and my wonderful dog. I’m also two years into my five-year IVA, and once I am finished the remainder of my £28k debt will be written off and my credit score will rise from the ashes. Bring it on."
 
Industry: Fashion e-commerce
Age: 27
Location: Manchester
Salary: £27,000
Paycheque amount: £1,674
Number of housemates: One (partner)
 
Monthly Expenses 
Housing costs: £675. I rent a two-bedroom house with my boyfriend and my dog, a short walk from the city centre. Previously I was paying more than this for a studio flat.
Loan payments: £240 to pay off my Individual Voluntary Arrangement, £70 student loans.
Utilities: £64 council tax, £36 water, £41 electric (all split with my partner).
Transportation: Very rarely anything – I need to get those steps in because the gym is not my friend. I average about 12k steps a day, walking my dog and walking to and from work.
Phone bill: £55 split over two phones. I have major anxiety about losing my phone so I kept my old one on a SIM-only deal.
Savings? £50-£100 into the kitty for holidays and emergencies. I rarely have money left over because of the amount I spend paying off the debts, but anything I do I bung into an H2B ISA I’ve had for years. I’ll be honest though – every spare penny has gone to Christmas presents for the last six months.
Other: Insurance for my dog £22, direct debit to cover his flea and worm treatments £12, extra iCloud storage for the insane number of photos I take of said dog £2.49.

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