What My Salary Gets Me: A 27-year-old university admin officer with a $35k savings goal.

Mamamia’s What My Salary Gets Me asks Australians to record a week in their financial lives. Kind of like a sex diary but with money. So not like a sex diary at all. We still find out the best kept secrets though. We discover what women are really spending their hard-earned cash on. Nothing is too outrageous or too sacred. This week, a 27-year-old university admin officer from Armidale, NSW, shares her diary. 

Age: 27

Job: University Administration Support Officer

Income: $66,337.00

Savings: Approx. $7000 in joint savings

HELP Loan: $23,039.53

Mortgage: $886.00 per fortnight shared with husband

Phone Bill: $110.00 per month

Petrol: $100.00 per month split with husband (we own two cars, however mostly drive the one as we both work at the local university)

Private Health Insurance: $37.50 per month

Stan: $14.00 per month paid from joint account

Netflix: $0.00 (We share our Stan account with my brother in law in exchange for use of their Netflix account)

Spotify: $10.00 per month paid from joint account

Financial Goal: $35,000 joint savings by 1st October 2020

Financial Planning: My husband and I are saving to start a family in the next couple of years. We are also hoping to do some minor renovations to our house next year. We don’t have any overseas holidays planned, just a few long weekends away here and there. We are opting to camp for our upcoming summer holidays, to help save money.

Watch: The optimal salary for happiness. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

Saturday – Day One

This morning starts with a cuppa in bed and a banana on-the-go. Our dog’s annual vet appointment kicks off today’s spending, costing $172.67, split in two (and a stab to future finances with the news that she needs a tooth pulled – argh!). To help ease the pain of this financial wound, we meet some friends for a coffee at our favourite café ($0, my husband shouts me on his Splurge card).

We do a big grocery shop each weekend, which normally costs us around $200. This week’s shop came to $209.98, paid from our joint account. Our grocery costs have increased since we started a ‘Whole Foods’ diet a few months ago (we did a Whole 30 in July and have kept eating the same at home since). I grab some peppermint tea from a health food shop ($6.83).

We have family coming over for afternoon tea, so we grab some pastries from the patisserie before they arrive ($36, joint account). Dinner at my parents-in-law’s – nothing beats free butter chicken and a glass of red!

Daily Total: $216.15

Sunday – Day Two

It’s my mother-in-law’s birthday so we’ve been invited over for a family lunch to celebrate. We’ve been tasked with bringing dessert. After checking cake prices at the patisserie yesterday, we decide to bake her a carrot cake at home with ingredients that we already have (it was delicious, by the way). On our way there, we pick up a bunch of flowers ($25 on our joint account), a card ($2, stingy perhaps), and buy her a year’s subscription to Country Style magazine for her gift ($75 split, not so stingy).

We’re exhausted when we get home, being favourite aunty and uncle to our nieces and nephew is tiring work! We get Thai takeaway for dinner ($0 for me, thanks to a generous husband), and watch Netflix in bed.

Daily Total: $52

Monday – Day Three

My husband cooks me breakfast (lucky me!). Today was a fried egg ($0, thanks to our hardworking backyard chooks), bacon and cooked cherry tomatoes. I make us each a cup of black tea, and a glass of orange juice. We drive to work together, I get dropped off at my faculty.

Morning tea is a piece of fruit from home, banana today, and a cup of green tea made in the staff room. For lunch my husband picks me up and we drive home. We make a salad with leftover BBQ chicken. Afternoon tea at my desk, a packed apple and a cup of peppermint tea from the office supply.


On the way home from work we stop in for a quick visit with my in-laws to see our visiting niece and nephew. After taking our dog for a walk, a quick yoga session on YouTube (I can’t believe I ever paid to do yoga classes, I love Julia Jarvis’ free PsycheTruth videos).

Dinner tonight is pork chops with sauerkraut, broccolini with homemade pesto and roasted potatoes. Ingredients all from our weekly shop.

Daily total: $0

Tuesday – Day Four

My husband has an early work meeting this morning, so he has a quick breakfast and drives himself to work, while I take our dog for her morning walk. Breakfast this morning is an almond milk banana smoothie, and blueberries. It’s a multiple cup of tea kind of morning at work. I’m tempted to go for a walk to the campus café to get an almond chai, but I resist, and settle for a third cuppa at my desk.

I drive myself home for my lunch break, and throw together a scrambled egg and spinach concoction adding last night’s pesto (backyard hens, continuing to earn their keep!). I make an almond chai in my keep cup to get me through the afternoon at work, and take some strawberries to help ease the 3pm struggle.

Same week-nightly routine: walk, yoga, dinner. Dinner tonight is the Aussie classic, steak and veg.

Daily total: $0

Wednesday – Day Five

Breakfast of champions: bacon, eggs, smoothie. Hump day, the weekend feels within my reach!

Pay day today! We each transfer $700 joint savings. My private health insurance automatic debit comes out ($37.50).

Regular fridge scavenge lunch, and a roast veg and smoked salmon warm salad for dinner.

Daily Total: $37.50

Thursday – Day Six

First thing this morning I book a few nights camping ($36 deposit on my splurge card) for the upcoming October long weekend, we’ve taken a few extra days off work. I can’t wait!

Usual brekky with Kochie, Samantha and the rest of my Sunrise friends. Lunch is last night’s roast veg salad leftovers (is it just me, or do you feel like you’re winning at life when you have leftovers for lunch?).

On the way home from work we stop by BCF to buy a plug for our camping mattress ($8.49 on our joint card).

Thursday night specialty for dinner, I like to call the ‘Crisper Clean Out’, consisting of roasting/steaming/boiling whatever veggies we have left and chucking it on a plate.


Daily Total: $40.24

Friday – Day Seven

Friday – feeling good! My husband cooks Bubble & Squeak with leftover veggies. I have a rush of affection for him and his ability to throw together a delicious (and nutritious) brekky with very little inspiration going on in the fridge.

I drive myself home for lunch, leftover roasted pumpkin and cauliflower, slap on some homemade hummus and call it a meal.

We meet some friends for wood fired pizzas and a glass of wine for dinner. We split the bill ($45 each).

Daily Total: $45

Weekly Total: $390.89


Apart from the annual vet appointment for our dog, and my mother-in-law’s birthday, this was a fairly normal week for us in regards to spending. Little by little, it feels great to be finally building up our savings account (after spending all of our savings last year on our kitchen renovation).

We could cut back further on eating out/takeaway, but I really look forward to a weekend outing! You’ve gotta live, right?!

Mamamia’s What My Salary Gets Me series drops every Thursday. Want to share a week in the life of your bank account with us (anonymously of course, no judgement here)? Send us your Money Diary to [email protected]

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