What My Salary Gets Me: A 29-year-old public servant with a mortgage and a 6-figure salary.


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 29-year-old public servant shares her weekly budget.

Age: 29

Industry: Communications – government middle management

Salary: $103,391 a year / $1,452.29 a week after tax.

Housing: Seven years into paying off a mortgage on a three bedroom, one bathroom house, 11km from the CBD with husband and two puppies

Regular expenses (my share, per week): $531

  • Public transport – $40
  • Mortgage repayments – $255
  • Gym membership – $14
  • Food – $60
  • Insurances, utilities etc – $214
  • Savings (Fire Extinguisher): $290
  • Splurge and Smile: $145 per week respectively

Savings: We have $3,300 in savings at the moment. We also have Everyday Round Up set up on our Daily Expenses account so any purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and the savings are deposited into our Fire Extinguisher account. My husband is a senior retail manager and we recently got married. We went on an incredible honeymoon so that obliterated our savings and are this year saving toward starting a family and would like to have a good amount of money behind us before we start trying.

Assets: House, Car, Two Dogs

Simple Budgeting with a Banana. Post continues after video. 


Sunday – Day One.

It’s a slow start to the day and my husband makes me a coffee before he leaves for work. I have honey quick oats and head out to ta sustainability fair for a few hours. I score two free native plants but then buy another ($7) and a mango smoothie ($5) to walk around with.

On the way home I grab bananas, bread and tomatoes at Coles. Luckily I can redeem my FlyBuys points for money off my shop so it costs me 4 cents. Lunch is a huge bowl of pasta made with the tomatoes … mmmm garlic, chilli and tomato.

I buy some linen pillowcases I’ve been eyeing off (using Smile, $109).

Daily total: $121.04

Monday – Day Two.

It’s payday and thank goodness because we have a grand total of $33.75 in Daily Expenses.

My auto-top up for public transport came out last week so hopefully our account doesn’t get overdrawn in the meantime like sometimes happens towards the end of the pay period. I spend most of the day refreshing my account balance to be sure.

As usual we make coffee at home and take it to work in our reusable cups but today I’ve also raided the pantry and grabbed an uninspiring tin soup for lunch.

One of my staff finishes up in our team today and I said we’d have afternoon tea as a farewell. I rush to Coles with 15 mins to spare and buy a bag of lollies for $3.80. Spoiler alert – I ate most of the lollies anyway.


On the train at 5:06pm I notice I’ve been paid, yay! Hubby’s fortnightly gym membership comes out today ($23.15) and he buys cheese and burger buns ($5.70) for homemade burgers for dinner.

Total amount spent: $32.65

Tuesday – Day Three.

Tuesday is transfers day and I watch my pay gradually leave our account via automatic transfers the Barefoot way, Splurge, Smile and Fire Extinguisher plus my mortgage payment comes out too.

It’s a busy day in the office and I’ve forgotten to eat much at all so by 2.00pm my stomach is grumbling and I race downstairs to grab a quick lunch. I have a bit of an issue paying $7.50 for soup and bread that yesterday I had for free – but here we are. It’s so cold in the city today and I have neither the time nor the desire to brave the wind tunnel outside so I retreat to my desk and resolve to do better next time. Annoyingly, $20 comes out for my public transport top-up.

Meanwhile hubby is home today so he gets his hair cut and beard shaved ($79) and does a top up grocery shop ($57.27). We put last week’s cooking class to good use and whip up an indulgent weeknight meal of celeriac soup and lamb cutlets with mash. Although delicious, this meal doesn’t solve the leftovers crisis so it looks like we’ll be buying lunch again tomorrow.

Total amount spent: $143.77

Wednesday – Day Four.

My breakfast routine is tight and even though one of my colleagues offers to do a coffee run, threatening to throw it all out of wack, she shouts my mocha and I promise to get the next one. It’s market day in the CBD today and I still can’t shake the chill so I get my favourite truffle mushroom gnocchi ($12) to warm up.


Hubby gets his vice—fresh cheese and bacon rolls ($3.99) and some salad leaves ($1.90) for dinner.

Total amount spent: $17.89

Thursday – Day Five.

Today my parents are back from overseas so I drop the puppies at their place before work. I’m still having a bad week in terms of bringing lunch so I buy a Soul Origin salad ($9). Meanwhile hubby gets chicken curry ($5.90) and I go out later for banana bread ($5), my comfort food.

On the way to the train I grab some ingredients ($26.19) to have Peking duck rice paper rolls for dinner with Mum and Dad and my Go Card auto-top up comes out again ($20). Rats.

Total amount spent: $66.09

Friday – Day Six.

Hooray for Friyay after a big week of work. I sleep in and don’t really hurry to make up for lost time. For lunch I have left overs from last night so I managed to save there – better late in the week than never, right? Despite this, collectively we spend $195.07 on various groceries throughout the day which culminated in a raging Friday night in getting our groceries delivered and renewing my car insurance. A friendly call to the insurance company saved me $41.30 though and I don’t have to pay until the end of the month, #winning.

It’s a perfect night in having tacos and eating raspberry white chocolate ice cream on the couch watching Always Be My Maybe on Netflix.

Total amount spent: $195.07

Saturday – Day Seven.

On Saturdays we sleep in. Hubby works every second weekend but not this one which means lots of shared indulgence. We treat ourselves to Croissant Eggs Benedict at our favourite cafe ($44.50), paying $2.20 for metered parking. Then we stock up on coffee beans for our home espresso machine – $88 to last the month plus two free coffees for the purchase.


We then take the dogs to a local fair and then check out a few open homes in neighbouring suburbs, all around $850,000-$900,000. On the way home we stop into a hair and beauty supplies store and I stock up on shampoo, conditioner and dry shampoo. It’s a decent investment ($65.75) but the last bottles kept me going for six months.

Lunch is leftovers at home and we mooch about inside with the heater on for the rest of the afternoon. After gym we grab some fresh produce for the week ahead ($24.90) and make Thai Red Curry for dinner.

Total amount spent: $200.45

Sunday – Day Eight.

On reflection, we spend a lot of money on groceries. In fact, way more than we budget for. We budget for $120 a week at the grocery store and this week we spent $315.06. That’s a variance of $195.06. And that’s not even including the food we bought at other places during the week. We’re in shock.

We end the week flicking through The Barefoot Investor, acknowledging there’s opportunities for us to do better. And so we spent nothing on the last day of the week, not a cent! We had every meal at home and tried to redeem our week of grocery excess.

Total amount spent: $0.00

How much I spent the whole week: $776.96

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