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What My Salary Gets Me: A 46-year-old mum who's the single-income earner in her family of 4.

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 46-year-old with two teens shares her money diary. 

I am a 46-year-old Financial Controller and my husband is currently re-training after some time out of the workforce. We have two teenage children and our yearly income is $89,000.  

When I say I budget, I mean I have a spreadsheet which tracks the expenses each month and everything is on this, including birthday presents, car services, vet bills and all incidentals. There is a budget for everything! Being on one income and paid monthly, there is a calm that comes over me when I budget.

Weekly Expenses:

Mortgage: $220

Bills:

Electricity: $35

Phones: $25

Rates: $23

Internet: $17

Insurance and rego: $66

Water: $26

Other bills, Foxtel and Netflix: $19

Debt consolidation loan: $44

Car loan: $52.75

Savings: $75

School fees: $100

Total: $703.05

Monday - Day One

Get a coffee on the way to work, but it’s free due to my loyalty card. 

I take breakfast, lunch and a snack to work every day. 

There’s a coffee machine at the office, but the shop-bought ones are always better! 

Daily total: $0.00 

Tuesday - Day Two 

I accidentally put my son's GoCard in the wash yesterday and it snapped in half, so I have to stop at the 7-11 and purchase a new one, $10.

I'm able to go online and transfer the balance from the old card over, which is a relief. 

My husband has a doctor's appointment after work. It costs $76 as there’s no bulk billing in our area and it’s after 5pm.

We should get the rebate in a few days. 

We order pizzas for dinner as it’s pretty late and I have stuff to do at home that isn’t cooking. $18.00 

Daily total: $104

Wednesday - Day Three 

Our teenagers' phone bills come out of the account today. 

They are on SIM only plans, which are really good value - $10 each. 

I grab a coffee mid-morning, $4.50.

Daily total: $24.50 

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Thursday - Day Four 

I give my daughter some money to purchase tracksuit pants from the school uniform shop as she needs to wear specific ones, $45. 

I head to the chemist after work to get my husband's script filled. It’s regular medication so usually lasts for the month. I also get some cleanser on special, $37.20. 

I'm up until 11pm helping my daughter get her assignments done. I was going to shop online, so her lack of organisation has saved me some money! 

Daily total: $82.20 

Friday - Day Five

It's Friday, so I transfer $75 to my husband's account so he has some funds for whatever he needs.

I have to take the kids to school early for a violin rehearsal so I stop at Target to get my husband some stuff for his birthday on Sunday. 

I buy a hoodie, some chocolate and cards from me and the kids, $46. 

Afterwards, I stop to get a coffee, $4.50. 

I top up my groceries on the way home, even though the weekly shop is tomorrow, $14.75. 

Daily total: $140.25 

Saturday - Day Six

I do the the grocery shop. I get most things at ALDI and top up at Woolies, the total is $218.61 which includes the dog food so that’s pretty good. 

I get a trim at the hairdresser which is well overdue, $35.00. 

I do some housework, watch some Netflix with the kids and take the dogs to the dog park. 

Daily total: $253.61 

Sunday - Day Seven

It's my husband's birthday so we have some breakfast as a family (bacon and eggs). 

The dogs get leftover bacon and are very happy! 

We decide to go for a drive and buy coffees and hot chocolates at a café on the way home. $22.00 

Daily total: $22.00 

Weekly total: $626.56

Reflection:

As this is the last week in the pay cycle, I'm hanging on to any extra in my account as a contingency. 

Next month both my kids have their birthdays so I withheld some of this month's pay to help with that. It seems kind of obsessive the way I budget, but on one income, it really gives me peace of mind, so if we’re out somewhere, I know what I can spend and what I can’t. 

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo from Getty.

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]

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