Money Diary: A TV & Film Researcher 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 24-year-old working in TV and film production. I’ve lived off £28,600 for the last year and will be getting a substantial salary increase to £39,000 in the next month. I live with one flatmate, C, in east London. My outgoings are fairly strict and I try not to overspend unnecessarily. I managed to cut a lot of costs by moving as close to my office as I could, that way I don’t have any work transport expenses as I cycle or walk to work to save money. I also don’t have any student loans or other loans to pay off. With my current salary, I try and save at least £500 to £600 per month. With my increase, I hope to save a lot more."
Occupation: Researcher
Industry: TV and film
Age: 24
Location: London
Salary: £28,600
Paycheque amount: £1,864.86
Number of housemates: One
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £682.50. I share an apartment with C, who I met on SpareRoom. We secured our flat during the pandemic and were lucky to get such low rent for a two-bed in Zone 2.
Utilities: We pay £62 each for council tax, roughly £24 each for water, £35-45 for electricity and gas (this varies, the max we’ve had is £70).
Loan payments: £0
Pension? Yes, about £74.54 monthly and my employer adds £55.90.
Savings? Roughly £15k sitting in my bank account.
All other monthly payments: £10 per month for EE SIM only. Subscriptions: Spotify £9.99, Apple storage £2.49.
 
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, I did an undergraduate in another European country, which the government covered.
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
Growing up in a large family, there was always a worry around money. My parents worked low-income jobs to support us but always made sure we had all our necessities as well as the occasional treat. We didn’t struggle financially but we often erred on the side of caution when it came to shopping, eating out and doing activities as a family. My parents encouraged us to spend money but also to be wise with saving. I think I took that to the extreme and started saving from my mid-teens. I’d save up my pocket money and school lunches until my dad made me stop. This habit has persisted into adulthood and I tend to get very frugal and try and save as much of my income as I can. I’ve grown to be a bit more relaxed about this but there is still always that anxiety of not having enough money if something was to happen, e.g. lose my job or my parents die. 
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I lived away from home during my time at college but I didn’t move out properly until I turned 22.
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I became financially responsible for myself when I moved out. I don’t receive money from my parents or from anyone else.
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was when I was 17, I worked as a sales assistant in a sports shop. I wanted to save up for a camera and also to get the experience of having a job. 
 
Do you worry about money now?
Yes. I worry about money a lot. My industry is known for not paying very well and I’m very grateful I’ve managed to secure something long-term which allows me to know when my next paycheque will come. My parents are also getting older and I have younger siblings – if anything was to happen, I know I’d take them in. My money anxiety (which I’m working on) won’t allow me to put money in any long-term savings that I can't access easily. As of now, all my money sits in my regular bank account. 
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No, I haven’t.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series