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Finance Check: “I learnt how to be careful with my money from an early age”

Published July 10, 2022

How much money she earns, how much she spends on what, why she’s still uncertain when it comes to her pension and what she wishes she’d learnt about money when she was younger: Zoe reveals the answers to all these questions and more in our monthly Finance Check format. 

Regardless of how much money you have at your disposal each month, it’s a lot easier to keep an eye on your finances when they are well organized and you have a clear overview. Zoe tells us what her living situation has to do with her financial situation and how much she earns a month. She is about to complete her police inspector training and after that she will be able to receive civil servant status, which comes with a lot of privileges. Exciting times! She also tells us how her parents’ attitude to money still influences her to this day. Let’s get started!

What’s your (net) monthly salary?

It’s currently €1,402.82, but once I’ve completed my training this August, it will increase to around €2,200. That’s pay scale level A9. 

Where do you live and are you renting or buying?

I rent an 80 m² apartment in a medium-sized town in North Rhine-Westphalia. But I don’t live there on my own; I share it with another two people. I enjoy having housemates because I like the idea of someone being there when I come home. We can tell each other what kind of a day we’ve had or do something together, like go out for a meal or have a glass of wine on the balcony. But of course it also has a lot to do with the financial aspect. 

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

The breakdown of my fixed costs is as follows: my rent (including heating costs) is €325, I spend around €100 on groceries and around €400 go towards my insurances and bills such as my mobile phone contract, work incapacity insurance, liability insurance etc. Plus I recently also took out insurance for my future car and also have additional insurances like the statutory nursing care contribution, for example. I spend around €575 on things like eating out, buying clothes and saving, but that varies.

Does it surprise you to see how your finances are broken down or do you check your spending and income regularly?

I check them regularly, as sometimes I’m able to put more money aside than planned and I also like to check how much I have in my account before making bigger investments.

How do you organize your finances?

I have one account, which my salary is paid into, and that’s also where all my fixed payments are deducted from (such as insurances, rent etc.). I also have a savings account that I regularly transfer money into.  I’m really thrifty and at the end of every month I always see how much money I can put aside. I also regularly check my account, so I always have a good idea of my bank balance.

How are you making provisions for your old age or saving up for bigger dreams for the future?

I work in the public sector as a civil servant, so I’ll be entitled to a good pension. Once I receive civil service status for life, I will look into the retirement plan options available. As the amount I am currently saving each month varies, I’m a bit uneasy about investing a fixed amount at the moment. I’ll be able to plan for that better once I’ve completed my training. And I still haven’t found the right concept for me anyway. But I’m not sure yet whether it will be a home loan savings contract that I invest in, or investment funds.

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

I make sure that I always have what I need and can also afford to eat out with my friends now and again. Wherever I can afford it, I also buy sustainable products. So far, I’ve always had my sights set on a goal that I have saved up for. Before making bigger investments I always look at my account first and ask myself: how long do I need to save up for it and can I afford it? Money is such an important topic in our society, but sometimes there is a real lack of transparency.

What would you have liked to have known or learnt about money and finances earlier?

I grew up in a middle-class household where we talked very openly about money and still do. That’s why I learnt how to be careful with my savings from an early age and I usually have a realistic idea of whether I can afford something or not. I much prefer knowing that I have saved up for something myself or have worked hard to be able to afford it. When I was paid my first proper salary, I could have done with more information about all the different savings options. And I wish someone had taught me about taxes when I was younger too, in sixth form, for example.

Find out more about money:

Here you can find a whole bunch of tips to help you organize your finances and ensure more money stays in your account.

Time for a Finance Check with our colleague Anastasia, where she tells us how she manages to save €1,000 a month. Read more

Katharina and Leon have €5,900 a month at their disposal. Find out how they deal with the subject of finances in their relationship.

Need a few everyday savings tips? Click this way for our 11 top savings hacks!

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