Money Diary: A 25-Year-Old Writer On 22.5k At The Tokyo Paralympics

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.
As every person's financial situation is unique, going forward we're asking diarists to complete a series of financial-based questions to provide readers with more context to their relationship with money. Please remember before commenting that the diarists are from a range of backgrounds and cultures and their experience, education and mental relationship with money might be very different from yours. Money Diaries are designed to provide readers with diverse experiences of spending, saving and asking for more in the hope that by learning from each other, we can build a more positive financial future together.
This week: "I’m a 25-year-old from Ireland and work three part-time jobs in the university sector. I work different jobs so that I have the flexibility to pursue my writing career and qualify as a sign language interpreter. Over the past few years, I’ve worked hard on improving my financial literacy and now I feel more in control of my future. I’d love to put a housing deposit together in the next few years but sign language tuition is expensive so I might have to put it aside until I’m qualified. Sometimes I’m quite impulsive with spending but I work strange and long hours so I feel like I should reward myself. Working in the arts is quite hard as there is so much rejection so I try to reward the effort, not the outcome."
Occupation: I’ve always had lots of jobs at the same time. Currently I have three different contracts at the same university. My jobs include working in the arts industry, being a freelance writer and writing poetry. This week I’m working as the editorial volunteer for wheelchair fencing at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Industry: University sector
Age: 25
Location: Belfast 
Salary: £22,500
Paycheque amount: Job 1: £430.92 per month (academic year only). Job 2: £884.83 per month (all year). Job 3: £636.88 (all year, tax-free). With my freelance writing, some months it’s nothing, some it’s thousands. 
Number of housemates: One 
Monthly Expenses

Housing costs:
£350 rent for my half of a two-bedroom house.
Loan payments: I have £1,345.50 on a 0% credit card, which is a lot for me. This includes a final payment for my car, some things I will pay at the end of the month and some tech. I’ve been waiting on a £1,000 freelancing grant I was awarded for four months now but couldn’t wait for it any longer as I wanted to use it for new tech for Tokyo.
Savings? £1,000 in a Rugby Club Bond, £800 in Premium Bonds and about £4,000 across a Stocks & Shares ISA and a Lifetime ISA. I pay £10 per week into my Stocks & Shares and occasionally top it up. 
All other monthly expenses: Phone bill £25. £49 per month on gas and £25 every two to three weeks for electricity. £17.50 for half of the Wi-Fi and £6.44 for our TV licence. We don’t pay water bills here and our landlord pays the rates (council tax). I also pay £40.20 for a storage locker in England that we are trying to get over to clear out this year. Lastly, I pay £17.50 for an iPad on 0% finance. Subscriptions: £7.99 Audible, £5.61 UCU Union, £4.34 RNID life insurance, £9.48 accounting software and £27.61 health insurance.
Pension? I only pay into a pension for two of my contracts, where I contribute 9% of my earnings and my employer contributes 19%.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I always wanted to go to university and I have now graduated from both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree. These were funded by student loans which I’ve not yet started paying back. 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I think we talk about money more now that we are older and I’m more interested in it. I was lucky enough to have never been worried about money growing up. 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out just before I turned 18 when I went abroad for a year before university. Then my parents moved abroad before I graduated. 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself?
I started paying my own phone bill at 21, which is probably when I became financially responsible for myself. This was important to me for some reason as it was one of the first payments I knew I could afford to make every month and I needed to build my credit score. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked in a supermarket cafe after school and on the weekends when I was 16. I wanted to take a gap year so I got it to save money for that and for driving lessons. It taught me the value of money and now I always try to think about how many hours I have to work to be able to buy something. 
Do you worry about money now?
I wish I had more stability when it came to my income. It always varies with freelancing and often I'll be waiting for ages for the money to come in. I feel lucky that I enjoy the jobs I’m working in but I’m currently working towards qualifying as a sign language interpreter, which is costing a lot of money. To qualify, I have to take five levels of language qualifications which start at around £500 per year, rising to £2,000 for the advanced levels. Then I’ll need to do an interpreting PgDip which will cost another few thousand for tuition. There’s no course available in Northern Ireland so the distance programme I’ve been looking at would require me to fly over to England for one weekend every other month for two years, which will be expensive. It’s frustrating because there is such a shortage of interpreters but so little support in entering the field. It is something that I really want to do but I’m not looking forward to the cost.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? No.

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