finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 46-year-old marketing expert and mum of 3 from the bush.

Mamamia’s What My Salary Gets Me series 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 46-year-old marketing expert and mum of three shares her money diary.

I'm Jenn and I’m a 46-year-old rural Australian advocate, community creator and marketer who just so happens to work out of a home office (now trendy). I live on a farm on the border of NSW and Victoria.  

I'm also a mum to three almost adult children 21,18 and 17, who all live at home. I love them but they are expensive to feed. 

Age: 46

Job: Self-Employed Entrepreneur

Income: $1700 per week (annual salary $92,500 per annum)

Housing: Farmhouse with husband and three grown children.

Watch: A study found the optimal salary for happiness... Post continues after video.


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Regular expenses (monthly):

Groceries (oh, if I didn’t have to eat or cook!): $2,000

Fuel: $300

School fees: $500

Apps for work: $200

Consultants to my business - (SEO, Bookkeeper etc): $500

VA: $600

Assets: Farm, car, three children and one husband!

Sunday – Day One

Much like other busy households with three kids and two working parents, Sunday is the day where I catch up on everything. My morning is spent doing housework and laundry. Based on the amount of laundry there is, I’m going to assume we have another family that’s moved in that I haven’t met yet! 

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I do my weekly shop, or at least I try to do it all at once - ($400). I eat some hot chips from Mulwala FoodWorks on the Lake Mulwala foreshore ($50) – oh the serenity before unpacking the food and fighting off the kids. 

I walk around the local foreshore. One of the perks of living in rural Australia. 

Dinner is a traditional roast lamb dinner and the family spend the night playing a board game, catching up on homework and some Netflix. 

Daily total: $450.

Monday – Day Two

Up early, at the desk for an hour or so before I need to wake the grumbling teenagers for work and school. 

It’s time to make school lunches or fruit salad for the rest and get driven to school by the L Plater. Everyone survived. 

Walk with my bestie Christine and her terribly noisy but excited little dog who barks at everything. After a walk, I clearly deserve a green tea so stop at a local cafe ($5), then stop at the bakery for fresh bread and rolls for the day ($20).

In the office by 10am – meeting with my business partner in Spend With Us Buy From a Bush Business Marketplace. I round the day out with some Zoom client calls. I’ve been working in a home office before it was cool. 

I pick up my daughter from her after-school job in Yarrawonga and home to cook dinner. We have spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad. I answer final emails, bath and bed (and yes, a bath – love my baths! Add in a sneaky bath bomb).

Daily total: $25.

Tuesday – Day Three

Same start, office, breakfast, walk with Christine – but a short walk this morning, home into the office for a 10am call with my email marketing mastermind students via Zoom for two hours. I have 21 students on this call. We are talking about email marketing platforms.

Back to town for a lunchtime meeting with the local Shire, splashing out and head to a nice cafe for lunch. Delicious sweet chilli chicken focaccia, hedgehog slice (it doesn’t count if you’re supporting local businesses right?) and drink ($35).

I have four client business meetings today which stretch for the entire day including being in the car on the way to pick my daughter up from school. My daughter is finishing Year 12 and this afternoon she has a driving lesson ($80).

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We have a sneaky frozen Coke and an ice cream cone from McDonalds (because that’s where you meet the driving school car!) $6 and home to cook dinner of homemade pizzas and Greek salad.

Daily total: $115.

Wednesday – Day Four

No walk this morning, I just drop daughter at school and head around to see my parents. 

One of the other perks of living in the country if that everyone has a cup of tea on hand (Free! Thanks Mum!) and head to the chemist, supermarket and post office for the things I forgot last time. 

My mum has asked me to pick up a night time pillow she's ordered from the Post Office for $30 – total gimmick but good marketing because I need one now too. 

Head to the market for fresh veggies and fruit ($35), bakery for bread ($10), and the butchers for steak for dinner – Scotch fillet – only the best will do and in the country, we do it well ($60). 

Steak, potatoes and salad for dinner. My eldest son picking up daughter from homework club – so I don’t have to head back to town again today – YAY! Rural living means a lot of driving. 

Daily total: $135. I got the pillow too...

Thursday – Day Five

I’m in the office by 7.30am then have a walk and by 11am. I need a smoothie from a nearby adorable caravan café ($12).

Head out to the local golfer's resort to chat to business bestie Jules, the owner, about my Women in Business Retreat and Women in Business Monthly Mastermind. Planning this stuff takes time and I love it – but COVID really put a dint in some plans. I shout Jules lunch as a bribe for getting my dates right! ($42).

I head back to town in time for school pick up – head to Yarrawonga to pick out a summer dress for hubby’s 50th on the weekend. Quick marketing strategy call with a client to finish the day.

Dinner is family Scraps night – it’s whatever you can find – usually cheese toasties, leftovers and anything from a packet.

Daily total: $57.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia's podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

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Friday – Day Six

Usual morning routine of office, walk, breakfast at my favourite cafe ($17), green tea with clients for a quick catch up meeting ($4.50) and then to the supermarket for the weekend shop ($110). Does anyone want three teenagers?

Back in the office, accountability call with client and then Friday virtual lunches with clients.

The kitchen guys arrives to plan out our new kitchen (no idea how much that’s going to cost!), followed by more meetings. 

Wine on the verandah with amazing cheese and listen to a Mamamia Podcast – most likely my fave Mamamia Out Loud.

Bath, bed. Big day tomorrow! 

Daily total: $131.50.

Saturday – Day Seven

I drop my daughter at work for Saturday morning, then head to a lingerie store to buy new bras ($50). I then head out to the golf course to pick up my husband's new golf sticks ($2,500) for his 50th tonight and then go to pick up balloons for the party.

House cleaning and Grey’s Anatomy (I got hooked in at the start of the pandemic. I’m up to season five. Do not tell me what happens) whilst I fold the washing all afternoon!

Out for dinner with 10 of our best friends to celebrate my husband's 50th. We shout, it’s his birthday after all. ($350.)

Daily total: $2,900 (but you only turn 50 once right?!?).

Reflection

Total: $3,813.50 – but take hubby’s present out – that’s not too bad right?!  

There’s so much I could cut out and I spent so much money on fuel and time in the car – picking up kids, taking kids to school etc – but I know when number three gets her licence in only a few months, I’ll miss having to drive her around!

Living out on the farm has so many advantages, and yet, some weeks you feel like all you do is travel to town and back. But, for now, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Jenn Donovan is a rural Australian advocate and Founder of Spend With Us Buy From a Bush Business Marketplace and Co-Founder of Spend With Us Marketplace. She is a podcast host, speaker and the CEO of Small Business Made Simple. 

Read more What My Salary Gets Me articles here:

Feature image: Supplied.

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