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

Mamamia’s Money Diaries 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 34-year-old teacher’s aide tells all. 

Age: 34

Job: Teacher’s Aide

Salary: $21,400

Housing: Own a house with partner

Regular Expenses (monthly):

Mortgage: $1500 (I contribute with $500 and my partner pays the rest)

Gym: $26.

Car petrol$180 ($45 weekly)

Food: Approximately $360 (my partner and I mainly eat at home. Blame my grandma – she instilled in me that home cooked meals are always healthier!)

Debt: Mortgage

Assets: House and car

Monday – Day One

I eat breakfast at home (1 banana, nuts and two pieces of toast with scrambled eggs and a glass of lukewarm water).

I then drive to work (10 minutes drive in a rural town). Since there aren’t many inspiring eating places to eat near work I always take food from home. At recess (11.00-11.30) I eat the leftovers from the previous night (steamed broccoli and cauliflower with tuna).


At lunch (1.30-2.30), I eat an apple, some strawberries & blueberries and some biscotte toast with fresh cheese, tomato and pepper on top.

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

I leave work at 4, and arrive home at 4.15, I change into my gym gear and head to the gym (15 minutes drive from home). I do a 50 minute workout. In the meantime, my partner prepares tuna pasta with cherry tomatoes and pesto for dinner. I drink water throughout the day (2L).

Total amount spent: $0.00

Tuesday – Day Two

I wake up and eat same breakfast at home, before driving to work.

Again, I eat dinner leftovers for recess, and for lunch I eat an apple, an orange and some nuts.

When I finish work at 4, I head home. I start thinking about what I’m going to cook for dinner. Before preparing dinner, I go for a 30 minute walk with my partner. He’s an architect and works from home.

For dinner we have grilled chicken, salad (spinach, carrot, red capsicum, truss tomato, cucumber, red onion) and roasted potatoes.


I watch TV for 45 minutes and get into bed, read my book and fall asleep.

Total amount spent: $0.00

Wednesday – Day Three

Today for breakfast I make a boiled egg roll with spinach and bacon and drink lukewarm water.

Before going to work I drive past the petrol station to fill up my car. It costs $45, and that will get me through the week. I arrive at work at at 8.20 and go into the classroom at 8.35. For recess I eat leftover dinner, and for lunch, I eat an apple, a banana and nuts.

I leave work at 4 and drive straight to the gym. My fortnightly payment comes out today – $13.00. That money is taken from my account automatically.

I arrive home at 6. My partner has prepared dinner, which is oyster blade casserole with veggies.

I have a cup of tea, before transferring $500 to my partner’s account for the monthly mortgage repayments.

I read my book, then it’s bedtime.

Total amount spent: $558.00

Thursday – Day Four

For breakfast I have Nutrigrain and milk.

I go to work, and for recess I eat leftover dinner. For lunch, I eat an apple, some strawberries and nuts.

I leave work at 4, and go home and start preparing dinner. I make pumpkin soup with homemade bruschetta, and go for a walk before eating dinner.


After dinner my partner washes the dishes while I fold all the clothes that he put on the line in the morning.

Total amount spent: $0.00

Friday – Day Five

For breakfast I eat porridge with a banana.

At work, I again have leftovers for recess, and for lunch, I have an apple, kiwi and nuts.

I leave at 4, arrive home, change into my gym gear and go to the gym with my partner. He does swimming while I use the gym equipment! After exercise, we drive down to Melbourne (35 min drive) and we eat at a Korean restaurant. We spend $55.

We then go past Coles to buy the general home necessities, which costs $30.

We split these bills.

Total amount spent: $42.50

Saturday – Day Six

I eat breakfast – porridge with banana.

I then pick mum up and drive to the market. We buy all the fruit, veggies and meat for the week, as well as fish for Sunday lunch, and some bread. It comes to $75.

I drop mum back at home.

When I arrive home, I eat an egg roll and fruit for lunch. I spend the rest of the afternoon doing gardening. For dinner we eat roast pork with carrot, rice and salad.


I finish the day by reading more of my book and going to bed.

Total amount spent: $75

Sunday – Day Seven

It’s a light breakfast this morning with just banana and nuts.

Then my partner and I go for a long bike ride. We go past a coffee shop and grab a latte and hot chocolate. It comes to $9 and I pay. When we return home I prepare lunch – grilled fish with roast potatoes and steamed veggies.

I spend the rest of the afternoon napping, reading my book, and talking to family and friends back home. We just eat whatever is in the pantry or fridge.

Total amount spent: $9


This is a fairly typical week. We only catch up with friends when necessary – it’s not a weekly or monthly routine for us. Only when everyone is free and available to see each other. But when we do, my partner and I are likely to spend $60 for shared dinner and drinks.

Typically, I pay for the food and home necessities, while my partner pays for the home bills. It’s a strategy that works for us!

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

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