Money Diary: Working In Retail At Christmas

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 we're with a 25-year-old who works in fashion retail doing merchandising who is, after two years in London, just starting to save some cash. But with a work Christmas party at the busiest time of year for retail, will she be able to stay strict?
Industry: Merchandising, in fashion retail
Age: 25
Location: Living in Clapham, working in Camden
Salary: £22,585 plus annual bonus if company performance is up to scratch (currently 4%)
Paycheque amount: £950, though I actually end up with £1,450 (see 'other' below)
Number of housemates: 1 – just me and my boyfriend in our studio flat
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £512 on rent – my boyfriend and I split the £1,025 it costs us equally as we're on similar salaries. We flex this a little most months as he works in retail so his paycheque varies, but it's fairly relaxed.
Loan payments: £40 currently going towards my student loan. £400 down, £23k to go!
Utilities: £75 total for gym membership, council tax, electricity, water and internet. I like to think I'm a savvy utilities shopper (one of my more glamorous traits).
Transportation: £157 goes to my parents each month – they kindly pay for my car insurance and annual zone 1-2 travelcard upfront to save money, and I pay them back monthly.
Phone bill: £10
Savings? I add £150 a month and inevitably end up taking about £100 back out before payday. This means they're going up extremely slowly, though it's a novelty to have savings at all – for the first two years after I moved to London it definitely wasn't possible but a couple of small pay rises have helped.
Other? A few small charity donations to the Retired Greyhound Trust, Water Aid, the Epilepsy Society, Shelter and Dogs Trust. These are very handy; when I need to justify spending money on clothes and/or wine later in the month, I can go "Well I've done my bit for charity, time to treat myself now". I also pay £500 a month into my company's Share Save scheme – this comes directly out of my paycheque, hence why my monthly pay is so small compared to my salary, but it's replenished by my parents from some inheritance money they put aside for me. The shares money will hopefully contribute towards a house deposit in the future.

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