Money Diary: A Trainee Solicitor In Belfast On 13.6k

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 trainee solicitor living in Belfast. I took a large pay cut to undertake the solicitor training course and also wiped out my savings to pay the tuition fees. I moved back home to live with my parents and I'm very much still adjusting to living with five other people. It feels strange to tell people where I’m going and who I’m with all the time! However I’m very grateful to be allowed to live at home and I'm trying to take advantage of this time as a family as I don’t imagine we will all live under the same roof again."
Occupation: Trainee solicitor
Industry: Law
Age: 27
Location: Belfast
Salary: £13,650
Paycheque amount: £1,042
Number of housemates: Six (my parents, three siblings and my dog)
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £200. I live at home with my parents and this is my 'keep'. I also contribute to groceries etc.
Loan payments: £0
Pension? I contribute £36.40 per month which I think my employer matches.
Savings? £0. I had almost £10,000 saved before I started training as a solicitor but I have used that money to pay for the course. I am trying to see it as an investment in my future but I find myself comparing myself to people I went to school with who are all on the property ladder now.
Utilities: Included in housing expenses.
All other monthly expenses: £65 phone bill (I know this is high but the Wi-Fi at home doesn’t reach my bedroom and this includes unlimited data, which is necessary for working from home). £60 car insurance. Subscriptions: £3 Amazon Prime student membership and £16.99 Spotify Family. £13.50 sports team membership.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I did a four-year undergraduate degree in law including a year abroad and I'm doing the solicitor qualification course. I got a pretty hefty bursary towards my undergraduate fees and my parents paid the rest as they were very keen for me not to take on student debt. I paid the solicitor course fee from my savings. I worked various part-time bartending and waitressing jobs to pay rent at a student hovel and to have 'fun money' while at university.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
We didn't discuss money outside of being told at 16 that I wouldn't be able to go to university in England as my parents couldn't afford to send me. My parents never took on any debt outside of their mortgage and always said that credit cards and overdrafts were the devil! We talk more openly now about salaries and finances but I wish we had discussed it more when I was younger.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out at 18 and moved back in at 26 during the COVID pandemic, which sometimes feels like a regression. But I actually really enjoy living at home and spending time with my family.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I’m definitely still not financially independent!
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was at a supermarket as a Christmas temp. I got it because my parents told me I needed a job if I wanted to go on our summer holiday. I loved the independence it brought me and never stopped working after that point.
Do you worry about money now?
All the time. Even living at home, getting to the end of the month is a stretch for me at the minute. I worry about being able to afford a house on my own and I worry about financial stability in general.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
I inherited £5,000 when my grandmother died in 2016. I bought my car with the money and spent the rest on a holiday.

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