Money Diary: A Train Signaller In Surrey On 65k

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 train signaller living on the border of Surrey and Hampshire. I moved here four years ago after starting on a graduate scheme with my current employer, then moving into railway legal advice and now signalling. My partner, A, moved into my old rented flat with me after I’d lived there for a year (thanks, Tinder). He also works for the railway and we both do shift work/weekends. When it comes to money, I’m very impulsive. As soon as I decide I want or need something, I start looking immediately so that I can tick it off the ‘to buy’ list. I used to try and get things as cheaply as I could but now I have more disposable income I’ve started valuing my time more, meaning I don't mind paying extra for a gym that’s closer, turning down overtime that's not paid at a higher rate and paying extra for faster shipping. Little things but they all add up!"
Occupation: Train signaller 
Industry: Railway 
Age: 27
Location: Surrey, UK
Salary: £65,000 with overtime 
Paycheque amount: £3,000-4,000
Number of housemates: My boyfriend (A) and my two cats (J and G) 
Pronouns: She/her 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £680 mortgage. 
Loan payments: £0 (my student loan is automatically taken from my salary).
Pension? I pay 6% of my salary and my employer pays 8%. This is taken before tax/NI. I’ll be changing it to the railway final salary pension once I’m eligible this summer. 
Savings? Around £1,000-2,000.
Utilities: A pays for the household bills as I own the house and pay the mortgage (this totals around £120 for council tax, £30 for water, £100 a month on our electric meter and £50-£100 for gas).
All other monthly payments: £30 phone finance, £18 SIM only contract. Car tax £12, cat insurance £20, home insurance £9, union membership £20. Annually I pay £500 for hair extensions. 

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I took a gap year then did a law degree. It was fully funded by student finance and I got the maximum living cost grant/loan too. I debated doing a Legal Practice Course after but couldn’t justify the cost vs how much I actually wanted to practise law. Even though I don’t need a degree for my current job, I wouldn’t have got to this point without one. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents always taught me the value of money and I had a paper round as a teenager, then started my first job at 15. I don’t remember talking about money much but I knew that branded clothes etc. were a luxury and not a necessity. 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out when I was 18 while I was at uni. I used my student loan and worked part-time at Sainsbury's to support myself. I did move back for a few months at a time when I was ‘between houses’ up until I was about 24. 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
The same time that I moved out, when I was 18. I’ve worked ever since then and made enough to support myself but my mum has always let me know that she’s there if I ever get stuck.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
When I was 15 I got a part-time job at a milkshake bar (earning £3.68 an hour!). I stayed there for four years alongside college and a couple of other part-time jobs. I wanted my own money to spend on non-essentials rather than having to justify to my parents why they should give me money. 
Do you worry about money now?
Not so much in my current job due to the disposable income but I did in my last job, especially when I lived alone and had the rent to pay. It doesn’t help that I’m an incredibly impulsive spender. 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
My mum gave me £10k for the deposit for my house, which she inherited last year. I’ve offered to pay it back but she says she doesn’t want me to. 

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