Money Diary: A 23-Year-Old Software Engineer & Singer In A Band On 36k

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 23 and have been working full time for over a year now, having graduated in 2019 with a physics degree and now working on a grad scheme at a financial services company. I knew I wanted to go into tech because I really enjoy it, and genuinely didn’t realise how lucrative it would be financially. I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am now, especially considering how COVID has left many of my mates unemployed and back at home. 
I’m also in a band, which while being a super fun passion project, is an absolute money sponge and quite a risky venture to be doing financially, particularly in the COVID era. Music has always been a huge part of my life but now I’m in a stable and well-paying job, I’m starting to question whether I really would ever take a pay cut to do music full time. I am not too bothered that I’m spending a lot on this in the short term because I’m young, barely out of uni, not in debt and don’t have any dependants."
Industry: Tech/Finance
Age: 23
Location: East London
Salary: £36,000
Paycheque amount: £2,125 (after pension contributions, monthly payment for buying five extra holiday days a year, and student loan).
Number of housemates: Three (H, V and D).
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £740 base rent per month (hello, London).
Loan payments: N/A (I already paid off my student overdraft).
Utilities: £18.75 for my share of the gas and electric, £3.22 TV licence, £40.85 council tax, £7.50 water.
Transportation: ~£65 long distance trains, ~£50 transport around London (when not locked down).
Phone bill: £10 per month SIM only (I bought the handset outright last year).
Student loan: £92 per month. My current balance is £51,830.90, laughable really as the more you earn, the more interest they whack on the top. I just try to think of it as a tax in order to spare my sanity.
Savings? £400 in a pot per month in my bank account (I should really look to invest as it’s just sitting there), £100 per month into holiday pot (I try to put into this but end up taking it out if I overspend), £100 into a locked pot for a new laptop, £50 for reserved band spending (although I normally have to spend more than this).
Other: £10 Spotify, £3 musical instrument insurance, £20 to band bank account (we set this up last year and this barely scratches the surface), £80 split between Mind, Nordoff Robbins (a music therapy charity), the Music Venue Trust and the Stephen Lawrence Trust – my company lets me donate this pre-tax, which is pretty great.

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