Money Diaries

A Week In Collingwood, Melbourne, On A $80,000 Income

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we tackle the ever-present taboo that is money. We ask real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we track every last dollar.
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Today: a content creator and social media manager who makes $80,000 a year spends some of her money this week on a slice of carrot cake.
Occupation: Freelance Content Creator & Social Media Manager
Industry: Beauty
Age: 29
Location: Collingwood, Melbourne
Salary: $80,000
Net Worth: $0. I drained all my savings (roughly $12,000) recently due to a break-up, moving into my own place and a one-month overseas holiday. I don't have any other assets.
Debt: I have a personal loan with $9,000 owing on it.
Paycheque Amount: I earn a regular-ish pay of $2,000 per fortnight for social media management, but it's all freelance and could change at any time. I also earn income from my own social media page, which varies anywhere from $1,000 — $5,000 per month.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $1,950. I live by myself in a two-bedroom apartment. It's a little steep for the small space, but I'm mostly paying for the location. 
Personal Loan: $400
Stan: $10
NBN: $80
Other Expenses: While I do live well above my means, I don't actually have that many expenses above the basics: rent, utilities and my one personal loan. I only just moved, so I have no idea how much my utilities will be. Now that I'm settled, I will attempt to start saving again!

Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?


Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?

I grew up in a household with a very 'fend for yourself' mentality. When I was young, I received a small allowance of $30 each week until I started working when I was 14. At this point, it was 100% up to me to make money and provide for myself. My mother has always worked in finance, so the importance of paying your bills and being financially responsible was drilled into me at a young age. So, while I do spend most of the money that I make, my first priority is always bills. 

What was your first job and why did you get it?

My first job was at Bakers Delight when I was 14! I was desperate to get into the workforce as soon as I could. I've always taken pride in making my own money and being able to do what I want without having to rely on others.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Not really! I didn't live an extravagant life with my mum, but I was never worried about being able to have a roof over my head or having school fees paid, which is a luxury that I'm grateful for. 

Do you worry about money now?

At times. I work for myself, so the next paycheque is never guaranteed and work could just disappear overnight. But I try to not dwell on it. If that does happen, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. 

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?

I moved out of home when I was 16, right when I was just about to start Year 12. At this stage, I was struggling to finish school and work full-time hours at the same time. I do not have a safety net and I am fully responsible for myself. 

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.


Day 1

7:30am — I wake up around this time every day to check my phone — Instagram, emails, the lot. I know it’s not the healthiest way to begin each day, but I’m working on it! I have a sponsored Instagram post that's due to go up this morning and my best posting time is 8am, so I pop that up. 
9:00am — I recently went through a break-up and we’re co-parenting our two dogs. It’s my week to have them, so I get out of bed and take them on a walk to get them out of the apartment. When I get home, I feed them breakfast. Co-parenting them has been quite difficult because I live in an apartment now and they are quite anxious and bark when I leave the house, so I’m not sure how sustainable it will be to keep them here.
10:00am — I have a busy workday, so I head out of the apartment early to pick up some groceries and house essentials from Coles. I just moved to Collingwood and the amount of good food around here makes it so tempting to eat out for every meal, but I’m trying to curb that habit so I can save some money. I grab some groceries and treat myself to an expensive vegan cheese that's $15 alone ($47.70). On the way home, I grab an iced latte to have with my breakfast ($7). $54.70
11:00am — I come home and make a brunch of avocado and boiled eggs on toast (you’re going to hear a lot about these this week!) while I reply to a few emails, Instagram DMs and comments on my recent post. I try my best to engage as much as possible! 
12:00pm —  For the rest of the day, I’m working on some Instagram Stories for my social media clients for next week. I currently have three social media clients that I manage socials for, on top of my own. This makes up about 50% of my work week. 
5:00pm — I wrap up relatively early for the day and feed the dogs dinner. Then, I start making my own dinner and wind down for the night with some Netflix. I try watching The Ultimatum as everyone is talking about it right now, but I find it unbearable. And that's coming from someone who loves trashy reality TV! I don't think I'll be going back to it.
8:00pm — I drag myself into the shower and do my skincare. I hop into bed a bit earlier than usual and scroll TikTok until I fall asleep. I'm not proud to admit that this is almost a nightly occurrence… I really should finish that book I started two months ago.
Daily Total: $54.70 

Day 2

7:30am — I have a busy day so I'm up early to feed the dogs and get ready. Unfortunately, I don't have a chance to take them on a walk this morning, so I just give them some extra treats. I think they're pretty stoked with that tradeoff. 
8:00am — I get ready a bit earlier as I'm heading out with a close friend and fellow creator. I apply some makeup and get dressed to meet her for a girl's day at the NGV to check out the Chanel exhibit. 
9:00am — I pick up a coffee and a croissant at my local bakery on the way because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to eat next ($11.67). I don’t want to be hangry at the gallery! I jump on a tram and head to the NGV, paid on my Myki card ($4.50). $16.17
10:00am — Meet my friend at the gallery and we buy our tickets ($30). It's actually pretty well priced given how big the exhibition is. The exhibit is absolutely beautiful. As someone who's a fashion nerd, I absolutely live for it! $30
11:30am — After we're done, we wander into the city to have lunch at Brunetti. I pick up a slice of vegan pizza ($12.04). I'm pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is, even without cheese! We do some window shopping at Emporium but I manage to not spend any money. Small wins. $12.04
2:00pm — I get back to my apartment, respond to some emails and spend some time with the puppies. Then, I get ready to go out to dinner with my talent manager and some fellow content creators that she also manages.
6:00pm — We head out for our fancy dinner at Transformer Fitzroy, grabbing a few drinks and food. It's my manager's treat, so my dinner is free! The restaurant is amazing, especially if you’re vegan and looking for a fine dining experience. I can't recommend it enough!
10:00pm — I get home, have a shower, do my skincare and jump into bed. I think my social battery is maxed out today. 
Daily Total: $58.21 

Day 3

9:00am — I have a bit of a sleep in today. I jump out of bed, get dressed, feed the puppies and reply to some emails. I also do a few bits and bobs for my social media clients that I need to finalise before the content goes live next week.
10:30am — My puppies are being picked up today. I don't want to leave them alone in the apartment, so I opt to Uber Eats my breakfast — a bagel and coffee ($22.89). I’m a huuuge bagel fan, so it's tempting to just order one of these every day. Sadly, I don’t think my gut would be very happy with me. $22.89
12:00pm —  The puppies have been picked up and I'm a little sad. I do some cleaning around the house to take my mind off it, then relax for the next couple of hours. I have a date tonight, so I'm trying to prep myself for that.
3:00pm — I really enjoy the process of getting ready, so I start early by having a long hot shower, doing a really extra skincare routine and taking my time doing my makeup. The weather is a bit hot today so I'm not sure what to wear. It's a movie and dinner date.
6:00pm — I end up wearing a pair of black slacks, a light singlet layered with a leather jacket (which is the star of the show), paired with a mini Prada purse. This isn’t our first date, so I didn’t feel the need to go *all out*. The cinema we’re meeting at is just down the road from my house, so I decide to walk to save myself the Myki fee. My date pays for our tickets. I pay for the popcorn and drinks ($19). We're seeing Death on the Nile. I like it, although it's a little cringe at times. $19
8:30pm — It is a public holiday so there isn't much open for dinner. We didn't book anywhere, so we just go to a random Italian restaurant and eat some pesto pasta. My date pays so this doesn't cost me a cent. The perks of dating!
10:00pm — Before going home, we stop by Messina and have some gelato — my shout ($11.32). I get a chocolate hazelnut flavour which is good, but not a game-changer. I really need to try a more exciting flavour next time! $11.32
11:00pm — I arrive home from my date — I had a great time! I wash my makeup off, get into bed, and scroll TikTok fr a little while before going to sleep. Same old, same old! 
Daily Total: $53.21 

Day 4

8:00am — It’s the weekend! I get out of bed early today as I'm meeting a friend from work for brunch. I do a minimal skincare and makeup routine because it’s warm out today and I have a busy day ahead! No need for a full face of makeup. 
10:00am — I meet with my friend at my favourite local cafe. I order a breakfast bowl and large coffee — $37.95.
12:00pm — My birthday is coming up, so it's my mission today to find an outfit. I walk through my local neighbourhood and rummage through boutiques until I get into the city. It’s a beautiful day and I don't want to sit on public transport and waste money! If there’s one thing I am, it’s a walker. 
1:00pm — I browse some shops in Bourke Street Mall and pick up a few basic tops from Zara ($79.90) and some intimates from David Jones ($147.85). In typical fashion, I'm buying everything but what I came here for! $227.75
3:00pm — After quite a fruitless hunt for a show-stopping birthday outfit, I head into my favourite boutique — Incu. I find a gorgeous pair of pants on sale for $140 — I feel like they could be a good statement piece! I'm still undecided if they’re birthday worthy, but figure that they'll get a lot of wear regardless. I’m trying to be a lot more thoughtful with my fashion purchases these days. I bite the bullet. $140
3:30pm — After a long day of shopping, I stop by a bakery and treat myself to some matcha and a piece of carrot cake — $19.32.
4:30pm — I come home to watch the Coachella live stream (feeling major FOMO) and relax for the next few hours. I watch Harry Styles' set and it's AMAZING!
7:00pm — I've already spent a ridiculous amount of money today, so I decide to heat up a pre-made meal that I ordered from Soulara last week. I ate a lot today and I'm not super hungry, so I pick the smoky quinoa salad. It's actually quite good! I watch one of my favourite movies, Little Women, and call it a night! 
Daily Total: $425.02 

Day 5

9:00am — It’s Sunday. I have a bit of a sleep in and then finally get myself up and dressed. I pop on some light makeup and take myself for a walk around the neighbourhood.
10:30am — I visit my local fancy food market and pick up some flowers, a croissant, a loaf of bread and some coffee ($34.50). On the way home, I stop by Coles to pick up some extra little things for breakfast and snacks — avocado, hummus and pita chips ($8.50). $43
11:30am — I set up my flowers and prepare my indulgent Sunday brunch — a croissant and avocado toast with a boiled egg, vegan feta and capers (my current obsession!). However, I've already finished my first coffee — and I can't eat brunch without a coffee! So I run across the road to my local cafe to grab my second of the day — $6.33.
1:00pm — For the next few hours, I catch up on some small work-related admin tasks, tidy the house and watch some YouTube. 
3:00pm — I’m head over to my friend’s house on the other side of the city for the night. Her partner’s out of town, so we thought we’d have a girl's night! 
4:00pm — My friend and I take her dog to the dog park before heading over to her house. Enjoyment level = 100. Cost = free.
6:00pm — My friend is generous enough to cook for me and we have spagbol for dinner. We devour it and chat about the upcoming election whilst watching the news. Real hot girl shit. 
8:00pm — The rest of our night is wholesome af — we have chocolate biscuits, gossip and play with our Flex Factory conversation cards. 10/10, would recommend! 
Daily Total: $49.33 

Day 6

8:00am — The worst part of sleepovers is that there’s always one person awake waaay before the other. That person is me. I'm up at 8am scrolling TikTok for two hours while I let her sleep in. She deserves it.
10:30am — At this point, we’re dressed, showered and ready to go for brunch. We head over to Footscray to a local cafe there. I get Japanese Eggs with fried rice and an extra-large soy latte ($34.37). It's delicious. $34.37
12:30pm — On our way back to my house, we stop by our favourite bubble tea shop. I get an iced matcha with pearls — my usual order ($9.40). It's a bit steep, but it’s not an everyday purchase. While I’m there I pick up a couple of vegan groceries (yes, it’s a grocery store and bubble tea shop!), only spending $6.50. I really held back! $15.90
2:00pm — I arrive home. I need to get some work done in the next few hours. Monday is my busiest day of the week, so I think it'll be a late one. I build out the Instagram feeds and copy for my three beauty clients.
6:30pm — Finally wrap up my work for the day! I put on the news and heat up one of my pre-made meals. This time, I've gone for a curry. It's a little average if I'm being honest — I probably wouldn't order it again.
9:00pm — I'm finally up to date on the new season of MasterChef, so I hop into the shower and call it an early night. Goodnight! 
Daily Total: $50.27 

Day 7

7:30am — Good morning! I'm up early today because my to-do list is miles long. 
8:30am — Okay, I know I said I was up early because I have a lot to do. But I end up not being able to drag myself out of bed until now. Since I'm up (for real this time), I do my skincare routine and smash out some client work. I try and get all my client work out of the way in the first half of the week so I can focus on my personal content on Thursdays and Fridays. 
10:30am — I create a week's worth of Instagram Stories for one of my clients. I find creating Instagram Stories is far more challenging than curating a feed or writing copy, so I like to break it up during my day so that I don’t get fatigued. 
11:00am — I head out to run a couple of errands. I have a package to pick up, and need some fresh eggs and a coffee (of course!) to go with my breakfast ($17.45). I’m impressed that I haven’t caved and bought breakfast from a cafe! I’m currently waiting on several invoices to come through, so my funds are running low and I can’t really afford more than my daily coffee until I get paid later this week. $17.45
1:00pm — I finish up my midday break of breakfast (same as always — avocado toast with boiled eggs!) and need to get onto filming some content for myself. Today, I’m filming a makeup tutorial. I need to post it tonight so I have to conceptualise, film and edit it all in one sitting. 
3:30pm — Now that I’m finished with my own content, I wrap up the Instagram Stories for my other two clients. Brb, falling into a content hole.
7:00pm — Finished! Not bad timing for me. I need to eat something now. It’s rainy and miserable tonight, so I’m reaching for the best looking pre-made meal I have — protein pesto penne. It's actually quite good... much better than the curry last night! 
9:00pm — I watch the new season of MasterChef, have a shower and get into bed. I’m gassed after today. Thanks for following my life this week! 
Daily Total: $17.45
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour.
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