finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 27-year-old writer, editor and blogger on a $90,000 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 27-year-old writer and blogger from Sydney, NSW.

Age: 27

Job: Part-time Deputy Editor at a magazine and Freelance Writer and Blogger

Salary: Around $90,000 — I earn $55,000 per year including super at my part-time job, and try to match that with my freelance work

Housing: My partner and I live in an apartment my parents own near the beach and pay $800 each in rent per month

Regular Expenses (monthly): I put around $1000-$2000 per month back into my blog and business, which includes contractors, subscriptions etc. It might sound crazy, but I see it as an investment into my future. I also pay $60 per month for Classpass, which lets me attend a range of different fitness classes and $40 per month for a gym near work. My phone bill costs me $50 per month for boatloads of data, because I’ve finished paying out my phone on the contract

Utilities: $600 per month on average – split with my partner

Health Insurance: $60 per month

Transport: I don’t drive, so I spend around $70 per month on public transport and Ubers

Groceries and household expenses: $500 which (ideally) covers food for the entire month (split with my partner)

Subscriptions: $10 Stan, $13.99 Netflix and Spotify Premium $11.99 (split with my partner). I also have a subscription to Glamcorner, which allows me to rent out three different outfits for $99 per month. It might sound extravagant, but it helps stop me spending money on buying clothes!

Splurge (clothes, makeup, movies, cafes, weekends away, gifts etc): I don’t have any set allocation to this at the moment — it’s usually just whatever is leftover! But I probably spend around $50-$60 per week on takeaway coffees and eating out

Monthly income allocated to savings: $1000. I have this put straight into a separate account by work

Current savings: $10,000

Debt: $700 for various ZipPay purchases, $30,000 in HECS debt

Long-term planning: My partner and I have big plans to travel the world

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

Video by Mamamia

Monday – Day One.

I work in the office two days per week, and Mondays are one of those days. Luckily, I manage to wake up early enough to make my own breakfast and coffee at home. My partner’s brother gave us an old barista coffee machine from his work, and it’s been an absolute game-changer. I’m able to make a cafe-style latte using Inside Out almond milk (so bougie!) we bought when grocery shopping on Sunday. Breakfast is super simple, vegemite and butter on toasted Turkish bread. It’s what I used to always order at cafes, but doing it at home is obviously much cheaper. I’ve also made a goal of having greens with every meal, so I make myself a smoothie with frozen banana, mango, greens powder, protein powder to take with me on the bus. I feel pretty smug about this.

The bus costs me $3 each way, and there’s a fair bit of walking involved which I actually enjoy. Once I turn on my computer at work and settle in, I walk over to the coffee shop at work and order another almond milk latte — it’s needed on a Monday morning! To help me get those greens in, I have a snack of baby cucumbers with hummus (bought during our supermarket run) mid-morning.

I’ve brought my lunch today — leftover spag bol from the night before (and naturally, a packet of parmesan to sprinkle all over it!) but I have some freelance work to do on my lunch break. So, I go to the cafe near work again and get another coffee, so I can sit there and work. I try to limit myself to buying one coffee per day but hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Plus, I figure it’s tax-deductible! 

I get the bus home (another $3) and we have a simple yet delicious dinner of ham, cheese and tomato jaffles with supplies from yesterday’s shop while watching YouTube videos. Plus, Halo Top ice cream for dessert.

Daily spend: $14

Tuesday – Day two.

Today I’m working from home, so I make the same breakfast as yesterday. When planning out my day, I go to book myself a Reformer Pilates class on ClassPass, but realise I’m out of tokens so I have to pay $10 to get more. This happens pretty often, but I still find it works out cheaper than being locked into a strength training membership, and it gives me more flexibility. For lunch, I make tuna, brown rice and avocado from food supplies we already have at home. I used to be terrible with buying my lunch every day, but have cut down a lot in the last few years.

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I walk to and from Pilates, so don’t have to pay for public transport. On my way home, I treat myself to an almond milk latte ($4.50) in my keep cup that I’ve actually remembered to bring for once. 

That afternoon, I remember I have to pay a contractor who does some admin work for me, so $200 comes out of my account. Those are always my most expensive days! For dinner, we make chicken tikka curry from food we bought on the weekend.

Daily spend: $214.50

Wednesday — Day three.

I’m in the office again, but this morning I wasn’t quite as organised! So, I rush out the door, pay my $3 for the bus and have to buy peanut butter toast and a coffee from the cafe across the road ($10). Whoops! To even it out, I limit myself to buying one coffee that day and just have Robert Timms coffee bags (they taste like french press coffee!) instead.

At lunchtime, I do a weights workout at the gym across the road from work, then eat the leftover chicken tikka I brought with me. I also have a banana YoPro yoghurt, my current favourite snack. $3 again for the bus home and we’ve run out of food for dinner, so I call by Woolies and grab stuff to make a simple meal of roast chicken, spinach, sour cream, avo and tomato on wraps (we already have cheese at home). This adds up to $10.

Daily spend: $26

Thursday — Day four. 

Today is pretty similar to Tuesday — I make myself a coffee and toast at home, plus a smoothie. But, by about midday, I start to get a bit of cabin fever, so I take my laptop to my local French cafe to work for a while, and order an almond milk latte ($4) I really enjoy working in cafes, and find the background noise helps increase my productivity. I have leftovers from wraps for lunch.

On Thursdays, I always try to get to a dancehall class (a Jamaican dance style) at a studio in Surry Hills. Not only is it a great workout, but it’s lots of fun. I get the bus there and back — $6 — and buy a casual pass for $18. While I’m gone, my partner has kindly done a grocery run and bought supplies for chicken pesto pasta. It makes a simple yet delicious dinner, followed by some chocolate ice cream.

Daily spend: $28

Friday — Day five. 

Today is my freelance day, so it’s home sweet home again. I change up my breakfast and have Freedom Foods XO Crunch cereal (which we already have in the pantry) with almond milk and caramel protein powder mixed in, plus a coffee. We still have some ingredients for a ham and cheese toastie, so I have that for lunch. I make a couple of almond milk lattes at home, too. 

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That night, I have plans to meet my friends from high school for dinner. We’re kind of past our ‘going out for copious amounts of of drinks days’, so we meet at an Italian restaurant and I order a pasta, and two sensible glasses of Rose. I get the bus there, which costs me $3, but can’t be bothered schlepping it home, so I fork out $15 for an Uber.

Daily spend: $68

Saturday — Day six. 

My partner and I used to get breakfast out both days on the weekend, but it was adding up too much. So, we’ve found a cheap breakfast to have at home that we both really love — bacon and eggs on Turkish bread, with Jamie Oliver’s chilli pesto sauce (the sauce makes all the difference!) But, we still like to get out and sit near the beach, so we go and get takeaway coffees — mine is $4.50. We have a pretty quiet day of doing some work and cleaning the apartment. We rarely have lunch on the weekends, so we have an early dinner and order pizza from Crust. We generally take turns buying meals out and tonight is my turn, so it costs me $55.

Daily spend: $59.50

Sunday — Day seven.

We go out to breakfast at a local cafe, and it’s my partner’s turn to pay. Woo! I order an almond milk latte (no surprise there) and avocado, feta and poached eggs on toast. We figure we should get out and about today, so we do a long beach walk that takes about two hours. We spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, then do our weekly grocery run, which costs about $100 ($50 each). We buy ingredients for steak and sausages for dinner, and have that with veggies sauteed in garlic while watching a movie on Netflix.

Daily spend: $50

Total spend: $460

Reflection:

This was a pretty tame week for me, in terms of my blog and businesses expenses. I normally spend a lot more, but I try to pay for most of it around payday (which is monthly). While I’ve come a long way in terms of my lifestyle and incidental spending, tracking it made me realise that there’s still a lot I could cut down on!

Mamamia’s What My Salary Gets Me series drops every Thursday. 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 [email protected]

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