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Finance Check: “I don’t even dare to dream anymore”

Published March 7, 2023

How much money she has at her disposal each month, how she organizes her finances and what her financial worries are: Daniela reveals all of that and more in our Finance Check format.

How much money do you have at your disposal each month? What influence do your finances have on your dreams? Daniela lets us in on how she handles her finances in this latest instalment of our Finance Check!

What’s your (net) monthly budget?

I get paid €1,050 a month for my job as a part-time project coordinator. This income is topped up by basic income support (‘citizen’s benefit’, a state welfare benefit in Germany) of €250 a month from the job center.

Are you renting or buying your home?

I live on my own in a rented 46 m2 apartment in the middle of Hamburg. I love living so centrally because I can get everywhere I want to without needing a car.

What’s the breakdown of your monthly outgoings in fixed costs and variable costs?

My fixed costs add up to €765 a month. That includes my rent (€613) and utilities (€62), paying off my debts to the job center (€50) and telephone and internet bills (€40).

Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to put any money aside for savings or investments right now as the remaining €535 goes towards my variable costs: on average I spend €300 a month on food and toiletries, €50 on tobacco and the remaining €185 on leisure activities and clothing.

When you see the breakdown of your finances, does it surprise you or do you check your spending and income regularly?

I always know exactly how much money I’ve spent each month, how full my fridge is and whether I have enough money to last me until the end of the month. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage my financial situation.

How do you organize your finances to keep track of everything?

At the beginning of the month, I keep a close eye on my fixed costs and use the remaining money to cover my variable costs. As I know how much money is in my account on a daily basis, I don’t need any other systems or tools to give me a better overview. At the moment I’m not putting any money aside for my pension or to fulfil bigger dreams.

What is particularly important to you when it comes to money?

Money is something I worry about a lot. That’s mainly down to the fact that a lot of things seem to be getting worse before they get better: while salaries are stagnating, the cost of living continues to rise. These days I don’t even dare to dream of being rich or one day being able to afford something for a change because all the hopes and dreams I’ve had in previous years have been dashed.

What do you wish you’d known sooner about money and finances?

I wish I’d known how much money you need each month to live a certain lifestyle and just how expensive life as an adult is.

Find out more:

Tax returns for beginners: What you need to know

How the Gini coefficient measures inequality

Mirna Funk: What I wish I’d known sooner about money