Money Diary: A Senior Project Manager In Edinburgh On £52,000

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 34-year-old senior project manager and product owner, living in Edinburgh. I moved here in 2022 from London, as I wanted a better quality of life and I felt Edinburgh could offer this. I’m pleased to say that I was right! I now rent a flat on my own, which is wonderful but also quite expensive! I’m not in a big rush to buy my own home, as it’s a big commitment and one I fear I’ll struggle with financially if I take it on. I’ve not always had the best relationship with money, but I really try hard to budget these days and ensure I plan and save for bigger expenses. Keeping this money diary is a chance for me to see how I’m getting on!”
Occupation: Senior project manager/ product owner
Industry: Tech
Age: 34
Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £52,000
Pay cheque Amount: £2,892.30 (although I just got a letter from HMRC telling me my tax code has changed, and moving forwards, my pay cheque amount each month is going to be reduced by almost £200 because I owe them tax.)
Number of housemates: None
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £795 rent.
Loan payments: I pay £224 per month in Student Loan repayments, which is deducted from my gross salary pre-tax. I also have one zero interest credit card with a balance of around £3,300, which I’m currently making monthly repayments to. This means I’ll pay the balance off before interest begins to accrue. My biggest debt which sometimes causes me to fret is my other credit card. This one is not zero interest, and the balance is currently around £3,700. I pay £400 per month to this card which more than covers the minimum payment and interest, but never seems to eat away at the balance quite quickly enough. This is the card I use in emergencies and when I occasionally go on unwise spending sprees, hence the balance.
Savings? The move to Edinburgh pretty much blew all my savings (who knew hiring movers and paying out for stacks of new furniture was so expensive?!). I’m down to a measly £550 in my savings account right now but I also put money aside into various sinking funds each month for different payments.
Pension? I contribute £146.76 into my pension from my gross salary pre-tax. My employer contributes £110.07 per month.
Utilities: £122 council tax (which includes water), £49.19 wifi, £13.25 TV licence, £45.27 approx for electricity.
All other monthly payments: £16.72 car insurance, £15.75 car tax, £18.44 SIM contract, £32.04 phone repayments, £82 gym membership. Subscriptions: £8.99 Amazon Prime; £6.99 Netflix; £10.99 Spotify; £3.99 Amazon Audible; £14.49 Apple iTunes; £1.59 Google storage; £2.99 Apple storage.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I did an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science before student loans got ridiculously expensive. My student loan covered my tuition fees and also some of the cost of living. I was fortunate enough that my parents and grandparents contributed towards my cost of living (I cannot remember exactly how much anymore). I also got a job invigilating exams at a nearby secondary school.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
In the past, I think I had quite a bad attitude towards money, taking it for granted a lot and falling back on my parents to help me out of sticky spots a bit too often. I recognise that I’m extremely privileged that they could help me when I asked, but I think I became a bit too dependent on that support if I’m honest with myself, and occasionally kind of just expected it, which is pretty bad! I’m honestly not sure where this attitude towards money came from, since both my parents are pretty savvy and careful with their money, and neither of my siblings did this (that I’m aware of). Nowadays, I have a more balanced relationship with money and I’m more careful. I have received gifts of money from my parents once in a while, but I’ve not actively asked them for money for years now.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I moved out at 18 to go to uni. I’ve moved back home a few times between then and now, but I have never lived there permanently. 
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 when I got my first proper salaried job at 22.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working at a hotel as a chambermaid in a town near my parents’ house. I got it as a weekend job when I was about 14 or 15 so I had some extra pocket money.
Do you worry about money now?
I worry periodically. Sometimes I can have a completely chilled attitude towards money, and other times I’ll be more concerned about it. My credit card debt is always just at the back of my mind, but in the grand scheme of things my attitude is generally that money comes and it goes and there’s always going to be fluctuations. I sometimes think I should worry more about my future (retirement, buying a house, and so on), but I have never been a big forward planner, so I guess I’ll deal with it when I get to it…?
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
Yes, when I was 25 our great uncle passed away and left me approximately £20,000 which I spent on travel and paying back a lump sum of money to my parents that I owed them at the time. I know some people reading this will judge me for seemingly frittering this money away, but I honestly have no regrets. My parents also have a small fund set aside for me and my siblings for things like higher education, training courses and general life improvement, which I’ve dipped into occasionally to pay for courses and some therapy I had. I’m also very fortunate to be in a position where, if I (or my siblings) ever want to buy property, they have saved a lump sum of money to help each of us with this.