Money Diary: 26-Year-Old Police Dispatcher On 31k In Bristol
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 a 26-year-old police dispatcher living in Bristol with my boyfriend J and our pets. Last year I bought into the house J already owned and we became joint homeowners which was a really exciting milestone for me.
I applied for the police control room on a whim when I was 21 and was still trying to decide whether I wanted to go to university. I almost bottled it at my interview because I was so nervous but five years on I’m still there and I couldn't imagine doing things differently. Earning a decent salary from a young age has afforded me opportunities and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise so I’m so glad I took that path.
I took a career break two years ago to go travelling and since my return I've been trying to balance saving, home owning and having a social life. I’d consider myself pretty money savvy: I love discount codes, DePop and the reduced aisle in supermarkets. That being said, I definitely value experiences over possessions, so if I’m going to splurge it will be on travel or meals out.
The pandemic definitely helped me to focus on saving. The demand on policing went through the roof and I've had guaranteed overtime since March last year, and with lockdowns preventing any kind of social life I've built up a pretty decent chunk. Towards the end of next year we are hoping to purchase a bigger house so our plan is to keep saving as much as possible to make that happen.
Industry: Emergency Services Age: 26 Location: Bristol Salary: £31,004 Paycheque amount: £1,928 plus £200-350 overtime after taxes and my pension contributions. Since the beginning of the pandemic I have been working three additional night shifts a month (on average). Number of housemates: My boyfriend J, a dog and a cat.
Monthly Expenses Housing costs: £600.12 mortgage payment. Loan payments: I have no student debts as I didn't go to university. I have an interest-free credit card with a balance of around £3,000 and I typically pay £150-200 per month towards it. As it's interest-free I'm happy not using my savings to pay it off just yet. Utilities: J and I both transfer money into our joint account every payday to cover all of our bills, mortgage, food, petrol, stuff for the pets and joint Spotify account. I put in £700 for my share, J transfers £800 as he earns slightly more. We are typically left with £100 every month which we roll over to account for any unexpected bills/expenses. Transportation: £269 on a personal loan that I used to buy my car. £48 on car insurance. Between us we spend about £200 on petrol which comes out of the joint account. Phone Bill: £8 SIM only deal. Savings? I have £10,000 in a Lloyds savings account with a terrible interest rate. My goal over the next few months is to clue myself up on the best way to invest my savings. J and I also have £600 in a holiday fund and a laughable £25 in our Christmas fund. I try to save £600 per month but this has only been possible with the overtime I've been doing, before that I would be able to save around £250. Other: £9.99 Netflix (I pay this and J pays for Prime), £0.79 Apple storage, £24 shelter dog sponsorship and £6 life insurance.
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