What My Salary Gets Me: A 36-year-old who lost her job due to COVID and is now on JobSeeker.

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 36-year-old who lost her job due to COVID-19 shares her money diary.

I'm a 36-year-old travel industry professional. For the first time in my life, I found myself unemployed and have been a JobSeeker for five months. Now, I am working for slightly over minimum wage, in a job I hate (thanks COVID). I also had to dip into my super ($10,000) to get through this year.

Age: 36

Job: Employment Services

Income: $792 per week (after tax. Gross $50000 per annum)

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Regular Expenses (monthly):

Rent: $1000 shared apartment (Most likely to increase by November) 

Groceries (and wine): $550

Social: $600

Health Insurance: $90

Phone: $90

Internet and paid subscriptions: $78

Gym: $74

Pilates/Yoga: $100

Health Appointments: $140

Beauty: $50

Public Transport: $80

Utilities: $70

Debt: $200 (I have been very slowly trying to chip away at $10,000 debt which has been challenging)

Total: $3,122

Monday – Day One

I am usually pretty good at packing lunch and not eating out (kind of don't have a choice) so today is no different. After breakfast at home, I train it into work to start the day.

My coffee addiction can get the best of me at times and at $4.50 a pop, I should not have had two today. 

At lunchtime, I went to the gym and then after work spent $60 on groceries. After a 6pm Tafe class from the comfort of my lounge and home-cooked salmon, I did a bit of online shopping and purchased a 10 pack reformer pilates package (which is a bargain really).


Daily total: $169.

Tuesday – Day Two

Early morning today to get to a gym class before work. Started the day feeling great, had my breakfast and lunch pre-packed. Oops, two coffees again (must stop this).

Usually, I would do something social after work, such as trivia, however, today I am straight home. Which I am grateful for as I am spending too much money. Also, it's rent day.

Daily Total: $509.

Wednesday – Day Three

Train. Gym. Work. Coffee (AND JUST ONE!).

Straight back home to my computer for Tafe. Proud of my low spending day.

Daily Total: $4.50.

Thursday – Day Four

Thought I would treat myself to a brow wax and tint. When did they get so pricey!

Forgot lunch, so I bought a salad and some Kombucha (and of course a coffee). I was stung with my phone bill today and topped up my Opal card on the way to netball. Good news is all my fitness training has been helping as I felt the fittest I have in a long time. I played two games. 

Daily Total: $199.

Friday – Day Five

Usual day at work and the gym, including two coffees. This is the hardest day to not spend money. Just one drink after work turned into a bottle of wine, cocktails and dinner. Followed by post drinks at my friends home (my willpower is weak).

Daily Total: $85.

Saturday – Day Six

Started the morning at the gym, followed by my morning coffee. The afternoon was spent on a boat for a friend's birthday.

Sipping champagne under the harbour bridge and dancing for the first time in months! Definitely forgot I had a budget today (worth it).

Daily Total: $215.

Sunday – Day Seven

Had my mum's birthday today so took her out for breakfast and then cooked some delicious slow-cooked Vietnamese pork. Also indulged in a nice bottle of red and watched some movies. Super chilled day also spent cuddling her Pomeranian.

Daily Total: $95.

Weekly total: $1276.


I'm really not used to living on such low pay and I'm definitely spending more than I should every week. It's really hard to balance, as I love to be active and social. I have a great group of friends to be social with, however, this is not easy on the wallet.

At least, I am pretty good at cooking myself. But I do love to eat out and indulge so I really miss this luxury.

Maybe next week I should eat less salmon and drink less kombucha and champagne! 

You only live once, right?!

You can catch up on our previous What My Salary Gets Me series here:

Feature image: Getty.