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Money Diary: A Project Manager On £36,150

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people 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 project manager at an athletic apparel company in London, though I’m currently on maternity leave. I gave birth to my first child two weeks ago and I’m navigating life as a new mother while also being in a long-distance relationship. I have worked full time for six years and feel that I only came into my stride in my career in the last two years, after initially working in finance-based jobs. Going back to work is very important to me but I’m not sure how that is going to work out. The cost of nursery and childcare is something that I think about daily even though my son is only two weeks old! I have always been a spender and work hard so I’m able to travel as much as possible and see the world. I don’t generally spend on clothes or makeup and I am happy to cut my own hair if it means I’m able to eat nice food while at home in London and live well (often translates to spend carelessly) when I’m abroad.”
Occupation: Project manager (on maternity leave)
Industry: Apparel 
Age: 25
Location: London
Salary: £36,150
Paycheque Amount: £2,087 (but this will be going down once my holiday ends, and my official maternity leave starts)
Number of housemates: Mum and Dad, my two-week-old baby J, and three cats. 
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: Currently £0. I moved back in with my parents upon finding out I was pregnant and my relationship becoming long distance. I previously contributed to the household when living here for periods of time between having my own flat but I am now on maternity leave and I have agreed with my parents that I don’t have to pay anything. 
Loan payments: £0
Savings?: £6,215 spread across a few different pots and £4,000 my grandparents gifted me.
Utilities: £0
All other monthly payments: £31.85 phone and Spotify; £18.05 vet plan for my cat; £7.81 life insurance; £5.90 pet insurance; £250 share of my horse’s livery.
Subscriptions: £6 Microsoft; £5 donation to Little Village Baby Bank.
Pension?: I have been saving into my pension since I got my first full time job at 19. I opted out of pension contributions when I found out I was pregnant as I tried to save all I could before going on maternity leave. I currently have £6,600 in my combined pension and have always contributed at the minimum rate of 5%, with my employer doing their minimum of 3%.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, I went to university for one year before realising it wasn’t for me and dropping out. I got the maximum amount of maintenance loan I could and paid tuition via the government loan. I am now “taxed” 8% each month for this experience with nothing to show for it.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents are very sensible with money but they are also quite secretive about how much they earn and the cost of running their household. Both me and my sister have a taste for the finer things and travelling to far flung destinations which doesn’t come from our uber-sensible parents. My parents are very conservative with the amount of debt they take on and I had to learn for myself about good debt and how to use credit cards to their maximum benefit. I spent the beginning of my career working in finance jobs and these jobs gave me the best financial education I could ask for.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
Yes, I moved out for uni and ended up moving back in with my parents. I then moved in and out for a time and finally now back with my parents. The housing situation in London is ridiculous and I should be able to afford to live alone at 25. 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I became financially responsible for myself at 14 when I got my first job teaching horse riding. Since then, my parents haven’t given me any money and I have been expected to pay my own way. While I understand my parents have taken a big financial burden off me by allowing me to move back in whenever I’ve need it, they don’t cover any other aspect of my life. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was unpaid, but mutually beneficial. When I was 10 I worked at the local stables in exchange for horse riding lessons. My mum would cover one or two lessons a month, but I was desperate to ride more. At 14 this graduated to teaching beginner lessons in exchange for £20 a week and free lessons.
Do you worry about money now?
Generally, no, but now I have started maternity leave it feels like a step into the unknown. I have saved for this and have different pots for things like holidays, paying for my horse, and everyday spending, but I still worry whenever I take out of them as it’s quite early on in my maternity leave and I wonder if I should be spending anything! I do also have quite ambitious travel plans for my year off and want to still go on at least four trips this year as travel is very important to me. I have no idea how realistic this is even though I have budgeted quite far in advance to try and make sure this can happen.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
Yes, when my grandparents passed away, I was gifted £4,000 from their house sale. This is the only inheritance I will ever receive.