What My Salary Gets Me: The 36-year-old project manager who spent $3,795 in one week.


Mamamia’s Money Diaries 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 36-year-old project manager shares her diary.

Age: 36.

Job: Project Manager.

Salary: $92,000, monthly after tax $4,849.

Housing: own home, mortgaged, solo.

Regular Expenses (monthly): $4,255, which includes…

Mortgage (including additional payments) & Rates: $1,560.

Utilities: $286 on my water, electricity, NBN, phone bills.

Insurance: $357 on my home and contents, car, health, income protection insurance.

Transport: $200 on petrol and public transport.

Groceries and household expenses: $776 on things like Lite-n-Easy meals, pet costs, pool chemicals, general home and garden maintenance etc.

Subscriptions: $28 on my Stan, Netflix and Audible subscriptions.

Consolidated low interest loan: $600 (car loan + emergency roof repair loan + old credit card debt).

Gym: $48.

Splurge (clothes, makeup, movies, cafes, weekends away, gifts etc): $400 (balance of $1,370 after this week).

Monthly income allocated to savings: $600. By the end of the week I have $2,700 in my emergency/irregular expenses fund, $2,210 in my holiday fund and $9,670 in my new kitchen fund.


Assets: Half a house (bank owns the other half), car, and a house full of of material nonsense I probably don’t need.

Debt: Mortgage, loan, HECS (which I predominantly ignore, aside from directing my yearly tax return into it).

Long term planning: My super is currently well above age/gender average, on track to have home paid off by 50, which should allow for substantial investment into retirement savings while still in the workforce mortgage free, also, completing postgraduate studies part time to enable improved career progression and pay bump.

Watch: The optimal salary for happiness. Post continues after video.

Friday – Day One

Vegemite toast and instant coffee from home for breakfast, and Lite n’ Easy for lunch, dinner and snacks. As an FYI, I’m currently on the Lite n’ Easy track for weight loss, so while my current groceries/household budget is way more than I would normally spend, it’s not like I’m living paycheck to paycheck, so I have decided this is a good investment in my health. I drove to work and parked a few (by few it’s usually eight to 12) blocks away to avoid paid parking. After work I headed to the gym, and topped the day off with an escape room for a friend’s birthday ($45) in the evening and a few drinks ($15).

Total amount spent: $60


Saturday – Day Two

Saturday breakfast of champions, the Bunnings sausage sizzle ($2.50), with the usual Lite n’ Easy food intake for the rest of the day. Obviously the Bunnings trip was not just for breakfast (although absolutely no judgement if that’s your style), I also purchased bindi killer for the lawn and algaecide for the pool ($42) in my visit. The rest of my morning was spent working on the garden and pool, followed by an afternoon bush walk with friends.

Total amount spent: $44.50

Sunday – Day Three

Usual breakfast of Vegemite toast and instant coffee, and Lite n’ Easy for lunch and snacks. My morning was spent doing painting prep work on the garage, and the afternoon was spent with some world class hacking around the golf course with friends ($12), which led to an evening around the fire pit, playing board games and eating pizza ($5).

Total amount spent: $17.50

Monday – Day Four

Intercity meetings today which means Vegemite toast being shovelled in as I drive, in the dark, to the train station. Lunch out with colleagues ($10) and an iced tea ($6) to make the train trip ($17 return) home bearable. No time for anything else today with an eight hour commute, but them’s the breaks and at least I can get some study done. Snacks during the day were from home, Lite n’ Easy for dinner.

Total amount spent: $33

Tuesday – Day Five

Usual breakfast, with Lite n’ Easy covering the rest of the day’s food intake; speaking of which, I ordered next week’s Lite n’ Easy lunch/dinner plan today ($169). It’s Tuesday so that’s cheap (cough, well cheap compared with Friday) petrol day: petrol top up ($58) and one of those incredibly addictive service station ice coffees ($2). Still licking my financial wounds after today’s trip to the mechanic, new tyres, general service and three very expensive acronyms I do not understand which I have been assured needed replacement ($1,863 directly out of emergency fund). Hit the gym after work and spent some quality time with Netflix in the evening.


Total amount spent $2,092: (although $1,863 was out of savings).

Wednesday – Day Six

Usual food and work transport choices. Gym after work followed by movies with friends ($10) and iced tea ($6) after work.

Total amount spent: $16

Thursday – Day Seven

Pay day, which means fortnightly component of rates, electricity, phone, NBN and water ($507), as well as savings, are transferred automatically, the fortnightly direct debits for my mortgage ($716) and loan ($300) happen today. I usually check my banking once a month, but my budget is predictable enough so all my regular expenses are set up as direct debits or automatic payments.

No supermarket costs this week, as I usually only go once a fortnight for breakfast food, household products and pet supplies. Anyway, back to day seven, the usual food and work transport choices, followed by pub trivia with friends after work and a couple of beverages ($9).

Total amount spent: $1,532

How much I spent this week: $3,795 (which seems ridiculous, but given most of this is fortnightly not weekly costs which happened to occur this week, plus the sort of mechanic bill that happens once every two years I guess it’s not really that ridiculous).

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

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