finance

'Our joint income is $195k. But it goes so fast.' 4 women on how much they spend each month.

MyBudget
Thanks to our brand partner, MyBudget

*Some names have been changed for anonymity. All of the women profiled are known to Mamamia.

It’s one of the least talked about topics amongst modern women. In fact, we’d prefer to discuss sex, childbirth and even our toilet habits before tackling the taboo talk of money.

But we’re faced with more financial adversities than any other generation. House prices alone are now more than 10 times what they were in the ’80s.

Financial stress is becoming a huge deal for a lot of us, and research backs this up. In 2018, Roy Morgan Research found that only 33 per cent of women aged 35 to 49 are comfortable with their present household income.

A recent survey by personal budgeting service MyBudget found that 60 per cent of women worry about money frequently, compared to 47 per cent of men.

Perhaps the only way to unlock our financial concerns is to actually start talking?

So we got down to the nitty gritty with four readers who revealed exactly where their hard-earned cash goes every month.

There are little things that add up, yes. But it’s much harder to figure out how to budget for bigger commitments like paying bills, mortgage repayments and rent money.

That’s why we asked money management guru Tammy Barton, founder of MyBudget, to share some tips along the way that help you budget for the big things – and have money to spare.

“In all my years of experience helping people get on top of their finances, I’ve come to understand that no two situations are ever exactly the same, which is why there are no one-size-fits-all financial solutions,” Tammy tells.

Let’s hear from the four different women now:

Lauren, 29, Brisbane, Queensland.

Joint income: $120,000.

Status: Stay-at-home married mum-of-one.

Monthly outgoing: $8500

Breakdown: Mortgage, $2000

Bills, $300.

Food, $1500.

Socialising, $500.

Gym, $300.

Private healthcare, $300.

Clothes, $100.

Home reno, $2000.

Savings, $1500.

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“I’ve not been working since having a baby so we’ve had to be meticulous with our outgoings,” Lauren says. “In fact, it often feels like I’m the financial nag. My husband says I’m the scrooge of the household. And it’s a joke but there’s no doubt about it, I’m the one counting the pennies and I’m the one who says ‘no’ all the time. But I’d really like us to have an investment property as well as our home by 2025.”

Tammy says that Lauren’s on the right track with monitoring the household spend closely. But to get those long-term goals on track, your finances are only as good as your systems.

“When it comes to money, there’s a popular idea going around that you don’t need a budget—all you need to do is write your financial goals down on the back of a napkin. But goal setting is only part of the picture,” Tammy tells us. “The reality is that you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you rest on the level of your systems.”

Tammy has a couple of points that can help Lauren: 1) Having a 12-monthly budget so you’re taking into account large annual payments like car registration and servicing; 2) Automating finances so that direct debits are taken for important bills; and 3) Reviewing all bills, plans and subscriptions, and checking you’ve got the best gas and electricity plan for you on the Australian Government’s price plan comparison website.

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Tammy Barton has helped thousands of Australians take control of their finances. Image: Supplied.

Francesca, 38, Sydney, NSW.

Joint income: $195,000.

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Status: Working married mum of one.

Monthly outgoing: $14,700.

Breakdown: Mortgage, $5000.

Bills, $700.

Daycare, $2000.

Running of two cars, $500.

Food, $2000.

Socialising, $2000.

Gym, $200.

Private healthcare, $300.

Miscellaneous, $2000.

Francesca says, “I always think it’s kind of funny how earning almost $200,000 sounds like a lot but believe me, it goes as quick as it comes in. After paying our mortgage on a $800,000 house, the bills, full-time childcare and the running of two cars, there’s not much left over. We never have anything left over for savings!”

That feeling that everything's always going "out" is common, Tammy says. “One thing Francesca or anyone in a similar situation could do is to get a home loan health check,” she advises. “Talk to a broker or your bank about locking in a low fixed rate. Our amazing brokers at MyBudget Loans are currently saving our clients an average of $5000 per year on their mortgage repayments.”

Tammy has another suggestion for Francesca - set up a separate account for savings. "Don’t let your savings get mixed up with money earmarked for bills and living expenses. Keep the funds separate to avoid accidental overspending," she adds.

Michelle, 45, Broome, Western Australia.

Joint income: $80,000.

Status: Married and part-time working mum of one.

Monthly outgoing: $5800.

Breakdown: Rent, $1600.

Bills, $250.

Food, $1500.

Car cost, $150.

Socialising, $500.

Private healthcare for family, $300.

After school-care, $700.

Kids' expenses, $800.

Michelle says, “I hate that me and my husband are in our 40s and we still haven’t bought a house. It feels like we’re going to rent forever. Every time I try to put money away for a deposit I end up having to dip back into it for the kids. I have two boys who always need new trainers, something for school, and both have mobile phones that cost me $100-plus each per month.”

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Yes, running a family is expensive. That's an understatement. But as Tammy says, “Little things do add up. Here's one thing Michelle could easily check - just take a few minutes looking at communication bills for the last 12 months. Are you regularly going over your plan? Or are you paying for things you don’t need? If your mobile phone or internet service is out of contract, call at least one competitor to see what incentives they’ll offer you to switch, then call your existing provider to see what they’ll do to retain your business.”

Vicky, 32, Adelaide, South Australia.

Total income: $75,000.

Status: Single mum, working full time.

Monthly outgoing: $6150

Breakdown: Rent, $1700.

Bills, $300.

Food, $1000.

Socialising, $2000.

Gym, $150.

Clothes, $1000.

Vicky says, “I’m so lucky my mum lives a few streets away and looks after my baby girl when I’m at work, but it also means I’ve managed to keep a pretty active social life. But I overspend every month, popping it on the credit card and then pay most of it off the month after only to use it all up again.”

Tammy says, “When money gets tight, the solution for many people is to use their credit card to make ends meet, as Vicky does. But that strategy is fraught with danger. Financial fitness starts with having a plan and setting small goals. That means that when times are tight, burying your head in the sand is never a good strategy.”

A good first step is putting together a list of your monthly commitments, like the women we spoke to have. Services like MyBudget can take a look at your outgoings and figure out how to get you in a better financial position in both the short and long term, so those feelings of being overwhelmed never rise to the surface.

It's time we talked more about money, so we can all feel a little less stressed and enjoy life a lot more.

Please note: The feature image used is a stock photo.

If you're wanting to get on top of your mortgage or bills and have money left over, visit  MyBudget.com.au to see how they can tailor a plan to your lifestyle.

MyBudget

No matter what your goal is—to save money, tackle debt, stop living week-to-week, sort out your finances or simply free up time—MyBudget is here to help. Visit mybudget.com.au to find out more

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