Millennial Money: Case Study

19 Apr 2022

Occupation: Teacher currently on maternity leave 
Age: 28
Location: Cardiff 
Salary: £32,250 normally. On statutory mat pay now -£151/week. 
Any other income sources: my husband works. 

How would you describe your relationship with money?
Complicated. My husband left his full time job 6 years ago to go to university full time and train for a new profession. He has graduated but is yet to get a permanent job. As a result I’ve felt like, despite earning well myself, we haven’t had enough money for that entire time. I’m in charge of our family finances and try to be frugal and on top of every penny we spend but sometimes it’s exhausting. It also makes me feel like the parent in our relationship, always saying no we can’t buy that. 

What money habits did you pick up from your parents (good or bad)?
My parents always seemed to have a lot of money when I was growing up. They also spent a lot of money on treats, meals out and holidays. My dad and grandparents are also very generous so there was always more money available to me. As a result I had no idea how to live within my means. My family would often bail me out at university. It took until I had been working a few years to actually start to live within my means. I learnt about how to budget and how to actually manage money myself from books and the internet.  Unfortunately I accrued a lot of debt in the mean time. 

Do you have any personal finance tips?
Have multiple bank accounts. We get paid into one where all direct debits then come out of. Food shopping money goes to another, petrol goes to another pot and then we each have spare money that goes to our separate accounts. I used to have just one and would spend money before all bills were paid and it was very stressful. 

Do you have any debt?
Are you paying this off and if so, how much each month? Yes, currently £14000. Most of this is a car loan. We deliberated on how to Best Buy a car and decided to get a bank loan. However I regret this now and think it wasn’t the best option for us. The rest is a laptop and a sofa. My husband needed the laptop to apply for jobs/ for work and we needed a sofa as our old one was ruined.  We had the cash for each but as I was on maternity leave and my husbands income is unreliable it felt safer to use credit and pay these off when I go back to work. 

Our debt costs us £400 per month. Everything but the sofa will get paid off quite quickly  when I go back to work. We hope to move house in the near future so we will need to decide what’s best for the car- paying it off as a priority or selling and leasing for example. 

Do you invest/save? I don’t currently as I’m on maternity leave. We did save before deciding to have a baby. When I go back to work our priority will be paying off the debt we accrued this last year and then we will go back to saving. This time we are saving for a house deposit. 

When we have saved the house deposit I then plan to invest. 


If so, where and how much each month?
When I go back to work we should be able to save most of my husband’s income (he is working as a supply teacher but will hopefully get a job soon.) So around £800/ month. 


Do you feel that you can live “comfortably” on your current salary? 
For me, no. Mainly because I have been the sole earner in my marriage for many years. Now my husband is earning more it feels more comfortable and when I return to work and he has a permanent job then yes I expect we will be comfortable. 


If no to the above, what amount do you think you would be comfortable on?
My salary is most certainly enough for one person but not two. 

(If no to the above) What amount would you be comfortable on

Best/worst money story?
 I remember vividly when I started using credit. I was at uni and my housemates sent me the money for our water bill just before Xmas. A couple of days later the money had gone, I had spent it and the bill needed to be paid. Barclays had sent me a credit card with a £400 limit so I put the bill on that and then paid it off when I got my loan in January. The credit card limit kept going up until it was £6000 at its highest. Despite me working a lot through uni I suddenly realised I had this credit card available so could buy whatever I wanted. I wish I could go back then and cut the card up! Although I’m now out of this debt it did change my view on money and was the start of some unhealthy habits I’m trying hard now to break.