Money Diary: A Charity Programme Manager 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 30-year-old single female living in South London with six other people. It’s a four-story rented Victorian house, so it’s still spacious with a garden (full of cat shit) and even a terrace! We’re all friends and it’s known for being a party house although it’s not always as chaotic as it sounds and we have family dinners most nights. The majority of us work in the public sector (NHS, civil service, education, charity) so we benefit greatly from shared costs when our salaries are not as high as some of our peers."
Occupation: Programme Manager
Industry: International development charity
Age: 30
Location: South London
Salary: £36,575 
Paycheque Amount: £2,285.80
Number of housemates: 6
Pronouns: she/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £807 rent including bills
Loan payments: £122 student loans
Savings?: £8,000 in a Help to Buy ISA. I used to put the maximum £200 a month into it for years and stopped last year because I realised it probably wouldn’t help much as the caps in London are low and it doesn’t gain much interest. I also have around £3000 in an ISA which you can access three times a year.
Pension? My employee contribution is 3% and employer contribution is 5%.
Utilities: Bills are included in my rent. This also includes my share of a cleaner once a week and shared shops including cleaning products and toilet roll.
All other monthly payments: £16 phone, £23 swim membership. Subscriptions: £35 Family Spotify annually. I also give to a selection of small charities each month, £20.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I had a standard £3,000 per year Bachelor’s degree which was all done on student loans, a monthly stipend and part time jobs. I then did a Master’s degree in Amsterdam where fees were £2,000 for the year. I was working between degrees (and living with my parents where I paid minimal rent) so I saved some money for it. Half way through the year I started to rely on my parents, which I then paid back over the summer.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
We’ve always been very middle class and comfortable but I feel like this is largely owed to my parents being quite sensible on public sector education salaries, alongside the benefits of housing prices massively increasing. My dad is very risk adverse in terms of money and that has definitely rubbed off. I think this is due to having tougher times when he first got a mortgage he couldn’t really afford. However, they are now retired and well-off so I always know I have a safety net which I’m very grateful for, and we always have very open conversations about money.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents/guardians house?
After both university courses I moved back home for a short period until I got full time employment, often working at a local pub and paying minimal rent. During the COVID pandemic and following some overseas work, I moved home again before moving to the house I’m in now. It will always be my home in some respects because I know I can go and stay at the drop of a hat, which I'm very grateful for.  
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I haven’t had direct income from my parents since I was at university. I think ‘financially responsible’ really means paying my own rent and not borrowing, which I guess I have been doing since I moved to London. Ultimately, I have a secure financial safety net in my parents and while I haven’t used it other than to live with them for short periods, until I own my own house it’s always possible that I can end up living with them again which doesn’t make me feel particularly ‘responsible’. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My very first job was in a café in our village at 14. I then, along with everyone else who worked there, moved on to working at the local town supermarket when I was 17. I think I was pushed by my dad to get a job to have some ‘financial freedom’ which seems a bit ironic looking back, but my brothers had paper rounds from a young age and I was a teenage girl that loved new crap so it was time. 
Do you worry about money now?
I don’t worry about money particularly and never have, largely down to having the privilege of family to rely on should anything go majorly wrong. I think I’ve grown up with a good financial education from my parents and I am risk adverse without expensive taste. I also now comfortably earn a good enough salary to afford living in London and some extra fun treats. Sometimes I notice that money is a bit tight at the end of the month but I can reign myself in significantly before payday if necessary.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
I received £30,000 inheritance that has been put in a Hargreaves Lansdown ISA account (that I don’t fully understand) for years in the hope that it increases dramatically enough to become a house deposit for a single person in London. This has very much never been touched and won’t be until buying a house is possible.