Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last penny. This week: “I’m a 25-year-old charity worker and a carer. I moved to Bristol in 2022 after leaving a very stressful job as a full-time care manager, supporting adults with learning disabilities. It was so rewarding but I constantly felt like I was fighting fires and I didn’t have the time I needed to enjoy my life. I also had issues with setting boundaries and I felt I needed a fresh start in many ways. Just before I moved to Bristol, I went through a breakup, which made the move even scarier. I have really noticed a change in myself since moving and it’s made me realise I am stronger than I thought and that I can live on my own. I took a massive pay cut moving here and Bristol is a very expensive place to live so it has definitely been a learning curve. I’ve had to be a bit more conscious about my spending — not that I’ve always been successful! I definitely have a bit of a complicated relationship with money, often living beyond my means if I worry I’m going to miss out on anything. This is something I need to work on and I am hoping that keeping an eye on my spending this week will give me an idea as to how I can budget a bit better.”
Occupation: Advice worker and carer Industry: Charity Age: 25 Location: Bristol Salary: £21,756 from my main job, roughly £6,000 from my care job. Paycheque amount: £1,539 from my main job and £500-£600 a month for my care job, depending on how many nights I do. Number of housemates: None (but I have to share my bathroom with one other girl). Pronouns: She/her
Housing costs: £550 for my rent, which includes council tax and water. Loan payments: I pay probably between £100 and £200 a month on credit card repayments and I put at least £50 in premium bonds a month. I am going to use that money to pay my dad back after he lent me £1,000 last year. Savings? £4,600 in a Lifetime ISA — not as high as I’d like but a few pounds dribble in there every month. Pension? I pay in £29.03 monthly, which I believe is 4%. My employer puts in 8%. Utilities: I’ve got an electric meter and I was super lucky that it had £220 on it when I moved in so thus far I haven’t had to pay anything! All other monthly payments: £51.34 phone, £28.50 internet. Subscriptions: £9.99 Spotify, £6.99 Amazon Prime, £5.99 Netflix and £3.99 Discovery+.
Did you participate in any form of higher education?
I did not! When I was 17, I moved in with a boy (yikes) and was working full-time and still at college. At that time, there wasn’t anything that was drawing me in and I didn’t want to spend money on something I wasn’t really excited by. I worked in care for a number of years and through that I got my NVQ levels 2 and 3 in health and social care. I was working towards my level 5 but I had to leave care for my mental health.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I wouldn’t necessarily say my parents educated me. I don’t remember really speaking to them about money when they were together but when me and my sister left with my mum and she had to buy her own house, I definitely picked up on some stress. She wasn’t particularly open about it but I could sense it. I am very grateful to say that I never went without when living with my mum and she did all she could to spoil me and take me on holidays every year.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?
I left my mum’s house when I was 17 and moved in elsewhere as a lodger. Nowhere would give me a tenancy as I wasn’t 18.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
For the first six months after moving out of home, my dad gave me £100 a month to help out. He has also given and lent me money over the years if I’ve been really stuck. Mostly I would say I have been largely financially independent since I moved out at 17.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I had a paper round for a few years when I was 13 and then went on to some temporary jobs. My first ‘real’ job was as a customer service and admin assistant at a shopping centre in my home town. I got it because I wanted a bit more independence and I was very depressed as a teenager, which I thought could be helped with some routine — and I was right! This also led to me being able to move out at such a young age.
Do you worry about money now?
Absolutely, every day.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
When I was 18 I was given premium bonds that my grandparents had saved for me, which must have come to about £600-£700. Also, a few years ago my dad gifted me £5,000 for Christmas, which I used to pay for an intensive driving course. I guess I blew the rest!
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