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Money Diary: A Restaurant Manager On £31,500

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.
Trigger warning: This article contains references to death which could be triggering to some readers.
This week: “I’m a 29-year-old restaurant manager living in Liverpool. I moved to the city eight years ago and fell in love with it. The last two years has been a bit of a whirlwind for me as I experienced a sudden loss and decided the marriage I was in wasn’t working. I found out my ex had got us into debt with our council tax (despite me giving him money for bills every month). Then my father passed away very unexpectedly and I had to deal the aftermath in four different countries (bank accounts and taxes), while trying to support my mum over 5,000 miles away. Despite all of this happening, I am in such a good place in life. I’m so thankful for my friends and current partner for helping me through a really tough time and without them I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I was able to buy a house through a gifted deposit, which I am so fortunate for. My work life is fantastic at the moment with a great line manager who is so supportive, and I’ve been accepted onto a management and operations course paid for by work.” 
Occupation: Restaurant manager
Industry: Hospitality
Age: 29
Location: Liverpool
Salary: £31,500 
Paycheque Amount: £2,030 to £2,100, plus £100 to £250 from my second job
Number of housemates: Boyfriend, N and cat 
Pronouns: She/her 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £556 (the house is solely in my name so I fully pay the mortgage. N contributes through bills.)
Loan payments: Currently sitting at £2,800 with my debt. It is my mission to get it paid off ASAP as the interest is high. 
Savings?: £200. All my savings got spent while buying my house. My goal this year is to build up an emergency fund. 
Pension? I pay £84.20 and my employer pays £63.15. In the next year or so, I will be looking into increasing these payments. 
Utilities: £40 gas; £30 electric; £105 council tax; £20 water (paid every six months). All utilities are split between N and I. 
All other monthly payments: £130 phone (I pay for my SIM card, my mum’s and boyfriend’s phone); £18.23 income protection; £18.35 critical illness cover; £125 IKEA finance. Subscriptions: £10.99
Spotify; £3.49 Ring; £10.99 Netflix; £9.49
Kindle Unlimited; £8.99 Amazon Prime; £0.99 iCloud; £7.99 Microsoft.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I have a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology and criminal justice but it wasn’t until I was in my final year that I realised this wasn’t a career I wanted to be in. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents were very smart about their money, especially my dad as his career was in finance. My parents could have given me a higher allowance growing up, however, they decided against it and told me I should get a part-time job. I ended up getting a job at 14 to supplement my income and spending money. 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I moved out at 19 when I went to university.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
My parents helped pay for my rent while I was studying (as they did with my older brother), so I became fully independent at 23. I knew they would help out if I ever needed money. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got a job at 14 working in a café/wine bar. I did this as the country I lived in was very expensive and this increased my allowance and spending money. 
Do you worry about money now?
I worry a bit about money but not as much as I used to. N contributes in accordance to how much we earn; he has gone back into education and will be going to university soon. My mortgage is only £10 more than what I was paying for my one-bedroom apartment, so moving hasn’t put a financial strain on me. My only main worry is with my cat as he was diagnosed with heart disease five days into a new pet insurance policy. All policies won’t cover anything within the first two weeks. Ironically, I was trying to save money by having a cheaper policy but has cost me more in the long run. 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
My father passed away in 2022 and he was very smart with money, so between the life insurance, death in service, bonuses and private pensions my mum came away with over half a million. My mum decided to gift my brother and myself £25,000 each. I used mine for a deposit and my brother used his to renovate his kitchen. 
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