How do you deal with work and money for now and in the future? Do you live from day to day or are you deliberately planning your financial future? And do you arrange ‘later’ yourself or are you participating in a pension fund?
Teacher Sharon earns a good wage, but she has taught herself to live on little money.
Sharon Engers (31)
Profession: Teacher in Dutch and (economic) citizenship, and editor-in-chief
Weekly works: 40 hours on paper “but actually always more”
Income: 3,000 net including supplements
Pension is arranged? Yes, through work
What kind of work do you do?
“I am a Dutch teacher and also teach the subject citizenship, a type of social studies, at the ROC in Amsterdam. I teach beauticians at MBO level 4 (secondary vocational education). The girls I teach are a bit older, between the ages of 16 and 24. I have been in this job for seven years now and it truly is my passion.”
What do you love so much about your job?
“The interaction with students. I learn as much from them as they, hopefully, learn from me; they hold up a mirror. I believe you are much better equipped to convey the teaching material if you feel a connection with your students. Since the beginning of December I use my laptop to teach from home and this week a few of my mentor students arrived on my doorstep carrying a bag filled with presents as my birthday was coming up and they missed me. That truly moved me. I appreciate the fact that, being a teacher, I am able to contribute to the way they approach their everyday life. The subject citizenship is more suitable in that respect than Dutch. That's also why I enjoy the combination of both. One section of citizenship addresses the subject economics which allows me to teach students, among other things, how to handle money.”
How much do you earn teaching?
“A little over 2,700 euros net per month, excluding supplements. My wage including those supplements is 3,000 euros net on average.”
Are you satisfied with that income?
“Absolutely, I am very satisfied and don't have any trouble making ends meet. Although the latter can also be attributed to my lifestyle.”
Are you that frugal?
“I taught myself to live on little money. First by necessity when the Education Executive Agency made a clerical error and seized my salary one time which meant I temporarily had barely anything to spend. And after that to save money to travel. Last year, my boyfriend at the time and I had planned to travel through Australia for at least one year. I calculated in advantage that I would need 17,000 euros if I also wanted to get my driving license. I earned a lot less back then compared to what I earn now, so a rigorous approach was required. I tried to live on 4 to 5 euros per day and I actually managed very well. I eventually succeeded in saving 7,000 euros more than my target amount in a period of one year and a half.”
How did you do that?
“It awakens your creative self. It was my goal to spend as little money possible without having the feeling I had to cut back on things. For example, I baked banana bread quite regularly which I was able to enjoy for an entire week. I cooked large servings of food and froze everything. I didn't go out for dinner with others anymore, but I did enjoy having picnics outdoors. And if I really wanted to visit a concert, I bought my tickets through Ticketswap. I paid a lot of attention to discounts, and the whole thing actually became somewhat of a challenge. I really enjoyed adopting that lifestyle. It also made me realize that I used to live quite a luxurious life which wasn't something I grew accustomed to growing up. I had quite a large sum of money to spend on my own. Before I started saving, I used to go out for dinner a few times per week and bought a fresh smoothie at the train station at least four times a week. As it turned out, I was spending 70 euros per month just buying smoothies! A bit of a waste really. And there was other non-essential stuff I used to spend my money on.”