Money Diaries

Follow Up Diary: A Week In South Yarra, Melbourne, As A Content Writer On $105,000

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.
Today: a content writer who makes $105,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a tube of doggy toothpaste for her nervous pup.
Editor's Note: This is a follow-up diary. Before reading this diary, we recommend you read this Money Diary from a few years back.
Content warning: This article discusses suicide and self-harm in a way that could be distressing to some readers. 
Occupation: Content Writer
Industry: Public Sector
Age: 31
Location: South Yarra, Melbourne
Salary: $105,000 ($89,000 pre-tax salary, plus 18% super ($16,000)).
Net Worth: $59,942 ($12,285 in savings, $1,739 in my rent account, $1,107 of fun money, and $52,793 in super)
Debt: $7,982 in HECS.
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,345
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $1,739. I got a two-bedroom flat during one of the Covid waves, so it’s much cheaper than it would have been a few years ago.
Loans: $500 in HELP debt (taken out automatically by my employer).
Spotify: $11.99
Streaming (Apple TV and Binge): $22
New York Times Magazine Subscription: $11.60
Gym Membership: $37.90
Health Insurance: $93.10
Internet: $59.99
Phone: $20
Electricity: $75 - $85
Gas: $20 - $25
Hot Water: $30 - $35
Dog Food: $90.11
Standing vet appointment for arthritis shots: $50

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

I finished my Bachelor of Arts in 2013 and took out HELP loans to pay for it. I should be able to pay off the balance this year!

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

I don’t remember ever sitting down and learning about money, but I was always aware of it. We had periods of financial hardship. I heard “We can’t afford it” enough times to learn to stop asking for toys and trips and fun things. My family is comfortable now, but I still have trouble splurging.

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

When I was 16, my stepfather at the time insisted that I get a job. I still had a lot of hang-ups about asking my parents for money, so it wasn’t necessarily about providing for myself, but more of a power trip thing for him. As an adult, I don’t see anything wrong with working in fast food, but as a teenager the idea was mortifying, so I got a job waitressing at his favourite restaurant. He was furious about it.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Yes, more than I should have and younger than was appropriate. At our worst, my family was solidly working class, but my little 7-year-old brain thought we were destitute.

Do you worry about money now?

Yes and no. 
I can afford my lifestyle and most of the time I can save a few hundred dollars a month, but I worry about the rising cost of living. I’ve given up on buying a home unless I suddenly come into great wealth, or the market crashes spectacularly.
I mostly worry about the cost of my ageing dog. I don’t have pet insurance anymore — I think it’s a total scam. I put money aside every week and that’s what I would use if he got sick or injured.

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

I started earning my fun money at 16, but I wasn’t responsible for my own rent or bills until I left home at 22. I’m panicky if I have less than $10,000 in savings. Anything above that is a nice goal to have.

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

I received $7,000 when my grandmother died a few years ago. I was moving out of a share house and into my own place at the time, so most of that went towards my bond, furniture and white goods.

How has life changed for you since we last spoke? 

Both a lot and hardly at all. Circumstantially, things are pretty much the same — same job, same dog, most of the same friends, still single, still seeing the same therapists — but I feel a lot better about everything. I hit some career goals in the last year that I’m really proud of, and I started working out like a maniac and feel a lot better about myself physically. My mental health has come a long way and that has painted everything a different colour. I accept things that used to send me spiralling. It’s boring to say everything feels better despite not changing much at all, but it’s true. Everything just feels lighter now.

How is your dog?! 

He’s so well! His anxiety has improved so, so much, and while he’s still not cool with other dogs, we’re at a point where our walks are 85% stress-free. I’m doing better because he’s doing better because I’m doing better because he’s doing better (and so on). It’s a wonderful cycle. 

And where's your mental health at now?

Ten million percent improved. I went on new meds a few years ago, and I no longer suffer big waves of anxiety and depression. Certain things spike it — drinking in particular no longer causes hangovers but full-on come-downs, so I only do it very occasionally, and never more than two glasses of wine in one night — but it’s manageable. 

We have to ask, what happened with the guy you went on that cute sushi date with, B.?

Who? I had to go back to read the old diary to see who this even was! I can hardly even remember his face. I’m still stuck on the dating app merry-go-round of hell, with no promising prospects ahead. Some days I’m really distressed about it, but increasingly, I don’t care. It’s been a long time since I met anyone *I* want to be with, as opposed to meeting someone who I want to want to be with me. I’d rather hang out by myself than be with someone who doesn’t make my life better.

Have you had any unexpected or large purchases over the past year? 

I had a little bit of elective surgery last year, which was about $15,000 out of pocket. I’m glad I did it, but it made a dent in my savings! I’m back in fighting shape now, and I’m trying to save more consistently. It will take a while to make that amount back.

Day 1

7:00am — Good morning! It’s time to get up and walk the dog in the freezing cold. It’s an uneventful walk at this time of day, but my young man gets a few biscuits for being a good boy. I spend the rest of the walk with my hands in my hoodie pocket.
7:30am — Get home, give the dog his anxiety meds (a Prozac in a glob of squeezy Vegemite) and breakfast (he has a choice between a carrot and a broccoli stem this morning — he picks broccoli). I have coffee and a raspberry yoghurt while I wait for my computer to wake up.
11:00am — I get an email from a realtor approving my rental application. I’m moving houses! I took advantage of the nose-diving mid-Covid rent prices and moved into a two-bedroom apartment last year so I could have a separate WFH space, but everything is getting so expensive now and I’m starting to feel the pinch. My lease was almost up, so I started looking a few weeks ago and found a place I like north of the river. I’ve lived south-side for several years, so it will be nice to change things up. 
There are no ads for free or even cheap moving boxes on Marketplace or Gumtree, so I bite the bullet and go to Bunnings during my lunch break to buy ten small boxes, ten large boxes, two rolls of packing tape and a tape dispenser. $44.30
11:30am — On my way home, I swing by the pharmacy and pick up my meds ($23.98) and some Vaseline for slugging ($3.99). Why buy fancy eye cream when I can just make my cheap one work harder? $27.97
11:45am — While I wait for the pharmacist to dispense my meds, I stop by the pet store and pick up doggy toothpaste. $25.49
12:30pm — When I get home, I make a salad of carrot, apple and red cabbage with French dressing, with two hard-boiled eggs on the side. It's super annoying how much better you feel when you eat properly. Back to work for the rest of the afternoon, with a Quest protein bar and a few cups of tea in there somewhere.
4:30pm — All done for the day! I take my dog out for a quick walk. His fear reactivity is doing so much better. I ended up sending him to a lovely training camp, where they exposed him to other dogs from a safe distance and slowly closed the gap between them, with positive reinforcement and gentle redirection. They got him to a point where another dog could sit ON him and he wasn’t bothered. I never thought I would live to see it!
Now that he’s home, he’s regressed a bit. We don’t know any super chill dogs to practise with, and this neighbourhood has exploded with excitable off-leash Covid puppies. As long as we can get about three metres’ distance between us and another dog, he’s fine. This is a massive improvement — it used to be that he could see another dog 50 metres away and lose his mind, thrashing and snarling. He’s never going to be the kind of dog I can take to brunch or let off at the park, and that’s okay. As long as he’s safe and happy, I’m happy.
5:30pm — Packing, cooking and Parks and Rec. Dinner is a modified recipe from TikTok (where else?), of soy and ginger tofu with sticky rice and greens. My dog is getting older and his joints are starting to need a little love. Losing weight would help, and he has about a kilo to lose — quite a lot when you’re only 16kg! — so he gets high-satiety biscuits and these gross arthritis supplements that smell like an old fish tank left in the sun.
While he eats and my dinner cooks, I list my dining table and chairs on Marketplace. My new place is much smaller than this one, and I’ll need to use its little dining area for my desk. 
6:30pm — It’s starting to look like masks will come back into regular rotation, so I buy a couple off eBay to replenish my stock ($5). They’re like hair ties — I swear that I own 1,000 of them, but I can never find one when I need to! $5
7:00pm — Time for meds and bed. My meds have a sedative effect, so I have to time them right. Too early and I’m forced into a sleep my body isn’t ready for, and I’ll wake up all night. Too late, I don’t fall asleep until midnight and pay for it in the morning. 7pm is the sweet spot right now.
My mental health is so much better than it was last time I wrote one of these diaries. I was in a terrible freefall for months, and even though I referenced it at the time, I don’t think I was fully honest about how bad I was doing. I was actively suicidal and afraid of being alone. It took months of supervision by my GP, psychologist and psychiatrist to get out of that headspace. Even the pharmacist was under strict instructions to dispense a day’s worth of meds at a time because my risk of overdose was that high. The only thing that stopped me from going through with it was that I had to take care of my dog.
But it’s been a couple of years, and everything has improved so much. I’m down to two-thirds of my initial dose (approved by my psych), and I’ve gone from weekly therapy to monthly. I’ll probably be on depression and anxiety meds for the rest of my life, and that’s okay. The tsunami of emotions and negativity I experienced with changing meds was a horror I have no interest in reliving. So I happily pop my pills, hop into bed with the dog, and fall asleep to Parks and Rec.
Daily Total: $79.76

Day 2

8:00am — It’s the weekend! I wake up and find I’ve received a Medicare rebate of $131.65 from my therapy session on Thursday. Yay!
I take the dog out for a wee and go back inside for his breakfast routine. This morning, he chooses a carrot. Every moron and their hyperactive cavoodle comes out on the weekend, neither of whom has ever heard that some dogs don’t want to be launched at, so mine won’t get a proper walk until this evening. While he munches on his breakfast carrot, I sneak out and head to the cafe.
8:15am — Even though I prefer the cafe nearest to my house, I go to the one a little further away. The nearer cafe has recently started charging $13 for a coffee and a croissant, and I just can’t justify it. I know that inflation is impacting us all and the price of coffee has remained pretty much the same for over a decade, but I just cannot abide spending more than $10 on a coffee and a pastry. Maybe if it was a coffee the size of my forearm and a decadent croissant from Lune, but from a suburban cafe? No. The further cafe charges $9.40 for a large skim latte and a plain croissant, and I can live with that. $9.40
10:00am — A guy responds to my Marketplace ad for my dining table and makes an offer on it. I accept, and he comes over right away to pick it up. So easy! He gives me $180 cash. I’m pretty sure I paid the same when I got it off Marketplace a year ago. Free table!
10:30am — Packing and Derry Girls. This will be my life for the next few weeks.
1:00pm — The worst part (not really) about maintaining your mental health is how much a healthy lifestyle plays into it. I go to the gym and flail around on weights for a bit, then spend half an hour on the treadmill. Running is misery, so I walk on a super incline and read a few chapters of Beach Read by Emily Henry on my iPad. A mental distraction is the only way I can make it through a workout.
2:00pm — Stop by the supermarket for a late lunch. I grab a salmon nigiri pack ($9.40) and a chocolate and peanut Bounce ball ($2). They’re probably crap, but still yummy and I want a treat. $11.40
5:30pm — Pack all afternoon. When did I acquire so much shit? I only moved in a year ago, but I have a mountain of stockings with holes in the crotch, decapitated dog toys and odd teaspoons I’m certain I never bought.
After his walk, the dog gets his dinner and I have the tofu/rice/greens leftovers, and a Starbucks hot chocolate sachet for dessert.
Meds, bed, television, sleep.
Daily Total: $20.80

Day 3

7:00am — Sunday Funday. I eat pretty well during the week to justify two croissants every weekend. I’ll miss this cafe when I move. They’ve just learned my name and say hi whenever I come in now! $9.40
10:00am — Packing all morning with Bob’s Burgers in the background. I do watch shows with substance sometimes, but these light shows are better when I’m pottering around and don’t need to pay much attention. 
I decide I don’t really like my bed frame anymore and list it on Marketplace too. I know I won’t get much money back for it, so I list it for only $20. I’ve had it for a million years and I’m just sick of looking at it. Now that my dog is getting older, too, I want something lower to the ground so it’s less stress on his joints if he wants to hop up. We’ve tried doggy stairs and ramps, and he doesn’t like them. All in all, a good excuse to get rid of the old bed and look for something new. I post it and wait for the offers to roll in.
3:00pm — I walk all the way to the gym and decide I can’t be bothered going in. I walk an extra block to the supermarket and call that a workout instead. There are a handful of TikTok recipes I really want to try, but I kind of can’t be bothered dealing with half-empty jars of stuff in my fridge if I’m moving in two weeks. I end up with jelly frogs and rice cakes instead. $5.50
3:30pm — On my way home from the supermarket, I stop in at Mecca and pick up a bottle of their home-brand Watercooler Hydrating Serum ($25). I got a sampler of it in a Beauty Box recently and liked it. My skin is super sensitive and breaks out easily, but it's also desperately thirsty. This serum doesn’t make me break out and my skin has stopped peeling around my chin (ew), so I figure it’s worth it. $25
6:00pm — In an effort to use up the food in my pantry, I make pancakes with the chocolate protein powder I’ve been ignoring for months. They turn out disgusting. No amount of maple syrup can make them edible. I have four pieces of toast instead.
7:00pm — Walk the dog, wash and dry my hair, put some laundry away, meds and bed.
Daily Total: $39.90

Day 4

6:30am — It’s Monday. Back to the grind. Wake up, scroll through Instagram for half an hour, drag myself out of bed and take the dog for a walk. When we get home, breakfast is the usual Prozac/carrot for him, and coffee/yoghurt for me.
8:00am — Work work work. My team works from home four days a week, which is excellent. It does mean that my standards for dressing have dropped considerably, though. I now have home leggings and going-out leggings. Depressing.
I’m still in the same job as I was four years ago, writing content in the public sector. The work itself is a little dry, but I value my lovely team much more than I crave the excitement of a sexy job. I’ve learned that the difference between a 'cool' job and a good job can be your wellbeing. The price you pay for an impressive title at a fun company is often your mental health, work-life balance, will to live, and a smaller paycheque. Nah, I’ll stick with my uneventful but stable job any day. I’m in meetings all morning and break for a protein bar, an apple and two cups of tea.
11:30am — Early lunch break to head to the post office to pick up a package. It’s a modem for the new apartment. I found a deal for $10 less a month and significantly better data speed, but it’s wireless broadband instead of NBN. While I’m out, I stop by the bakery and get myself a cinnamon scroll ($6). Yum! $6
12:00pm — I have a quiet afternoon ahead, so I take the dog for a slightly longer walk. He and another dog have an argument through a fence, but I manage to pull him away and get him to focus on me again. We walk back and forth in front of the fence again, this time with a greater distance (far enough away to keep the dog behind it from stressing out, too!). This way he’s learning not to see the fence itself as a trigger, and he can be rewarded for paying attention to me instead of losing it at an invisible threat. Once we get home, he gets a handful of biscuits in a snuffle mat to help him decompress, and I get back to work.
4:00pm — Someone has made an offer on my bed frame and wants to pick it up on Wednesday. Excellent, one less thing to pack! … and one more thing to buy. They transfer me the $20, and I set a reminder to take the bed apart after work tomorrow.
4:30pm — When I finish work, I head to the supermarket again. I was lazy on my big weekly shop last week and I’m paying for it now by having nothing left in the fridge. I get a little bottle of cream, a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and a bar of Dairy Milk. $7.60
5:00pm — Get home, make dinner. It’s pasta with the aforementioned cream, sun-dried tomato, all the frozen spinach in my freezer, and a chilli. Nothing remarkable, but it gets the job done. The dog and I spend the rest of the evening watching Loot and Physical on Apple TV, then head to bed.
Daily Total: $13.60

Day 5

6:00am — Today is my day in the office, so I get up early to take the dog out and make myself look presentable. I’m into skin tints and lip stains at the moment. Basically anything super low-effort and high-reward. I can’t believe there was a time when I got up, chose an outfit, did my hair and make up, and left the house every day. It’s exhausting! Who has the time? Who has the energy? My dog gets his broccoli and Prozac, and he rejects a kiss on the head as I head out the door.
7:30am — Commute time. I top up my Myki ($10), read half a chapter of Beach Read on my phone, and get into town. On my way to the office, I stop for a 7-11 coffee ($1). Melburnians love their coffee culture but I can hardly taste the difference. For a dollar, I’ll have shit coffee. $11
8:30am — Work spouse arrives, and we go for another coffee together. They’re much more of a coffee snob than I am, so we go to a proper cafe and I get another latte and an overnight oats cup. $13.50
11:45am — It used to be that I was unproductive working from home because I’d get distracted by the dog and the laundry and what’s on TV and the general mischief of getting away with not doing anything. After nearly two and a half years of WFH, I find the office distracting. Someone is always taking a meeting at full volume at their desk (there are meeting rooms available, babe? Come on?), or cake in the kitchen, or a colleague who wants a chat and I’m all too happy to oblige. I don’t get more than 15 minutes of work done all morning. 
I prefer working from home now, but I get why employers want us to come in. I read that each employee costs about $10,000/year in rent for corporate floorspace (not really my problem, tbh), but it is nice to see your team in person. And it’s great to just wheel your chair over and ask someone a question. If I have to put it in an email, I’ll put it off. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not interested in coming back to the office full-time. One day a week is plenty.
12:00pm — I’m so uninterested in this project that I take lunch the minute the clock hits midday. I grab a falafel salad with mixed grains, tomato, cucumber, spring onion, feta, pomegranate seeds, and a honey/lemon/paprika dressing from Blue Bag ($12), as well as a chocolate chip biscuit from Earl ($3.50). $15.50
1:00pm — All the forms come through from the realtor, and I sign them and send off my first month’s rent and bond ($3,042). Ouch. I’ve lined it up so I’m only paying rent at both places for about a week, and I’ll get a good chunk back when my bond gets returned, but it’s never nice to part with this much money at once. $3,042
1:30pm — Meetings and staring at a blank screen all afternoon. The office is so draining now! I’ve got so used to being by myself all day, I forget how taxing it is to be “on” for hours at a time. By 3:30, I’m offering to wash everyone’s coffee cups so I can get away from my desk and start packing up to go home.
4:45pm — Home to my best buddy! We do the hello dance and he goes out for a wee. He’s always been pretty codependent, which is both flattering and unhealthy, but having me home so much has relaxed him a lot. He’s never suffered from acute separation anxiety, but he always preferred to be beside me. Now I joke that he’s sick of my company, because he’ll nap on the other side of the house and only come to check on me when he wants attention. It’s nice to come home and have him be so excited to see me again!
5:00pm — While my dog has his dinner, I start undoing my bed frame. I’ve lost my Allen keys, so it’s two hours of swearing and tantrums as I attempt to unscrew everything with a butter knife and a screwdriver that doesn’t fit. Once I’m done, I never want to see the effing thing again. I set it up in the hallway for the buyer to pick it up, scoff some leftover pasta and wash and dry my hair.
7:00pm — I’m wrecked and ready to call it a night.
In writing all of this out, I’m seeing that I haven’t been particularly social this week. I think spending so much time in lockdown has rewired my social stamina. Loneliness used to be a huge issue for me, and although I would never, ever describe myself as extroverted, I used to need a little social contact every week or it would eat away at me. Now I can go two or three weeks without any plans and feel fine. 
It doesn’t help that my friendship circle has thinned in the last few years and lots of my friends have moved further out of town for more space and to afford property, so the casual drop-bys are less frequent. 
I offer a few knick knacks to my neighbour to save having to pack them — a few vases, a juicer, throw blankets I never use — and we have a nice chat in the hallway before I go back to my place and head to bed.
Daily Total: $3,082

Day 6

7:00am — Per my phone, this morning is the coldest it’s been in four years! The BOM app says it’s around 1 degree and feels like -2.9. I take the dog for a walk and we’ve never looped around the block so fast. My hands are red and achy when we make it back, and I sit in front of the heater for ten minutes to defrost.
7:30am — Regular morning routine. Prozac au Vegemite for the young man, coffee and toast for me. 
9:00am — The guy who bought my bed comes to pick it up and finds that he and his mate can’t get it down my building’s stairs. Catastrophe. After half an hour of frustrated attempts, they give up, go get some ropes from their van, and lower it off my third-floor balcony. So much drama before I’ve even had my second coffee!
11:00am — Work all morning, nothing unusual. I do find a new bed frame though. It’s just a plain wooden base with no embellishments, and about 10cm lower to the ground than the old one. I have a $30 free referral code for Temple & Webster, and it comes out to $298.95 including shipping. It should be here early next week. $298.95
12:30pm — I haven’t been to the gym in days and I’m starting to feel guilty about it. I really do feel better about everything when I’m getting proper exercise regularly, even if in the moment I can’t be bothered going. I decide to walk on the treadmill for the duration of a single chapter of Beach Read because it’s better than nothing.
1:00pm — Beach Read isn’t gripping me the way You and Me on Vacation did, and I get distracted pretty quickly. I’m into the workout now though, and spend fifteen minutes ordering my groceries through the Woolworths app instead. I’m trying to keep it light so I have less to haul over to the new place, but not so light that I end up making a trip to the shop every single day. I order bananas, some of those fibre biscuits so my snacking is somewhat health-based, Quest protein bars, eggs, a cauliflower pizza base, yoghurt, plant-based mince and taco seasoning (to make cheater’s chilli and use up the vegetables in my freezer), milk, apples, carrots, broccoli and cucumber, tampons, Spray & Wipe, and garbage bags ($103). I set it for pick-up tomorrow at lunchtime. $103
1:30pm — On my way home from the gym, I grab a salmon nigiri pack ($9.40) and eat it while I get back into the swing of things at work. The project I’m working on is wrapping up, so I’m doing a lot of proofreading rather than actual content writing. To focus, I put on a classical playlist and make my way through all the biscuits in my pantry. $9.40
6:30pm — Moving house is a good time to take stock of everything you own and decide you hate it. I offer a few art prints I’m sick of to my friend, and she comes over to pick them up. She stays for a cup of tea, and my dog loves all over her like he’s never been cuddled in his life. When we take the art to her car, the frames won’t fit. Not even close. She’ll come back on the weekend with her boyfriend’s car instead.
7:30pm — Laundry, shower, meds, bed. Before I fall asleep, I swipe a little on the dating apps and message with a couple of people, but it’s nothing I’m wildly excited about. I’m both a bit burnt out on dating in general — it’s been years since I was actually excited about someone — and I'm aware that anyone I match with here will probably be too far away to keep seeing once I head north. Why get invested in someone in Carnegie when you live in Thornbury? As we all know, love does not cross the Yarra. 
Daily Total: $411.35

Day 7

7:00am — It’s too cold to be awake, much less walk. I ask the dog if he wants to go and he ignores me, so we skip the morning walk and go back to sleep for an hour.
8:00am — The realtor for my current flat is having an inspection for new tenants today, so I manically clean while I should be working. My dog LOVES ripping up bits of cardboard, and what he leaves behind is too big to get sucked up in the vacuum cleaner, so I have to get on my hands and knees and pick up 100,000 individual scraps of cardboard. He thinks it’s hilarious and follows me every step of the way.
9:00am — Vacuuming with a dog is a nightmare. I got rid of my big old proper vacuum cleaner, his nemesis, and replaced it with a stick vacuum. It’s quieter, so for the first few times I used it he had no idea what I was doing and left me alone. He’s figured it out now though. I can’t put him in another room when I vacuum, or he scratches at the door. Instead, I have to wear the treat bag and throw biscuits at him to get more than six inches of carpet cleaned before he launches another attack. This extends the cleaning time considerably.
10:30am — Close enough. They can’t really expect it to be pristine. It has to be enough that there’s not a skyscraper of dirty dishes in the sink and clumps of dog hair in the carpet.
I finally get to work and am manic about making back the time I’ve missed. It’s a lot of spreadsheeting this morning, so even though it’s boring, I can measure my productivity.
Just when I’m about to settle into back-to-back meetings, Teams crashes. No one wants to use Skype, so we just reschedule everything, and I take it as a sign that working never pays off. It’s just not worth it! I have a Quest bar and a few wedges of Laughing Cow cheese and dick around online while I wait for Teams to come back online. I have a $40 reward at Witchery and find a pair of black pants that cost exactly that much. They don’t get me particularly excited, but they’ll be a good staple piece, and hey, free pants! I hit purchase and set them up for click and collect for when I’m next in the office.
1:00pm — I head to the big supermarket and pick up my groceries from click and collect. When I get home, I unpack them and give my dog half a cucumber. They’re his fave, and they make his breath smell so nice!  
2:30pm — Time for the inspection. It’s still bloody freezing, so I rug up and take the dog for a walk. The inspection window is only fifteen minutes, but these things drag on, so we’re gone for half an hour or so. It’s not peak dog-walking hour, so we don’t run into anyone, and make sure to avoid any menacing fences.
3:00pm — Busy work all afternoon. I’m the only full-time writer on the team, so when work gets busy, it’s flat out. When it’s quiet, it’s dead. Both make me appreciate the excitement and respite when they come. This week has been quiet, so next week will probably be chaotic. I’ll enjoy the peace for now and miss it when it’s gone.
5:00pm — The flat is basically all packed up now. All that’s left to do is the kitchen, and my last-minute essentials. I’ll do it over the weekend so I’m not left with a single mug, spoon and one t-shirt to last me all week. While the dog has his biscuits for dinner, I make a pizza with my cauliflower base, a bit of passata, some of the leftover sundried tomatoes, and a fistful of every shredded cheese I have. It’s not fantastic, but anything is better than those gross pancakes.
7:00pm — Bob’s Burgers, meds, and bed. I’m down to a mattress on the floor for the next few days, and it’s effing freezing. Good thing the dog is such a snugglebunny, or we’d both freeze.
Daily Total: $0
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