Money Diaries

A Week In Newtown, Sydney, On A $82,000 Salary

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 editor who makes $82,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a 'blind dog' patch for her dog's harness.
Occupation: Content Editor
Industry: Publishing
Age: 30
Location: Newtown, Sydney
Annual Income: $82,000 + bonuses (approx $5,000 - $8,000 annually)
Net Worth: $70,000 ($28,500 in savings, $3,500 in an emergency fund, $2,500 in a UK bank account, $1,500 in shares, $29,000 in my super, and around $5,000 in value for my car and motorbike (my partner and I bought the car together). I only moved to Australia in 2017, so I’ve been keen to grow my super. It’s currently in a high-growth, top-performing fund and I salary sacrifice an additional $400 into it each month.).
Debt: About $50,000 for a student loan based in the UK. I haven't been keeping up with it so it’s only been growing. It wipes out after 30 years and I’m a third of the way into that, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they never bother to track me down.
Paycheque Amount (monthly): $5,003, after my $400 salary sacrifice.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $600. I live with my partner and five other people in a share house. I get a lot of shocked and sometimes judge-y looks when I tell people there are seven of us, but it’s a beautiful home, my housemates are amazing and the rent is cheap. 
Gym Membership: $107
Mobile Phone: $50
Bills: $60. Each housemate contributes $15 a week to a bills account, which is used for all of our utilities as well as general expenses. It covers everything from toilet roll and toothpaste to olive oil, salt and pepper.
Health Insurance: $50
Subscriptions: $65 (I have subscriptions to Spotify, Canva, a chess app, Duolingo and a news service).

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

Yes. I did a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Art History. I worked throughout university to cover my living costs, but I got a student loan to cover the fees and accommodation costs. It’s probably sitting somewhere close to $50,000 now. I'm from the UK, so my loan repayments don't come straight out of my paycheque; I have to send them myself. I did pay a little bit of it off at first, but when I was in a lower-paid job I just couldn’t keep up and started avoiding the letters. I haven’t paid anything for about three years now and just throw the letters out when they arrive. I know that’s not great, but it’s working for now.

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

I don’t recall any educational conversations about money, but we did have conversations about why we couldn’t have or do certain things. When I was a kid, my mum was a single parent working paycheque-to-paycheque in unstable part-time jobs. My dad didn’t contribute much financially. 
There was a lot of emotion attached to money conversations in my family because there were higher stakes. For my mum, an unexpected bill wouldn’t mean a dent in her savings — it would mean finding time to go to the bank to apply for an emergency loan, which would mean taking time off work, leading to less money that week. It was hard to get out of debt.
While I didn’t get much of an education on higher-level money stuff, I did receive an education on how so many people live. It’s much harder to get out of poverty than people think. My mum instilled a sense of resourcefulness in me that comes from being poor and just having to make it work.

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

When I was 13 or 14, my stepdad got a job as a warden on a caravan site. It meant moving onto the caravan site, which I wasn’t happy about, but I’m glad it happened because that’s when our financial situation finally started to get a bit more stable.
Once we were there, my mum realised that there was no shop for anyone staying on the site and saw an opportunity. She turned a section of the house into a little store selling lollies, ice creams and toys, that sort of thing. But by that point, she had found a more stable full-time job and didn’t want to give it up, so everyone pitched in to help run it. I worked there on the weekends for £5 ($9.50AUD) an hour which was actually quite generous. I also got a job at our local supermarket when I was around 17, along with every other person in my high school.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Sometimes, yes. But it was more a sense of guilt for costing so much. Kids don’t really need all that much money to be happy, so it’s hard seeing your mum get so upset about buying school uniforms or paying the electricity bill. I absolutely dreaded going shopping for back-to-school stuff because it was very obvious that the entire cost was my ‘fault’, even though my mum would never have intentionally made me feel bad about it.
I remember, just one time, she asked to borrow money from me to help pay the electricity bill. I was probably around 7 or 8 and it had been my birthday a few weeks earlier and I must have gotten some money from relatives. I was always a keen saver when I was a kid, so it would have just been sitting in my piggy bank. It must have been very difficult for her to ask, but I was so happy that I could help because you feel so powerless as a kid. You know your family is stressed about money, but what are you supposed to do about it? She paid it back on payday and I felt like I’d contributed.

Do you worry about money now?

I think about money but I wouldn’t say I worry about it. Here's why: about a year and a half ago, I was able to pay for breast reduction surgery, which cost around $17,000. I've wanted it for more than half my life and having the ability to pay for that myself, without a loan, was a really important moment for me.
No, it's not a house, and I know it won't be a massive amount of money to everyone, but for me, it was a huge sign of financial security. When I was younger, I never thought I'd be able to afford it, but I did.
I do sometimes find myself wishing that I had a higher salary, more savings, or enough to buy a house in Sydney, but whenever I get down about that, I try and remember that I was able to afford something that a lot of people can't. Even though I don't worry about money, I still get very, very annoyed about wasted money. So speeding fines, parking fines, fucking up a recipe or forgetting food in the fridge — things like that really bother me.  

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

I moved out of home to a new city when I was 18, but my mum helped me a lot, buying everything from kitchen utensils to bedding. I’d say I became completely financially independent when I was around 19, although in my first few years out of home I did have to ask for a small loan a couple of times, which I repaid as soon as I could. Now, I have plenty of savings, plus a separate emergency fund of around $3,500.

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

My grandma sold her house and moved into disability social housing when I was about 18. She gave my brother and me about £1,000 (AU$1,800) from the sale, which I put towards a used car. 

Day 1

8:30am — My alarm goes off and I wake up slowly, reading the news on my phone. Russian troops at the Ukraine border. A police investigation into Boris Johnson’s parties. A new Omicron variant in Australia. Not the most cheerful start.
8:45am — My boyfriend, S., gets up to make coffee, which we drink in bed. He informally moved in when Sydney lockdowns first started happening, but we only made the move official about six months ago. Even after such a long trial period, I was still a bit nervous, but so far, so good (maybe being brought coffee in bed helps!). I'd actually asked for a coffee percolator for Christmas because we were spending way too much on takeout coffee — turns out, it’s been one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. It’s given us a much more wholesome routine, where we actually sit together and chat about the day rather than one of us waiting in line, bringing coffee back and then dashing off to work. 
9:00am — I start work. Although I live in a 7-person share house, I’m lucky enough to have a large room with plenty of space for a desk, so I’ve never minded working from home. I know what you’re thinking when I say 7-person share house, but I promise you it’s the complete opposite. Our lounge room is a homage to a 70s ski chalet and we have dried Australian natives hanging from the pine rafters. We love our house and we keep it as clean and tidy as any 7-person (plus pooch) house can be. It’s also a super welcoming home and doesn’t feel as overcrowded as you’d think it would. It’s also the reason I was able to make so many friends when I moved here from overseas. There’s just something special about it — it has its own soul. Unfortunately, there is a lot going wrong with it, including two leaking toilets which I have already emailed our real estate about twice (to no reply).
10:30am — I call our real estate agent and he doesn’t answer, so I call the office line. Incredibly, he picks up and as real estate agents often are, is full of excuses as to why he hasn’t replied. He promises to have a plumber out later today.
2:00pm — It’s been a busy day and I realise I haven’t eaten. I order a lunchtime special from the vegan Thai restaurant down the road and get my usual — barbecue satay tofu stick and drunken Hokkien noodles — extra spicy, no mushrooms ($10.50). I walk over to pick it up so there’s no delivery fee to worry about. $10.50
6:30pm — I’m just leaving the house when I bump into my housemate, W. I’m heading to a local brewery, Grifter, to meet some friends and I ask if he wants to join. Happily for me, he does, so I’ve got company for the walk. 
7:00pm — Beer number one ($6.50). I’ve been tracking my expenses since the start of January and it’s been really helpful in keeping an eye on how much I’ve been drinking. Confronting, but helpful. Full disclosure, I’ve been spending around $300 a month on booze. I’m okay with that when the choices are mindful — maybe it’s a nice bottle of wine or an interesting beer. But I’m trying to avoid blindly buying beers for the sake of it. It’s just so easy to tap my card though! Let’s see how tonight goes. $6.50
7:10pm — I’m parched from the walk and my first beer was only a half so I’m quickly onto my second, opting for a pint this time ($12). I look at the timestamps on my banking app and realise I've bought two beers 11 minutes apart. It's startling, but please don't judge me! $12
7:55pm — Another two of my housemates are here (they’re a couple) but they’ve been on a trip for the past week, so it’s fun catching up with them. I’ve genuinely missed them and I’m excited they’re back. They’ve also brought some of their friends who I like, but haven’t seen in a while. Everyone has a new story or two to share so spirits are pretty high. I’m in a good mood so I splash out on a beer cocktail ($14) which is basically just vodka, sour beer and raspberry lemonade. I don’t have particularly high hopes but it's actually delicious! $14
8:40pm — And another beer ($6.50), but just a half this time. Somehow this gives me less guilt about the mindlessly buying beers thing. $6.50
9:20pm — The brewery closes at 10 so I grab my final beers — $12.
9:30pm — A few sips in and I realise I should probably eat. Luckily there’s a food truck outside, so I order a veggie burger ($17). It’s delicious, but $17 is a little steep for a burger, especially when it’s from a food truck and doesn’t come with fries! $17
10:35pm — We start to head home and stop in at a pub on the way, where I change things up and get a gin and tonic — $9.
11:00pm — My friends continue on to another pub but I decide to call it as I’ve already been out twice this week and I’m trying to avoid drinking too much. 
11.45pm — S. gets home from work, and we catch up about the day before heading to bed at around 12.30am.
Daily Total: $87.50

Day 2

9:00am — Typical morning routine. S. makes coffee which we drink in bed while chatting about our plans for the day.
10:10am — I head to the pool for a swim. I made it my New Year’s resolution to get better at swimming, so I cancelled my old gym membership a few weeks ago, leaving a fancier chain for a more community-friendly pool and gym. It’s cheaper, less intimidating and I’ve been enjoying a cool swim on a hot day.
12:10pm — After dropping my stuff back at home, I cycle to Glebe Markets to see if I can pick up any clothes. I’d estimate that at least 50% of my wardrobe is from op-shops, vintage stores or markets and it makes me feel less guilty for those times when I do indulge in fast fashion. I find a dress from one of my favourite Australian brands that would have cost around $120 new but only sets me back $20. $20
2:25pm — It’s an absolute scorcher of a day and cycling home is brutal. I stop at a juice shop for a drink ($7) and a rest. $7
3:20pm — I drive to Sydney Park to take the dog for a walk. She only has one eye and recently lost about 80% of her vision in the remaining one, but still has plenty of energy. She clatters into a few unsuspecting dog walkers and I remind myself to buy a patch for her harness that lets people know she’s blind.
6:00pm — I cycle to my friend’s place for a catch-up. We’re doing a little throw-together dinner, so I take a bottle of wine that I’ve had in the house since Christmas and some bread and pasta that S. brought home from work yesterday. He’s the head chef at a really nice little restaurant and often brings home little goodies. This actually started way back when we were first dating. He’d always finish really late but would offer to bring some special meal or treat if I stayed up for him. He bribed me, basically. But it worked. What can I say? I’m a sucker for carbs.
6:25pm — I arrive at my friend J.’s house. I love my place, but hers always makes me want to move somewhere smaller. Her one-bed unit is on a quiet street, has plenty of space, a large kitchen and a garden full of olive trees. She gets it at a good price because the owner is a friend of a friend. While I usually love my living arrangement, I’ve been feeling like it’s time for something a little more peaceful lately. We live right next to a main road and our bedroom is at the front of the house, so it’s very noisy. I’m talking drunk screaming at midnight, police sirens at 2am and car horns at 5am. Plus, when we have parties or bring people back for kick-ons, my room cops the most noise as it’s the only one on the ground floor. That’s fine most of the time, but I’m getting older (and more boring), so I’m terrified of becoming that shitty housemate who yells at people to keep it down. 
11:30pm — S. picks me up after work as I’ve drunk too much to cycle home. We went halves on a car about a year ago for $3,000 each. It’s a mid-size crossover SUV so we can use it for camping (and carrying bikes after too many wines!).
Daily Total: $27

Day 3

9:30am — Today is Sunday, which means it’s my turn to make the coffee. Sunday is the only full day S. and I have off together so we’ll always try and arrange a fun activity while also getting some household chores done. It’s the men’s finals at the Australian Open tonight so, in honour, we’re going to play tennis with a few friends. I haven’t held a tennis racquet in over a decade so it’s probably going to be more of a dishonour, but the real draw is the restaurant attached to the tennis club.
10:10am — We get up and start the household chores part of the day. We have a regular cleaning roster but we’re off the hook this week so we clean the room and start some laundry. 
12:15pm — We cycle to Marrickville Tennis Club to meet our friends for lunch. If you haven’t been, it’s like stepping back into the ‘70s. The room is akin to a school assembly hall, with a rickety wooden stage and bright fluorescent lighting. Plaques commemorating local sporting victories from half a century ago adorn the walls. Two charming waiters, both well into their 60s, bustle around in white shirts open three buttons deep. The prices are 10 years behind what they should be but the food can easily compete with some of the best restaurants in Sydney. It’s a true hidden gem.
12:40pm — S. buys me a vodka and tonic but I take one sip and realise that I don’t want to drink today. I buy a plain soda water instead. $3 
12:50pm — Our table of eight digs into vongole, king prawns, octopus, snapper, seafood rice, chorizo, steak, chips, salad and bread. We split the bill at an even $45 each, which includes the cost of two tennis courts for an hour and a half. I’m not sure exactly how it’s split as a friend pays and we all just transfer her the money. $45
1:30pm — We hit the courts during the heat of the day which seems like a planning error. It’s 30 degrees and our stomachs are full but we’re happy to get some (very sweaty) exercise. 
3:25pm — We cycle home with our housemate, who invites us around to his parents' house for a swim in their pool. We quickly pick up swimmers and the dog and drive over there. On the way, we stop by a juice shop and I shout one for my friend ($16). $16
6:20pm — Back home, S. and I head to the supermarket to get groceries. We’re making fish tacos but grab stuff to make tofu chocolate pudding as well as breakfast and lunch food for tomorrow (muesli and fruit for breakfast, and ingredients for a tuna sandwich at lunch). We opened a joint bank account a while ago when I was applying for a partnership visa, and we used it at first, both putting in $200 a week, but it slowly fell out of favour and we haven’t used it in well over a year. We’re very open with each other about money and tend to just take turns, assuming it’ll roughly even out over time. I pay for the groceries ($69) and he offers to transfer me half but I decline. I feel like it’s my turn. $69
7:30pm — A few friends arrive at our place to watch the tennis. They bring bread and dips which we snack on while making dinner. 
10:30pm — A few of our friends are far bigger tennis fans than us and part of me was worried they would want to stay for the entire game, but they leave at about 10.30pm, assuming Medvedev has it in the bag.
11:30pm — I’m too tired to stay up and head to bed, tragically missing Nadal’s comeback. 
Daily Total: $133

Day 4

8:30am — Wake up, read news, drink coffee, chat.
9:00am — Start work for the day. S. is off today so he sorts out brekkie (muesli, fruit, yoghurt, and honey) before heading out to do his own thing. 
10:00am — I call the real estate agent again. He picks up this time and, once again, promises to have a plumber out today. I ask him to keep me updated. 
12:50pm — Tuna sandwich time. I very rarely stop for a full lunch break while working at home. Sometimes I might use it to run errands but more often than not I’ll just take 10 - 15 minutes for a quick bite. I even eat at my desk a lot of the time. 
2:20pm — The plumber, A., calls and lets me know he’s about 15 minutes away. I tell him a handy spot for parking and he remembers which house it is and asks about our dog. He’s been to our house for other issues before and is just the loveliest man. The conversation cheers me up. 
3:40pm — A. arrives and it’s like welcoming your favourite uncle into the house. He fixes one of the toilets but says he will have to come back in a couple of days to fully repair the second one. He also asks if anything else has been going on and notices our kitchen sink isn’t looking great. He tightens the tap and reseals the edges. We love you, A. 
5:10pm — I head to the pool with my housemate to swim a few laps. She’s actually the one that first started teaching me how to swim properly so props to you, QJ!
6:15pm — Since I bought groceries yesterday, S. goes out to grab ingredients for spicy prawn pasta. I’m telling you, anyone who hasn’t dated a chef should really try it. For the rest of the night, we just hang out at home with our housemates and watch a movie. I cannot explain the torture that comes from trying to get all of us to agree on a movie that none of us has seen. Somehow we manage it and settle on The Power of the Dog. 
It lands well with all of us, which is a bloody miracle, really. Hot tip for share houses — ALWAYS put the subtitles on. That way people can chat about what’s happening if they want, without pissing everyone else off. It’s been a friendship saver for us. I actually love nights like this, when we’re all home and squish together to watch a movie. That’s a pretty beautiful thing about living in a house with lots of people — almost every night feels like socialising so you never get bored. 
9:55pm — A friend, T., messages me about some freelance copywriting work for his business, which is a tea brand. I’m always wary about freelancing for friends because it can end up being overly complicated or awkward. It’s getting late, so I ask him to email me the details along with any packaging mock-ups, and promise to take a look at it the next day.
11:00pm — We head to bed at around 11. We play a couple of games of chess together on our phones and then S. works on some menu ideas while I read my book. I’m reading two books at once right now — Dune (which someone gave me as a gift back in October) and Honeybee (which I'm just starting.) I’m sorry for any fans out there, but Dune is such a slog. Holy shit. I feel like I have to finish it because it was a gift, but usually, it’ll take me a week maximum to finish a book and I’ve had this for MONTHS. It’s never-ending. Honeybee, on the other hand, is amazing. I can't put it down and end up staying awake far later than I should.
Daily Total: $0

Day 5

8:30am — Wake up, read news, drink coffee, chat. 
9:00am — I start work and plan out my day. It’s a pretty straightforward one today as I’ve already done all of the research and interviews I need to write my next few pieces. 
9:20am — I take a closer look at the freelancing project that was sent over and it seems fun — writing copy for six tea canisters. The teas are pretty weird and wonderful, so it leaves scope for some interesting copy. Plus, T. has been super upfront about his budget, offering $100 per canister, for however many he accepts. It’s not the greatest deal as there’s no guaranteed income — he might not like the copy. But he’s a friend and he’s starting a new business so I’m keen to help him out. I explain how I would usually structure pricing (payment for work done, plus three revisions) but say I’ll go with his option this time. He’s overshot the budget a little bit so I tell him the entire project is capped at $400, even if he takes the copy for all six. Let’s hope he likes them!
1:10pm — I have leftover pasta for lunch and it’s bloody delicious. 
5:05pm — I finish work and get cracking on my freelancing stuff. Each description has some tight character limits but it’s fun trying to come up with good copy that also fits. Yep, I’m a word nerd. Don’t talk to me about Wordle.
6:30pm — Time to walk the dog. We started looking after her about a year ago because her owners were struggling to juggle an energetic dog with a house renovation and two young kids, all during lockdown. I’ve completely fallen in love with her and I’m hoping to make it permanent, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on her original family. I’m just waiting it out until the right time to offer adoption. She also has very expensive vet bills since we have to rush her to the animal ophthalmologist every time she has a pressure spike (she has glaucoma). She’ll probably need her remaining eye removed soon too, so we’d have to factor that into our budgets. Right now, she’s on three different medications, three times a day. The medicine costs around $50 - $60 a month as it is, but we use the house bills account to fund that at the moment. I’d wanted a dog for so long before we started looking after her, but held off because I didn’t think I could commit. Now I’ve somehow ended up with a special needs dog that requires extra care. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
7:40pm — Back at home, I remember to order her patches to let other dog walkers know she’s blind ($30). Some people get really annoyed when she cuts across their path or bumps into them and I think they’d be less frustrated if they knew she couldn’t see. $30
7:55pm — I sit down to do some more work on the freelancing project. It’s really different to the writing I usually do — which is typically about personal finance — so it’s taking me a little bit longer to get it right. The house is pretty quiet tonight so I don’t feel too bad being in my room.
9:10pm — I realise I haven’t eaten, so I have a couple of rice cakes with peanut butter on them. I call S. and ask him if he can bring some food home as I feel like it’s too late to make dinner. 
9:20pm — I go back to the freelancing project for another couple of hours and finally finish up at about 11:30pm. 
11:45pm — S. gets back home from work with takeout pasta, which I warm up in the microwave and eat immediately. Yes, I know it’s far too late to eat anything, let alone a pile of carbs. But hey, I’m hungry and they say listen to your body… right?
12:40am — We head to bed after staying up to chat for a while. 
Daily Total: $30

Day 6

8:00am — My phone goes off and it’s A. (the plumber) letting me know he’ll be there in 15 minutes. No slow morning routine today. 
8:01am — I get up and put the coffee on while doing a few chores. Empty the dishwasher, put a load of laundry on, bring the bins in. I actually feel quite accomplished for getting it all done before 9.
8.10am — A. arrives and gets cracking. I start work early and get heaps out of the way. At my old job, I used to go into work at 7am and I loved it because I’d get the bulk of my work done without any distractions. I should really try and get into the habit of rising early again.
12:15pm — Since my room is the only one on the ground floor of our house, I see the comings and goings all day. It can be quite distracting, but overall I like it. Especially because I regularly get offered free food — like today. J. & M., another couple who live in the house, ask if I want some of their leftover green curry. They use a meal subscription service and there’s far too much food for them both to eat. I happily oblige.
12:50pm — I start work again but get distracted by a little bit of online shopping. My headphones have been missing for ages now and I haven’t been running because I haven’t had them (or at least that’s been a pretty good excuse!). I’m finally ready to accept that they’re gone for good (and I’m in the mood to start running again), so I splash out and order some AirPods ($279). They’re an upgrade from my previous wired ones which would inevitably send my phone flying when I accidentally swiped them with my hand. $279
4:10pm — I finish up a little earlier than usual so I quickly get changed and cycle down to the pool for a few laps. 
5:25pm — I’m making a proper dinner tonight — not just rice crackers and peanut butter — so I cycle to the supermarket and pick up ingredients for rice kooftehs. Rice, plant-based meat, onions, parsley, coriander, dill, eggs, tomatoes, dried apricots and cardamom pods. The rest I have at home already. I also get some cherry tomatoes and raspberries to snack on, as well as a juice drink. $52
5:55pm — I don’t care that I’m saying it myself, but I have the most adorable basket on my bike and nothing makes me happier than seeing it filled with fresh food. It’s just so bloody wholesome! I love it. Unfortunately, I am not very fit and I struggle up the hill with my laden (but beautiful) basket. 
6:20pm — Back at home, I get cracking on the kooftehs. I get quite frustrated when I have to cook while hungry because I just want everything to go quickly and don’t have any patience. But I have healthy snacks and plenty of time, so I’m happy. I find it incredibly therapeutic to just slowly make my way through a recipe without any need to rush. It’s just not often that I get a chance to do it (although I could probably make time if I really tried).
7:20pm — I didn’t read the full recipe first and therefore didn’t realise I have to leave the kooftehs simmering in their little bath of goodness for about an hour. It’s going to be a late dinner. Oh well. My housemate, A., and her boyfriend are around so we play a few rounds of cards.
8:30pm — Kooftehs are finally ready and although it’s a late dinner, they are well worth the wait. There’s also enough of them for leftovers tomorrow — yay!
9:30pm — After another couple of rounds of cards, I head back to my room because I want to catch up on some work. About 6 months ago, during one of the lockdowns, I signed up to do a marriage celebrant course. It’s been really interesting, but far more labour-intensive than I thought it would be. I spend a couple of hours on coursework and make decent progress.
12:15am — S. comes in from work and tries a koofteh. It’s quite stressful having a chef eat your food but he loves it and I feel very smug. 
1:20am — We stay up chatting a while and end up heading to bed quite late. 
Daily Total: $331

Day 7

8:45am — Wake up feeling a little tired but S. is off work today, so it’s his turn to make coffee. I grab my laptop and start the day from bed.
9:25am — I have a meeting at 9:30am, so I finally drag myself out of bed, throw a semi-presentable dress on and brush my hair. 
10:00am — S. comes back from buying breakfast food. He has more time today so we have hash browns with wilted spinach and parmesan. When I tell people my boyfriend is a chef, they almost always ask, "Does he still cook at home?" Yes. All the time. It’s the best thing ever. 
1:30pm — Kooftehs for lunch. They’re even tastier the next day. 
4:30pm — I finish up work a little early because tonight is date night and I want to switch off and have plenty of time to relax and get ready. Thursdays are always date nights. Dates don’t necessarily mean getting dressed up and doing something fancy though — sometimes we’ll go to the park with pizzas, go to the local arcade and win something tacky, or even just buy a half-decent bottle of wine and cook something a bit special at home. Tonight though, we’re going to a new restaurant which is actually part of S.’s wider restaurant group, so we’ll get a 50% discount. It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper going-out date night, so S. has offered to pay as a treat — as long as I get the taxis. Seems fair to me.
6:30pm — Taxi to the restaurant — $16.
7:00pm — We dig into oysters, anchovy snacks, croquettes, tuna tartare, mussels, snapper, octopus, prawns and sweet pie for dessert. There were probably a few other things in there too which I’ve forgotten about due to too many wines and vermouth. It was all delicious and we’ll definitely be back.
9:00pm — The bill comes ($194) and we realise the discount is only 25%. The food and service have all been amazing and we’re too shy to ask why it isn’t the usual 50%. I offer to pay half of the bill since it’s more than we were expecting, but S. is happy to pick up the tab. He leaves a $30 tip and will find out about the discount tomorrow (it turned out that the 25% discount was right because the new restaurant is a joint venture… so we’re very glad we didn’t ask!).
9:15pm — We have one more drink in the bar area. When we try to pay, we’re told they’re on the house. Hooray!
9:20pm — As promised, I order the taxi home ($13) and we head back for a reasonable early night with full tums. It's a very cheap date night for me — I swear we usually split!
Daily Total: $29
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