What My Salary Gets Me: A 31-year-old mum of one working part-time on $37,825 a year.

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 mum of one, who works two days a week shares her money diary.


Annual income from teaching two days per week: $37,825. 

Side hustle, writing: $50-$100 per fortnight, less since COVID. 

Watch: Simple Budgeting with a Banana. Post continues below.

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Mortgage: $1600 per fortnight (My partner and I pay this together and since I earn considerably less than my husband he pays two thirds of it. So I pay $400 a fortnight). 

Phone: $100 per fortnight 

Transport: $50 per fortnight (I am really lucky car that it is really fuel efficient)

Groceries: $600 per fortnight (I pay half of this and try to pay for extras we need as we need them)

Utilities: $312 per fortnight  (I pay half of this)

Netflix: $10 per month (which would be $5 a fortnight)


Audible: $15 per month ($7.50 a fortnight) 

Day care: $120 per fortnight. 

Extra Expenses: $175

Savings: Anything I take from writing per week, depending on how many stories I write are picked up. On my part time wage, I don’t always get to save. My husband does a much better job at that. 

Debt: We have a mortgage and both of us have HECS debts we’re paying. We also have an investment property. 

Monday - Day One 

Since today is my day at home with my son, we try to keep it a slow one. After playing with blocks for more hours than any adult finds enjoyable, I clean my house and fight the urge to bundle my son into the car to get lunch. 

Instead I make a coffee with the pods we brought in bulk (because our Caffitaly pods are sparse right now). I make lunch for my son, which he doesn’t eat because he’s really embracing being a toddler, and put him down for a nap. 

While he sleeps I look for some writing work, but end up working on my collection of personal essays that are slowing (SO SLOWLY) coming together into a collection. 

Daily total: $0

Tuesday - Day Two 

My son has cabin fever and today is the day we usually see his cousins. 

We leave for the the park early so we can make it home for a nap. On the way to the park I remember we have no more almond milk, cheese or bread. I have also forgotten to pack my son's lunch box because I am going for the mother of the year award. 

We stop at a Woollies that I know is next to a good café. I get bread and almond milk, leaving the cheese until I know I can go home straight away. 


I get my son a punnet of strawberries, a small travel pack of cheese and crackers, a tub of melon and some Harvest Pea Snaps (because they are chips made of peas so maybe that award will be mine any day now?) ($45)

I can’t help myself and get a large coffee and a sparkling water. My son suddenly yells “BREAD MUMMY I AM SO HUNGRY!” giving me absolutely no choice but to get him some banana bread or have people think I don’t feed my toddler. ($17.50)

Daily total: $62.50

Wednesday - Day Three

Today is daycare day and I am running late. Of course. So, on our way to daycare I have to get coffee ($4) or I may fall asleep. Luckily my son is absorbed in his yogurt and doesn’t realise we are in the McDonald’s drive though.

At daycare I realise I need to pay his fees for the fortnight ($120). I go home to clean the house and do some more writing. 

Daily total: $124

Thursday - Day Four

Today I get to go to work and teach. I stop at the service station on my way to work and get a coffee and a large bottle of sparking water. ($10)

On the way home realise I still haven’t brought cheese and my son needs new shoes. I go to Big W on my way home the shoes, cheese from Woolworths and get Mum a coffee to say thank you for spending the day with my son. ($50)

Daily total: $60

Friday - Day Five

Work again and daycare for my son. We rush to daycare with no time for coffee, which is probably a good thing. I pick up my son at 4.30pm and decide he’s been such a good boy we should buy him dinner. 


My husband orders Grill’d for the three of us. ($100)

Daily total: $100

Saturday - Day Six 

My brother and his girlfriend just got a new place, so I decide to take my son to go get a present for his uncle. While we’re at Kmart I get the things we need for my son to make him a canvas painting. 

While we are there my son finds a book about shapes he will not part with and I realise my brother probably needs towels so I grab him a few. ($45)

My son and I sit outside my brother’s new place and make a painting while everyone helps by brother and his partner move in!

Daily total: $45

Sunday - Day Seven 

Feeling restless we decide were taking my son to Croc’s Playland like we used to each weekend before COVID. There, we grab some lunch and have a coffee. We then come home and Hubby and I do the house maintenance while my son naps. Isn’t adulting fun? ($60)

At night my husband and I spend some time together for the first time in the week. By about 10pm I’m yawning and decide it’s time to get ready to do it all again next week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it within my budget next week? Fingers crossed. 

Daily total: $60

Weekly total: $451.50


Looking back at the weeks spent in isolation, the lack of places to eat really saved us a fair bit of money. Now everything is back open it’s hard not to just grab a coffee when you can. It’s also pretty much impossible to only get one cup of coffee. 


COVID has also really affected the money I had started to make from my writing. Much of the writing I like to do is creative and the arts sector has taken such a hit I haven’t been getting much work. I also struggle to find the time while parenting, being a wife and just generally adulting. (I know, I need to evaluate all that emotional load).

Here’s hoping that the Arts sector gets some life breathed into it soon. I’d love to be able to make a reliable income from writing. 

Having a child has also really changed the way my husband and I look at money. Before we were parents, we would spend a lot of money going out. 

Now not only do we not have that choice, we also have to spend that money on a toddler who fits his shoes for about 10 minutes.

Children really change the look of your budget amongst everything else.

This time has really made me realise how lucky I am to have my husband, whose entrepreneurial choices ended up being our saving grace during this time. 

We have been very lucky that he made the choice to begin a business working with electricians who have been classed as essential workers (so far!). I feel so much for all those people who have struggled in this period, or those that generally struggle at all. 

Single parents are my heroes! I couldn’t raise my son, spend time writing, work and have the extra money to get the things my son needs if it wasn’t for my husband, his income and his ability to save money. 

Feature Image: Getty.