Money Diary: A 27-Year-Old Social Worker In Manchester On 28k

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 27-year-old mental health social worker living in Greater Manchester. The government has granted social workers an indefinite pay freeze, which means that our salary does not increase with inflation, and so each year our salary decreases in real terms. A few months ago, I bought a three-bedroom flat in Salford and now half of my income goes towards household expenses such as my mortgage and bills. I've been decorating so I can rent out my third bedroom to earn a passive income and hopefully overpay my mortgage a bit.
A few weeks ago, I went on sick leave for my mental health, which I lovingly call 'being on the sick'. I planned to return to work last week as I was feeling better in myself but came down with scabies and a purple rash erupted across my face so my mood plummeted again and I've stayed on the sick. Next payday, I'll receive half pay, which means I need to spread out my money more evenly.
My approach to money is not to live paycheque to paycheque by putting the majority of my money into investments and savings accounts, rather than having it in my current account. I have four savings accounts: one for my car, one for my flat (to buy decorating materials and furniture), one for leisure and entertainment ('Frivolities') which I use to treat myself, and six months' worth of emergency savings, as well as a stocks and shares ISA.
I developed this approach to savings a couple of years ago after wondering why it was taking me so long to save for a mortgage deposit and seeing I was spending hundreds of pounds on takeaways, nights outs and Ubers. I started investing when I learned that cash goes down in value as the years go by while capital usually increases."
Industry: Mental health services
Age: 27
Location: Greater Manchester
Salary: £28,157
Paycheque amount: £1,680 per month
Number of housemates: None
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: My mortgage is £482.91. My energy and water bills come to approximately £80. My council tax is £98 (single person discount). My service charge is paid quarterly and is £358.96 so I leave £129 in my bank account each month to cover this cost.
Loan payments: I pay £61 towards my student loan debt, which comes out of my payslip automatically. I have approximately £26,000 of student loan debt.
Savings? Property: I have a residential mortgage on a three-bedroom flat in Salford that is worth £140,000. Investments: I have a stocks and shares ISA with Hargreaves Lansdown, with 312 units in the Fidelity World Index, 178 units in iShares Global Property, 131 units in iShares Overseas Corporate Bond Index and 95 units in iShares Overseas Government Bond Index. Pension: I have a pension with the Local Government Pension Scheme. I pay in 6.5% of my pre-tax salary and the scheme matches this with around 19.5% of my salary. Emergency savings: I have six months of emergency savings in a cash ISA.
All other monthly expenses: Phone bill £8.11. Subscriptions: £9.99 Spotify, £14 Unison membership, £5.99 Microsoft. I'm lucky in that I use a friend's Netflix account and my brother's Amazon Prime account. Stocks and shares ISA £160. Emergency savings £10, to cover the cost of any future inflation. £75 towards a savings account for my car, which covers the cost of my car insurance, road tax and MOT, which I like to pay towards annually. It should also (hopefully) cover the costs of any repairs I need for my car. I have a savings account to pay for decorating my flat, furniture and any white goods that might need replacing. I pay £100 a month into this account. Frivolities savings, this covers the cost of all entertainment and leisure activities like holidays, events, nights out, as well as buying gifts for others and expensive treats for myself.

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