Money Diary: A Community Development Officer In Birmingham

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 31-year-old living in Worcestershire and working in Birmingham as a community development officer in a not for profit, where I spend most of my days working with volunteers, developing new opportunities and resources for them, and attending committee meetings. I travel a lot with work so try and take the opportunity to do at least one fun thing in every new place that I go.
I live with my boyfriend of 12 years and we have recently bought our first home together, a three-bed Victorian end terrace in a popular area of the city. We have only recently moved back to Worcester where we grew up, having previously lived in London, Birmingham, New Zealand and Canada.
Having a home of our own was a dream that we worked hard to make happen and we saved for around eight years to make it a reality. The house was a little dilapidated when we bought it, but it has some fantastic features and we fell in love. Our families couldn’t help with the buying costs but have thrown themselves into the renovations and the house is finally feeling like a home.
My boyfriend and I are from very different financial backgrounds; he grew up in a reasonably well-off family whereas I grew up firmly below the breadline. This can sometimes cause tension between us – we have very different attitudes to money, he is more of a saver and I a spender, and I think as we have got older our differences have become more apparent. Another source of tension is that I sometimes have to subsidise my family when they are short of money (I cannot see them suffer when I have more than I need) and my boyfriend gets frustrated with their lack of planning and my apparent complacency in allowing the situation to continue. Conversely his family tend to presume that we have heaps of money and put pressure on us to go to expensive dinners, which we love, and expensive resort family holidays, which we do not enjoy. It’s a topic that we have had to really work on in our relationship and I think have finally reached a nice balance.
When we aren’t working we tend to spend the majority of our money on travel and try to go abroad at least twice a year. I take language lessons and am doing a distance learning course paid for by work for a recognised qualification within my field."
Job: Community Development Manager
Age: 31
Location: Birmingham
Salary: £31,800
Paycheque amount: £2,021.20 after pension contribution, student loan and season ticket loan
Number of housemates: 1 (boyfriend)
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs, utilities and food: £970 (split between two). We transfer £520 each into the joint account to cover rent, food and utilities.
Phone bill: £45
Savings: Most of our savings were eaten by purchasing our first home and decorating it in full. We have around £2,000 left and transfer £600 each into a savings account each month. I contribute £100 a month to a stakeholder pension and put any leftover money from my salary into my own savings account, which is mainly used for travel; currently I have £1,500 in there after it took a huge hit on a recent trip to Norway.
Transport: Ad hoc petrol top-up of boyfriend’s car if using it, around £10 per month (I walk/train everywhere and can go quite some time without using the car).
Other: Google Play Music £9.99, Netflix £5.99, Gym £17.99, Spanish lessons £50.

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