Money Diary: A Veterinary Surgeon In Glasgow On 31k

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.
"I am a 29-year-old veterinary surgeon from Scotland, living and working in Glasgow. I moved to the city to study and have been here ever since. I moved from general practice to a charity role just over two years ago and feel much more at home in this role. I took a significant pay cut to do this but feel I have progressed in my skills and have far better job satisfaction and work/life balance now. Money-wise I am doing well overall but this doesn’t stop me worrying and comparing myself to peers who are at similar stages in their careers and making significantly more than me. However I have enough to allow myself nice dinners, drinks and things most of the time and my partner is moving in with me soon, which will make our bills significantly less."
Occupation: Veterinary surgeon
Industry: Charity/veterinary 
Age: 29
Location: Glasgow
Salary: £31,000
Paycheque amount: About £1,900 after all deductions
Number of housemates: One and a half? My partner stays a few nights a week and officially moves in in August once their flat is sold. Plus my dog!
Pronouns: She/her
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £470 mortgage on my two-bedroom flat.
Loan payments: I pay about £54 a month off my £25k student loan. I used to be insistent that I’d pay this off by the time I was 30 – good joke, past me. I now view this as education tax as I am lucky enough to be Scottish and thus had my undergraduate tuition fees paid for me. 
Savings? I have about £45k spread across three accounts with an ethical bank: one easy access savings account, one fixed term ISA and one fixed term bond. I am incredibly privileged to have such a massive financial safety net, even after buying my house, but these savings (and my house deposit) were an insurance payout after a life-changing car accident so I do have mixed feelings about them. I am also very aware I am not working them to their full potential and have had 'look up ethical stocks and shares ISAs' on my to-do list for longer than I care to admit. I also have £2k in premium bonds. 
Pension? Yes! I pay 5% and my employer pays 3%. I amalgamated my pensions from my previous two jobs into my current one but it’s still not great. I really must look into that stocks and shares ISA.
Utilities: £119 council tax, £24.95 internet, £66 gas and electric, £80 factor fees, £13.18 TV licence.
All other monthly payments: £10 phone, £14.24 home insurance, £37.95 life insurance, £27 gym, £12 a week dog walker. Subscriptions: £9.99 Spotify, £3.99 Netflix (split with family members).
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My undergraduate vet degree tuition fees were covered by the Scottish government. I got the maximum student loan as I was from a single parent/low income household at that time (my parents had a very acrimonious separation two years before I left home, which led to quite a lot of money worries). I went back to uni a year after qualifying to do an MSc. I applied for and was granted a fee waiver for this, which was fantastic and let me really broaden my horizons, having done a vocational undergraduate degree. 
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
The main thing I recall being told by my parents was NEVER to get a credit card. Clearly I took this to heart because I’ve never had one and still feel mildly suspicious of them… We were fairly comfortable growing up as far as I’m aware (two cars, European holiday most years etc.) but my parents separated when I was 16 so we went from fairly comfortable to a single parent household that struggled with money. It also took years and a lot of money for them to finalise their divorce. This was upsetting at the time and has made me very aware of the privilege I have now of a decent salary, significant savings and financial autonomy. 
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out at 18 for university and moved back in occasionally over summers, during which I had work placements. I was not expected to pay rent during these times but tried to help out with grocery shopping and providing lifts for my younger sibling, for example. 
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I was mostly responsible for myself after I left home to start uni due to that big old student loan and my savings but both parents would spot me the odd phone bill or grocery shop (or dinner out, if I was lucky) if I was struggling. I was very aware that the savings I talk about above were NOT for burning through on fun stuff but I did dip into them a few times when I was short. I have been solely financially responsible for myself since I qualified as a vet in 2016. 
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was a waitress at a local pub from the age of 14 (then worked in the kitchen, then behind the bar over the years). I got the job because it was the done thing and I wanted money to spend on Criminal Damage jeans, Malibu and ill-advised piercings. 
 
Do you worry about money now?
All the time. I worry about not using my savings to their full potential, I worry about dipping into them when I have too much month left at the end of my money (which seems to be happening more often lately…), I worry about my pension and I worry about not donating enough money to charity (I try and split whatever I have left at the end of the month between savings and a charity donation but this often isn’t very much). I feel a lot of these worries are unfounded as I have such a good financial safety net but it doesn’t stop them bothering me.
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I consider the insurance money inherited income, I suppose? Part of my premium bonds were bought for me by grandparents as a child (I honestly can’t remember how much) and I have topped this up to £2k over the years. 
Refinery29 is currently looking for someone who has a NatWest ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ card to take part in a paid opportunity around R29's Money Diaries. This person would need to be a conscious spender and saving up for or considering making a large purchase (£500 and under). If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please do send a bit of information about yourself and your financial situation to moneydiary@refinery29.uk.

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