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How To Move Somewhere New Without Any Connections – By 8 Women Who Did It


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Money Diary: A 26-Year-Old PR Exec In Yorkshire On 21k

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 senior PR executive living and working in West Yorkshire. Like so many people, I was furloughed not long after the first lockdown as clients had to pull back on marketing services. I was on full furlough for around three months before being brought back on a part-time basis as part of the updated furlough scheme, and my hours varied from month to month once I started working again. Thankfully I’m now back to working full time, albeit from home. I was also promoted from account executive to senior account executive at the start of the year, pushing me over the £20k salary mark, which has been a massive thing for me. I live with my fiancé, J, who earns around £10k more than me, and other than the mortgage – which we go halves on – we pay for bills and food proportionately to what we earn. We were incredibly lucky to buy a house in 2019 with the help of both our families and are currently saving as much as we can for our 2021 wedding, which may or may not be able to go ahead!Since graduating university in 2015, I’ve worked in a few admin jobs both sides of going travelling (paid for with my savings from my weekend job through sixth form and uni) while I figured out a career path, eventually going into PR in 2018. The relatively late start in my career means that I’m on a lower salary than I’d like to be for my age but I try not to compare myself to others my age too much as I love my job and I think that accounts for so much. However, because I’ve always earned lower salaries, I’m generally quite cautious with spending.”Industry: CommunicationsAge: 26Location: West YorkshireSalary: £21,250Paycheque amount: £1,445.31 per month – this is the first month on this salary after being promoted!Number of housemates: One, my fiancé J (plus two cats and a hamster).Monthly ExpensesHousing costs: I transfer £565 to the joint account every month which covers my half of the mortgage as well as my share of the food shopping, cat stuff and utility bills. J earns more than me so we split the food shops, cat things and bills proportionately to our salaries.Loan payments: £0 – I don’t earn enough to pay back my student loan yet.Utilities: Included in my housing costs.Transportation: £139.27 per month for my car on a PCP deal. I usually budget £40 a month for petrol although I pay significantly less than this now as I hardly use my car with working from home.Phone bill: £10 for a SIM-only contract (I bought my phone outright a few years ago).Savings? Most of my savings were wiped out from buying the house. I currently save £250 per month towards the wedding and put an extra £10-£50 into my ‘rainy day’ savings pot in my Starling account, which I mostly dip into for hair and nail appointments and other occasional treats, but I suppose it’s also an emergency fund. I have about £3,500 saved towards the wedding (with this account dipped into to pay for some wedding purchases already), £380 in my Starling ‘car fund’ pot which is essentially my insurance excess, and there’s currently around £150 in the ‘rainy day’ pot. I wasn’t able to save nearly as much as I’d have liked to last year due to being on a reduced salary for most of the year.Other: £5.99 for a BritBox subscription (J pays for Netflix).Day One8.15am: Alarm goes off while I’m in a deep sleep so automatically press the snooze button.8.25am: And again…8.35am: Alarm goes off for the final time. Spend another five minutes mentally coaxing myself to get out of bed before finally getting up and ready for the day. 9.05am: Log on and go through last night’s emails before making myself a couple of crumpets and a tea for breakfast. Follow up on a couple of things from last week, issue a press release and do some admin. 11.15am: A Dunelm parcel arrives but it’s not the one I expected, which feels like the most excitement I’ve had since lockdown three started. I ordered six items last week and they’re coming in five separate parcels, which is ridiculous. Back to work and start writing a blog. 1.15pm: Take my lunch break. Have some leftover vegan spag bol and peas from last night and top the bolognese with a mountain of nooch. 2.10pm: Head back to my office (the dining room table) and finish off the blog.4pm: Second Dunelm order of the day arrives. It’s a sideboard for the lounge so I help/hinder my fiancé J to put it up. The cold has crept up on me so I put the kettle on to make hot drinks and fill up my hot water bottle before heading back to my laptop.5.30pm: Log off for the day, get changed and do a resistance band workout. Put some rice on to cook and heat up a couple of portions of lentil and bean curry which I batch cooked a couple of weeks ago and kept in the freezer, so it’s a nice easy dinner.7.30pm: J clears up the dishes while I go and have a shower. Spend a good 10 minutes after my shower sat in my towel, having a mini existential crisis. Snap out of it and read a couple of chapters of Normal People – I saw the series last year and loved it but have only just got round to reading the book. 9pm: Head downstairs and spend a couple of hours doing some wedding planning as we’ve had a few RSVPs come through in the last couple of days. I think everyone is desperate to get dressed up and drink with people they don’t live with at this point! Play with the cats before bed. We adopted them during the first lockdown (we were already planning to get a couple of kittens/cats before all this started) and it’s been amazing to watch them come out of their shells over the last few months, given that they were terrified former ferals when they first got here. Total: £0Day Two8am: Alarm goes off and it miraculously only takes me a few minutes to get out of bed. Throw on some gym clothes, brush my teeth and head downstairs to feed the cats. Once they’re sorted, I make tea and crumpets for breakfast again and log on for the day. See that the press release I issued yesterday has already been picked up by a couple of outlets which is a good start to the morning!10am: Start pulling together some of the monthly reports before taking an early lunch hour to do a workout, followed by a shower and putting on some proper clothes. 1.05pm: Have lentil and bean curry for lunch while catching up on some emails that came through while I was on my break. 3.30pm: I’m having a massive writer’s block so go for a 20 minute power walk around the village. It’s cold and drizzly so there’s hardly anyone else out, which is great. The fresh air clearly did me some good because I easily finish off some copy when I get back. 5.20pm: Finish work for the day. I’ll be using the oven for dinner for the first time since cleaning it a few days ago and I’m paranoid I didn’t wash all the product out so I give it another wipe through with water then turn it on to max temperature and hope that does the trick. Scroll through social media for a while before making dinner with J. It’s burger night! We top them with the Mexicana vegan cheese slices which actually melt (a massive deal in the vegan cheese world), hash browns, mashed avocado and Leon burger sauce, and serve with oven fries and corn on the cob. So good!7.15pm: J clears up after dinner then does some interview prep so I decide to have a bubble bath. Spend about an hour in there reading until my zen is disturbed by girl cat scratching on the door, desperate for attention. Get a headache as soon as I stand up – will I ever learn to not have the bath so hot? Probably not.9.40pm: Head downstairs and watch the Katie Price documentary, then make a hot chocolate with vegan spray cream and bawl my eyes out at Long Lost Family. 11.15pm: Sort the cats out and head to bed.Total: £0Day Three8.15am: Alarm goes off. Back to snoozing it!8.30am: Get up, get ready and head downstairs to sort the cats. Fire up my laptop and have a tea and vegan yoghurt with banana and chia seeds for breakfast while I go through my emails. 9.15am: One of the in-house designers messages me for some urgent copy so set everything on my list aside to make sure that’s sorted. Thankfully it doesn’t take too long so I can get back to my actual work for the day.11.30am: I can hear that J has finished his interview so I grab an apple and take a screen break to chat about how he thinks it went. Fingers crossed! 12pm: J decides he wants some junk food to decompress after his interview and I am always up for some junk food. I have a £10 off code for Deliveroo so we order KFC (I just get a vegan burger, corn on the cob and a drink). I pay as J paid for a takeaway last week and it’s only £6.99 thanks to the discount. Heat up some oven fries and baked beans while it’s on its way so it feels like a full meal!1.30pm: Back to work. Issue a press release and do some admin around that, then go back to reporting. Start doing some research for a piece I’ll be writing in the next week or so.5.40pm: Log off for the day and play with the cats for a bit before making dinner, which is veggie pie, mash and veg. Have it swimming in gravy like a true Yorkshirewoman.7.30pm: Dinner finished. Have a shower then spend the evening doing some life admin and wedding planning. 11pm: Head to bed. My hamster is awake so I let him have a run around in the hamster ball for 20 minutes while I read. Going to regret the late night in the morning!Total: £6.99Day Four8.30am: Payday Friday! The BEST feeling after a six-week month. Lounge in bed for 10 minutes while I shuffle money around to the joint account and my savings pots, then get up and ready for work. I have a couple of external Zoom meetings today so make myself look a little more presentable than I usually do.9.30am: Have a tea and some chocolate cereal for breakfast while searching through some magazine websites for client coverage, then issue another press release before my first call of the day.11.20am: Call is done so I do some research then plan a blog for next month. 12.30pm: Cook some linguine and peas to have with bolognese from the freezer for lunch. Top it with loads of nooch again (gotta get that B12 in) and read a couple of US Money Diaries while I eat.1.30pm: Have a comms call with a client, then do some admin jobs.3pm: Head to Sainsbury’s as I know it’ll be quiet at this time and I need to stock up on some fruit. End up buying a few things that only I will use (blueberries, strawberries, oat milk, hot chocolate, vegan spray cream and Biscoff spread) so I pay rather than using the joint account. It comes to £ Make a tea for J and I then get back to work. Emails have been quiet which is the ultimate sign that it’s nearly the weekend – not that it means much during lockdown!5.05pm: Log off, get changed and do a workout. Make dinner afterwards, which is potato arrabbiata (ultimate comfort food). Once dinner is done, J does the dishes while I have a shower, then we watch Band of Brothers.10.30pm: Scroll through Instagram and Pinterest, then sort out the cats before heading to bed.Total: £13.84Day Five5.50am: Why am I awake? Give myself a couple of hours to get back to sleep, which thankfully I do.10.15am: Wake up again and head downstairs to feed the cats but luckily J’s already done it and come back up to bed (although boy cat is trying his best to convince me otherwise). Have a tea and banana while messaging my friend who’s (hopefully) getting married not long before me. We’re not feeling very hopeful that we’ll have the days we planned.11.30am: J emerges and we cook a fry up. Watch an episode of Catfish and browse some clothes websites. I save a few things in my basket that I’ll probably treat myself to with the bonus I got in yesterday’s pay. I try not to buy clothes impulsively so I’ll go back to them in a few days. Watch another couple of episodes because I see the start of them and absolutely have to find out who the catfish is. 4pm: Girl cat wakes up and sits by her favourite toy so we play. Boy cat emerges after about 10 minutes and watches but is clearly too tired to actually get involved.5.30pm: Start making dinner, which is homemade tofu katsu with noodles and tenderstem. About five minutes later my mum rings to say she’s in the Pets At Home car park and her car won’t start. J sets off to help (my mum lives on her own and is in a bubble with us) and when he gets back dinner is pretty much ready. 7.15pm: J sorts the dishes while I go and wash my hair. Spend about an hour reading my book while my hair gets mostly dry. I’ve used a hairdryer and straighteners twice since February 2020 and my hair is in a much better condition now. 9pm: Head downstairs. My sweet tooth has gone into overdrive but we don’t have any treats in so I have strawberries and melted Biscoff spread which seems to do the trick.11.45pm: Start getting ready for bed while J sorts the cats. Total: £0Day Six9.30am: Get up, sort the cats and make strawberry and Biscoff porridge for breakfast. Get ready after I’ve eaten and J and I go for a walk around his golf course. We walk the full 18 holes and I feel like I’ve done a proper workout with all the hills.1.15pm: Get home and heat up leftover katsu for lunch, then put all the ingredients for a bean and jackfruit chilli in the slow cooker ready for dinner later. 3pm: J cleans the kitchen and lounge while I clean the bathrooms. I used to hate having to clean on a weekend but now it just feels like a way to pass the time during lockdown.4.15pm: Finally sit down with a cuppa! Half watch some property shows while scrolling Instagram for a bit before making a start on dinner: loaded nachos with sweet potato fries and guac.6.35pm: My mum gets here and we catch up on the car drama while I put dinner out. It’s a messy one but so good. 9.45pm: After spoiling the cats with some Dreamies, my mum sets off home. I have a quick shower, put my onesie on and make a hot chocolate with vegan spray cream. We watch an episode of Band of Brothers then play with the cats before bed – they were running riot pretty much all night so hopefully this tires them out. 11pm: Make my way up to bed and the hamster is up again so I let him have another late night runaround while I get ready for bed. He doesn’t tire quickly so it ends up being around midnight by the time we get to sleep.Total: £0Day Seven8.10am: Wake up naturally, which makes a change for a Monday. Head downstairs, sort the cats and do my usual weekday routine of having a tea and breakfast (today it’s Greek-style yoghurt, blueberries and chia seeds) while I catch up on emails. I’m able to tie up a few pieces of work which is a good start to the week!1pm: My friend did Dry January to raise money for charity so I donate £20 while I wait for my lunch (leftover chilli from the nachos last night) to heat up, then read a couple of US Money Diaries while I eat before getting back on with work.4.30pm: Realise it’s still light which makes me so happy because I really struggle with the short days during winter. Spring isn’t too far away!5.05pm: Log off for the day, get changed and do half an hour on the exercise bike we have in our spare room (my grandad found it on Freecycle and fixed it up for us because he is the best). Have a shower and change into joggers and a baggy jumper, which was basically my furlough uniform. 6.30pm: Order dinner, which is a Chinese takeaway tonight and I can’t wait. I have an Uber Eats code for 25% off so we go all out and order enough to save some for lunch tomorrow. My half is £11.50. The restaurant doesn’t deliver to our house so I sit in the car with J for the 20 minute round trip to collect it for a change of scenery. 8pm: Chase a few people as the deadline for wedding RSVPs was yesterday and there are still a few people we’re waiting to hear back from. Get an almost instant response from someone so add them to the ‘yes’ list. 9pm: Watch an old episode of The Mentalist then have a WhatsApp catch-up with my friend who did Dry January. She’s celebrating her success and is drunk on champagne!10.15pm: Play with the cats to tire them out – all the toys we’ve bought them and their favourite thing to play with is an old phone charger. Quickly check my bank account now that all my payments have gone out for the month to see where I stand, then head to bed.Total: £31.50The BreakdownFood/Drink: £32.33Entertainment: £0Clothes/Beauty: £0Travel: £0Other: £20Total: £52.33Conclusion”This was a fairly typical week for me in that most of my spending over the past year has been on food. It’s definitely not always necessary but with not spending much on anything else at the moment, I’m not too bothered about it. I don’t donate £20 to charity every week so this is a slightly more expensive week than usual but it’s made me want to start up a monthly donation to a charity, especially now I’ve had a pay rise. Writing down my (lack of) savings for the long term has reinforced that this needs to be a top priority once the wedding is paid for. Now that I’ve been promoted and I’ve had a pay rise, I’m hoping to generally up my savings after treating myself this month. I’ve found actually tracking what I’m spending to be really helpful and plan on keeping this up in one way or another, especially once things start going back to normal and I’m spending money on social things again.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Money Diary: A 26-Year-Old In Hong Kong On 30kMoney Diary: 25-Year-Old Nurse On 27kMoney Diary: A TV Producer On £300/d In London


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