finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 30-year-old lawyer on $92,000, who owns an investment property.

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 30-year-old lawyer from Melbourne, Victoria shares her money diary. 

Age: 30

Job: Government Lawyer

Salary: $92,000

Housing: Mortgage + renting with husband

Regular expenses (monthly): 

Mortgage: $2200 (I pay the mortgage as it’s under my name, and my husband pays the rent for the apartment we just moved into. We’re trying to rent out the property now that we’ve moved out.)

Gym: $70

Transport: $220 (fuel + train)

Mobile phone: $30

Private health insurance: $30

Netflix: $9 (family membership!)

Charity: $48

Utilities: $100

Groceries: $300 (my share)

Credit card debt: $350 (currently on a 0% interest balance transfer plan!)

Savings: I think we have at least $5000 in savings. We make the most of our purchases through credit cards and pay the statement balance off in full each month, but it means there’s always something owing on the card so it’s hard to tell exactly how much we have in savings, and how much will go to the credit card payment. I haven’t been able to replenish our savings since buying the unit, and we got married last year which means our savings account is currently very lean.

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

Video by MMC
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Friday – Day one

I have the day off work today! I go to the most intense yoga class ever (I later found out my yoga instructor was an ex-professional Russian ballet dancer) courtesy of my gym membership, and when I come home I clean the house, and then go to Box Hill for lunch with a friend. We have wonton noodles (I pay for our lunch: $27.60), and then go for dessert (she pays). During lunch, I Pay-ID $10 to my colleague who’s organising flowers for another colleague who had an accident.

After lunch, I catch up with another friend and we eat Hokkaido cheese tarts, drink coffees and have a good chat (my shout: $13.30). Parking costs $4.05. I am so full from stuffing myself all afternoon.

I head to an alterations shop to get three pairs of my husband’s pants tailored, and it costs me $39. For dinner, we head to our fortnightly group dinner with some friends where one person cooks and everyone chips in ($20 for myself and my husband). Before we go to sleep, my husband and I buy a $200 Good Food gift card as a present for our friends’ joint birthday party tomorrow. I also order a 250g bag of coffee beans online from Five Senses Roastery as I have a free delivery coupon that’s about to expire ($17).

Daily total: $330.95

Saturday – Day two

We wake up early and head to the breakfast birthday party, where our birthday couple shout our breakfast. Afterwards, we head home and there is a cupcake delivery for me, for my birthday a month ago! We eat one each, and then have a lovely nap.

We wake up (again) and head to our separate gyms – husband drops me off at the gym and I walk home afterward. The weather is finally becoming more spring-like! Afterwards, we head to another friend’s birthday drinks in South Yarra. We also bought him a Good Food gift card for his birthday ($100), and he shouts drinks and finger food.

Daily total: $100

Sunday – Day three

We head to church in the morning, and after church head over to my property to finish cleaning it up so that we can get it ready to be rented out. We get takeaway dumplings for lunch ($36.92) after we’re done, and head home to eat and chill.

The afternoon flies by, and we’re heading out again for my brother’s birthday dinner in St Kilda. Dad pays for all our dinners. I bring the box of cupcakes that were given to me yesterday as a birthday ‘cake’. We buy another gift card (we have a bad habit of leaving gift-buying to the last minute) from Patagonia for my brother as a birthday present ($100).

Daily total: $136.92

Monday – Day four

I’m working from the city today, so I head to the train station and find out I need to top up my Myki ($30 top up + $8.80 daily fare). Breakfast is a muesli bar and a muffin (I make gluten-free quinoa muffins in bulk and freeze them, and we have them for breakfast throughout the week). I brought my lunch (rice, roast chicken from Coles, spinach) which I eat at my desk.

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After lunch, I walk down to Melbourne Central and buy some soap from Lush ($7.65) and a soy hot chocolate to combat my 3.30-itis (it’s only $3.20 because the café is having happy hour). After work, I take a train to the gym and my husband picks me up afterwards. We have leftover bibimbap for dinner (we made it last Thursday, cooked a double portion and froze the meat so it would stay fresh for today).

I look at my credit card account, and realised my car insurance was payable today and I had been charged $976.39 to renew it. Ouch.

Daily total: $49.65 + $976.39 car insurance = $1016.24

Tuesday – Day five

Off to the city again ($8.80 daily fare). For breakfast today, I assembled a cheese and Spam toastie because we had an open can of Spam in the fridge (tasty but so unhealthy).

I brought lunch (leftover bibimbap), and after I eat, my colleague and I take a walk to Melbourne Central to look for phone charging cords. We walk all around Melbourne Central and find nothing that suits her specifications (it has to be two meters long, a rope cable and not too expensive). I introduce my colleague to Butterbings, which we buy for an afternoon treat ($5).

After I get home from work, I drive to Aldi to pick up some groceries ($29.60). We have lamb fried rice (courtesy of my mother), roast chicken and broccoli for dinner.

Daily total: $43.40

Wednesday – Day six

Our coffee beans have arrived so my husband makes filter coffee for us. Muesli bar and muffin again for breakfast. I’m off to court today for work, so I drive.

I always bring lunch (leftover lamb fried rice) when I go to court because it’s in the suburbs and we can never predict whether we will have time to go to the shops to get lunch. Today, we can head out during lunchtime and my colleague and I head to Kmart. I buy a phone charging cord ($13) and a bag of fun-sized Twix ($4) that’s displayed next to the check-out register. After work, I head to the gym and then home for dinner.

My husband is out with his brother tonight, so I have more leftovers for dinner. I’m browsing online and buy a Bokashi bin and accessories so I can start composting ($43.90). I save 60 per cent on the Bokashi bin, accessories and get free delivery as well because my local council offers a discount for composting products (most local councils offer a discount!).

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Daily total: $60.90

Thursday – Day seven

Off to court again today. Husband does not make me coffee, so I buy an almond milk flat white on the way to work ($4.38). It’s the usual breakfast of muesli bar and muffin. I have brought lunch (the last of the leftovers), but a colleague and I go out for a coffee. I get an iced chai latte ($6).

After work, I go to my husband’s gym to hang out for a while, before he heads out with friends for dinner. I go to my parents’ place for dinner, where mum cooks a noodle dish I love, and gives me leftovers for lunch – thanks mum.

Daily total: $10.38

Weekly total: $732.2 + $976.39 (car insurance). I’m still bitter about my car insurance and refusing to count it in my weekly total because it’s a yearly expense.

Reflection:

I’ve realised that I have spent money every single day this past week. It was a fairly normal week for us, except for the multiple birthday related expenses on the weekend (and that car insurance…) Generally, I think we do a good job of reducing our expenses by meal prepping breakfast and lunch, which is why I feel comfortable spending $5 here and there for hot chocolate or treats. I would, however, like to try and challenge myself to have a few days a week where I spend $0!

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

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]

For more What My Salary Gets Me:

What My Salary Gets Me: A 24-year-old accountant on $70,000 a year, who spends $1500 a month on rent.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 29-year-old on $108,000 a year, with $455,000 in savings.

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

What My Salary Gets Me: A Sales Director on $120,000 a year, who refuses to cook.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 34-year-old on $21,400 a year, who has hardly any daily expenses.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 54-year-old community worker who lives in public housing.

What My Salary Gets Me: A part-time physiotherapist who spent almost $2000 in a day.

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