A Senior Account Manager In Cornwall On £35,000


Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last penny.

This week: “I’m a 26-year-old senior account manager living in Cornwall. My partner, L, and I bought an old Victorian house at the beginning of this year and have been spending a lot of time renovating it. I have a blended approach to spending money — I’m very careful throughout the week and always try to get a deal or earn cashback where I can to put into savings and investments. I also like to go out with my friends on weekends and buy treats and nice gifts and travel. We are also trying to overpay our mortgage as much as possible while having two or three holidays a year, and we’re in the process of adopting a dog.”

Occupation: Senior account manager
Industry: PR 
Age: 26
Location: Cornwall
Salary: £35,000
Paycheque amount: £2,167.79 net 
Number of housemates: One: my boyfriend, L.
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses

Housing costs: £302 for my half of the mortgage, split equally with L.
Loan payments: £60 student loan. I have no idea how much I have left to pay and have accepted my fate that this may never be paid off.
Pension? I currently pay 4% and my employer pays 2.5%. I have no idea how much is in my pension pot but I have a goal this year to consolidate it and up my contributions to 6%.
Savings? £4,525 in a stocks and shares ISA, £8,000 in a fixed saver, £13,200 in an easy-access saver (most of which is earmarked for a lump-sum overpayment on our mortgage at the end of the year), £1,391 in various savings pots.
Utilities: We equally split the following: £105 council tax, £30 water, £138 gas and electricity, £21 high-speed fibre internet.
All other monthly payments: £34.22 phone payment (I regularly try to reduce this through cashback app Airtime Rewards), £13 travel, phone and breakdown insurance. Subscriptions: £4.99 Hayu, £10.99 Apple Music, £2.49 iCloud storage.

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?

I went to university and received the minimum maintenance grant alongside the tuition loan. My parents supplemented this by paying my rent so I had the full use of the maintenance grant for living costs and I additionally did some ad hoc tutoring work. By the end of each year I was always maxed out on my overdraft, though.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?

I grew up in a wealthy household but my parents didn’t spoil me in the traditional sense with lots of holidays and gifts. My dad is much more of a saver and finds spending money painful, while my mum is always open to a treat. Overall, both of them are sensible — the phrase “look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves” was used a lot. I was given pocket money and was expected to pay for all of my own clothes and entertainment with it, which was good budgeting practice.

If you have, when did you move out of your parents’/guardians’ house?

I moved out when I went to university, although I came back for holidays. After uni, I returned home for two and a half years before officially moving in with L when the COVID lockdown happened.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?

I became totally financially responsible when I moved in with L three and a half years ago (I didn’t pay my parents rent when I lived at home). I appreciate we now split bills, which makes things cheaper, but if we were to break up I would be able to cover everything myself so I see myself as financially independent. 

What was your first job and why did you get it?

My first job was the first summer of university when I worked in a hotel, serving food and making beds. It was mainly to get out of my overdraft before I started term again. When I was a teenager I always wanted a weekend job but my school didn’t allow them.

Do you worry about money now?

Constantly, which is completely ridiculous as I know how incredibly privileged I am. I stress over spending and despite earning the most I ever have and watching how I spend more than ever, I still feel like I have no money left at the end of the month, with the cost of living crisis and prices creeping up.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain. 

My grandparents decided to give the majority of their inheritance when they both passed away to their grandchildren, as all of their children were very comfortable. I received around £275,000, which I used for a large portion of my house deposit. My parents also gave me £50,000, which I used for renovations and house purchasing costs (I have some still in savings). I know this is an obscene amount that would take decades for me to save up myself, so I’m very careful not to spend any of it on clothes and holidays, which is sometimes tempting.

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Day One

7am: Wake up, shower, do skincare, make a smoothie and prep lunch. I’m working in the office today and driving there, which means I have to leave early to face the joy of Cornish roads in summer. I’ll do my makeup in the car in traffic.

7.45am: Leave for work via the petrol station, £56.14. Bring homemade iced coffee and blast Red Hot Chili Peppers for the ride.

8.45am: Arrive at work. I only have a couple of internal meetings today so I’m looking forward to getting my head down ahead of a busy week.

10.40am: Someone suggests a coffee run and I happily oblige. Our MD puts it on her company card for a glorious Monday morning treat.

12pm: Take an early lunch to pop to a local wine shop to get a colleague’s birthday present. They shop there regularly so the shop assistant helps me choose something they know they like. This goes on my company card but I decide to get myself a nice Beaujolais while I’m there. It’s 10% off, £13.50.

12.20pm: Head to TK Maxx to look for some bits and buy some under-eye gel masks for a festival next month, £8.98.

1.20pm: I forget to get mozzarella to add to my homemade lunch of roast veggies and hummus wrap but a colleague kindly grabs some for me when they go out for lunch and I pay them back, £1.50.

4pm: Get pulled into a meeting to discuss ongoing negotiations I am having about a promotion I’ve been working towards. I’m so grateful to hear I’ve been promoted with immediate effect. Absolutely buzzing.

5.30pm: Leave work and pay for car parking, £10 (one of the reasons I rarely drive). Then head to my monthly nail appointment.

6pm: This is the one treat I allow myself without fail and I set money aside for it at the start of each month. I pay £42.50 for BIAB (builder in a bottle) and some funky colourful patterned French tips.

8.30pm: Home and have a quick tidy before popping a pizza in the oven and sitting down to watch the new Real Housewives and Top Chef with L and a glass of the wine I bought earlier.

10.45pm: Head to bed, do my skincare and read my book for 30 minutes before lights off. 

Total: £132.62

Day Two

6am It’s a hair-wash day so I wake up early. Shower, do my skincare and makeup. Grab some more roasted veggies from the fridge for my lunch, and an avocado and hot sauce for brekkie. 

7.50am: Catch up on emails and Slacks and read a couple of papers, which we do every morning on a rota. 

8.25am: Walk down to the train station and manage to get a table on the train. My job offers flexible office hours, meaning I can take off-peak trains, which is a bonus for seats and my bank account. I crack on reviewing an influencer list and a strategy for an upcoming launch. The train costs £5.50 with a railcard.

9.20am: I arrive at work and go straight into meetings before working on handovers on some new client accounts that I’ll be picking up on.

12pm: I hit a bit of a block so head out for a walk around town with my colleague. Pop into a charity shop to see if they have any dog bits for our puppy, who is hopefully arriving next week. I buy two harnesses in two different sizes, £8.

12.30pm: I’m back at my desk and eat another roast veg and hummus wrap. I never got round to eating breakfast and all I’ve had today is a walnut. The stomach growls are real.

12.45pm: I get my head into a media list and work on a reactive media Q&A for the rest of the afternoon.

4.45pm: I leave the office to get an early train home so I can start making dinner while I continue work.

5.40pm: I keep working at home to finish off some bits and at the same time start cooking a very basic dinner of pasta, tomato sauce and garlic bread. 

6.30pm: Gulp dinner down while simultaneously tidying the house as we have a video house inspection for our dog adoption and want everything looking as clean as possible.

7pm: We have our home inspection and chat through security, our area and some other questions. We should find out by the end of the week so fingers crossed!

7.45pm: L and I go down to our local tennis courts and play until they close. I lose by one game, annoyingly. It’s nice not to spend the evening in front of the TV, plus the courts are free. 

9.15pm: Come home, have a shower and get ready for bed. I pack a bag as I’m going away tomorrow with work.

10.10pm: Get into bed and read for an hour or so before lights off.

Total: £13.50

Day Three

5.40am: Why…?

5.45am: I begrudgingly get up, shower and do my skincare while downing a coffee. 

6.45am: Leave for Bristol with Stevie Wonder blasting to wake me up. 

7.45am: I pick up my colleague C and keep driving to our destination.

9am: We stop at a lovely organic service station to grab some breakfast. I have an oat milk flat white and an egg, mushroom, spinach and cheese bap. This is kindly covered by work.

10.45am: We arrive in the city. We’re having a training day today. Park at another colleague’s house and walk for 10 minutes to the office. It is so nice to see the rest of the team as we work across three locations.

1pm: We break for lunch, which again is supplied by work. I have a fish pie with some delicious celeriac slaw.

2pm: My shoes are giving me grief despite having worn them in for the past two years (thank you, Doc Martens) so I run down to Sainsbury’s to get some blister plasters, £5.

5pm: We finish our training and all head down to a burger place on the water. Catch up with the team and have a delicious veggie burger with mojo sauce and manchego, two ciders and some deep-fried gherkins. Again this is all covered by work.

7pm: Some of the team leave to catch the train home and the rest of us move on to a pub and settle in for the evening. Most of the drinks are covered by work. When we run out of budget, I buy a round of limoncello shots, £27.20.

11pm: Call it a night and head to our hotel as we’ve got work and a long drive in the morning. I’m sharing a room with C so that we could use our accommodation budget to get a way nicer hotel. Head to bed.

Total: £32.20

Day Four

6.30am: Wake up before my alarm and feel pretty fresh, surprisingly. Have a shower and get ready and we wander downstairs for breakfast, which is included in our room rate. I opt for eggs Arnold Bennett, which I’ve never had before but love.

8am: Check out and head to the office, which is way nicer than the one we work in, and crack on with work. I’ve got a few meetings this morning before driving back.

12pm: I’m starving and have a four-hour drive ahead so pop to Pret and buy myself two baguettes (there is no Pret in Cornwall and I love it), £9.10.

12.15pm: Walk to the car and get petrol on the way out of the city, which I will expense later.

4.30pm: Drop C off and go home via TK Maxx to see if they have any dog beds and dog toys, which they do, £50.97.

5pm: M&S is next door so I pop in and get some chilli and roast pepper pesto, sunflowers, oat milk and cloudy lemonade, £9.95.

5.30pm: I finally get home after having to have a meeting while in a traffic jam, which isn’t ideal. I sit down to finish my last few bits of work as I’m off tomorrow.

6.30pm: Make pasta and pesto and chill with L. Tiredness has officially set in.

10pm: L realises that he’s had an email from the dog adoption charity. We’ve been officially accepted to adopt R! Both get a little teary and also a bit panicky that we have a week to sort everything, before heading to bed.

Total: £70.02

Day Five

6.40am: Wake up in a panic as I need to leave shortly to pick up my friends from the airport.

7.13am: Shower, do skincare and somehow manage to be only 10 minutes late. Absolute miracle. Drive the hour to the airport and get petrol on the way, £49.73

7.50am: Why is there always traffic?

8.30am: Pick up my friends L and J, who have flown down from the north to visit. We head to the nearby town.

9.30am: We go to a beautiful café overlooking the beach and get breakfast with stunning views. I treat us, £35.40.

11am: We set off home and on the way go to Aldi for wine and breakfast supplies, £26.99.

12.30pm: We get home and get ready to go for a swim. Wander down to the sea and jump in. L and J freak out over the cold. There’s lots of seaweed as it’s low tide! 

1.30pm: We walk back home via Co-op to pick up some ciders and beers for later. L kindly pays.

2pm: We all have showers and get ready with a drink before heading down to the bus stop. Wait a while then ride the 30 minutes to the town, £2.

4pm: We walk down to the pub on the harbour and manage to get the last table outside. J gets the first round and L the second. My L comes to meet us as he’s been working today and he also gets a round. 

7pm: We head to dinner via Co-op to get some more blister plasters, £4.85.

7.15pm: Dinner is at a fried chicken and rum restaurant, which also does amazing vegetarian options. I get a spicy seitan burger and a spicy rum margarita, £26 for my portion.

9pm: We walk back to the pub and stay for some live music with a few more drinks, £25.50.

1am: We call it a night and get a taxi back, which my L pays for. We stop at the kebab shop and I get a takeaway pizza, £10. Walk the rest of the way home and head to bed.

Total: £180.47

Day Six

10.30am: I wake up feeling okay but not the best. 

12.30pm: I eventually get up and have a mango smoothie while L makes a cooked breakfast for everyone else. 

2pm: We drive to St Michael’s Mount. It’s a magical castle in the sea that you can only walk to at certain tide times. We walk over the causeway without going in as it’s closed today. It’s raining torrentially and we’re soaked through. Pay £1 for parking.

3.30pm: We move on to another small harbour town and get a pasty each. I pay for mine and L’s, £12.50.

4pm: We wander down to another cosy pub and have some pints and play Uno and cards while it’s absolutely tipping it down. £12.05 for my round.

6pm: Go home and order a takeaway curry, L pays for my half. We probably have a takeaway once a quarter so it feels like a proper treat.

8pm: We sit down to watch Midsommar, which I’m dreading as I hate stressful films but it’s actually really good.

11pm: We all head to bed as we have another early start tomorrow.

Total: £25.55

Day Seven

5.50am: I wake up again at the crack of dawn to take L and J to the airport.

8am: I get home and fall back asleep. This week has had far too many early starts and late nights.

11.30am: I wake back up and have a shower before chilling on the sofa, flicking through TikTok.

12.40pm: We need to get lots more dog stuff before R arrives next week so we head out to a local natural pet food shop to get some raw food and natural treats. We’ve heard this is the best diet for dogs so we’re going to give it a try but it’s definitely the most expensive option, £36.08.

2pm: Pop into Home Bargains to see if they have some dog bits and buy poo bags, more toys, a water bowl and puppy pads, £16.26.

4pm: We get home and head out to play tennis with our friends M and E. We play doubles for a couple of hours.

7pm: We get home, shower and heat up leftover curry. L and I are between series right now so we put on Inside Man and get into it.

10pm: Head to bed before another early start for work.

Total: £52.34

The Breakdown

Food & Drink: £218.67
Clothes & Beauty: £42.50
Home & Health: £9.85
Entertainment: £0
Travel: £124.37
Other: £111.31

Total: £506.70


“Overall this week was a little different. I was away for work and bought a lot of dog things that aren’t a regular expense. In summer, having friends down to visit is pretty regular because of where I live. I try to keep a close eye on my expenses but how much I spend when going out for drinks is something I’d like to reduce. I basically spent triple my weekly budget this week!”

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