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I didn’t go to university. During A-Levels, I decided I was done with full-time education and was ready to work. Money was tight at home and I was conscious that my going to work would relieve some pressure on my parents.
I went to an average local comprehensive school and got good grades, so was expected to go to university. My parents agreed I could leave education, provided I went into a job that provided training.
I’d always been interested in business and economics, so I completed seven years worth of accountancy qualifications while working at a local business.
My employer continued to fund my qualifications as long as I kept passing my exams. I don’t regret not going to university, because I have no student debt. I now work as a finance director, earning £135,000.
My work ethic is strong. I wanted to earn more than £100,000 by the time I was 30, and I got there when I was 28. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate work-life balance, rather than simply chasing the money.
I recently turned down a role paying an extra £20,000 annually, as it would have been a disproportionate amount more stress compared to reward, once the taxman took his share.
I got on the property ladder relatively early, buying my first house, a two-bed semi for £105,000, at the age of 22. I funded it all myself, saving towards the deposit while living at home.
A year ago, I bought a detached 3-bed near the centre of a fairly affluent commuter city in the Midlands for £500,000.
My mortgage has £280,000 outstanding, but I aim to pay it off by the time I’m 50, and I don’t intend to move again – until I can no longer do stairs.
I used to overpay my mortgage, but since savings rates are now higher than my 10-year fixed rate, there is no point doing that any more.
My attitude to money was strongly influenced by my grandfather, who taught me the value of not spending more than one earns. My parents flitted in and out of credit card debt when I was growing up, and I didn’t want the same to happen to me.
Pre-tax annual salary: £135,000
Post-tax monthly salary: £6,605 after tax, NI and my pension deduction
Student loan: None
Monthly mortgage payment: £1,708
Monthly housing costs (council tax, utility bills): £650
Pension: 4pc of salary contractually, but I increased it to £1,000/mth (company contributes an additional 6pc)
Monthly subscriptions: Sky £71, gym £94, Spotify £10.
Monthly savings: £1,000
I worked from home for a low-cost start to the week. I’ve been a hybrid worker since long before Covid, and find it’s a great balance between productivity and maintaining workplace relationships.
All food for the day came from the weekly big shop that we did yesterday. My partner tends to pick up more of the supermarket costs, as I pay the running costs of the house.
We have our separate finances, and it works for us. I know I have an early start tomorrow so I fill the car up with fuel (£74.85), which will last me about a week and a half.
Once I’ve finished with work, I head to the gym. I have a membership with David Lloyd – I tried a cheaper gym a few years back but didn’t enjoy it. I figured I’m better paying more for a gym I do use, than less for one I don’t.
An early start to drive over 200 miles to one of our company’s locations.
I stay away from home for a couple of nights with work most weeks. I stop at a service station and buy a bacon roll and coffee from a Greggs kiosk for £4.25. I’ve recently switched my allegiance from McDonalds for driving breakfasts, but I do miss the hash browns.
Later, I nip to the supermarket to get lunch (£4.05), and eat at my hotel, which is paid for by the company, in the evening. For a change of scenery I head to a local pub to watch the football and spend £14.50 on three pints of beer.
I spend the day in the office before the long drive back home. My only expenses today came from the familiar trip to the supermarket to grab lunch.
I like to get out of the office for 20 minutes to clear my head in the middle of the day, so I prefer to rely on meal deals rather than making and taking my own lunch. A Tesco meal deal and an extra snack came to £4.40 with a Clubcard.
While I am there, I browse the charity book shelf and see two books that I like the look of, so I drop £4 in the collection bucket. I rarely buy books brand new, preferring to use the excellent charity bookshops near me.
I travelled to London for a board meeting. The ticket was booked weeks ago (£36 return) as on-the-day prices are ridiculous.
The announcement on the train says that the catering car can’t accept card payments due to a technical fault, so purchases need to be made through an app. Crazy… the gradual elimination of the ability to transact in cash concerns me deeply.
I spend £7.29 (in cash) at Pret when I get to London on a bacon roll and coffee. Lunch was provided for the meeting, but we then retreated to a pub with colleagues for a debrief when the meeting was over.
I handed over £52.80 for drinks. London prices were in evidence. I spent another £11.98 on food for the train journey home, and £10 on three cans of G&T.
Today is the day when the sea of monthly direct debits leave my account, covering mortgage, domestic bills, car insurance etc. £2,929 in total. I own my car outright now, but put the £425 a month that I used to pay on the loan into a separate savings account, ready for when I eventually replace it.
It’s another day working from home, catching up on emails and muting Teams meetings. A prearranged visit from a local plumber to replace the stop tap costs £50 for his time, as I’d already bought the part. My house was lived in by the same family for 50 years before I bought it, so it needs a lot of modernising.
Lunch is from the fridge, but I nip to the Post Office to return some clothing that didn’t fit. I spend £3.90 for tracked delivery. I also bought my partner a Christmas gift online for £42.97.
Later, I go for Friday evening drinks with friends, discussing the week’s deals and conquests. I spend £26.80 on drinks, and pick up an Indian takeaway on the walk home for £14.80.
Saturday sees my partner and I take our dog to a charity dog walk in a local village. It is a monthly event in aid of the charity who rescued our pup from Eastern Europe and brought her to the UK to be rehomed.
I put £10 into the collection tin, and seeing as the walk starts and ends at a pub, I bought a pint of beer and a glass of wine for my partner for £10.50.
In the afternoon I go to watch my local football team, where I have a season ticket. I get there quite early and park for free in the car park of the David Lloyd next door. I tell myself that free parking every other week is a good reason to justify the high cost of membership!
I watch the second half of the early kick-off in the lounge there with a Diet Coke (£2.16), before walking to the ground and indulging in my guilty pleasure of a greasy cheeseburger from the burger van (£7). It’s freezing at half-time so I buy a Bovril and a Twix for £4.20. The stadium no longer accepts cash payments, which irks me.
We have friends visiting this evening and share a Thai takeaway meal and some drinks, for which we all throw in £30.
A chilled Sunday. My partner does the weekly food shop, and gets the ingredients for a wonderful home-cooked roast dinner. I go to the gym and do some domestic chores in the morning and take out £40 in cash to leave for our dog walker tomorrow.
Having a dog walker means our dog gets a walk on the days when I am not working from home, to break the day up for her, and my partner and I alternate who pays week by week.
In the afternoon, we go to a local bar for some pre-dinner refreshments where we take turns buying rounds. I spend £20.30.
Weekly Total £450.75
As told to Madeleine Ross.