Money Diary: A 30-Year-Old Mental Health Pharmacist In London On 54.7k

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.
As every person's financial situation is unique, going forward we're asking diarists to complete a series of financial-based questions to provide readers with more context to their relationship with money. Please remember before commenting that the diarists are from a range of backgrounds and cultures and their experience, education and mental relationship with money might be very different from yours. Money Diaries are designed to provide readers with diverse experiences of spending, saving and asking for more in the hope that by learning from each other, we can build a more positive financial future together.
This week: "I am a soon-to-be-30-year-old hospital pharmacist living and working in London. I have been specialising in mental health for the last five years. Although mental health hospitals may not have been as hard hit by the pandemic, the last 18 months have been some of the toughest for patients and staff alike. Caring for patients who are often unable to advocate for themselves and are dealing with physical health problems on top of debilitating mental health problems has been extremely difficult to witness and work through.
I live with my husband (T), who works in the finance industry and has been working from home since March last year. We have joint current accounts and spend jointly on a credit card that is paid off in full on a monthly basis. In the past, I would impulse buy and spend on bags and shoes but over the last few years I was able to build up enough savings with T to put down a deposit on a flat in London."
Occupation: Mental health pharmacist
Industry: NHS
Age: 29 (turning 30)
Location: London
Salary: £54,701 (inclusive of London weighting and on-call payments). My husband earns £76,000 a year.
Paycheque amount: £2,726 monthly (this is after all tax, NI, pension and student loan deductions). My husband is paid £4,110 monthly (after all tax, NI, pension and private medical insurance deductions, he has no student loan debt).
Number of housemates: One, my husband T
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £1,750 mortgage. We have a two-year fixed deal and pay service charge twice a year (usually £1,500 each time). There is no ground rent as we have a share of the freehold.
Loan payments: Student loan £260 taken directly from my payslip.
Savings? T and I try to save on average £2,000 each month after allowing for discretionary purchases like buying clothes. We should be able to save more but recently we have been refurbishing our flat (new furniture, painting, electrical works, etc.) and paying out of our monthly salaries for the work.
All other monthly costs: Phone bill £60 (yes, I am aware this is extortionate. My current contract expires in October and I want to switch to a SIM-only deal), £29 for broadband, £100 council tax, £40 electricity (we don’t have a gas connection), £23 water. Subscriptions: £5.99 Netflix, £3.99 Amazon Prime, £4.99 Apple Music, £2.49 iCloud storage, £20 Unite the union membership.
Pension? The NHS has a career average revalued earnings pension scheme. I pay £569 a month, taken directly from my paycheque.
Other: £40 monthly for eyebrow threading or waxing. GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council) membership is £257 yearly and I claim the tax back on this amount.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? It was always assumed that I would go to university and there were never really any other options discussed. I took a gap year after secondary school to work and save up.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? My parents have always worked very hard to provide for my brother and I and we had healthy discussions about finances. My dad always took care of the bills and mortgage and my mum was in charge of fun spending. As soon as I turned 16 I got a part-time job, and I kept working part-time until I was three months into my first full-time job at the age of 25.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house? I lived at home until I got engaged, which is when I moved in with T.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? Although I had a part-time job at 16, which covered things like spending money, money for new clothes and then car payments, insurance and petrol, I was still living at home rent-free so did not consider myself financially responsible until I moved out at 26.
What was your first job and why did you get it? My first job was working in a community pharmacy as a counter assistant, which I got at first for the spending money but decided to stay as it helped with my degree.

Do you worry about money now? Yes and no. Although T and I are financially stable, we would like to start a family in the next few years and move to a bigger property so we're trying to build up our savings as much as possible before then.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Neither T or I have received any inherited income.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series