What My Salary Gets Me: A 24-year-old affected by COVID-19, unemployed and living back at home.

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 24-year-old who is unemployed due to COVID. 

Age: 24

Job: Unemployed due to COVID-19

Income: $28,500 per year (JobSeeker)

Housing: I live at home with my family and pay $50 board for groceries each week. 

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

Video via Mamamia

Regular expenses (monthly):

Board: $200

Gym: $96

Petrol: $200

Personal Trainer: $240

Psychologist: $200

Dietician: $200

When the pandemic set in, I was in the interview stage for a new role, which was then cancelled. Luckily, I qualify for JobSeeker payments and therefore receive $1100 a fortnight (or $550 a week).  

Monday – Day One

At the beginning of each week, I go to the gym (got to start on a good note, right?) and then I have my fortnightly dietician appointment, $100. After my appointment, I put $50 worth of petrol in my car and grab sushi for lunch, $6.

Daily total: $156. 

Tuesday – Day Two

Every second Tuesday is payment day for JobSeeker, so I am either frugal on my spending or I am the literal epitome of the money face emoji. Today, as the weather is nice, I go to the beach - parking and post-beach lunch, $20. In the evening I have my fortnightly psychologist appointment, $100.


Daily total: $120. 

Wednesday – Day Three

On Wednesdays I see my personal trainer at the gym, which costs $60 for a 45-minute session. Today we work on injury recovery and strength. Afterwards, I do the midweek grocery shopping at ALDI for the family, $50. 

Daily total: $110.

Thursday – Day Four

My fortnightly gym membership comes out of my account, $48 ($24 a week). As it's now Thursday and I'm craving social interaction, I head out to pub trivia. I treat myself to a pub meal for dinner, $15. 

Daily total: $63. 

Friday – Day Five

By the end of the (non) working week, I have watched a full season of some Netflix show and am too tired to do a full gym workout today. I do, however, find myself in the chair of a hair salon to give myself a refresh - think of it as therapy, $45. 

Daily total: $45. 

Saturday – Day Six

Pre-COVID I would 100 per cent be out with friends spending all my cash at some fancy bar charging $23 for a bizarre cocktail. But alas, our weekends are much more tame (on the liver and wallet) so a simple bottle of wine with the girls at someone’s home suffices - $20 (let’s be honest, it’s more like $10). We also grab takeout food for comfort, $15 for Thai.

Daily total: $35.

Sunday – Day Seven

By this point, I’m hiding my bank card from myself (... priceless). I go for a long walk with a friend and then catch up with my grandparents for dinner. 

Daily total: $0. 

Weekly total: $505. 


This week I splurged a bit more than usual with my haircut and takeaway dinner, but it evens out over a month. I also recognise the value of treating myself kindly with things that I enjoy, plus focusing on my mental health during this really difficult time. 

In the wise (and catchy) words of Katy Perry, “I’m thankful... baby I’m grateful” to receive economic relief during this time, as well as live at home. Finding new hobbies, including watercolour painting and knitting, as well as focusing on my health, have all assisted in making the most of this crazy year. 

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

Feature image: Getty.