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What My Salary Gets Me: A 33-year-old primary school teacher on $92,000 a year.

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. In this series, we discover what women are really spending their hard-earned cash on, and nothing is too outrageous or too sacred. This week, a 33-year-old primary school teacher shares her weekly money diary.

Age: 33.

Job: Primary school teacher.

Salary: $92,862.

Housing: I live in a two-bedroom unit which I own. My mortgage repayments are $1,200 per month.

Monthly expenses: 

Health insurance (extras cover): $40.

Phone and internet: $72.

Electricity: $70.

Savings: $30,000 in an offset account.

Assets: $1,000 in crypto (I think, too scared to check).

Subscriptions: Spotify $12.

I'm single and live alone in a place that I bought three years ago. I moved into my house a couple of months before COVID hit, so I was forced to stay home and save money which was both scary and fortunate. 

My sister and I share our family dog, she mostly lives with my sister but I often take her on weekends and school holidays. 

Watch: Four money hacks that don't cut out your daily cup of coffee. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Sunday.

First day of school holidays! 

I feel amazing even though I wake up at 5am. I’m unable to go back to sleep so I stay in bed with my dog. Eventually I make myself go for a jog. I manage to leave and return without waking her up.

In the afternoon, I visit my mum. We try to go for a walk but we only make it to the end of the road when it starts to rain.

Then I go home to read Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi. After finishing it, I feel inspired to cut down on my use of tech and download OffScreen, a free app which tracks phone usage.

Daily total: $0.

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Monday.

I'm training for a half marathon and Mondays are my long run days.

The good: no wind and no work to fit my training around. 

The bad: feet pain and I come home to a crying dog (her anxiety has been worse since the pandemic started).

I don’t have much energy afterwards so I make one of my favourite easy dinners - air fried cauliflower and mushroom burritos. I also cook some beef mince for my dog.   

Daily total: $0.

Tuesday.

In the morning, I go grocery shopping. Today I am prepared with a list and I've even looked at the online catalogues to see what is on special. But it still takes me ages...

I go to ALDI, Coles and the green grocers ($92).

Afterwards, I meet a friend at a shopping centre. 

She has recently quit her job, and I have put myself on a clothes shopping ban, but we arrange to meet at the shops because it’s halfway between our homes. 

I go crazy buying gifts in TK Maxx ($50) but aside from that, I manage to stick to what I really need. 

I pick up a sports bra from Adidas ($25), sandals from Planet Shoes ($100) and socks and thermals from Decathlon ($60). 

Today is an expensive day because I also fill up on petrol ($75) and purchase airport parking for an upcoming trip ($117). 

Daily total: $519.

Wednesday.

My tech experiment is not going well.

According to OffScreen, I am averaging 50 phone pick ups per day, which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t also use an iPad! 

I decide to turn off notifications and unsubscribe from mailing lists. I get a lot of emails from retailers so hopefully this way I can save money as well as time.

Anyway, today is fun - I meet an old friend for lunch and we try to get into a new cafe that is opening today (it was meant to open in 2020!) but we can’t get a table. 

We go to a nearby one instead and I have eggs ($16).

On the way home, I stop by Adairs for some essential oils ($13). I also buy a kettle from Myer using a gift card.

In the evening, I meet a work friend for a drink. I arrive early to find a free park (I hate paying for parking) and I get a glass of red wine ($10). 

Daily total: $39.

Thursday.

I start my day with a 10km run, then I take my dog to the vet. She’s an old girl at 16 so it’s an expensive visit. The check up and medications come to $600!

When I go home, I clean the oven and weed the garden. I can’t remember the last time I did either so it takes a while. 

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I listen to some Mamamia podcasts (#notsponsoredjustgood) which makes the time pass more quickly. 

I cook a prawn stir fry and start a new book - Losing Face by George Haddad.

I was recently given a work iPad which I use to read e-books from my local library. The weather is freezing so a perfect night for reading a book with my dog on my lap.

Daily total: $600.

Friday.

I am going away next week so I am trying to use up the food in my fridge. I make a berry and spinach smoothie for breakfast and a vegetable omelette for lunch.

I am pleased to say that I tried out a new hairdresser who is great! For years I visited a salon that was 40 minutes away but I recently learnt how to cut my fringe and I can’t justify driving that distance anymore. My new hairdresser is a lot closer. And bonus: she is way cheaper ($25).

I spent the evening reading my book - I’m really enjoying it. 

Daily total: $25.

Listen to What The Finance, Mamamia's money podcast. Post continues after audio.

Saturday.

On weekdays, I stick to a healthy diet but today I decide to eat whatever I want. For lunch, I meet a friend and get a delicious smoked salmon and avocado panini ($13). 

On the way home, I get a French Toast doughnut from Walkers ($5) and do a quick Coles shop ($20). Luckily, my sister comes over and helps me eat some of the food.  

After she leaves, I go to Officeworks and buy some stamps ($10). 

One of the lockdown hobbies I’ve kept going is collaging and scrapbooking. On the whole, it’s been a cheap activity because I now make my own birthday cards and even gifts for my (notoriously hard to buy for) mum. 

Daily total: $48.

Reflection:

I think this week was representative of what I would normally spend. 

Since COVID, I have gone on a health kick and picked up hobbies in place of shopping. While I go through periods of increased spending (especially during summer months), it helps that I love to cook and don’t get takeout. 

I’ve always been a frugal person, but I’d say I’m now more mindful about how I spend my money. I’m hopeful that I can put more money towards my mortgage and go on an overseas trip next year.

Want to contribute your own anonymous money diary for What My Salary Gets Me? Email [email protected] to get involved.

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

Feature Image: Canva/Mamamia.

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