finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 33-year-old on $85,000 a year, looking to buy a second 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 33-year-old on $85,000 a year, shares her money diary.

Industry: Communications 

Age: 33

Salary: $85,000 plus super

Housing: Living in own home with husband

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


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Regular expenses (monthly): $3,930

Mortgage: $2,944 (we pay this together but my half would be $1,472)

Phone: $80

Transport: $200

Gym: $40

Groceries: $1000

Eating out: $500

Wine: $320

Utilities: $120

Internet: $70

Health Insurance: $100

Netflix: $10

Spotify: $18

Savings: Collectively, we have around $100k in savings that will go towards our next investment property.

Debt: We have a mortgage on our home and I also have a HECs debt that I am slowly chipping away at.

Monday - Day One

Over the past few months I have been saving a lot of money while working from home, however I have started to venture back into the office. Today I travel by train (total: $7). 

I stop at Woolies near the office and get a bottle of water, a tub of yoghurt for breakfast, a salad and some muesli bars ($18 total).

I don’t move much throughout the day and realise at around 3pm that the muesli bars I bought in the morning won’t satisfy my sweet tooth. I start heading for the door in search of chocolate but decide to pack up and work the rest of the day from home, narrowly avoiding that chocolate hit!

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I stop at the grocery store on the way and pick up everything I need to make a curry that night ($38).

And finally, just before bed, I also realise that we are close to finishing our favourite protein powder, so I order more online ($80).

Daily total: $143 

Tuesday - Day Two

I work from home on Tuesday. I make oats for breakfast and have a banana and then start working at around 8am. 

For lunch, I quickly eat some leftover curry while still working at my desk.

Before COVID hit, I noticed a little laser clinic open in the next suburb over, just a few weeks before we all went into lockdown. I had promised myself I would go in and support them once they were open again, so at 11.45am I remember my promise and quickly book. By 12.15pm I'm there for a quick round of laser - and perfect: they had a sale on! ($20)

Tonight I have my second Pilates class since I started exercising again. I pay my gym membership yearly, but it equates to around $10 a week and I try to go at least 1-2 times. 

I really don’t feel like going to Pilates tonight, so I go quite begrudgingly but of course I feel great after it!

Luckily when I get home my husband has cooked dinner - chicken skewers and salad ($28).

Daily Total: $58

Wednesday - Day Three

I wake up to realise that I still haven’t got my haircut since before lockdown. And to think, one of my new year’s goals was to look after myself this year… that was obviously before the pandemic hit.

I try to book in to my hairdresser, but of course there’s a three week wait and I can’t wait that long for a freshen up, so I grab a home hair dye kit ($25) on my lunch break and give that a go at home. 

Not perfect, but definitely feeling more put together.

While I am out getting the hair dye kit, I stop by Kmart (because one cannot simply pass a Kmart without stopping in) and I get a new cookbook ($12) and a storage box for in my bathroom ($7) and of course a pair of stretchy jeans ($20).

For lunch I manage to rustle up something in my fridge but for dinner we stop by the local pizza place for a mid week pizza and wine. ($120)

Daily Total: $184

Thursday - Day Four

Working from home again today - purely because I am waiting for my online protein order to arrive and tracking says it’s today. I have breakfast at home and for lunch grab a quick sushi roll from down the street ($6).

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It’s getting late in the day and I am a little concerned that the tracking was wrong when suddenly the buzzer sounds and my dog goes ballistic. He rarely barks but dislikes the postman so always gives it a good go. 

After work I head down for a little indulgent facial. (Remember how I said I had a New Year goal to look after myself - desperately trying to get back on track with that!). I get them to do my eyebrows too while I am there. ($140)

On the way home I grab some prawns, pasta sauce and fettuccine ($28) and cook up a storm. 

After dinner, I get trapped in a rabbit hole of looking at investment properties in the country.

Daily Total: $174

Friday - Day Five

I work from home in the morning and completely forget to have breakfast and then into the office at lunchtime. Again, I travel by train (total: $7). 

The night before, while getting my eyebrows waxed, I got into a conversation with the beautician about aromatherapy. It’s something I’ve always been half interested in (not really, I just like things that smell nice) and she was telling me about this particular blend that I should try out.

On the way into the office, I by chance passed by a health food store that just so happens to have that exact blend (jokes, I Googled it and knew it was there). It smelt pretty great and instantly made me feel relaxed so that was that. ($18)

I grabbed some more sushi as I walked to the office ($9) and worked there the rest of the day there.

In the evening I met my husband near our house and we attempted to go to this cute Indian restaurant that’s usually pretty empty but it was totally full. Such a disappointment! But we headed over to local Thai instead ($70) and of course grabbed a bottle of wine on the way ($28).

Daily Total: $132

Saturday - Day Six

On Saturday we have a slow start. We realise at around 9.30am that we had zero food in the house so go to grab some bacon and egg supplies from the supermarket ($27).

After breakfast we do a speed clean of the house and set off in a preliminary search for a new lounge. We don't really find anything we love.

Traffic is bad, so we decide to stop for lunch. 

I have a roasted veggie wrap and a huge pot of tea ($22). It was definitely a good decision as the traffic had died down a little by the time we were done.

We had a quick gym session in the afternoon together and grab some more supplies for a BBQ for dinner ($35) and another bottle of wine ($26) - (Realising I drink too much wine).

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Saturday night was spent watching Netflix, snuggled on the lounge!

Daily Total: $110

Sunday - Day Seven

We go to visit family so it’s a really low spend day. Lunch is supplied so we are really just along for the ride and only need to cover petrol and tolls ($30). It’s a relaxing day - it’s raining so there’s not much to do other than chat over warm drinks and soup. 

On our way home we grab something quick from Woolies for dinner ($30) along with a few household items like paper towel and toothpaste (total: $60).

We spend the night with a bottle of wine ($24) watching Netflix ($10).

Daily total: $124

Weekly Total: $925

Reflection:

In recent months, I have definitely spent a lot less on nice-to-haves like beauty, self care and luxuries like clothes. However, I have noticed a few new spending habits that have come as a result of the COVID lockdown. Mainly an increase in spending on wine, more eating out than I was a few months ago and I’ve noticed that the way I purchase groceries has shifted.

Prior to the restrictions, my husband and I would limit eating out to once or twice max per week. During lockdown, with all the restaurants moving to take away only, we were trying to support our local cafes and restaurants and started increasing our eating out to 2-3 nights a week and often 1-2 lunches. This is a habit that has carried on.

Lastly, I am noticing the impact of shopping in small bursts rather than in one larger shop like I used to do. Previously, grocery shopping would sit between $350-400 for the week, but this is much higher with all the smaller shops I do plus the additional more niche items like protein powder that I order online. The flip side of this is that we are wasting less food as we are only buying what we need.

Overall, I am comfortable with my spending and financial situation. We are very pleased with what we have in savings and even spending like we did this week, we are still contributing to our savings at a healthy rate. However recently we have started having conversations around purchasing an investment property so there’s definitely space for tightening the belt to save for this goal more efficiently.

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. We know that the impact of COVID-19 has affected the financial situation of many Australians - and we want to hear from you (anonymously of course)? Send us your Money Diary to [email protected]

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