Money Diary: A 32-Year-Old Social Services Manager On 60k

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'm a 32-year-old woman from a minority ethnic background, working in social services. I work for a set period of time in a set location rather than in one role and location permanently. This suits me as the stress, emotional impact and pressure of the job have at times become overwhelming and resulted in my mental health deteriorating (particularly while I was going through my divorce). Knowing my jobs are only temporary gives me peace of mind and some element of relief. I'm not in my dream job but as I don't know what that is yet I plod along and feel good knowing that my job involves helping people and it pays the bills. I tend to worry about money a lot, more than anyone else I know. I check my account balances often, a few times a day sometimes. Money for me provides stability, security and freedom and the thought of having none or little terrifies me. I don't want to rely on anyone but myself in this world and money allows me to do that and be comfortable."
Occupation: Manager
Industry: Social services
Age: 32
Location: Midlands
Salary: I do not have a salary as I work on contracts. At the present moment my income from my job comes to about £3,552 after tax. I am avoiding having any gaps in work so I can pay off my mortgage ASAP.
Paycheque amount: £888 per week after tax.
Number of housemates: One, my boyfriend. We have lived together for almost one year (he first moved in as my lodger) and now we're dating.
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £550 mortgage. I went with a long-term mortgage of 30 plus years as I was worried at the time that if I did not have a job (in case my mental health did not improve) or a well-paid one (if I decided to try other careers where I’d start from the bottom again), I may not be able to afford it. My boyfriend pays £650 a month (inclusive of all bill payments).
Loan payments: Student loan. I think this is roughly £25/30k or something along those lines. It just comes out of my pay so I don’t pay much attention to it to be honest.
Pension? Yes, I have a basic one but do not actually know what it is. I need to look into this and be more on the ball with it.
Savings? £16,000 at present but this will be used to overpay my mortgage as with all my current income. I save £2,000 a month minimum towards the mortgage overpayment plus anything left in my account at the end of the month.
Utilities: Council tax £160, Bulb £75, BT £31, water £11.03. I also pay £159 for my TV annually.
All other monthly payments: £10 SIM only contract, £50 gym. £700 yearly for car insurance, tax and MOT. Subscriptions: Specsavers £14 every three months. Social Work England £90 annually.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I attended university and paid for it with student loans. I received a 15k bursary but I lent this to my family.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I had a happy childhood but I was aware that we struggled financially from a young age. My mum used to always save her lunch money to buy us kids something. I remember the bailiffs coming to the door one day and I remember overhearing arguments about money between my parents. My dad was in debt even though he worked seven days a week – he trusted the wrong people. When I was 18 years old I lent him about 8k from my bursary for my degree. He told me he would return this money to me a few weeks later and I know he fully intended to but he didn’t have it. I eventually received it years later, after he died.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out of my family home for approximately two years while at university, then I lived with a sibling for a few years paying cheaper rent and then properly moved out and stopped living with my family when I got married at age 27.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I got my first job when I was 16 years old and started paying for myself wherever I could. I started paying for myself properly when I got a house with my now-ex and had to worry about things like a mortgage and house bills.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was 16 and worked in retail because I wanted to be able to purchase nice things for myself and contribute to my household where needed.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes. I want to pay off my mortgage as soon as possible so I don’t have to think about the massive debt on my head. I should be able to pay it off in roughly four years if I work hard with minimal time off. At that point I can think about spoiling myself and reaping the rewards of my hard work.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes, my mother gave me roughly £70,000 when she sold our family house. I did not expect any money so this was a pleasant surprise. I guess I have the price of houses skyrocketing to thank for it as like I said, we did not grow up with a lot of money. I used the money to pay off a chunk of my current mortgage.

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