Money Diary: A Recently Redundant 24-Year-Old On Housing Benefit
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 we're with a social media manager who was recently made redundant from her job. She's just about scraping by, freelancing in writing, editing and social media while looking for a new role. Stable jobs in her industry (mainly the arts) are relatively elusive and when she has been invited to interview, she's been told that they received hundreds of applications for the job (in one case thousands!), which makes her think her current employment prospects are pretty bleak. She says she doesn’t really have a choice, though, just to keep going and doing the best she can.
She currently works from home part-time as editor of a magazine and picks up some extra freelance work to make up her income. She also gets housing benefit from the council to help pay her rent while she's looking for more stable, full-time hours, which has been such a lifesaver as she says there’s no way she’d still be living in London several months later with just her part-time income. She thinks there’s still a huge amount of stigma around claiming benefits, which is stupid, although she does mostly keep it quiet.
Industry: Media Age: 24 Location: London Salary: I don’t have a salary, but my monthly income would probably come to around £9,500 a year. Paycheque amount: Varies each month, but probably around £800 on average. Number of housemates: 3
Housing costs: £435 rent and that comes out of both my income and housing benefit. My housing benefit is usually just under £400 or so, depending on what I make that month. Loan payments: £0 – I was the first academic year to have to pay the £9k a year fees for uni, so I have a ridiculous amount of student debt, but thankfully have never reached the threshold to have to pay any back yet. Utilities: About £25 Transportation: Usually around £50 Phone bill: £12 Savings? Lol, nah Other? No