A Week In Kensington, Melbourne, As A Content Creator On $73,275

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 goes out for pizza with a friend, gets her nails done in a lunch break and attends book club with her friends.
Occupation: Content creator
Industry: Media
Age: 27
Location: Kensington, Victoria
Salary: $73,275
Net Worth: $47,788. This is made up of my general savings ($10,000), emergency fund ($2,200), joint savings with my partner ($2,014), investments on Spaceship ($4,434) and my superannuation ($29,140).
Debt: Only my HECS debt, which is currently $28,947.
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): My paycheque from my nine-to-five job is $3,227 per month. Sometimes I freelance so will get a random payment of a few hundred here and there. It’s not very consistent though, so I usually chuck it in my savings or (more often than not) use it as fun money. 
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly expenses 

Rent: I currently live in a studio apartment on the edge of Melbourne city with my partner, H. We pay $500 per month each in rent. It’s owned by a family member so that $1000 is inclusive of bills as well. It’s really small (obviously, being a studio) but considering the housing crisis we feel so grateful to have this opportunity. It gives us a chance to build up our savings and work towards owning our own home one day. We recognise that not everyone has family help in the same way so definitely don’t take it for granted. 
Monthly loan payments: $191 is taken out of my paycheque to pay my HECS loan off. 
Squarespace: $25 (for my professional website)
Spotify: $18 (I pay for premium as I listen to Spotify nearly all day.)
Australian Conservation Foundation: $25 (my monthly charity contribution)
Apple (iCloud memory storage): $15 
ClassPass: $50 
Personal savings: $500-$1000, depending on what’s going on that month. My partner and I recently got engaged so we have two accounts we’re putting savings towards (house deposit and our wedding). 

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

I have a bachelor of communications, majoring in media, which I graduated from in 2019. It was paid for by the HECS scheme. I’d love to pay it off sooner rather than later (especially with the HECS indexation that is increasing alongside inflation), but considering it’s a “good” debt, I’m happy to pay the minimum rate for a couple more years. I waitressed all throughout university to pay for my expenses.

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

My family and I didn’t really talk about money. Or at least, I have no memories of it. When I got my first paycheque, they explained what tax and superannuation were, but never told me what percentage of my wage I should be spending or saving. I was kind of left to my own devices and taught myself. Now as I’m older and am learning more about finances, I feel like I’m teaching them more about investing and saving, rather than the other way around. 

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

My first job was at McDonald’s. I got it when I was 15 because I wanted more spending money to go out with my friends and buy clothes and makeup. It taught me a lot about independence and I met my best friend there, so I’m grateful to have had that teenage experience. 

Did you worry about money growing up?

I had a beautiful childhood and always had hot food on the table, a roof over my head, clean clothes and toys to play with. But when I was 11, my parents had to sell our family home. I don’t know all of the details (because: trauma) but I know it was due to not having enough money. I know they also came close to bankruptcy but managed to just avoid it. Since then, they’ve rented every home we lived in. They did their best to dress up moving homes as a big adventure — “You’ll get a brand new bedroom!” and “You’ll be closer to school!” — but I knew that something else was going on. It’s probably why we don’t really talk about money to this day. 

Do you worry about money now?

I flip-flop a lot. Some days I feel sick with anxiety wondering if I’ll ever afford a home. Other days I feel really confident and know that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything, including achieving financial stability. I’m trying to give myself grace when it comes to money though, given my family history and the current cost of living crisis. It’s hard to find the balance between living for the now and saving for the future.

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

I moved overseas to Europe at 17, when I finished school — I became financially responsible for myself then. I had to pay rent, transport, bills and groceries on a waitress’ wage. I never asked my parents for money, even when I was down to my last $20, as I didn’t want to burden them. I definitely have a financial safety net in terms of my extended family: I have lived in and out of their homes over the years to save money and currently pay well below the market rate for rent.   

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


Day 1

9 a.m. — I WFH on Mondays and am trying to make a conscious effort to avoid buying coffee on these days, since I use it as a social outing when I’m in the office (you’ll see). I make a breakfast of peanut butter on toast with food in the pantry and sit down to work. 
11:30 a.m. — One of my colleagues is leaving work and a virtual card/gift pot is being passed around via email. I can’t contribute to every person who leaves the company (it’s a bimonthly occurrence at the moment), but make an exception for people in my team or in the Melbourne office. This particular friend/colleague sat behind me, so I transfer $15 to the fund. $15
1 p.m. — Lunch is made up of an apple and vegetarian sausage sandwich (left over from camping on the weekend). 
5:30 p.m. — It’s a hot day and one of my close friends has a pool! I immediately log off work and search how to get to her place on public transport. It’s a 45-minute tram and train journey, or a 13-minute Uber ($19.93). No questions asked. I book one and grab a towel. $19.93 
6:30 p.m. — As we’re gossiping by the pool, we decide to check Uber Eats for our favourite pizza place. With the delivery fee, it’s going to come to $30 for a margherita pizza. $30?! We check the menu online and decide to walk down and eat in instead. 
7 p.m. — After having a gin and tonic at her house, we opt for water at the restaurant to save money. While I normally go for the margherita, I decide on an eggplant parmigiana pizza. Molto bene. It comes to $26 but at least I get some vegetables rather than $30 for cheese and tomato. $26
8:35 p.m. — I was planning on getting public transport home but left my purse with my Myki card at home. Ugh. I cop yet another Uber home ($16.50). $16.50 
10 p.m. — After a shower and some mindless TV with H, I head to bed. 
Daily Total: $77.43 

Day 2 

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off at around 7 a.m. on weekdays; more often than not, I’ll snooze it and scroll my phone or chat with H. Eventually, I get up and rustle around for an office outfit, wash my face and do my makeup. 
9 a.m. — After commuting 40 minutes on public transport, I make it to the office. I love office days because I work with such lovely people. 
9:20 a.m. — A bunch of us head around the corner to get coffee ($5.70). I opt for an almond flat white; the cafe we go to gives you a 50c discount for bringing a mug or Keep Cup, and with the extra cost of alternative milk, I appreciate this. Once back, I make some peanut butter on toast from the office kitchen supplies. $5.70
11 a.m. — My banking app tells me that my ClassPass subscription ($50) has been taken out of my account. $50 
12:30 p.m. — After a morning of work, I need a break. I’m also in desperate need of a manicure. After a few weeks, the gel nails I had on the day I got engaged are chipped and people are still looking at my ring when congratulating me, so getting a fresh set is a priority! Thankfully, the nail salon has a spare manicurist and it’ll only take 30 minutes. I opt for regular nail polish rather than gel so I can start doing them myself again. The habit is starting to add up, sadly. I go to pay and thought I heard the manicurist say $65. This doesn’t sound out of the ordinary for a manicure these days (especially as she had to take my old gel off). As I tap the machine with my phone, I realise she actually said $35! This is so cheap these days, so I take the money win. $35
1:10 p.m. — I duck next door to buy three sushi rolls ($11) to eat at my desk, because I need to get back to work. $11 
5:30 p.m. — Work’s done for the day and my friend and I are heading to our other friend’s house for book club. It’s a potluck vibe and another member has asked someone to bring salad to complement her quiche. We head to Coles and I buy two bags of kale salad and strawberries for dessert. $13.15 
6 p.m. — I’m willing to get public transport to book club but my friend insists on paying for an Uber as she wants to get there sooner. I don’t argue with her and agree to get her a coffee to pay her back. 
7 p.m. — For book club, we all read Dolly Alderton’s Good Material. There were many mixed opinions which makes the chat all the more enriching. 
10 p.m. — Since it’s a school night, we decide to all head off around 10 p.m. Book club was hosted in the northern suburbs and it’ll take me over an hour to get home. Once again, I book an Uber ($22.50) to get home safely. $22.50 
Daily total: $137.35

Day 3 

7:30 a.m. — Same morning routine as yesterday, but when I get to the train station, I realise my Myki card is low on funds. I top it up with $40 to get me through the next seven to 10 days. $40
9:30 a.m. — Another almond flat white today ($5.70). It’s the highlight of my work day getting to chat and have some fresh air with my colleagues. Of course, I come back and make toast before sitting down at my desk. $5.70
10 a.m. — I get stuck into some writing and editing for a few campaigns we have coming up. It’s busy for the start of the year! 
1 p.m. — I think my biggest expense of the week is lunch in the office. I know I should meal prep, but weekends are packed with social plans that I don’t want to miss out on because of chores. I buy a prepackaged salad from Coles, some Twisties for my colleague, more summer strawberries ($11) and wonder when the four day work week will be a thing. $11 
5:30 p.m. — I’m meeting a friend in the city tonight as we’re going to the opening night of a new play at the Melbourne Theatre Company. We got the tickets through our work, so they’re comped. Moments like this are definitely one of the best parts of working in media. 
7 p.m. — I say hi to my friend and we buy a wine each ($15) . We chat about work and down our drinks before seeing the show. $15
8:30 p.m. — The show was amazing and went for just over an hour which is great because I love getting home before 10 p.m. on weeknights. I tram home, shower and get into bed with H. 
Daily total: $71.70 

Day 4

7:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off but I want to stay in bed so badly. I start feeling all the socialising I’ve been doing lately but have another busy day today so drag myself to the bathroom to get ready. 
9 a.m. — I sit down at my desk and after checking Slack and emails, head off to get a coffee with my colleagues. 
9:15 a.m. — I opt for a batch brew this morning. It’s $1.40 cheaper and almond milk is making me feel a bit gross after drinking it at the moment. I make a mental note that it’s cheaper and vow to start swapping my coffees out. Every little bit adds up! I make some peanut butter toast once I get back to my desk thanks to the office supplies. $4.40
10 a.m. — The weather app says it’s going to be 30 degrees on the weekend, which we Melburnians don’t take for granted. I search “beach umbrellas” on Google as I want to be sun safe. Kmart has one on clearance for only $35. It’s cute too! I order it and select “Click and collect” to pick up another day. $35
12:30 p.m. — After some focused work, two of my colleagues and I go for a wander in the perfect weather to get lunch. I’m trying to eat more healthily at the moment (I wonder if this is a personal choice or bridal weight-loss pressure seeping in already?), so I choose a regular lentil salad ($13.50). It’s a bit expensive but I know it’s packed with nutrition and will keep me full ’til dinner. $13.50
2 p.m. — I remember that Valentine’s Day is coming up (probably thanks to all the Valentine’s Day content we’re making at work) and buy H a nice photo frame online from Temple & Webster ($34). I’m going to print one of our engagement selfies and give it to him as a gift. I love doing something small for Valentine’s Day as our anniversary is only a month later. $34
5:30 p.m. — I log off from another busy day at work and get the train into the city. I’m meeting H for dinner before another theatre show. Like last night, I got free tickets through work. 
6:05 p.m. — I get to Pellegrini’s (a Melbourne institution) on Bourke Street a couple of minutes late and H is already waiting for me. It’s a beautiful night so we choose a table outside. H opts for the bolognese and I choose a ravioli, plus two of their famous granita drinks. 
6:45 p.m. — We have a conversation about who should get the bill. We keep our finances separate and just have the one joint savings account, so during the week we operate on a “I get this, you get that” basis. I’m so aware of having financial independence as a woman, so this works for us for now. It may change when we get married or if we have kids. H offers but I remember he paid for a hire car and a big grocery shop the week before, so I go inside to pay. $53
6:50 p.m. — We have 40 minutes to kill before Groundhog Day The Musical starts around the corner so we duck into one of our favourite bars, Siglo, for a quick drink. The bar line is really long as it’s a gloriously warm summer afternoon so we head straight to the theatre. 
7 p.m. — Luckily we didn’t get into Siglo as there’s free prosecco at the opening! We saved around $30 and got to stand in the foyer people-watching. I have one drink while H has two. 
10:30 p.m. — The musical was so much fun! I’m knackered though so we head out as soon as the standing ovation is over and get a tram home together. 
Daily total: $139.90 

Day 5 

8:30 a.m. — Finally, it’s Friday. I tend to sleep in on Fridays as I’m tired from being in the office and doing things after work. I doze until around 8:30 a.m. and then get up and into some comfy clothes before logging on to work from home. 
9:15 a.m. — Breakfast is the last of a loaf of bread and some peanut butter. I tell H we need to go to the supermarket soon. I also make a coffee with the second-hand Nespresso machine that I bought from my friend who’s moving interstate. 
1:30 p.m. — It’s the start of the month so I pay our rent ($500) which I had saved in an account from my last pay cheque. $500
2 p.m. — It’s another beautiful day and after working all morning, I need some fresh air and sunlight. I go for a run, but halfway through am starving. I run past a health food shop on the way back and buy a protein-packed “breakfast” smoothie full of oats, banana and honey. $12.50
5:30 p.m. — After logging off work for the week, I see a parcel has arrived for me. It’s an option for our upcoming engagement party! After a shower I try it on and get H to zip it up for me. I look in the mirror and burst into tears. It doesn’t fit at all: I look like a meringue and feel totally insecure.
6:00pm: H and I walk to my grandparents’ house as we’re having a quiet dinner with them tonight. On our way, H buys two bottles of red wine from Liquorland so we don’t show up empty handed. 
7 p.m. — After a chat with my grandma and aunt, I feel slightly better and know that I’ll find the right dress eventually. They say it’s just the design but I’m still feeling self-conscious about my body. We eat curry and watch Father of the Bride as my family is very excited for our upcoming nuptials. I cry again, but over the film this time. 
Daily total: $512.50 

Day 6 

8 a.m. — It’s Saturday and I wake up to a message from my best friend saying that she’s in the neighbourhood. She’s just moved back from overseas so I jump out of bed to see her. 
8:30 a.m. — After chucking on my swimmers and some activewear, we meet up outside a café by the beach. I buy us both an iced almond latte ($12) because I’m so happy to see her and she’s not working yet. $12
12 p.m. — After a long walk, chat about weddings (she’s also engaged) and a swim, we say goodbye and I meet up with H who’s been for a run along the beach. We wander home together. 
12:30 p.m. — I’m tired after my busy week and a walk in the sun, so make some eggs on toast for us both, have a shower and then we both chill on the sofa for hours watching The OC. There are chores that need to be done and groceries that need to be bought, but all that can wait.
6 p.m. — We’re meeting another couple up in Collingwood tonight for dinner and while it’s extremely hot, I tell H we have to take the tram to save money. We make it with a minute to spare. 
7 p.m. — The restaurant has only been open for a few months and my friend was invited to taste the menu, which means it’s comped. H and I feel lucky to have been invited. We have a slow, three-hour dinner with small plates arriving throughout. It’s delicious and the restaurant was great for dietaries as well. We buy a bottle of wine for the table. 
10 p.m. — The bill comes out and the only thing we need to pay for is the wine. Crazy. We split it by four so the total comes to $21 each. Not bad for a three-course meal and cocktail each. $21
10:20 p.m. — H and I consider getting an Uber home but opt for a tram to save money. 
11 p.m. — We fall asleep with full bellies. 
Daily total: $33 

Day 7 

9 a.m. — H and I snooze; eventually I get up since I’m meeting another friend for brunch at the South Melbourne Markets. 
10:30 a.m. — My friend brings me a bunch of flowers to congratulate me on my engagement and cries as I recount the story. I feel so lucky to have so many beautiful friends who are invested in our journey. 
11 a.m. — I order muesli and an almond coffee. I go to pay but they don’t split bills. My friend swats me away and says she’ll get it since “It’s not every day you get engaged!” Oh, I could get used to this. 
12 p.m. — We say goodbye and I head to a boutique to buy my friends a farewell card as H and I are going to their leaving party this afternoon. I choose one with a Melbourne motif on the front. $6
12:20 p.m. — I go to Woolworths as well because my friend asked me to bring a packet of chips. I choose Kettle since they’re on special ($3.50). I also remember that H and I need toothpaste so grab a tube. $6
12:30 p.m — It’s a house party so we need to BYO drinks. I go to Dan Murphy’s and pick up drinks for H and I. I choose a six-pack of beer for H ($22), a bottle of prosecco for myself ($20) and rosé ($8) as a backup. We probably won’t drink it all but I might share with friends, plus it’s better to have to take some home than be short. $50
12:45 p.m. — My grandma gives us a lift down to the suburbs since she’s also seeing friends that way. 
1 p.m. — The party slowly begins and we chat with friends and dip in and out of the pool. So lush and such a peak summer afternoon. 
7 p.m. — After staying by the pool as long as we could, we decide to Uber home. It’s nearly 40 degrees and over an hour to get home on public transport. $18.40
8 p.m. — H and I toss up getting takeaway for dinner but agree that we need to eat what’s in the fridge. He makes us a tofu salad bowl and we watch TV with a fan on us. 
11 p.m. — Time to head to sleep and do it all over again next week. 
Daily total: $80.40

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