Money Diary: A 32-Year-Old Care Home Worker On 41k

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 32 years old, living in Northamptonshire with my boyfriend (G), our dog (B) and cat (E). We bought our house in July this year. Buying a house has literally used all of my money. I’m terrible at saving as I like to live in the moment but I’m super proud of the fact that I’ve made it onto the property ladder. I started my nurse training in 2010 and have worked in the NHS ever since. After the pandemic, I decided I couldn't cope anymore with the long hours, night shifts, missed birthdays and events due to weekend shifts. I saw the deputy manager/clinical lead job advertised when we were planning the big move and decided to go for it. I have a lot of clinical experience as I have worked in A&E and ICU as well as being a sister on a ward. The nursing home has 24 residents aged 22 to 70, who have some degree of neurological impairment either present at birth or acquired."
Occupation: Deputy manager/clinical lead 
Industry: Nursing home 
Age: 32
Location: East Midlands 
Salary: £41,000
Paycheque amount: £2,300 to £2,400 after deductions
Number of housemates: One: my boyfriend, G. 
Pronouns: She/her 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £440 for my half of the mortgage. 
Loan payments: Before I started nursing, I studied English for two years before dropping out so I have student loans from those years. As it’s a percentage of my paycheque, it’s usually around £180 a month, which is deducted from my net pay. I started an advanced diploma in adult nursing in 2010 which was paid for by the government at the time (they no longer do this, which is frankly ridiculous) so if I had gone straight into that I would be student debt-free. We live and learn! I am also paying off £130 a month on my credit card after a big birthday purchase for G next year (it’s his 30th so justified). 
Savings? £100 in a Monzo saving ISA which is so uninspiring. Buying a house and getting it looking just right has really depleted any funds I had and truthfully I’m not a good saver at all. 
Utilities: Council tax £90, water £20, gas and electric £20, life insurance £12, Sky £40. Car finance £355, car insurance £46, car tax £13 (I couldn’t afford the upfront payment at the time so opted to pay monthly), pet insurance £5.
Pension? I used to work for the NHS so was paying 9% into a pension. When I left it was almost £250 a month! In my new job it’s 4% so around £140 a month, which they match. I’ve got no idea how much I actually have in any pension pots, I occasionally remember that I should really find out. 
All other monthly expenses: Phone £49. Subscriptions: Amazon Prime £8, Royal College of Nursing £17, Nursing and Midwifery Council £30 every three months (those two I have to pay but I’m able to claim the money back via a change in tax code). Gym £60, Microsoft Office £5.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? I wanted to be an English teacher when I was in college but the university course was only six hours a week teaching and the rest was self-directed learning. I quickly became bored with that and had to rethink things. I took student loans to pay for the two years of English that I studied (my parents didn’t help me out as they couldn’t afford it). I then did an advanced diploma in adult nursing, which was paid for by the government.
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? We always had holidays and food on the table but money was never really discussed. I think education about money and savings would have been so useful in school and college. I was so frivolous with money once I moved out, like it had no meaning. 
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house? I left for university when I was 18 years old and never looked back. I went to university 200 miles away and moved in with four male housemates which was such a laugh. I’m pretty independent and have never thought of moving back home. 
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life? As soon as I moved out and got the university loans. My parents would give me the odd handout here and there but mostly it was a case of batch cooking, discount stores and buying only what is necessary. I’ve been financially independent since. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it? I started a Saturday job at the age of 15, answering calls at an electromechanical engineering workshop where some of my family work. Once I was old enough that money helped to pay for a driving lesson and a night out every week. Money used to go quite far, didn’t it?! I’ve always loved earning and having money.
 
Do you worry about money now? Yes! All the time! I am a worrier anyway and always tend to think of the worst possible outcome. I’m so scared of running out of money. However, I’m at a stage where I'm earning the most I have ever earned in my working life, which is a nice feeling.
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? No.

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