Money Diary: A 24-Year-Old Programme Administrator In Manchester On 21k

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 24-year-old (turning 25 this week) living in Manchester with my partner. I am almost six months pregnant, saving up for a house, and currently super boring because of these two things. I work in an administrative role and have also recently started side-hustling for some extra cash (#girlboss). I used to be awful at saving but I’m taking advantage of not spending hundreds every month on alcohol and have been pretty hardcore with saving, so much so that I’ve saved almost £10k this year, when my goal was £5k."
Occupation: Programme administrator
Industry: Education
Age: 24 (almost 25)
Location: Manchester
Salary: £21,236
Paycheque amount: £1,500
Number of housemates: One (my partner)
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £450 for my share of the rent. I live with my boyfriend (G) and he pays the other £550 as he uses the parking space (and earns more than me).
Loan payments: £0. I don’t pay my student loan back yet as I don’t earn enough.
Savings? I save £500 on payday and then whatever is left at the end of the month also goes into savings (usually £100-£200). Currently the total is around £10k.
Pension? I have just over £3k in my old pension and have been paying £18 a month (1%) into my current one. My employer very generously adds 10.5% on top of this.
Utilities: Council tax £75, electricity £20, water £17, Wi-Fi £12.
All other monthly payments: Phone bill £10, Apple watch £14.23. Subscriptions: iCloud storage 79p.

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I used the government student loan scheme to pay my tuition fees of £9,250 a year (eek) and got enough student loan to cover almost all of my rent. I worked part-time from the age of 15, worked full-time during holidays and got a weekend retail job in Manchester before I’d even moved for uni to make sure I could afford to live as a student. I think I had a shortfall of around £2k for rent in my first year and about £1k for second and third (house shares are cheaper than student accommodation). I was earning more than enough to cover this and never actually felt like I was on my last penny when I was studying. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I know now that my parents were pretty skint when I was younger but I don’t remember ever having any conversations about it. I was never really told anything about money but my mum has always been pretty savvy and hunts out a good deal, and my dad has always taken a very relaxed, 'it’s only money' approach to finances. I guess I always worked as I was never given any money by my parents and it helped me understand the value of money from a younger age than some. I’ve never been in severe debt as I was brought up to just manage without or find a cheaper option.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I left home at 18 when I went to university and haven't ever moved back.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I was fed and sheltered until 18 but I earned my own money from the age of 16. I became completely financially independent at 18. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a local haberdashery as I did my two weeks' work experience there when I was in high school. They then asked me to come in and help out at weekends, and paid me for that. When they opened a sewing school a few months later, I worked to help set it up, helped with classes in the evenings and kids' parties on the weekends. I got a job so that I could buy things I wanted for myself – I used to go into Topshop on the weekends and buy really cheap bits like a £5 cami top or a £2 pair of earrings and think I was the next Alexa Chung. 
Do you worry about money now?
Nope. I am fairly financially secure right now and have learned to adjust my outgoings to make my wage go further every month. I always move money over to my savings on payday so my wage doesn’t burn a hole in my pocket. I’ll get six months full pay when I go on maternity leave and then statutory mat pay (£151 a week) for the next three months. This did worry me at first but me and my partner talked about this and he reassured me that we will be fine. He earns more than enough to foot the bills for three months. I do sometimes have guilt when I buy something that’s a want and not a need for myself, now that I’m having a baby. I always feel like I should be prioritising getting them a proper bedroom in a house we own or saving up for a family holiday or something else equally adult, instead of spending £20 on a pizza.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I won £1k from a competition on the radio in July but nothing apart from that.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series