Money Diary: A Woman On 30k Supporting Her Boyfriend Through College

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 24-year-old who recently made the move from industry to consulting. She works in engineering and her male-dominated company was dragging her down. Her boyfriend is at naval college and gets a monthly stipend of £700 that is sucked up by rent. Their lifestyle is substantially lived at the weekends: camping trips, hikes and breaks to see friends and shop in London, Liverpool, and Manchester. These things can get expensive when you're paying for two! She also sends him cash for fuel; he doesn't accept cash for food and booze so she finds ways to get this to him (Graze boxes and buying rounds or giving him her credit card "to look after" on nights out).
Her house sucks up a lot of money. It rinsed her savings – buying it a year ago and decorating and maintaining it is her primary hobby right now. You'll find her in IKEA at least every fortnight and she often sells stuff on Facebook marketplace – it's amazing!
Age: 24
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Salary: £30,000
Paycheque: Around £1,700
Number of housemates: Officially, and for the purposes of council tax, none. My boyfriend stays here on weekends and the college holidays but officially he still lives with his parents and rents a room near his college. My spare room is on Airbnb and I have a regular turnover of long-term guests in there. I’ve got a good business going with German medical students and a new couple just moved in. They’ll be here for two months. (I’m not sure how long they’ll need to be here before my friends, boyfriend and I stop calling them “The New Germans”.)
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £406 on my mortgage
Loan payments: £56 on student finance
Utilities: £77 on gas and electricity, £30 on water, £86 on council tax and another £30 on house insurance.
Transportation: Up to £3 on buses during the week when I don’t make it in on my bike. I fill up my car for around £30 every other weekend. In theory, I give my boyfriend £50 for fuel to get back home every other weekend. He’s supposed to front the weekends between but regularly has no cash so I have to give him money.
Phone bill: £45.48 for both my phone and the 4G box I use for my laptop. I don’t have broadband; I give the Airbnb guests the password for the Wi-Fi from the student house-share next door.
Savings? I put aside a standing order of £400 every month. This is for holidays, doing work on the house, car maintenance and other large, annual expenses like car insurance and my climbing pass. It doesn’t stick around very long with all my DIY projects, but I try to keep it at a minimum of £1,000. I also put £200 towards my pension that I’m unable to touch ever.
Other: I try to keep monthly costs to a minimum… I don’t pay my TV licence and use my boyfriend’s dad's Netflix login. My friends and I are on a Spotify family subscription so only pay £3.75 each for that.
My only real “luxury” spend is on my cleaner, it’s around £90 a month… It was difficult for me to justify hiring a cleaner for myself, but I did plenty of research and am happy that I have someone who is benefitting from me employing them. I’m able to crack on with more DIY and housekeeping without needing to scrub the bathroom walls or hose out the recycling bin on a Sunday morning.
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