finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A single 35-year-old whose income has halved due to COVID-19.


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 single 35-year-old whose income has halved due to COVID-19 reveals all. 


Industry: Entrepreneur, author and speaker 

Age: 35

Salary: Last year I made $180K. This year, maybe $90K due to COVID-19. 

Housing: Rent, own property interstate in Canberra. 

Watch: Simple budgeting with a banana. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1000

Strata: $250

Rent: $2200

Petrol: $30

Groceries: $350

Ordering In: $250

Personal Development: $920

Phone: $50

Fitness: $80 

Utilities: $120

Internet: $70

Health Insurance: $100

Netflix and Amazon Prime: $20

Disney+: $8 (my nieces and nephews use my account)

Spotify: $11

Savings: Due to COVID, my savings have taken a hit. But, I have about $20K left in savings from money I put aside in the last two years.

I have a strict rule of 10 per cent of any cent that comes into my accounts gets saved immediately for my F*** Off Fund. I will legitimately pretend that this money does not exist in case I ever need it. The divorced ladies know what I’m talking about.

Debt: I have a mortgage on my home and owe approximately $50k more on it.  It is currently rented out.

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Tuesday – Day One

I’ve been working from home for a lot longer than most people. Five years ago I left my cushy government job and have been living abroad up until COVID. 

But when COVID started, I came back to Melbourne where I rent in St Kilda. Let me start by saying, this year financially – things are already really tighter than they were last year. 

When COVID struck, I lost $40K in one day of speaking engagements. Ouch. But… I’m still very fortunate that I can work and make money. I count myself lucky.

After my run, I stop in at my favourite café Frankies and get an iced latte for $4.50 and walk home.  

I eat out of my cupboard for the entire day – protein and berry smoothie ($4) and a chicken salad wrap ($8 per serve) and which takes up most of my grocery bills. I’ve had a massive day so I end up ordering Uber Eats. 

Tonight is Grill’d for a burger and snack fries... plus mayo and why sweet chilli as well? ($31.20.)

Daily total: $47.70

Wednesday – Day Two

I have meetings all morning but make them on the phone so I can walk and talk at the same time. I have a coffee ($6.50) down Acland Street before coming home and making a smoothie at home for breakfast ($4). I usually fast in the mornings but I’m starving this morning!  

I have a salad pack from Aldi for lunch ($4.50) which tells me should be for 4 people. That’s hilarious, I think as I finish the entire thing. 

Tonight I am attending a yoga class online ($15) which I absolutely love doing. I am terrible at yoga but I’m working on it.  Plus, it’s a nice face to face as Melbourne is in lockdown again! 

I tuck into a spaghetti bolognaise that I’ve slow cooked during the day which will spread over three meals - ($21 – but this is three meals).

Daily Total: $51

Thursday – Day Three

Melbourne was put into additional lockdown last week and honestly – thank goodness. I’m grateful we are saving lives, but my personal life has really taken a hit! As has my beauty routine.

Thursday morning I would usually be doing my self-care/ beauty routine – where I would get my brows waxed ($20) and a 90 minute Thai massage in Elwood ($115). 

Every other month I get a pedicure ($35) and a manicure ($35) but lockdown!

This morning I’m opting to dye my own hair with a pack I purchased from a hairdresser friend ($45) and I decide to order some new running clothes/sweat pants. I spend $180 because I was on the site and things just escalated.

I eat another Aldi salad bag with some lemon herbed chicken ($23 over 2 meals), some porridge with blueberries ($3), 1 iced latte ($4.5) and barramundi with salsa and sweet potato for dinner ($11 for 2 serves). 

I pay my strata for my property in Canberra ($421) and my phone bill also arrives. ($50.23) This day is an expensive day! 

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I work until 10pm to make sure I’m getting everything out early for the US market. 

Daily total: $737.73

Friday – Day Four

I’m working from home today and to say my day is jam-packed is an understatement! But, the good news is I don’t need to go anywhere. 

I grab some porridge from the cupboard and throw it in with the smoothie for an oat-berry smoothie brunch ($5). I eat leftover last nights barramundi dinner and half a bag of Maltesers ($5) because I’m brain dead. 

I finish work at 7pm and watch Hamilton on Disney+. 

I purchased this for my nieces and nephews for Christmas and they use my account at their place. To buy it for the year was $80, versus $110. I watch it every single week and they watch it daily! 

Daily total: $10

Saturday – Day Five

Today is my local farmers' market and I always walk down. This gives me some exercise, gives me some contact with actual humans (safely!) and to grab some fresh food items and shop local. Working from home and the amount of hours I do, it’s nice to get outside and have a conversation with someone not over the phone or Zoom. 

My favourite candle lady is there so I also swap my used containers and get some new candles (3 for $48) and grab some bath bombs ($22) for my bath.  

I grab some milk, fruit, berries and a few vegetables ($23) and grab a coffee and a blueberry muffin ($11) from the local coffee van.

I pop into the post office and collect a parcel that was waiting for me on the way home. It’s a personal development book I’ve ordered from Booktopia. I got it last week and it was $21 including shipping.

Once I get home, I eat left over lunch from the freezer but end up ordered a pizza from my local pizza place for $17. I give the delivery guy a $20 and tell him to keep the change. I finish the Malteasers and then pray my running clothes arrive soon!

Daily total: $127

Sunday – Day Six

My neighbour and I go to the dog park and he kindly buys me a coffee on the way back. Also, he’s cute so let’s let this happen. 

Today I need to catch up on my business and set stuff in motion. I check my website orders – and I see 10 orders for my book. I sign and arrange for them to be shipped in the morning through Australia Post)

I attend a video webinar as a guest speaker, have two meetings and end up finishing work around 5pm. I have a Sunday night drink and trivia game with friends that we’ve moved to Zoom during the pandemic. I drink a glass of Sauv Blanc ($21) and eat homemade nachos ($7). I finish the night watching Netflix and Prime. 

Daily total: $28

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Monday – Day Seven

Welcome to Monday and working from home – yet again! 

I go for a walk and meditate by the ocean before grabbing a coffee ($4.5) and a veggie juice ($7) on the way pack. 

This exercise has really taught me how much money I spend on coffee!

I have a bunch of little business things to do today.

I go to the post office and post out books ($45). 1 is an international order and it costs $14 to ship to San Francisco, USA.

I pay my virtual assistant $31.05US for his work with my social media for the week. This totals $44.74 Australian.

I need to update Canva Subscription for the next 12 months ($110) and I start running a Facebook ad for the next three weeks ($120)

My bookkeeper sends me an invoice for $320 for this quarters book keeping management and to do my paperwork to get my tax up to date. I finish my tax, I get a tax back from last year.

I go to the supermarket and grab a few groceries that I need around lunch time. The smell of those freshly baked croissants is too much – and I buy 2! ($7)

I also grab myself a bunch of flowers ($17) and a cake of Coke Zero ($2).

Daily total: $691.24

Weekly total: $1692.67

Reflection:

In recent months, I’ve seen a huge change in my spending habits simply because of COVID. 

Prior to this, I was living overseas so a big amount of coin was going to events, going out for dinner and drinks and travel - but a lot changed when I came back to Australia. 

I also lost a lot of money and a lot of clients because of COVID. But I can’t complain. I’m still working and still doing really well.

Lockdown has meant that I’ve spent time nesting into my new house and purchasing little luxuries like – a daily coffee outside of my home or candles for my home. 

The majority of my big expenses are for my business so I can bounce back in 2021… or 2022!

I’m eating out a lot less and now focusing on cooking more. I’ve also started doing grocery shopping in little parts rather than the large big shop I used to do. 

I’m spending more money in the supermarket, but less in cafes and dinners out – and I’m also wasting less food.

I’m a huge advocate for women to be making money but the reality is that during COVID, things will be tight for everyone. So ladies, whatever you can put away, make sure you do! You need to be financially independent from everyone else in their lives and not dependent on anyone else. 

 Feature Image: Getty

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