Money Diary: A Primary School Teacher On 29.6k

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 25-year-old primary school teacher living on the south coast of England. I’ve been teaching for three years and live with my partner, A, who has also been teaching for three years so we earn the exact same salary. This makes budgeting so much easier, which I am eternally grateful for! I’m currently studying an online MSc in psychology alongside teaching full time. While I love teaching, I’m not sure I can see myself in the classroom forever and I'm interested in becoming an educational psychologist in the future. As I don’t come from a psychology background, I started the MSc conversion course earlier this year and although it’s hectic, so far it’s great. I have a tendency to be a bit of a workaholic (the most typical Enneagram type three you will ever meet) and massively burned out in my first year of teaching so I’m really trying to have more of a work-life balance and prioritise myself. I love being busy and studying so this doesn’t always come easy. I really struggled mentally over the course of the lockdowns for various reasons but have turned a huge corner in the last few months. With this in mind, I’m finding I’m spending a lot more money on experiences but am trying to tell myself this is okay."
Occupation: Primary school teacher and MSc psychology student. 
Industry: Education 
Age: 25 
Location: South coast 
Salary: £29,664 salary plus student loan (roughly £1,900 three times a year). 
Paycheque amount: £1,781.71 
Number of housemates: One: my partner, A. 
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £775 for a two-bed house in the city centre. 
Loan payments: £17 student loan. I don’t yet pay any of my master's loan as I’m still doing the course but am dreading the day this comes around as I’ve heard the contributions are significantly more. 
Savings? £400 in a Help to Buy ISA (clearly well on my way to owning a home) and £2,370 in an everyday saver account.
Pension? I pay £212.59 into my pension each month.
Utilities: On the joint account, my half of each bill comes to £85 council tax, £2.25 home insurance, £16.50 water, £41.30 gas and electric, £23.50 Wi-Fi, £6.50 TV licence (all split directly with A). We pay £850 each into the joint account per month and use this to cover all utilities, rent, food plus any joint activities or expenses. 
All other monthly payments: £42.52 for my iPhone and AirPods. £26.40 leisure centre membership including gym, swim and classes (split with A). £16.14 teaching union membership, £9.19 AA membership, £35 for physio every other week for cervicogenic headaches. Subscriptions: £7.99 Amazon Prime, £5.99 Spotify Student. I also pay half of our Disney+ and Microsoft Office subscriptions on the joint account at £4 a month for each. 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? 
I went to university at 18 to study a three-year BEd in primary education. I absolutely loved uni but it was a massive learning curve with regards to money. I paid for my studies using a student loan and got the minimum maintenance allowance. I’d worked in retail and hospitality since 16 but didn’t ever prioritise saving and massively regretted this once I’d maxed out my overdraft limit before the end of first year. I managed to work and save a bit more over the summer of first year and then my parents helped me out with £150 a month once I spoke to them about my money situation. 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents have always advocated spending money in a way which allows you to enjoy life within your means while making sure you have a little left over. I took this to the extreme when I was younger and only saw saving as something you would do to fund a purchase. I really do believe that you only live once and you should spend money on experiences while you can but I am much more able to combine this with a more rational outlook now. When I left for uni, I realised how massively privileged I had been growing up to never really have to worry about money. 
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out temporarily for uni at 18 but came back during holidays. When I graduated at 21 I moved back in with my mum and dad for six months to save money to go travelling while working as a waitress and they were kind enough to not charge me rent during this time. When we got back from travelling, my partner and I moved back in with my parents for another few months while we started our teaching jobs, until we began renting our current house. During this time, we paid them £200 each month for rent. 
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I would say just after I turned 23, when I moved out of my parents’ house and into this one. A and I split all living costs equally. We have very different attitudes to money – he is very much a saver while I’m a lot more of a spender – but we’ve managed to compromise well. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got my first job at the age of 15, working in a local shop for £3 an hour! I basically got the job to fund my obsession with YouTube beauty influencers and to be able to buy makeup. I worked in various retail and hospitality jobs all through my final years of school, sixth form and uni, often working crazy hours in between studying.
 
Do you worry about money now?
Yes. I’m dreadful for comparing myself to others and often look at people who are my age or younger and have significantly more in savings than me and think what on earth am I doing with my money and why was I so careless in the past? However, I then look back on all the amazing experiences I’ve had and things I’ve done with my money. I do really worry about home ownership and how realistic this is for me – probably not very likely in the next few years. 
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I received £10,000 from my grandma when I was 17, this was from some money she’d inherited herself. I spent most of this on buying my car (which I still drive to this day) and paying for driving lessons and insurance. I put the remainder towards travelling around America after I left sixth form.
Refinery29 is currently looking for someone who has a NatWest ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ card to take part in a paid opportunity around R29's Money Diaries. This person would need to be a conscious spender and saving up for or considering making a large purchase (£500 and under). If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please do send a bit of information about yourself and your financial situation to moneydiary@refinery29.uk.

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