Money Diary: A 22-Year-Old Puppet Maker From Gloucestershire On 11.5k

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 am a 22-year-old bartender and freelance puppet/theatre maker. I currently live back in my home town in Gloucestershire, splitting my time between my parents' house and my boyfriend's dad’s house. We moved back here about a year ago to care for my boyfriend's mum and support the family. Five years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and, sadly, in October 2019 she passed away. It’s been the toughest year and we put our careers and lives on hold (with no regrets), which means our finances are pretty appalling at the moment. Living with our parents is not ideal (for lots of reasons) and we’re hoping to move out in the next few months. As much as they love us, I think they are ready for us to leave. My boyfriend's dad is a super tidy, calm, routine-loving man and, well, I’m the exact opposite. I seem to have reached a point in my life where my energy levels are akin to an 8-year-old's and I am bouncing off the walls 24/7. 
I’m working at the pub I used to work at as a teenager but this time as a duty manager. I quite like it as I know a lot of people, can have some great conversations and it’s relatively mindless. But I hate the late nights and the fact that when your shift starts in the middle of the day it's super hard to make the morning productive. I currently work 3-4 days a week there and spend the rest of my time in the studio or rehearsal room working on my theatre projects. My freelance work is super fun and I love it, but being at the very beginning of my career (and in an industry that notoriously underpays, if it pays at all) it doesn’t really make me much money. Most of my work is as a theatre maker, making shows, directing and dramaturgy. But my passion is in puppetry making. My mum has MS and had to give up all her work around three years ago; she’s now following her dream of being an artist and luckily she lets me share her studio so I can continue developing my work.
In my last year of university me and my boyfriend (X) decided to set up our own theatre company. We are now in our third year of operation and getting into the stride of things. Some days it can feel really overwhelming and that I will never be able to do the things I love full time and be paid for it. I try to stay super positive and just keep going, I am a firm believer that things will fall into place. My boyfriend is currently not working as he needed to take time off to deal with his mental health and just have space to grieve, but he had quite a bit saved before he stopped working so we’re living off that and my earnings." 
Age: 22
Location: Gloucestershire
Salary: £11,500 a year from the pub (not including tips which can really boost my monthly pay, but these come in cash so I don’t really count them). Less than £1,500 a year from my freelance work at the moment. 
Paycheque amount: Between £850 and £950 a month. I pick up extra shifts here and there when they need me or I need the money. 
Number of housemates: Three (Mum, Dad, brother) at my parents' house, and boyfriend and dad at his dad's house. 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £0. Very luckily our parents are letting us live rent-free to give us a chance to save a bit towards future rent when we leave. We feel really blessed to be in this situation as it means we can concentrate on moving out. 
Loan payments: I have a humongous student loan, probably around £60,000. I’ve paid none of it back yet and can’t see myself doing so anytime soon. It frustrates me a bit that from the moment you take out a student loan it starts charging interest, and then the government keeps selling it to different people so the interest seems to keep growing. I think it’s going to bite them in the bum one day, they’ve made it so high that the debt is huge and the chance of them getting even half of it back from most people is slim. I also have a £2,000 overdraft from university, it’s in a graduate account and has 0% interest. That kept me alive as a student as it paid my rent, bought groceries and covered transport. I struggled for money throughout but I don’t regret doing it, and I don’t regret the debt I now have.
Utilities: £0
Transportation: £70p/m car insurance, £14p/m car tax, £60-70p/m on fuel. Try to split this with boyfriend as he can’t drive but we’re pretty loose on keeping record so sometimes one person pays more one month. 
Phone bill: £10p/m SIM only.
Savings? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. No. I think we have £800 in a company account somewhere from a gig we did last year but we try not to touch that money and save it for the next project. (This is quite loose as we don’t pay ourselves from these gigs very often as there's not enough and we’re going to be putting it back into the company at some time so there's no point.) 
Other: £0.79 iCloud storage, £7.99 Audible membership (a lifesaver and the best investment when you work alone a lot). Currently on my parents' family plan for Spotify and Netflix.

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