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Money Diary: A Mental Health Nurse On £42,000

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people 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 mental health nurse that works in the community and lives in Lincolnshire. I’ve very recently (this week!) moved house which has been months in the making. Our previous house was our first home and we loved it but desperately needed more space after our child, D, joined us year. I’m still on maternity leave and due to go back in a couple of months, so I’m looking forward to finding a work/life balance. Over the past few years I’ve come into a substantial amount of money after being able to claim on my critical illness cover and also losing my mum. This has meant we could upsize by porting our current mortgage and not borrowing anymore money, which I appreciate is a good financial position to be in.”
Occupation: Mental health nurse 
Industry: NHS 
Age: 27 
Location: Lincolnshire 
Salary: £42,618
Paycheque amount: £2,320 (although I’m current on maternity leave and in my months of earning nothing)
Number of house mates: Three — my partner J, our daughter D and our dog M. 
Pronouns: She/her 
Monthly expenses
Housing costs: £545 mortgage
Loan payments: £0 
Utilities: £145 gas and electric; £40 water; £166 council tax
Savings? £720 personal savings; £900 maternity savings pot; £5,000 
joint savings emergency fund; £13,800 pot of savings earmarked for furniture for our new house and a new bathroom.
Pension? I have an NHS pension which I pay 9.8% into per month — I think this is generally around £340. 
Other monthly payments: £62 phone bill; £29 J’s life insurance; £40 M’s pet insurance; £84 Sky; £318 car PCP.
Subscriptions: None

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? 

I did a degree in nursing which at the time meant I received a bursary and that my course fees were paid for by the government. I received a small student loan (total of around £5,000 spread across three years) which, after accommodation, left me with around £18 per week to live on. I was very fortunate that five members of my family decided to send me £20 a month each for the whole of my uni time to boost this. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents were very different in their approach to money. They both ran up a lot of debt which left them in bad situations. My mum was always booking the next holiday and wasn't very cautious — I’m pretty sure she lived her whole life in her overdraft, despite having a good job. My dad did speak to me about money, educated me on mortgages and interests rates and I’m thankful for these conversations. 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house? 
I moved out for uni at 18 (I returned home during the summers). I then move straight in with J after uni. 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone cover any aspects of your financial life? 
I’d probably say when I finished uni at 21. Prior to this I did lean on my family through my nurse training. I did also work during the holidays, but you have significantly less holidays when doing a nursing degree than other degrees. I’m currently on maternity leave and that means J is contributing more towards bills (we have saved some money to cover this expense too).  
What was your first job and why did you get it? 
From age 14, I worked in a restaurant. My mum asked them if I could do a few shifts and I worked there for around six years alongside, school/college/uni. I started on £3.68 and it was entirely to fund my Topshop and MAC expenditures! 
Do you worry about money now? 
Yes and no. I know I’m in a fortunate position, however, I’m due to drop my hours when I return to work and we will have to start paying nursery fees soon, which is going to make a huge difference to our financial situation. 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? 
Yes, I received £150,000 a couple of years ago after I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I, thankfully, had life insurance with critical illness cover and would urge anyone to check their policies to include this cover. 
My mum also passed away in 2022 and I received £28,000 from her pension. We have kept some of this money in our savings (as mentioned above) and then the rest has gone into the house we have just moved into meaning we were able to put down a 65% deposit.