I’ve been on furlough for 10 months from my £25k a year job, how do I save for a holiday without eating into my flat deposit?

Welcome to Money Matters: GLAMOUR’s weekly dive into the world of finance – your finance. These uncertain times have reminded us just how much understanding our money matters and yet… how little we talk about it and how much it’s shrouded in secrecy.
This stops now.
Keen to break that money taboo, we’re chatting all things personal finance from daily budgets to ISAs and pensions. Each week, a woman in a unique situation will give us an honest breakdown of her finances, and our expert will tell her easy tips on exactly how to tackle it. So, grab a cuppa, take a seat, and let’s talk about money…

*Elena is a 23-year-old marketing assistant who works for a beauty brand, but has been furloughed since March 2020. She lives in London with four friends. This is her money diary…

I’m a 23 year old marketing assistant for a beauty brand. I earn £25k a year with a bonus on top – dependent on company performance. However, I have been on furlough for the past 10 months, which has taken its toll both mentally and emotionally. I really miss working – you would think 10 months of holiday would be great but as the majority of my friends have continued to work, it can be incredibly demoralising.

At the start of my career, I felt incredibly lucky to get a job in my dream industry. I started my job in July 2019, graduated in August 2019 and moved to a rented flat in London with four lovely girls. I know that finding a job isn’t easy for a lot of graduates, let alone when there isn’t a global pandemic. I love my job and adore the industry so I accept the £25k salary with a performance bonus added on top.

As I work in a travel-related industry, I have been on furlough for the past 10 months, which has taken its toll both mentally and emotionally. Although, I have been lucky to survive a recent round of redundancies and I have stayed on the same pay throughout.

I have a group of six girlfriends from school and we’ve never been on holiday together and we want to go on holiday for a week this year (if we are allowed). I have £4K in savings currently which is ring-fenced as the basis of a deposit for a home of my own. I wanted to ask, how I successfully manage to go on a holiday but not dent my savings so much so that I have to start from scratch. I want to learn how I can pay for holidays/experiences in London and save for a house without breaking the bank.


Current account: £596
Savings account: £4,000


Annual salary: £ 25,000 (pre-tax); £19,500 (post-tax)
Monthly wage: £ 2,083 (pre-tax); £1,630 (post-tax)
Any other incoming payments: £0


Rent: £765 (this also includes water and council tax)
Bills: Gas and electricity £40-50 every three months; wifi £6 per month; Oyster card £30/per week (when commuting)
Other: £200 a month into my savings account.
Splurges: £60 on my brother’s birthday present, £50 on skincare and £30 on vitamins
Weekly budget: £150 (pre pandemic)
What I spent this month: £1,034


I have a student loan, but I’m not paying this off yet.


What I want to save for: I pay into my pension through work, I am saving £200 a month to build up my savings but also to save for a deposit for a house. I want to use my savings in the short term for events and holidays.
How I want to plan my money for the future: I am already trying to save for a house but want to know how to save for short term activities such as holidays and events without affecting my house savings.
My worst money habit: CLOTHES! I need to stop buying clothes 🤦‍♀️
My biggest money worry: Not being able to afford a house by the end of my twenties.
Current money mood: 😱 😬 🤞


1. New year, same you
While we were all glad to wave goodbye to (read: raise a middle finger to) 2020, things aren’t feeling a whole lot different this year. You’re still on furlough, which isn’t easy. There’s no real replacement for being back in the job you love, but finding a sense of purpose, whether it’s through volunteering or learning something new, is super important. Planning a ‘post-Covid’ holiday is also a great idea. To answer your question about how to save for one without burning through your savings, I’m going to ask you four questions.

2. How much can you afford?
A group holiday is like dinner with friends on steroids; there’s always one who over-orders, leaving everyone else silently aghast at the mounting bill you’re going to be splitting. It doesn’t have to be like this. Knowing exactly what you can afford is key. If leaving your savings intact is your main ambition then it’s a question of how much you can put aside each month. I’d also think about putting some extra cash aside to build your emergency fund.

3. How are you going to save for it?
So let’s say your holiday is in August (Covid permitting…). That gives you eight months to get your savings game on. If you continued to save £200 a month, putting half into your holiday fund – and half into your emergency fund – would give you a tidy £800 to take you somewhere sunny.

4. What can you cut?
I think you can probably do better than my calculations above. We ALL struggle with the temptations of online shopping. Lockdown definitely doesn’t help but you’ve identified buying clothes as a weakness so let’s tackle that. First up, I want you to get aware; look at exactly how much you spend on clothes each month (deep breaths). Next, delete those shopping apps and unfollow tempting accounts that aren’t serving you. Finally, create a budget. I’m not saying no clothes, but give yourself permission within the boundaries of a realistic monthly sum.

5. What’s the budget?
Waiting until August to set a holiday budget with the group (or not having one at all) is a recipe for disaster. Once you’ve answered the big questions above, have a chat with your mates ASAP to gauge what everyone is feeling. Money conversations might be awkward, but transparency is the way to go (and will be a relief for others feeling the pinch too). Top tip: remember to build an extra 10% into your budget; holidays are always pricier than we planned and it’s summer 2021, I don’t think any of us will be holding back on the piña coladas….

Alice Tapper is the author and founder of Go Fund Yourself.
This column offers guidance, not financial advice. For personal investment advice, it’s always best to speak with a financial advisor. *Name has been changed.

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