Money Diary: A 26-Year-Old Trainee Solicitor In Dublin On 38.5k

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 am a 26-year-old trainee solicitor living in Dublin. I am originally from the UK but my family moved to Ireland for my dad's job 15 years ago. My parents are now divorced but still live in the Dublin area. Due to COVID I haven't seen any of my family other than my parents and siblings in nearly two years as we have been unable to travel to the UK or have our family visit, which has been especially tough as my mum had some serious health problems last year and we lost a close family member to COVID not too long ago. Ireland is still in the process of easing restrictions but the vaccine rate is really picking up and people are very eager to get it to avoid another lockdown. I was vaccinated some time ago as I am medically vulnerable and all of my family and friends are now at least partially vaccinated, which is great! Indoor dining is still restricted but the heatwave makes outdoor activities much more appealing.
I am very close to finally qualifying as a solicitor at the end of this year after a long road of studying and exams, which I am both excited and terrified about. I question regularly if this is actually my purpose but for now I'm focusing on qualification. I live in a houseshare apartment with three other girls. The housing situation in Dublin (and all of Ireland really) is dire. Rent is very expensive with dodgy landlords and the housing market is very unstable with properties being sold for significantly higher than market value and significant restrictions on borrowing.
My boyfriend, E, and I hope to buy a house but we want to live together first which will ideally happen in the next year or so. I am very fortunate that I will soon have a well paying job but despite my high earning capacity on qualification, owning our own home feels like a very distant prospect even if we moved out of Dublin to another part of the country. The Irish government really does not value young people or try to support us in establishing a life. I previously lived in Canada and like many people our age, E and I are always discussing potentially emigrating again to improve our financial quality of life."
Industry: Legal
Age: 26
Location: Dublin
Salary: Has varied in the last year due to a temporary 10% pay cut due to COVID and reaching the next phase of my traineeship but as of now it’s €45,000/£38,448. This month saw me jump from €33,000/£28,195 to €45,000/£38,448, which was very welcome! One-off bonus of €3k/£2.56k last month.
Paycheque amount: €2,852.70/£2,437.37 after tax.
Number of housemates: Three (S, C and J).
Monthly Expenses 
Housing costs: Rent €780/£666.44 for my en suite room.
Loan payments: €82/£70.06 for a loan I took out to buy my car last year and have €1,500/£1,281.61 remaining on. Usually €100/£85.44 off my credit card that I use for large expenses such as car insurance. I paid a chunk of the balance off last month so there's only €200/£170.88 outstanding. University education in Ireland is of minimal cost compared to the UK and was around €1,000-1,500/£854.41-1,281.61 per year when I was in university, which my dad very kindly paid. I also lived at home because paying rent was just not an option so I have no student loans.
Utilities: All household bills are divided between the four of us and is €10/£8.54 for Wi-Fi and TV, €6/£5.13 for bins and approximately €20/£17.09 for electricity.
Transportation: I walk everywhere when I can and the pandemic massively reduced the amount of public transport I take so I spend roughly €20/£17.09 on buses and €40/£34.18 on petrol. Car tax is €200/£170.88 annually and insurance is €1,040/£888.59 which is quite high as I lost my no-claims bonus when I lived in Canada for a couple of years but this will hopefully reduce next year.
Phone bill: €29.99/£25.62 for my SIM only plan.
Savings? €6,000/£5,126.45 in a savings account. I spent a large portion of my savings on travelling and buying my car pre-pandemic and have been working on building this back up again despite a pay cut and moving to a different house with much higher rent. Long term I need to find a better way to invest at least a portion of my savings to get some return or at least a decent interest rate compared to the current account but I find investing a very daunting prospect.
Other: iCloud Storage €0.99/£0.85, Spotify €9.99/£8.54, roaming gym membership €32/£27.34, prescriptions for medical issues usually €60/£51.26, gym programme through app €13.99/£11.95. I use my dad’s Netflix and my boyfriend's Disney+.
If you’d like to submit your own money diary then please do send a bit of information about you and your situation to moneydiary@refinery29.uk. We pay £100 for each published diary. Apologies but we’re not able to reply to every email.

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