Money Diary: A 19-Year-Old NHS Worker On 12k

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’m 19 years old and currently working as a community healthcare assistant part-time before I start my paramedic training next year. This is the second job I’ve had. Previously, I worked for Waitrose which was actually really fun, however, I wanted to get some healthcare experience before starting my training so I decided to get a job with my local district nursing team at the start of this year. Working in the NHS during the pandemic has been eye-opening but I’m really enjoying it so far. I currently live at home with my parents (which I pay them rent for) but it’s a major goal of mine to own my own home. I’m definitely a saver not a spender and I’ve been putting money away since I started work at 16 for my house deposit. My boyfriend, J (who works in the fire service), and I would love to buy a place together as soon as I’m qualified, which will be about three years from now."
Occupation: Community healthcare assistant
Industry: NHS
Age: 19
Location: Dorset
Salary: £11,842 (this is pro-rata as I’m contracted three days a week – the full salary at NHS band 3 is £19,737)
Paycheque amount: £986.85 for my basic monthly salary (although the actual amount is always a little more due to mileage expenses). If I’ve done any bank shifts these are paid at £80.09 per day.
Number of housemates: Three, including my two parents and sister. I also have a gorgeous cat who we’ve had since I was 8.
Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £120-£150 rent paid to my parents.
Loan payments: £0
Savings? At the moment I have £10,000 in a Lifetime ISA, £6,000 in a Help to Buy ISA, £1,000 in a normal savings account and £200 in a Moneybox Stocks and Shares ISA (which I opened at the start of the year because I was curious about investing). I also have £450 into my house deposit fund and £100 into a general savings account for larger purchases like holidays.
All other monthly expenses: £8 a month on a giffgaff goodybag. £80 on fuel (although some of that I get back through mileage expenses). Subscriptions: £4 a month College of Paramedics membership (I will be training as a paramedic starting next February). £4.49 shaving subscription (£9.95 every two months).
Pension? I pay 5.6% of my salary, which is £55.26 a month.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Next February I will be going to university to do my paramedic science degree, which I’ll be taking out a tuition and maintenance loan for. I’m also eligible for a £5,000 a year NHS training bursary.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
We didn’t often talk about finances growing up, despite the fact both my parents used to work in financial services. They will answer questions if I go to them but I would say most of my education about money has come from my own research.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I live at home but I’ve been saving hard since I started work at 16 and it’s a big goal of mine to own my own home. My boyfriend J and I are hoping to buy a place together as soon as I’ve qualified. He is a firefighter and also has another job in retail so he will be able to carry on working and saving while I’m studying. I’m also planning on having a part-time job to help with living costs and boost our savings.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? I’m definitely not 100% financially responsible for myself at the moment. However, I feel that I am quite independent for my age and definitely don’t expect to be given handouts by my parents. Sometimes I do get help with larger costs, which I'm very grateful for. Recently my car was due for its MOT and needed a new timing belt at the same time. Both cost around £300 so I paid for one and my parents for the other. I’m aiming to be completely independent financially by the time I finish my degree.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working at Waitrose. I started when I was 16 and did two shifts a week which I fit around my sixth form classes. I left this January to start my career in the NHS.
Do you worry about money now?
Not really. I think this comes from being quite proactive about money and educating myself about things not taught in school like different types of savings accounts, credit scores, taxes, the process of getting a mortgage and buying a house. I think even though some of those things don’t affect me yet it’s still important to be educated and have a plan for where I’m heading financially. I also think I’m lucky to have enough savings to have a good level of security. If I get an unexpected cost I might begrudge taking it out of my savings account but I know at the end of the day I’ll still be able to afford it and be okay.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? No.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series