A Week In Sydney, Australia On A $53,000 Salary

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This week: a junior lawyer (solicitor) who makes $53,000 per year and spends it on public transportation and antibiotics.
Occupation: Junior Lawyer (Solicitor)
Industry: Legal
Age: 24
Location: Sydney, Australia
Salary: $53,000 (in USD)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,545
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $300. I live at home and pay my parents rent.
Loan Payments: $0
All Other Monthly Expenses
Savings: $2,300/month. I am saving for a 15% deposit on a two-bedroom apartment in northwestern Sydney, which will cost about total $600,000 total.
Phone: $15/month for unlimited Australian phone calls and seven GB of data
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7:30 a.m. — Mornings are always a mad rush for me, and I curse myself for pressing the snooze button three times. I grab some homemade banana bread and pack lunch for work. I still live at home like many other young Sydney-siders who are saving up penny by penny to buy property in our ridiculous housing bubble. The train fare to work costs $3.57. Bloody Opal fares are getting so expensive. I think there are price increases looming post-July. $3.57

12 p.m. — The day has been relatively busy in comparison to the last week. I drafted a few agreements and flicked out some emails. I head downstairs with my group of work friends for lunch, armed with my bottle of Genmaicha green tea. (I am a total sucker for Japanese roasted rice green tea.) Unlike many young corporates in Sydney, I don't regularly buy coffee, mainly because I never delved into the habit at university. I only seem to drink it when I desperately need a caffeine kick, or when I'm craving that rich warm coffee smell once in a blue moon.

5:45 p.m. — I skedaddle out of work to go to dinner with my boyfriend. We go to a Lebanese restaurant in Darlinghurst that has a 50% off deal. Huzzah for bargains! We chose the banquet option with no regrets. Highlights: the honey-drizzled, pan-fried halloumi, the lamb shawarma, and the glazed beef cheeks. We lull in a food coma afterwards; my boyfriend kindly pays ($65).

9 p.m. — I take the train home. Hurray for quiet train carriages and off-peak fare prices! $2.10

Daily Total: $5.67
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8 a.m. — Same old routine, banana bread and all. I pay my daily fare and my Opal card tops up when I exit the station in Sydney CBD. $33

5:30 p.m. — Work is not busy at all. I do around two hours of advice writing and some marketing, chugging green tea throughout the day. I head home on the train at 5.30. For the rest of the evening, I rest up and watch YouTube; Saf, from "Ladylike" on BuzzFeed, has a great personal channel. I eat a lot of congee for dinner since I'm still sick from Monday.

Daily Total: $33
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8:20 a.m. — The train to work today is super squashy. I do my makeup at the back of carriage, not-so-discretely hiding in the corner so that no one judges me. The new Smashbox mini-palettes are superb; the bronzy copper-gold shades are so pigmented! $3.57

8:56 a.m. — I buy sushi today since I'm a bit tired of banana bread. I love the salmon and avo rolls, paired with the teriyaki beef roll. The couple that runs the stall seems a bit stressed today. I hope they are doing okay. $3.90

5:30 p.m. — Work was NOT busy. I tried asking around, to no avail, and end up writing a marketing piece about the new crowdsourced funding legislation, and how the Australian Federal Budget plans to expanding that scheme to proprietary companies. I also have green tea. I receive a ColourPop order that I made a week ago and proceed to spend 20 minutes swatching makeup up on my arm and raving to a coworker.

5:45 p.m. — I have dinner at Jamie's Italian with my boyfriend. There is a $10 AUD truffle tagliatelle special! We order one each and share the polenta chips and a tiny piece of fried salami bruschetta. Bloody hell, Jamie's is such a rip-off sometimes ... but the pasta is good and perfectly al dente. We sink into our second food coma for the week. I cover dinner this time. $32

8 p.m. — I get on the train to Newtown to drop off my work bag in my boyfriend's car. We are going to a Harry Potter-themed party tonight — yes, I am a child at heart — so I change into my costume, complete with a Slytherin tie and school blazer. I get more-than hyped as we head to the venue. $4

8:30 p.m. — There are about 100 people sweeping around in wizard's robes and I am taken aback as a huge, hulking guy dressed up as Hagrid stumbles by. There is a large, hand-painted mural of the Hogwarts Express, a decorated photoshoot area, floating candles, and issues of The Daily Prophet glued all over the walls. I bought tickets for both of us around a week ago for $41. From what I can see so far, it was totally worth it. The drinks line is impossibly long (everyone is yelling for their butterbeer and Polyjuice Potion) but the music is fantastic — early 2000s and late '90s, just how I like it. I meet up with some university friends and fellow lawyers and their boyfriends. We drink firewhiskies and butterbeers, and proceed to dance the night away. $56

1 a.m. — Stumble back to Newtown station to find car. Boyfriend kindly drives us back to his home. We're both exhausted.

Daily Total: $99.47
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12 p.m. — Dead tired. My cough has worsened overnight. I buy some cough syrup at a local pharmacy. Later, I tuck into some Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops and rice at my boyfriend's place, and he gives me a ride home. I bid him farewell and head to straight sleep. $5

5 p.m. — I wake up, still feeling like a corpse, and text friends to cancel on dinner that night. Sleep.

7 p.m. — I eat congee dinner with family while watching the Eurovision semifinals. We all chuckle at the Romanian yodeling and rapping duo. I head to bed at 9.30 p.m.

Daily Total: $5
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9 a.m. — Mother's Day! I have an early breakfast with mum at a waterfront café. It is a modern and airy place with very good food. I choose the Earl Grey pancakes with caramel popcorn, fig, and strawberries — not a very sick person-appropriate food. My mum selects the truffle mushroom toast with fried duck egg. The morning is lovely, apart from the fact that on the way to the café, we mistakenly drive through a T-way lane. We had no idea what a T-way lane was until it was far too late. If we get caught, it means a $242 fine and one demerit point. Fantastic. In the afternoon, I relax at home watching BuzzFeed, helping with the laundry, cleaning, and mourning the potential fine. I'm still coughing a lot, so I take an afternoon nap. $31

6 p.m. — We head out for Mother's Day dinner at Bondi Pizza. Our family might be small in stature (we're all under five-foot-two) but we can eat a LOT. We order a prawn and chorizo pizza, a barbecue-smoked pulled pork pizza, a rack of pork ribs with chips, and pumpkin, parmesan, and sage ravioli. My third food coma this week. My sister and I split the bill; it comes to about AUD 50 each. $37

Daily Total: $68
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9 a.m. — I text my supervising partner to tell him that I can't come to work; my cough has been terrible. I sleep and then eat some noodles, before walking down to the doctor. She prescribes me antibiotics. I see there's a beauty sale at the chemist and consider buying something to cheer myself up, but then I remember the potential fine from yesterday. I leave empty-handed. For the rest of the day and night, I nap and drink water. $3.50

Daily Total: $3.50
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8 a.m. — Back to the grind and feeling much better after antibiotics! The train is crowded; I try not to cough on people. $3.57

5:30 p.m. — I caught up on boring work today; it's tedious stuff that doesn't require much brainpower. Scoot out of work at 5:45 p.m. and head to meet my boyfriend for Japanese food at Townhall. We get tonkotsu ramen and fishcake at an inexpensive Japanese place next to the cinemas. $17.80

6:45 p.m. — We're watching Alien: Covenant! I'm very excited since I've been waiting for a sequel since Prometheus. Nothing like a Tuesday night sci-fi/alien/gore movie. We sneak in our iced coffees from Starbucks; my boyfriend covers the beverages and tickets ($20).

9 p.m. — Boyfriend and I discuss our plans to visit a medieval fair on the weekend, complete with jousting and sword work. We wave goodbye on opposite train platforms and then head home. I dream about Facehuggers and Xenomorph aliens hiding in showers. $2.50

Daily Total: $23.87
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Editor's Note: All prices have been converted to the U.S. dollar.

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