A warehouse worker on €38K living in the east of the country

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 [email protected] 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 a doctor on €83K living in the midlands. This week, a young person working in a warehouse for a brand who’s discovered the stock market.

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I’m 27-years-old and live at home with my parents. This is deliberate. [Also, I am a parasite. That movie is incredible.] I am saving and investing aggressively. The primary goal is to purchase property.

I’ve had a mild obsession with property for as long as I can remember. No joke, when I was a kid I envisioned myself owning multiple properties and having a real estate portfolio that would essentially allow me to retire early and fund my life as an adult. This kid dreamed big. I think I was seven when I learned the power of compounding. I’ve been a saver ever since.

I have very recently got into the investing thing. It started in March 2020. With everything going on, I felt there would be an onslaught of disaster. I decided to do some research into the stock market, something I was finding hard to understand before. I was fearful of the risks. Anyway, five months down the rabbit hole later and with an extreme case of analysis paralysis, I finally opened an investing account with the encouragement of a friend. He is the reason I actioned this. We will both bask in riches many, many years from now. Patience pays dividends. Big thank you.

I work in a warehouse for a semi-luxurious brand. Premium brand businesses always seem to thrive from what I’ve seen. Luxury sells. Branding is everything. The biggest global brands are so successful because they’re recognisable. Simple, clean brands with coherence and continuity.

As of now, I do not spend much on anything outside of the essentials. I am extremely disciplined and ascetic. I have no desire for material possessions. I lead a very minimalistic lifestyle. I don’t find it hard to control my spending impulses. It’s completely easy for me to sacrifice now for my future self. I understand the importance of this.

Occupation: Warehouse worker
Age: 27
Location: Leinster
Salary: €38,729.6 (not on salary)
Monthly pay (net): €2,652.21 (variable)

Monthly expenses

Transport: Approx. €250 for fuel, tax, insurance, maintenance and servicing

Rent: €0 – my parents both retired early, have no mortgage and would like me to do the same, so we agree it’s better I save and invest as much as possible to get ahead

Household bills: Approx. €250 for electricity, heating, bins, tax, insurance

Phone bill: €23.97 (3 x €7.99)

Health insurance: €0 (no cover)

Groceries: €0 (In general I don’t buy groceries, I’ve spent €11.89 in the grocery store this year)

Subscriptions: No subscriptions for me. Only watch YouTube

***

Monday

7.00 am: My alarm would have gone off, but I always wake up before it’s due to cancel it. I can’t remember the last time I heard that sound. I can’t stand it. Get up. Shower, brush teeth, etc.

8.45 am: Time for breakfast – boiled eggs with hot water to drink.

9.00 am: Clock in, let’s go. Work, work, work. Communication is key.

2.30 pm: Lunch is provided by work – blessed. It’s soup and bread today. I like to take lunch at stock market opening times so I can watch the market open live streams and see what’s going on. It’s another red day for me. Still buying this dip. Place a limit order for 25 shares of a stock I’ve been buying. I’ll happily lower my cost basis on this one. It’s down over 60% from its all-time high this time last year.

6.00 pm: Clock out. so glad that’s done. Drive home.

6.30 pm: Arrive home. There are some potatoes I chipped yesterday which haven’t been used up. I’m surprised my parents didn’t eat them for lunch or dinner today, so I eat them with some coleslaw – lush.

7.00 pm: I lounge in front of the TV for the evening not really watching whatever is on. Scrolling through my phone. Reading news and checking the web to see the market sentiment. So productive.

9.00 pm: The limit order didn’t go through. I was too far out. I’ll try again tomorrow.

10.30 pm: Head to bed.

Today’s total: €0.00

Tuesday

7.00 am: Another day beating the alarm. Get up, you know the drill. I sleep too much, but I prefer to wake naturally rather than force wake myself after eight hours.

8.45 am: It’s a cereal for breakfast (name that song – if you know, you know) kind of day with water to drink.

9.20 am: I’m not working today. Go for a 10k walk. Need more serotonin. The cold is not my cup of tea. Tracking this on three apps – I like to see the different analyses across the different apps. I used to use a fourth but got logged out with an update once and when I got back into my account, the app wasn’t able to retrieve the backup from my phone so they’ve lost me as a customer. Cool story, I know. Yes, sad.

10.55 am: Home again, that was pretty good. I’m impressed. I’ve been getting shin splints way too frequently lately, though. Otherwise, I would have run 5k and walked back but it’s been putting me off running. Maybe next week. Need to do some strength training to reduce the shin splint occurrences.

11.00 am: Going to chill at home for the rest of the day. Feeling lacking in energy. Start watching a dystopian series and I’m hooked already. The future looks cool. I feel some of the social media giants are well-positioned to achieve something similar to what this series depicts the future to be like.

1.00 pm: Early lunch while I’m home. I make tuna toasties. Quick, easy, cheap, delicious – what’s not to love?

2.30 pm: Market open live streams are the one, it’s another red day. Place a limit order for 25 shares of the stock I’ve been buying during this dip.

5.40 pm: Time to make dinner. I make some for my parents as they’ve been out all day and I don’t know if they’ve eaten. Just cook some frozen fish – cheap, nutritious (kind of) and easy with some rice and green beans. Basic, healthy.

6.30 pm: Watch YouTube, scroll social media. I feel I always learn something from scrolling, so that’s how I justify my excessive screen time.

9.00 pm: Check to see if my order was filled. Glad I could pick up some shares today.

10.40 pm: Off to bed.

Today’s total: €95.08 (shares)

Wednesday

7.00 am: Pretty much the Monday routine again, except…

8.45 am: …porridge today. I love porridge, plus it’s nutritious. Mash in a banana and drink water with it.

9.00 am: Clock in and it’s not busy. Meetings are fun. Training, not so much.

2.30 pm: Lunch. It’s another soup day. Feel I eat like an old person. Definitely prepared for when I can no longer chew foods. I’m kind of liking my soft food diet that I didn’t even realise I had implemented. It’s another red day. I’m buying more. Shares acquired. You never know when we’ll rotate to the upside. Got to load the boat while I can.

6.00 pm: Clock out. Drive home.

6.30 pm: Cannot even with dinner tonight, feel exhausted. Spend hours staring at the phone screen, productivity level at 0. Watch YouTube. I’m wrecked today.

9.20 pm: I need sustenance. Make a bowl of porridge in the microwave. Twice in one day, wouldn’t have it any other way. That rhyme just doesn’t hit how I would’ve liked.

11.40 pm: Realise the time and go to bed. 

Today’s total: €92.20 (shares)

Thursday

7.00 am: Same drill. I’m smashing this thing out of the park. Not that that’s the objective or that I’m trying. It’s been years in the making. Is that a saying. What am I even talking about. Beating the alarm.

8.45 am: Cereal for breakfast. Sing with me. Drinking Alizé… you’re going to know it’s me.

9.00 am: Clock in. You know, I kind of like Thursdays at work and at the same time I kind of don’t. They’re typically less busy which is good, but everyone knows this and kind of slacks which sort of bothers me because it would be a good chance to get prep done rather than just having a slow day every week. This is what happens on slow days – you over analyse or at least I do.

2.30 pm: Lunch. Can you guess what I’m having? No, it’s not soup and bread! Thought I’d try some rice and veggies today. Do people say veggies? I don’t like it. The word, not the lunch. Also, it’s yet again another red day. I place another order for the same stock I’ve been buying this week (€92.02). Patience my good man. What’s the quote? ‘The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient’ true story.

6.00 pm: Clock out and head to a mate’s because the week has been boring so far, can I say that? I mean it’s true so.. hang out, catch up, I’m pretty much no fun because I’m just tired all the time lately, at least we order pizza, love it. I pay (it’s €17.99, don’t worry, think I can afford it) because I’m the best, you know. Missed this guy. We should hang out more. Gives me life.

11:55 pm: Definitely outstayed my welcome. I would have told me to leave by now. It’s fine for me, I’m not at work until 9 but these guys start early. Nice people.

00:30 am: In bed. sleep.

                                                      Today’s total: €110.01

Friday

7.00 am: I know you know and if you don’t can you even recognise a pattern. Routine is life.

8:12 am: I stop to fuel the car (€30.52), who’s bothered I didn’t stop on a round number? Calculate the increase in fueling. It’s costing me 30.02% more than three months ago. No chance I’ll get a pay increase to counteract this. Need a new income source.

8:43 am: It’s porridge again with banana and peanut butter mashed in. Love it.

8:57 am: I clock in. Fridays are not the one. It’s a busy day after a slow day and that’s just not what you want in life. I mean, I kind of like it. I feel my work is more accurate when it’s busier. I have no time to blunder so my mind is focused. I like this. But can people be a little more concise, please? The meetings could be quicker if they learned to use fewer words.

2:30 pm: It’s another red day. A seriously red day. I’ve been hit hard. Stocks fell off a cliff today. Fridays are red. No one’s holding over the weekend because who knows what’s going to happen. One of my highest conviction stocks is taking a big hit today as a result of the company issuing revised guidance below estimates for the quarter. Supply chain issues and the global logistics situation is still hurting. Definitely buying today.

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6.00 pm: I clock out, drive home.

6:30 pm: I arrive home, eat a chicken and cheese toastie with some coleslaw, so good. I’ve had way too much bread this week and that’s not typical for me. I remember a time when I had completely cut bread. This needs to make a comeback. Healthy starts now. I stare at my phone for hours, honestly where does the time go when I’m glued to this. Reading the commentary on a few stocks and personal finance sites I follow, love seeing what people are saying. Perspective is everything. Market sentiment bearish, me bullish.

9.00 pm: I watch the market close live stream. I don’t usually do this but it’s calling me tonight. Plus it’s earnings season so it’s much more interesting than usual. 

11:54 pm: To bed. Sleep.

                                           Today’s total: €299.58

Saturday

7.00 am: I get up. same morning routine. However, banana pancakes you the one. Yes, I’m making breakfast at home today. These are nice.

9.00 am: Clock in, yes, I’m working today. Fun times. More meetings, more money.

2:20 pm: Lunch, what will I eat, let’s try some chicken and rice. It’s nice. So sad the markets are not open on Saturday and the finance guys don’t put out videos. It’s just not the same. Play some chess puzzles at lunch. Why am I not seeing the solution? It’s literally right in front of my eyes. I need to improve my analytical skills. I should assess these combinations of moves and see the solution faster than this. I will improve.

6.00 pm: Time to clock out. I message a mate, he’s in work to half and decides to cancel our plans to hang today. I mean that’s sad but I can’t blame him. It’s not like I’m the most exciting person. That’s a joke, I know it’s not like that. I’ve got to be at least in the top 10. Time to drive home.

6:30 pm: Arrive home. woo, another week done and dusted. Spend the evening chilling in front of the TV but staring at my phone. Who knows. Play some brain training games designed to enhance decision making and efficiency. Hoping this will help my chess skills improve. Must get better. Make fast decisions. Would have liked takeout tonight but I’m on an every other month limit with this. Sacrifice is key. Plus, I decided the other day it was time to eat healthy. And it’s not cost-effective. Anyway, the convincing game over. I don’t need it. Discipline wins. Make a cheese, pepper and spinach omelette. Nice. Spend the evening watching YouTube. 

11:47 pm: Time for bed. sleep. Yes, it’s been another exciting day. That’s exactly what I was thinking too.

                                               Today’s total: €0.00

Sunday

7.00 am: Finally a day off. I’m so wrecked it’s not even funny. Eat porridge with mashed banana, milled brown flax seeds, nuts and chia seeds for breakfast and two boiled eggs. We’re going big today. Feed like the king. Need to fuel before I exercise. Chill for a bit watching more of the series I started Tuesday. Love it.

1:55 pm: Head for a 60k cycle. That was rough. Struggle bus. I’m glad I did it. The weather was not in my favour. I check stats on the phone because that was not my best performance. I’m pleased with the results – 24.4kmph avg, that’s acceptable. I’m so out of shape when you look at my statistics. Why the decay in performance – I need to change this. Just one more ride to reach my targets. I can do this. Bite size goals. So happy with the new additions to the Q122 playlist but my headphones life span has decayed significantly since purchase so I only got 19km before they died on me. That’s sad.

5:30 pm: Dinner – chicken, broccoli and sweet potato, love it. I don’t do much for the rest of the evening, just watch a two-hour podcast on YouTube and a couple of finance videos. Look through the personal finance and stocks sites. Reassuring to see people on here with a similar outlook for the market as myself. 

10:44 pm: Bed. sleep.

                                                Today’s total: €0

Weekly subtotal: €596.87

***

What I learned –

  • I know, it’s been a seriously uneventful week. I’d like to say this is an anomaly. However, it’s pretty typical. I like it like that.
  • I like to think I’m doing fairly well when it comes to managing my finances. I have the least expensive phone plan available. I have fee-free banking. I have an economical, fuel-efficient, reliable car. I don’t spend excessively on nonessentials. I’m investing aggressively. I’m very financially disciplined.
  • However, I feel I’m still a very long way from being in a position where I can purchase a property. The 3.5x mortgage limit suggests I would need to 2.5x my income to afford anything remotely decent for want of a better word. My current trajectory suggests it would take another 9-10 years of living this frugally before I could afford to pay cash for a house. And that’s contingent on this current exorbitant inflation being transitory. I’m beginning to think that’s not the case. And maintaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at least in line with market averages. Is this level of frugality sustainable. Not likely. It’s time to upskill. I have an income problem. I’ve been living with blinkers on. I need to implement a less linear approach.
  • I would like to move out. I would like to be heavily invested before I do so. My parents are very clear about investing in property rather than getting stuck in the rent cycle. I know they’re right and I need to be disciplined and patient. I do think it’s not going to happen without a significant income increase though so I will work on that. Sacrifice only goes so far. Income increases will raise the living standards bar.

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