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What We Spend: A Brisbane couple with 2 kids under 6 share their $2,006.61 week.

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Thanks to our brand partner, American Express

What We Spend is Mamamia's look into the weekly expenses of Australian families. From groceries and school fees, to clothes and everyday essentials: here's a peek into what different families of all sizes are spending their money on, and the one major money hack they recommend to reap the benefits – an Amex points-earning credit card. This week, Brisbane local Cate shares what her spend looked like. She's a 30-something mum that works from home, and lives with with her husband, and their sons that are 6 and 2 years old.       

When I thought about deep-diving into our family’s weekly spending habits I had some concerns.

Did I really want to see written down the many ways we (probably) waste money each week? 

While our household isn't one of gorgeous and glossy purchases of makeup and linen sheets (although that'd be lovely!), I realised that actually it might be a great thing to understand where all our money goes. Even if it is on never-ending kilos of bananas and an electricity bill I never want to talk about. Ever. Again. 

So, here it is. A breakdown of our spending over the last 7 days, and woah... it's a doozy.

Sunday: $329.50

These purchases were quite fun for us actually: my youngest son turned 2 last week, so on the Sunday prior I went shopping with my older 6-year-old son for some birthday presents. 

We went to a major department store having a fabulous sale on just about everything. My kind of shop.

We bought him a toy kitchen ($99), a toy car (from his brother, $2.50) and a stack of books ($59). 

Walt's kitchen. Image: Supplied.

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I saw that kid's clothes were on sale so decided to stock up on winter tops, tracks, jumpers, socks and knickers to last us another 12 months ($169). 

I used to have a bit more buyer’s remorse after hefty purchases like this for the kids, but really, I’m totally saving future me. Right? Let me explain.

In very happy news, I recently discovered the American Express® Platinum Edge Credit Card, which makes all of our household spending VERY worthwhile.

By just whacking all of our everyday expenses on this Amex Credit Card it earns us points, including 3 points per $1 spent at major supermarkets and petrol stations (where I feel like my family basically lives), as well as 1 point per $1 spent anywhere else.

So for a Sunday spend of $329.50, that's 329 points already!

This card makes my slightly ridiculous amount of trips to buy groceries (read: bananas for the boys, who can't live soundly without them!) much more worthwhile, as I know future me will be reaping the benefits of those beautiful points later when I'm spending my earned Gift Cards from those points at Myer, Priceline or on future birthday and Christmas gifts for the family (such a great win).

(Country Road on the list of retailers I can use them too, so I’m planning to use my next one on a divine black midi dress I've been eyeing off).

So all of our essential purchases come with a little future bonus to look forward to, basically.

Happy to report too that right now, they're waiving the first year’s annual fee for new card members which is quite handy. But what makes me SUPER jealous is that new cardholders will get 50,000 bonus points* (equivalent to up to $250 in Gift Cards).

To grab the offer, you need to apply for the Platinum Edge Credit Card by 19 October 2021, and after you're approved, then spend a minimum of $1,500 within the first 3 months. With groceries, petrol and bills, that's a bit of a walk in the park for many.

I know some people worry about racking up debt on credit cards, and yes, in my twenties this was an issue I experienced… but now what I do is set a budget, so that at the end of each month I know what we’ve spent and I pay the card off in full. 

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So that means no interest to pay, plus I get all those extra rewards, so it definitely works well for our household spending.

Monday: $901

Now back to the spending part. I did our first weekly grocery shop on Monday. I say 'first' because I seem to end up supermarket shopping every second day for top-ups. So this was my debut attempt to change that habit, and stretch it out to a 7-day haul instead.

I actually think my family funds an entire banana plantation with the number of bad boys I return to fetch each week.

This grocery shop was a reasonable-ish $245 for us (whenever I need to do a cleaning product restock, it does tend to shoot up), but I know by the end of top ups our final weekly grocery figure will be closer to $400 total (send help!).  

Image: Supplied.

I also took my youngest to Monday playgroup which costs $8, and it includes a barista made coffee, plus an occupied toddler for 2 hours, so is actually a total bargain. 

My husband and I also paid a hideous electricity bill, which I never want to think about again ($648). Damn this cold weather and the need for heating.

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A very expensive day for us, but at least I know I'm getting 1,391 Amex points from it (and one step closer to that Country Road dress).

Tuesday: $434.32

I can’t help it, but as an adult, I truly resent paying for petrol ($92). 

Of course, I know it’s definitely a privilege to have a car. But it’s such an expensive purchase with no perceivable benefit except for allowing me to drive to the shops or the gym, and drop my son off at school. Sigh. 

It was a nice 276 points on my Platinum Edge Credit Card though, so I'm getting rewarded for my spending at least!

I also paid our phone and internet bills on Tuesday ($259.52) and our life insurance ($75.60). Oh, and my son had tuckshop today ($7.20). Who knew $7.20 could bring such joy and excitement to a child? Again, a bargain.

Gosh, we’re only three days in and I can’t believe the spending. 610 Amex points gained today though... score!

Wednesday: $132.19

This is the day I sent a bunch of flowers to a girlfriend in lockdown in Sydney ($39), just to lift her spirits. Being an Amex card member, I receive access to Shop Small deals (an offer I saved to my card as soon as I got it). This is where I get an extra 3 points per $1 spent when I shop at participating small businesses (potentially a total of 40,000 points until 31 March 2022), which is an awesome incentive I love to keep supporting small whenever I can.

And of course because it was two days since I last grocery shopped, a top-up was required ($75.30). My Britbox (British telly... I'm obsessed) subscription payment was debited too ($8.99).

I then found a local cafe to me through the Amex app (where they're apart of the Shop Small deal) and met up with a friend for coffee and cake ($8.90). So this bumped my total Wednesday points from 281 to 422 from my 141 bonus points from Shop Small.

So wonderful conversation, cake and Amex bonus points. A great Wednesday in my book.


Thursday: $115.50

Okay, this purchase wasn't... perfect. But as a parent you have strong days and not so strong days. My eldest’s whinging got to me about him wanting a gift on his brother’s birthday too, so we went and got him a Beyblade game ($14.50). 

I bought a coffee out ($4), my husband bought petrol for the car ($88) and sushi for lunch ($9). A total of $291 points on my Amex Credit Card and even +39 bonus points for Shop Small.

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Friday: $49.70

Back to the supermarket of course! Where else would we be? More bananas needed, plus some birthday party food essentials including Smarties. A very important request from the almost-2-year-old ($39.20). 

Then I had an #exhaustedmum moment on Friday night and bought my kids take out from a local business for dinner ($10.50). Sometimes the thought of cooking yet another meal drives me to the end of my tether (so it feel ten times better to Shop Small then).

So 127 points, and +31 bonus points from Shop Small.

Saturday: $44.40

By this last day of documenting our weekly spend, I couldn't believe it: incredible what your totals come to if you map them out (and haven't done so in... a long time!).

Blessedly we didn’t have too many opportunities to spend money on Saturday. We went to my son’s soccer game in the morning and bought coffees ($8.40) to keep us warm. 

We also picked up a bottle of wine to have Saturday night ($12) and then of course I got sucked into the newsagency next to the bottle shop and bought more little bits and pieces for my son’s birthday the next day, plus the newspapers ($24). 

A beautiful 44 points (plus +25 bonus points from Shop Small) to finish the week.

And that's the week in full! I can exhale.

While all of that spending has come to a very eye-watering total of $2,006.61, most of which was eaten up by necessities such as electricity, phones and petrol, there's a bit of a new mantra in our house between my husband and I.

Just think of the Amex points.

Just think of the Amex points.

I earned an incredible 3,073 points (+236 bonus points from Shop Small) from just one week. Woah. I'm just fantasising now about the Amex points I could get in a year!

And I instantly feel SO much better knowing what's coming our way.

To check out more about the American Express® Platinum Edge Credit Card, and explore the Terms & Conditions to see if it's a great fit for you, keep reading here.

Feature Image: Supplied

American Express
*This offer is subject to a minimum spend criteria of $1,500 in the first 3 months, ends on 19 October 2021 and is only available to new American Express Card Members. That means you must not have held a card issued directly by American Express Australia in the last 18 months. All other benefits mentioned are subject to Terms, Conditions and Exclusions. Cards are offered, issued, and administered by American Express Australia Limited ABN 92 108 952 085, Australian Credit Licence No. 291313.

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