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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C

Money Diaries A company secretary on €81K living in Dublin

This week, our reader is busy working from home and balancing income and spending.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on The Journal that looks at how people in Ireland really handle their finances.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, what they save if anything, and what they’re spending their money on over the course of one week.

Are you a spender, a saver or a splurger? We’re looking for readers who will keep a money diary for a week. If you’re interested send a mail to We would love to hear from you.

Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a week in their shoes, so let’s be kind.

Last time around, we heard from an eCommerce agent on €44K living outside of Dublin due to house prices. This week, a company secretary on €81K living in Dublin shares their diary.


I’m a 32-year-old man working as a company secretary and I moved to Dublin from Co Antrim nine years ago. Since my boyfriend and I started living together during the summer, my financial goals have been to save as much money as possible per month towards things like trips away with either him or friends or for nice evenings out. I’m also trying to build up enough savings in order to apply for a mortgage within the next few years or at least as a ‘rainy day’ fund.

Generally, I can get through a typical month with no major issues, but I still prepare myself for unexpected expenses/eventualities which can crop up.

Occupation: Company Secretary

Age: 32

Location: Dublin 8

Salary: €81,500, plus yearly bonus

Monthly pay (net): €4,421

Monthly expenses

Transport: €40 on TFI Leap card

Rent: €1,175 (my half, which makes our total €2,350. Not the worst, considering that it’s our own flat with my own separate home office in Dublin 8!)

Household bills: WiFi is €31 each. On average, the electric bill is €90 – €120 every two months

Phone bill: €55

Gym membership: €44

Health insurance: Covered by employer

Groceries: €200 (my share)

Savings: €750 – possibly more on a very good month

Trading 212 account: €50 – €100

Revolut Metal plan: €13.99

Subscriptions: €96 in total, covering different newspapers, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Deliveroo Plus

Holiday payments: €150 a week up until January 2024

The balance not included above is often spent on things like ‘last-minute’ takeaways, evenings out, lunches during my office days and the odd ‘impulse buy’ either online or in town. However, I try to keep these to a minimum in order to maximise the amount I can save per month.



8.00 am: We wake up after a disrupted night’s sleep due to the storm that hit the country during the night. Our apartment is on the top floor of our building, so our windows and balcony are very exposed to the elements. Thankfully, I’m working from home today, but I don’t envy my boyfriend who is off work as he has an appointment in town this morning and all the public transport has been disrupted!

9.00 am: I pour a coffee from the percolator my boyfriend prepared and I log into my work computer. Thankfully nothing major came in over the weekend, so I can start by reviewing a set of board meeting minutes which my junior colleague sent me. I also have breakfast al desco and then spend most of the morning responding to emails.

11.00 am: Quick tea break.

1.30 pm: I finish up a weekly team call with my colleagues, and then my boyfriend comes home from town. We decide on a lunch of steaks in pepper sauce and leftover potatoes while we chat about our upcoming holiday to Mexico in February – a nice distraction to the stormy weather still raging outside!

2.30 pm: Back to the desk, with a few more conference calls scheduled for the afternoon. I look at my phone banking app to find an alert that one of my monthly newspaper subscriptions of €8.99 has come out.

5.10 pm: I log off work and I chill on the sofa for a bit and flick through the daily newspapers on my iPad.

7.30 pm: To the gym, which thankfully, is only a 15-20 minute walk from where we live. I prefer to go later in the evening in order to avoid the ‘after work’ crowd who tend to HOG the place on weekdays.

8.30 pm: Gym session done (chest, shoulders and triceps) and I pop into the SPAR on my way home to get some eggs and a bottle of Coke (€6.88). My boyfriend decides on a Spanish omelette for dinner, which goes down a treat after that gym session. We also polish off some Spanish hams and cheeses which we brought back from our recent trip to his hometown there.

9.30 pm: Netflix and chill before going to bed at 11 pm.

Today’s total: €15.87


6.00 am: We both wake up as my boyfriend always goes out to work early in the morning. Once he goes, I pour a coffee from the percolator and lie reading for a bit. I’m currently reading ‘’Tis’ by Frank McCourt (I’m a huge fan of memoirs/biographies). After two hours of that, I check my bank account and note that my phone bill (€55) has been paid. I also check my Revolut account and see that my Metal Plan fee of €13.99 has also come out. The latter may seem a lot for what Revolut is, but I feel I can justify it due to the fact that I often have to exchange between EUR and GBP for my trips home and that I can get discounted subscriptions from it.

8.30 am: Shower, and then a cup of tea before I log into my work computer in my home office.

1.00 pm: Lunchbreak after a busy morning, so I nip down to the SPAR for a microwaveable soup (€3.49) to have with some leftover sourdough bread.

2.00 pm: Back to the desk for a busy afternoon.

5.00 pm: I log off work for the day and then chill around the house for a bit.

6.00 pm: I decide to go out for a 5km run in my local neighbourhood. I’m slowly getting back into running after I completed the Dublin marathon a few weeks back, so I decide to take this one at an easy pace.

7.30 pm: After a quick shower, my boyfriend makes another Spanish omelette along with the leftover steaks for our dinner, which we sit down to eat at 8 pm.

8.30 pm: Once I’ve done the washing up we then chill for the rest of the evening as I have an early start to my day in the office tomorrow morning.

10.30 pm: Bedtime.

Today’s total: €72.48


7.00 am: I wake up and get showered as I have to be in for an early client board meeting this morning and I want to avoid a crowded Luas. Unfortunately, most of them ARE crowded, but I still manage to get on one at 8.10 am (Leap card fee of €1.20).

8.30 am: The Luas thankfully gets me to the office just as my clients are arriving for the board meeting.

9.00 am: Board meeting starts which takes up the whole morning.

12.15 pm: Board meeting is thankfully over, and I go out for lunch to a sushi restaurant near my office, which costs me €16.99 in total. I feel this is justified after such a busy morning. I prefer to go out for my lunch during my office days as I can go for a walk along the Quays afterwards, and/or buy things in town if needed. Not that I’m antisocial in the office but doing it this way helps me recharge for the afternoon ahead!

1.15 pm: Back into the office, where I have a quick debrief with my manager about matters which have arisen from the board meeting. The rest of the day is then taken up by calls with internal colleagues about a new client we are taking on and work plans for the rest of 2023, so I’m left with little time to get through the ‘To Do’ list I’d had planned out for the day.

5.10 pm: I finish up in the office and then go into town for some groceries, as I promised my boyfriend that I would make tonight’s dinner. I head to a Lidl near my office for a salmon Wellington we both like (€6.99) and then I head over to M&S, where I give into the temptation of their €16.99 Meal Deal for Two, and a ready meal and a few other snacks which will do me through tomorrow.

5.45 pm: After sorting out the groceries, I head to get some toiletries I’m short on: hair paste from Grafton Barber (€12) and moisturiser and shaving foam from Boots (€8.78).

6.30 pm: I finally manage to get on a Luas that isn’t so crowded (€1.20 on Leap card again) and then head home to start the dinner (salmon Wellington with mashed potatoes) while my boyfriend does a few errands in town after work.

7.00 pm: Dinner on and then myself and my boyfriend chill and catch up on our days over a ‘hump day’ whiskey and ginger ale, which I feel is justified!

8.00 pm: We sit down to dinner, and the whiskey and ginger ale is still flowing nicely.

9.00 pm: Same evening routine as usual, Netflix and chill before bed at 11pm.

Today’s total: €81.08


6.00 am: Same routine as Tuesday morning. I then transfer money to my boyfriend via Revolut (€150) for my share of this week’s payment for our holiday to Mexico (€300 a week in total for us both.) I’m a believer in paying for large purchases like this in instalments, without resorting to a credit card or the like.

8.30 am: Shower and I log into my work desk for what turns out to be a very busy morning.

10.00 am: Breakfast of leftover croissants al desco while working away and responding to emails.

1.30 pm: Lunchtime, which is the sweet and sour chicken ready meal I got from M&S yesterday.

2.30 pm: Back to work, which thankfully, is one of my quieter afternoons this week, so I can finally get to the work I’d had planned for yesterday afternoon, which cheers me up a bit!

3.30 pm: I give into a sudden craving and decide to head down to a nearby Natural Bakery for coffee and a chocolate éclair (€7.69). While waiting for that, I then get an alert on my phone telling me that my subscription to The Times newspaper has come out (€25.99).

5.30 pm: Log off work and then I start tonight’s dinner (M&S Macaroni cheese balls as a starter and Lamb Moussaka as a main) with some leftover breads on the side.

6.30 pm: Dinner time.

8.00 pm: Head to the gym, which thankfully isn’t too crowded this evening, so I manage to get a good back, shoulder and bicep session in. This always is my favourite session of the week.

9.20 pm: Gym finished and I head to the nearby supermarket for some last-minute essentials before it closed. (€21.95)

10.00 pm: Netflix and chill with popcorn with my boyfriend before bed at 11.30 pm.

Today’s total: €205.63


8.30 am: Same routine as yesterday and breakfast of boiled egg and toast at the desk.

11.00 am: Tea break and I resist the urge to look at Black Friday deals on Amazon Prime. I’ve promised myself to do most of my Christmas shopping in the Black Friday sales this year, but we’ll see how that turns out.

1.00 pm: Lunchbreak, and I decide to use up some bacon, pesto, pasta and spinach.

2.00 pm: Back to the desk and I manage to work on the minutes of the board meeting I had in work on Wednesday, which takes me a few hours of solid work.

5.00 pm: Work is done for the day and then my boyfriend comes home from his work.

5.30 pm: We head down to the SPAR to get some beer, wine and a few other essentials for the weekend (€15.00 my share).

7.00 pm: Dinnertime and we then have a few beers to unwind for the evening with Netflix and talk a little about our holiday plans.

10.00 pm: We get hungry again and decide to make some popcorn in the microwave which we have while watching Netflix.

11.30 am: Bedtime

Today’s total: €15.00


7.00 am: My boyfriend is working this morning, so we both wake up early and I chill in bed for a bit while reading and sipping coffee.

9.30 am: Shower and then breakfast of boiled egg and sourdough bread while scrolling through social media and the newspapers.

10.30 am: I then clean the kitchen area a little and hoover all the floors in the apartment. Thankfully we tend to clean and clear as we go along, so we never let messes pile up, or squabble about whose turn it is to do what around the house. It’s as well I did so, because as soon as I finish, my boyfriend texts me to say that he’s bringing his mate over after work for us to make lunch together!

11.00 am: Head to the gym for a session (legs and core), which sets me up well for the day ahead.

12.00 pm: I call into the supermarket to get some ingredients for lunch, beer and wine for the day (€41.70 in total) while my boyfriend gets the rest from ‘A Taste of Spain’ on Capel Street.

12.30 pm: Arrive back home, get a few things ready in the kitchen for the lunch and have a quick call with my Mum before my boyfriend gets home.

1.15 pm: My boyfriend and his mate arrive, and they start making a chicken paella and various Spanish tapas for us all. The beer also begins to flow as well, so that’s the weekend officially started.

3.00 pm: We sit down to eat, and there’s enough paella left over to do lunch for either tomorrow or the week ahead. Me and my boyfriend always try to ‘meal prep’ where possible.

4.00 pm: More beer and Spanish music, so I guess it’ll be a night in for us!

7.30 pm: Boyfriend goes down to the shop to get more beer.

10.30 pm: We decide to call it a night, I can tell we’re both going to suffer tomorrow morning!

Today’s total: €41.70


8.00 am: We both wake up feeling a bit rough, but we still promise each other that we’ll go to Lidl to do our weekly big grocery shop.

9.00 am: My boyfriend goes down to the SPAR to get some sausage rolls for us to have for breakfast. After that, I go back and lie down for a bit.

1.00 pm: I put some laundry on and then we both go to Lidl, as we promised (€51.00 my share of the bill), which should keep us going until at least the middle of next week.

2.30 pm: We get home and my boyfriend decides to make a fresh pizza for our lunch, which does a great job in helping to cure this hangover!

4.00 pm: Lunch over and I do the washing up and then sit down to chill with a ‘hair of the dog’ beer which survived last night, while doomscrolling through Instagram.

10.00 pm: We decide on chicken fajitas for a late dinner, which goes down really well.

11.00 pm: Laundry is done and I also replace the covers on our bed. Once done, we decide to call it a night as I know I’m going to be busy with work tomorrow.

Today’s total: €51.00

Weekly subtotal: €482.76

What I learned –

  • This week has made me realise that a lot of my money goes on subscriptions to newspapers and other outlets which I would only look at periodically. It has made me review which newspapers I actually want to continue subscribing to in the future and to see which ones I can get through my Revolut plan.
  • On the whole, this seems like a reasonable week of spending for me, excluding the holiday instalment of €150.
  • I should keep paying attention to offers and deals in the supermarkets, and to make the best out of my Sparks, Lidl Plus and SuperValu cards.
  • Some days when I’m working from home, I can manage to spend very little or even nothing at all. Having at least one or two days a week where I don’t spend anything at all is a ‘resolution’ I’d like to make for 2024. Although, easier said than done when you live in Dublin!

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