This week, our reader finds she’s enjoying slowing down while staying at home during the shutdown, and is spending less.
WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on TheJournal.ie running weekly and looking at what people in Ireland really do with their cash.
We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, how much they save if anything, and what they spend their money on over the course of one week.
Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a week in their shoes.
If you’d like to document your spending, or lack thereof and any lifestyle changes during this Covid-19 period, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.
Last week, we met a 43-year-old technician working from home on €35,000. This week, a 29-year-old software engineer who lives with her boyfriend and three flatmates describes how she’s saving a lot more while working from home.
I am a 29-year old female, living in Dublin with my boyfriend in a rented house with three other occupants. I normally work in an office in Grand Canal Dock and get the train in but since the outbreak, I have been working from home.
My boyfriend and I are saving for a house, we both put €1,500 each into a joint account every month. However, we both put an extra €500 each this month since we’re not going out with the lockdown so a total of €4,000 into our savings. I have a car loan I’m paying back so my boyfriend pays most of the rent and bills, to which I contribute €200.
Occupation: Software Engineer
Monthly pay (net): €3,600
Taxsaver train ticket, gym membership and pension are all benefits from work which is deducted from my monthly wage.
Phone credit: €20
Groceries: €200 per month
Contact lenses: €25
Christmas Fund: €50 (put away money each month for Christmas)
Monday 27 April
7:30 am: It’s payday, I check my account to make sure I got paid and transfer €2,000 into the savings account. The first two weeks working from home, I was a bit lazy, working from bed and staying in the PJs but now I prefer to get up, dressed and put on tinted moisturiser and mascara.
I get cereal and a cup of tea and eat it while reading my emails. This is what I would normally do in the office anyway. In our sitting room, I have a desk with my monitors and today I start working around 8:30 am. I’m under pressure to get a piece of work done by Wednesday so I get stuck into it.
12:00 pm: I head to Tesco during my lunch hour to do a grocery shop and offer my housemate a lift too since I drive and she doesn’t so she comes with me. We do our shopping separately and meet up at the exit. I spend €42.72 on groceries.
1:00 pm: When I’m back home, I make a sandwich and grab a packet of crisps from a multipack I bought two weeks ago. I eat in front of my laptop and spend the rest of the day focusing on writing code.
5:30 pm: I finish up work and start making the dough as we are having homemade pizza for dinner. While the dough rises, my boyfriend and I go for a quick 30-minute walk around a park beside our house.
6:30 pm: We come back, make our pizzas and put them in the oven. After our food, my boyfriend goes out to do a grocery shop for his parents who live nearby. He does this about once or twice a week as they need it. He leaves the food at their front door and rings the doorbell. My parents live down the country and they are content looking after themselves. I stay home and work on a 1,500 piece jigsaw puzzle while watching TV and chat to my housemate for a little bit.
10:00 pm: We head to bed and I read a little bit of a book before calling it a night.
Today’s total: €42.72
Tuesday 28 April
7:00 am: I wake up and stay in bed reading my book and catching up on social media before getting up.
8:00 am: I get up and grab cereal and tea again and eat in front of my laptop.
9:00 am: I receive a delivery from Boohoo.com that I placed last week. I had spent €77.99 including delivery but I don’t like one item. I will return it and get a refund for €36.10.
9:50 am: Get a text from my dad to say he’s keeping himself busy on his farm since he’s not working during the lockdown. We check in with each other every couple of days.
1:00 pm: I make a sandwich and grab a packet of crisps again for lunch and sit eating it while chatting to my boyfriend and tackling the jigsaw puzzle to get away from my laptop for a little while.
5:00 pm: I get the task I’ve been working on done and finish up work for the day. I make us a Massaman Curry using a kit I bought in Tesco on Monday and some leftover potatoes from last week.
7:20 pm: My best friend calls me and I go for a walk and do a few laps around the park while catching up with her. We chat about our hopes to go on a girls’ holiday when the pandemic is over but neither of us expects it to be this year. We’re just taking it as it comes and trying to make the most of it.
9:00 pm: I go for a shower and start getting ready for bed. We watch an episode of a TV show in bed and have an early night.
Today’s total: €0.00
Wednesday 29 April
9:00 am: We have a bit of a lie-in and I get a delivery from Zalando.ie which I had ordered previously (€92 for two pairs of leggings and two jumpers). One pair of leggings didn’t fit right, I asked my housemate if she had any interest in them or else I would return them. She wanted them and gave me €20 for them (they cost €21). I ordered another two pairs of leggings which cost €47.40 from Zalando. I sit down to start my work day and eat my breakfast until 9:30 am.
10:30 am: I have a meeting with my team to demo our work done over the last two weeks and I’m really happy with the progress we have made.
1:00 pm: I make a salad for lunch for myself and my boyfriend with couscous, baby tomatoes, peppers, onion, ham, cheese and salad leaves. We chat while eating and I have another go at the jigsaw.
3:00 pm: A desk my boyfriend ordered arrives and we spend an hour putting it together and rearranging the sitting room that we are both working in.
5:00 pm: I finish up work and watch an episode of a TV show.
6:00 pm: I make spaghetti bolognese for our dinner and put cookies in the oven. My housemate made a load of cookie dough two weeks ago. We froze it in logs so that we can cut off and bake a batch of cookies when we want them.
If it was a normal Wednesday, I might be going to the cinema with the girls from work. The Savoy does a meal deal for €11 on Wednesdays and we would normally walk down to the cinema from work and grab food before the movie. Instead, I have a lazy evening of watching TV and tackling the jigsaw puzzle.
9:00 pm: I feel guilty that I didn’t go for a walk so I do some squats and leg exercises in our bedroom.
11:30 pm: It is a little later than usual by the time I’m showered and head to bed.
Today’s total: €27.40
Thursday 30 April
9:10 am: I slept in again and I’m a little later sitting down with my breakfast than I’d like. I prefer to start around 8/8:30am as it is quieter and I can get more work done.
Thursdays and Fridays are always very busy with meetings so I only have about two hours in the day today where I can actually focus and write code.
12:30 pm: My boyfriend and I make lunch together, sandwiches, crisps and slices of melon.
1:00 pm: I have a meeting which I have to drop off early because I get a phone call from Zurich. I had requested a call-back online to get information on investing. I’m considering putting a little bit of money into an investment fund each month as a long-term saving strategy but I don’t have any experience with these things so have started researching online and reaching out to companies. My pension is with Zurich which is why I contacted them.
5:00 pm: I host a quiz for my teammates at work and finish up for the day around 6 pm. For dinner, we have leftover spaghetti bolognese and go out for a walk afterwards.
7:30 pm: We’re home and spend time working on the jigsaw together.
9:30 pm: I’m hungry again so have tea and toast and watch TV before calling it a night.
Today’s total: €0.00
Friday 1 May
7:30 am: I wake up and start reading articles in bed before getting up. I decide to curl my hair for a change since it’s Friday and don’t sit down at my laptop until 8:50am.
12:45 pm: Finish up a meeting and make a sandwich for lunch again with crisps. Also, finish off the melon. Have another go at the jigsaw while eating. My boyfriend tells me he has ordered paint for my car to touch up some scrapes on it. It’s €10 and I transfer it to him using Revolut. It’s a strangely quiet Friday in work, I normally have a lot of meetings but only have one this afternoon. Since I have no deadlines, I move to the sofa and read articles and try to upskill a bit while I have the chance.
5:00 pm: I finish up work for the long weekend. My boyfriend goes off to do another grocery shop for his parents. I have a coffee and hang out with my housemate for a bit.
6:00 pm: He brings home olives and cured meats so we snack on that with wine, cheese and crackers.
7:30 pm: We do a quiz with his family and end up ordering sushi after my housemate suggests it. The food costs €38.50, more than we would normally spend on a takeaway and my boyfriend pays for it.
The rest of the night is spent watching movies on TV.
Today’s total: €10.00
Saturday 2 May
10:00 am: My boyfriend and I make a pact to do 30 days of core workouts. We’re normally regular gym go-ers but with them being closed, we’ve been pretty lazy, only going for the odd walk or cycle. I download an app and we get up and do the workout first thing this morning. It only takes about 20 minutes.
11:00 am: We make breakfast, I have protein pancakes and he has scrambled eggs.
12:00 am: It’s a lovely day so I go out for a nice long walk around the park on my own listening to music. I drop off the package of items I wanted to return in the shop around the corner, there is a fee of €0.50. Before the lockdown, I’d probably have spent my Saturday morning in Liffey Valley shopping or out for a long drive with my boyfriend and ended up spending money on coffees, bottles of water, lunch out and probably dinner out too.
1:15 pm: I get home and have a shower and then have a coffee. I do chores around the house: empty the dishwasher, change the bedsheets and put on a load of laundry. Afterwards, I make us lunch using leftover food from the fridge and cupboard.
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4:00 pm: We go to Tesco and do a shop. It comes to €77 and my boyfriend pays. Once home, we have rhubarb tart & ice cream which we bought earlier. I tackle the jigsaw again.
7:30 pm: My boyfriend makes dinner and we open a bottle of wine and watch the second half of a movie we started last night.
9:00 pm: We have a quiz night with my friends, it takes a while to sort out some technical difficulties but we eventually get it working. It lasts about an hour and then we spend the rest of the night watching TV. I browse through clothes shops online but don’t buy anything.
11:30 pm: We’re both tired and decide to call it a night.
Today’s total: €0.50
Sunday 3 May
10:00 am: I wake up and read a long article on TheJournal.ie about the Princess Diamond cruise quarantine. It’s 11 before we get up and do our workout which again is only about 20 minutes.
12:00 pm: I make us both protein pancakes for breakfast. Afterwards, he does a hoover and mop of the house and then goes out to cut the grass. I read on my laptop and download a few books onto my kindle.
2:30 pm: We go outside to a patch of green beside our house and we throw an American style ball back and forth for half an hour. It’s a lovely day and the sun is beating down on us so I make us banana milkshakes to cool down. I sit out in the back garden in the sun and read on my kindle.
4:30 pm: My boyfriend comes back from a spin on his motorbike with ice creams and a few bits from Lidl. He’s a lot more restless than I am and likes to go out for trips to the shops even when we don’t need it just to get out of the house. He makes our burgers on the BBQ. I enjoy the last bit of the sun outside and then go for a shower.
8:30 pm: I make us carbonara for dinner and we eat while watching a movie from Netflix.
10:30 pm: After browsing online for a while, I crack and place an order on Amazon, a box easel to store my painting materials and matcha tea powder for an antioxidant boost. The total comes to €58.78.
The rest of the night is spent watching movies on Netflix.
Today’s total: €58.78
Weekly subtotal: €139.40
What I learned
● This is not a reflection of what I would have spent before the lockdown which would have probably been two or three times the amount. The lockdown has made me realise how much money I spend frivolously in normal circumstances. I’m so grateful that my boyfriend and I are still working like normal and able to save each month when I know a lot of people, including my own family and friends are not as fortunate.
● I find I’m good with not spending money Monday to Friday and then the weekend comes and I feel like I “deserve a treat” and end up buying things I don’t need.
● As unfortunate as the current situation is, I have actually enjoyed the lockdown. I used to be very restless feeling like we need to always go out and do something on our time off. Now I’m actually more relaxed and comfortable staying home doing a jigsaw or painting a picture. I’ve been forced to go out into nature for walks instead of going to the gym. We’ve been very fortunate with the weather, it’s been lovely sitting out reading books, having BBQs and spending time with our housemates where we wouldn’t normally have time for each other. It feels good to do our bit by staying home.