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This article originally appeared in Refinery29 Australia.
Welcome to Money Diaries, where we ask real people how they spend and save their money during a seven-day period, tracking every last dollar. Anyone can write a Money Diary! Want to see yours here? Here’s how.
Today: an analyst who makes $65,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a packet of mala-flavoured chips from Cheaper By Miles.
This week on Money Diaries, an analyst who makes $65,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a packet of mala-flavoured chips.Credit: Refinery29 Australia
Location: Melbourne CBD
Net Worth: $69,656 ($17,809 in my everyday account, $35,800 in my savings account, $20,550 in super, $32,007 in shares, and $476 in crypto)
Debt: $36,986 in HECS
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $3,588. I choose to have 10% of my salary deducted into my company’s stock plan.
Rent: $950. I am renting a room in a three-bedroom apartment in the CBD. I’m lucky our landlord hasn’t increased our rent yet and considering the price we pay is a bargain for the location and the quality of the apartment. Although the apartment is quite old, it’s a pretty large space and I think it’s still worth it considering how close it is to my office. It’s also walking distance to groceries, parks and transport.
Phone Plan: $10 ($120 yearly prepaid plan)
Netflix: $7 for a family plan.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I completed an undergraduate degree in commerce and moved out when I was 17. Luckily, I was able to get a scholarship that covered my rental expenses. I wouldn’t have been able to move out and study here otherwise, as my parents couldn’t afford to support me. I had different casual jobs throughout uni to be able to cover day-to-day living expenses. I am relieved to finally be working full-time and be at a place where I can save and live comfortably without thinking about if my next paycheque will be enough to cover the bills.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents had low financial literacy due to immigrating to Australia when I was born. I’m grateful they were able to navigate the financial environment in Australia when we were young without putting that burden on us. Now that I’m older, I can have conversations and get advice from their experiences about buying property, taxes, and more. I still see the frugal habits they grew up with, like never wasting food or buying things only on sale with coupon vouchers, which influenced my own behaviours as I grew up, even though we are in better financial positions now.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was waitressing at a cafe owned by a family friend, which I got straight after finishing high school. I wasn’t great at the job, but I learned a lot about navigating a hospitality/retail environment. I worked there for about three months to save up for a trip to Singapore with my friends to celebrate finishing Year 12, where I spent most of what I earned on the trip.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I grew up pretty sheltered from our financial situation, as my parents did a good job of covering the strains of our finances. I knew they had arguments over money, which I didn’t understand at the time. Only now that I’m older do I realise how much they struggled to make ends meet to ensure I wouldn’t miss out on normal childhood experiences and educational costs.
Do you worry about money now?
All the time. Even though I have a stable full-time salary now, the thought of this safety net being taken away at any time scares me. I also want to eventually be able to support my parents when they are older and ensure I can provide them a comfortable retirement. I felt overwhelmed when I started my first full-time job and heavily researched taxes, super, investing, and saving to instill healthy financial habits when I started receiving regular paychecks. Ironically, I found my finance degree somewhat pointless, as I learned everything about personal finance by googling online after I graduated. Nowadays, I’m trying to find a balance between enjoying a social life and staying on track with my savings goals.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I first moved out at 17, it was a real shock to see the cost of living independently. I never asked my parents for money and felt burdened spending the money they would sometimes wire to me. Even now, they always mention I could live back at home with them anytime, which I know would save me a lot of money. I really don’t want to give up the lifestyle and independence I’ve built for myself in Melbourne, though.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
When I first expressed my desire to buy a property to live in, my parents encouraged me as they believe it’s the best investment one can make. They set up a youth saver account and regularly deposited small amounts until I turned 18, when they transferred the $14,000 they had saved. Additionally, they lent me $10,000 to put towards my first home deposit. Purchasing a property is a big decision with many considerations, and I’m still hesitant about making the right choice. However, this has been my primary goal since I finished university and began working.
9:30am — I wake up and check my morning work emails, struggling to get out of bed.
11:40am — My best friend regularly does Pilates, and I’ve been meaning to join her for a class on Wednesday. I call the studio and find out that I am waitlisted for the class I booked into. Hopefully, I can make it in, otherwise, we will just meet up for dinner instead. I want to spend more of my expenses this year on health and fitness, rather than eating out and entertainment activities.
12:52pm — After wrapping up some work, I make myself a late breakfast/lunch. I eat the same thing every day, which I call ‘5 min shakshuka’. I make some avocado toast and throw some eggs to poach in pasta sauce with veggies. I have some Greek yoghurt and blueberries for a sweet snack after.
2:30pm — I remember I need to transfer money to my friend for the dinner they hosted at their place last night. My friends meet weekly at her place, and she offered to cook at home this time instead of us ordering delivery, so we agree to split the ingredients’ cost between all of us. $8
5:00pm — I wrap up my day by playing Stardew Valley with my friend who lives overseas. We’re currently obsessed with this game, and time goes by so fast playing it.
7:30pm — I reheat some lasagne I made last week. I made about four portions, so it should last me the rest of the workweek.
9:00pm — I work on submitting a job application. Although I don’t mind my current job, I feel like I have stagnated and want to move into a more creative area, and so I have been on the lookout for positions that have caught my eye for the past few months.
11:20pm — I get an email from the Pilates studio saying I got a slot! The casual class will be $35 for a once-off session, which I pay for online. $35
12:00am — I wash up and wind down by watching a few YouTube/TikTok videos, which helps me drift off easily.
Daily Total: $43
9:00am — I check my schedule for today’s meetings and prepare the work I need to complete.
11:00am — One of my meetings is cancelled, so I take advantage of the free time to go for a 5km run around the park. I’m training with friends for a half-marathon event in a few months, and we use a group chat to keep each other accountable.
12:00pm — I stop by my local Aldi to buy some carrots for $2 and turkey mince on special for $6 to make more lasagne with the leftovers I have at home. I came to buy eggs, but they haven’t had any in stock for the second day in a row. $8
12:26pm — I’m disappointed, but I decide to go to Woolies, where I realise that buying the 30-pack of eggs is cheaper in the long run. I know I’ll be able to finish them over the next few weeks, so it’s a win. $9
1:30pm — After taking a shower and starting my laundry, I have lunch. I make a mental note that I’m running out of cheese and will need to buy more next time. It’s frustrating because I prefer to buy everything in one grocery run rather than making multiple trips throughout the week and overspending on groceries.
4:18pm — I complete a job application I’ve been working on and hit “apply.” Although the job sounds promising, I’m unsure if I’m willing to relocate to Sydney if I’m offered the position. I catch up on some work emails I missed and continue working for the rest of the afternoon.
7:35pm — I call my mum and catch up with her. She’s considering the best flights for a family trip to the USA this year.
8:20pm — I make some lasagne using the remaining ingredients I have from making it last week. It’s a one-pan recipe I found on TikTok because I’m all about spending the least amount of time possible in the kitchen.
12:30am — I browse other job postings that I might be interested in. Now that I have some momentum going, I want to continue applying for more positions. I save some roles I’m interested in for later in the week, shut down my laptop, and head to bed.
Daily Total: $17
9:30am — It’s a really nice day outside and makes me unwilling to start work. I fold the rest of my laundry and put it away.
10:30am — I log on to my work laptop, attend a meeting and get stuck into doing some work so I will have less to do later on in the day.
1:30pm — I finish up a meeting and make some scrambled eggs and yoghurt for lunch. I watch a YouTube vlog my friend has made while I’m eating. I try to make some protein cookies from a recipe I saw online which only requires protein powder, peanut butter, sugar and an egg. I bake one off in the air fryer and find it to be super crumbly. I freeze the rest hoping maybe this will help when I try to bake them another time.
2:26pm — I snack on some grapes and finish up writing my review for my upcoming promotion talks which will happen in a few months with my managers.
3:15pm — I play some League of Legends with friends since I don’t have much work the rest of the day. I got into this game last year because my roommate and my close friend were into it — it was a hard learning curve as someone who barely gamed, but I found the social battle aspect of it really addictive.
5:00pm — I finish my last meeting and head out to my reformers Pilates class with my friend. I have only been to Pilates once before and I am sweating by the end of it! It’s surprisingly harder than I thought and really puts my flexibility and balance to the test. We drop by a discount grocery shop called Cheaper By Miles afterwards that sells products that are close to their expiry date. I buy mala-flavoured chips ($1), sweet potato chips ($1), and some dishwashing liquid ($3). $5
6:30pm — Before our tram arrives, we head to an ice cream shop and pick two flavours — peach cobbler and apricot tart. They’re both delicious. My friend shouts this one.
7:00pm — I head to the new Asian grocery mart in the city that opened up. It’s about a 15-minute walk from mine, and I haven’t had a chance to visit yet. I’m hosting a dinner party for my birthday in two days, so I buy an assortment of pork belly, marinated bulgogi (one spicy and non-spicy), soju, and rice wine for a KBBQ meal. $126.16
8:20pm — I reheat the lasagna I made yesterday and have it for dinner with some kimchi. I still feel a bit peckish, so I eat some beef jerky and protein balls I made earlier in the week.
10:12pm — I play some more Stardew Valley and League to end the day with my friend. As someone who doesn’t tend to go out as much, this is a relaxing form for me to still get to socialise with my friends.
1:30am — We lose track of time and play until pretty late in the evening. I realise the time and I quickly shower and head to bed.
Daily Total: $131.16
Read the rest on Refinery29 Australia here.
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