Money Diary: A Primary School Teacher In Norwich On 36k

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 28-year-old primary school teacher from Norwich, living alone in a flat that I bought earlier this year. I was working both in school and from home during the lockdowns but now I’m back in work full time. I’m really happy about this as trying to teach young children over online video platforms is hilarious but very difficult – you end up spending most of the 'lesson' being shown their pets and toys. Managing 30 children all day is hard work but it’s such a rewarding job and it’s certainly never boring! I try to keep busy in the evenings by socialising with friends and attending dance and fitness classes."
Occupation: Primary school teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 28
Location: Norwich
Salary: £36,961
Paycheque amount: £2,063.82
Number of housemates: None
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £498 mortgage payment, plus additional £50 overpayment.
Loan payments: Student loan £127 (taken directly out of salary).
Savings? £1,000 in a current account, £3,000 in an easy-access savings account, £1,250 in a regular saver, £1,200 in a stocks and shares ISA, £400 in a Lifetime ISA and £500ish (at the time of writing – this obviously fluctuates a lot) in crypto currencies.
Pension? Teachers' Pension Scheme. I pay in £264.89 monthly and my employer tops it up to £729.36 (taken directly out of salary).
Utilities: Bills £206.15, DVLA £13.12.
All other monthly payments: Phone £10, gym membership £55, NASUWT membership £16.49. Charity payments: WWF £3, Ecologi £4.70. Subscriptions: Spotify £9.99, Amazon Prime £7.99, Netflix £9.99, ClearScore £4.99.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I went to university at 18 for an undergraduate degree, then went straight into teacher training (PGCE). After my first year of teaching, I undertook a master’s degree while working. I paid for my undergrad degree with a student loan and money I earned working through the Christmas, Easter and summer breaks. My PGCE was also funded by a student loan plus a £4,000 teacher-training bursary. I paid for my master’s degree myself in 10 instalments over the course of the year.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I don’t remember having many conversations about money growing up but my parents emphasised the importance of having a good work ethic. I had a paper round at 13 and got a part-time job at 16.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I lived in my university city from 18 to 21 then moved back in with my parents. I briefly moved out to live with an ex-boyfriend a few years ago but moved out permanently when I completed on the purchase of my flat in March 2021.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I would say that I became properly financially responsible when I bought my flat. I’m lucky to have a good relationship with my parents so I was able to live with them, paying £200 a month board, while I was saving for my first home.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked on a checkout in a supermarket part-time while I was studying for my A-levels. They also allowed me to return during the holidays while I was at university to earn a bit of extra cash.
Do you worry about money now?
I try not to. I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and when I first purchased my flat, I was worrying constantly that something major would go wrong with it or that I would lose my job and not be able to pay my mortgage and bills. I counteracted this by being really strict with my spending in order to save up an emergency fund. Now I have more than three months of living expenses saved up, I give myself more freedoms. Ideally, I’d like to save up six months of expenses but cutting everything I enjoyed out of my life really affected my mental health so I’m trying to be more balanced now.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series