Money Diaries

A Week In Hawthorn, Melbourne, On A $120,000 Salary

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Today: a data analyst who makes $120,000 a year finally bites the bullet and buys an expensive bottle of Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfume that she's always wanted.
Occupation: Digital Data Analyst
Industry: Retail / eCommerce
Age: 28
Location: Hawthorn, Melbourne
Salary: $120,000
Net Worth: $210,500 ($25,000 in savings, $55,000 in my share portfolio, $48,500 in my superannuation fund, and approximately $98,000 equity on my apartment.)
Debt: $281,000 (Approximately $265,000 left on my mortgage and $16,000 in HELP debt. I also have a credit card but I pay it off at the end of each month.)
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,995
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $316. I live on my own in a 1-bedroom apartment. The rental income from my investment property pays the rest of my rent.
Mortgage Repayments: $1,120
Gym: $59.80
Phone: $10
Internet: $60
Spotify: $12.64 (I split with my siblings and cover my sister’s share as she pays for Netflix)
Woolworths Subscription: $15
Streaming Services: $7.99
Contact Lens Subscription: $15.30
Investments: $1,000
Savings Contributions: $1,400

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

Yes, but I never finished my science degree. I paid for it with HECS/HELP, which I am still paying off. After dropping out of university, I went to Tafe and completed a Certificate IV in Marketing and Communications, which I paid for upfront from the savings I had. From memory, this was about $3,000.

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

My parents were quite frugal, so I had always assumed that money was tight. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realised that they were actually quite well-off and just preferred to not spend lavishly on themselves or their children. This made sense because dad was the only one who worked and he had to support a family of six. It wasn't until I was older that I realised it was normal for both parents to work. We didn't really have any formal discussions about money, but through observing their actions, I learned to think twice about how I spent my money.

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

My first job was at Sizzler (RIP). I was 17 and didn’t want to rely on my parents to give me money anymore — they transferred me $50 every time I went out with friends. I tried to get a job while in high school but unfortunately, no one wanted to hire me!
I had also just started university, so I was going out more often with friends after class. It was also around this time that I had aspirations to buy a house so I started saving as soon as I got a job.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Yes. At one point, I watched my mum cry because of money troubles. I was convinced we were going to lose our house. My parents fought about money a lot too — watching them fight and be upset with each other stressed me out. There was never transparency around money between my parents and I, so it was hard to gauge how we were going financially.

Do you worry about money now?

Absolutely. I still feel guilty when I spend money because of the way I was brought up. As a single woman living in one of the most expensive cities in Australia, I worry about how I am going to afford the house of my dreams or go travelling without the help of a partner. Even now, I find it exhausting having to pay rent and utilities on my own when a lot of my friends have partners that they split everything 50/50 with.

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

I was 23 when I moved out of my parents' house, so relatively old. At the time I was earning a minimum wage and couldn’t afford to rent, so I moved out with my sister who I paid rent to.
I have enough savings to sustain a bare minimum lifestyle for six months in the event that I become unemployed, but I don’t ever expect this to actually happen. I also set aside enough money every pay cycle to ensure I have enough to pay all my bills. If worse ever comes to worse, I know that I can rely on my parents to help me financially, especially now that all their children have left the nest.

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

My parents gave me $50,000 to go towards a house deposit. Although I was on track to have enough for a deposit, the extra money helped to pay for all the other fees that come with buying property, as well as furniture. It also helped me to buy an apartment a lot faster. I think I had about $10,000 leftover —  I put that into purchasing shares. I'm hoping that I can get enough of a return one day that I can pay them back when they retire. I also receive dividends from my share portfolio every quarter, but it's definitely not anything significant.

Day 1

5:45am — I wake up and start my morning routine before work. I catch the train to the next suburb over to go to the gym because I'd rather not walk in the dark. The train is free before 7:15am so I don't need to pay a fare.
7:30am — I walk home to avoid paying a $4.60 fare for a 3-minute train ride. It also helps me to get my steps in since I work from home most days of the week. I have a shower, and turn on my espresso machine to warm up while I do my skincare routine. I make a coffee and sit down to journal — a new addition to my morning routine to help me unpack my thoughts and feelings. I find that living by myself means I don’t have anyone else to talk to, which leads to penting up my thoughts. I also use this time to listen to the new voice notes my friends have sent me via the Cappucino app.
9:05am — I’m late for work as per usual because watching TikTok is more fun than turning on my laptop. I do my best to work but I’m pretty unproductive when I work from home. I make plans with a friend to go out for dinner on Friday. I’m also starting to get hungry so I take the overnight oats I made last night to eat for breakfast.
11:45am — My groceries get delivered. I don’t have a car so I opt to pay for my groceries to be delivered instead of trying to lug them all home. It’s the little conveniences in life that make it so much easier! I paid for the groceries a couple of days ago when I made the order, so I technically haven’t spent anything today.
12:00pm — It’s lunchtime but I’m not too hungry yet. I also don’t have any leftover food so I have to cook, which also puts me off wanting to eat. I love eating but hate cooking!
1:00pm — I remember that I have a Pilates class after work so I need to prep lunch and dinner soon. There's no way I can cook after I get home.
2:20pm — I’ve cooked lunch and prepped dinner. I also make two servings so I’m set for meals until tomorrow night! I eat my lunch while watching YouTube and intermittently check my Teams to make sure I haven’t missed any messages or calls. I’m currently doing a task I’ve been putting off for months because it’s super tedious, but I think it’s time I finally did it. It sucks.
5:00pm — I knock off work a little early to get ready for my Pilates class. It doesn’t start until 6:15pm, but because I don’t have a car, getting anywhere takes twice as long. I think about whether or not I should buy a car for the hundredth time. I decide that since I would only really drive it on the weekends, it doesn’t make much sense to buy it and then have to keep paying for insurance and rego. I'll keep taking public transport for the year and see how much I end up paying.
5:30pm — It’s a twelve-minute walk to the tram stop. When the tram arrives I tap on because I believe in paying for fares. My autoload tops up my Myki with $50. I get to the Pilates studio with ten minutes to spare so I check-in and start stretching. The company I work for gives us complimentary yoga and Pilates classes at this studio so I don’t have to pay for it, saving me $35 each time I go! $50

7:30pm — Pilates done! It was such a nice time and so motivating to go. Plus, I cop a fee if I cancel late which really forces me to go. On my way home, I spy a shop selling Lukumades (a donut) and they're selling a matcha flavoured one. I'm a sucker for trying anything matcha flavoured, so I buy a tray for $11 and continue my walk home. $11

7:40pm — I get home and eat half the tray of Lukumades — they're pretty delicious but I also need to eat a proper dinner. I take out the taco bowl that I had prepped earlier and eat while watching Old Enough on Netflix. It's about little kids going on errands for the first time and it's so cute because kids are just so tiny and clueless.
9:30pm — It’s getting late and it's time to get ready for bed. I have a shower and do my nighttime skincare routine. After I hop into bed, I watch TikToks, message my friends for half an hour, and fall asleep almost immediately.
Daily Total: $66

Day 2

5:45am — My alarm goes off. It's in my living room so it forces me to get up. I trudge over to turn it off and check out how my body is feeling. I’m pretty sore from the two workouts I did yesterday, so I decide not to go to the gym this morning. I get back into bed, switch on my lamp and watch TikToks.
7:00am — It’s time to get up so I go brush my teeth and warm up my coffee machine. While it warms up, I clean all the dirty dishes in the sink from last night. I know it's kind of gross, but I'm always too lazy to do it the night of. I make my coffee and sit down to journal for the day.
8:00am — Even though I didn’t go to the gym this morning, I figure it would be good for my body to do a gentle yoga session. I roll out my mat and follow a quick 20-minute video with Yoga with Adrienne. Yoga always reminds me that I don’t know how to breathe properly and that I don’t have any core strength.
8:30am — I have a shower and do my morning skin and hair care routine, noting that I’m currently using a sample sachet of moisturiser and I need to go buy more. As I wait between layers, I get annoyed at Spotify for being buggy and cutting out my music all the time. I look at other music streaming options and open YouTube Music. I scoff when I find out that the free version doesn’t even let you lock your phone while listening to music. Is YouTube Premium worth $14.99/month? Unsure.
9:26am — Why did it take me so long to do my skin and hair care routine?! I’m late for work, but manage to hop onto my laptop just in time to receive a message from my manager. I reply back immediately so it looks like I've been online for the last 26 minutes. I’m getting hungry by now but remember that a bank valuator is coming over this morning at the request of my landlord. I’m worried that they're planning on selling the apartment — I only signed the lease three months ago and I'm not ready to look for another rental yet.
10:00am — The bank valuator is at the door so I let her in and let her do her thing while I continue to work. It’s weird having a strange meander around your home while you’re trying to live your normal life. 
11:40am — Surprisingly, I get so caught up in work that I put off making breakfast. Even though it’s closer to lunchtime, I figure it's time to eat. I make myself some toast with avocado and smoked salmon with a side of scrambled eggs. I need to buy more avocados so I add that to my shopping list, along with some cotton buds.
5:30pm — I finish up with work, eat dinner and don’t do anything for the rest of the day.
Daily Total: $0

Day 3

5:45am — Even though it’s a public holiday today, I couldn't be bothered turning off my alarm last night. I reluctantly get up to turn it off then head straight back to bed.
8:00am — I finally decide it’s time to get up and do my usual morning routine. My body is still sore from the Pilates class on Wednesday, so I decide not to do any exercise this morning. Instead, I watch TV for a couple of hours with a coffee in hand.
10:00am — My friend is picking me up in an hour, so I get dressed and put on some makeup. I miss the days where I would wear false eyelashes every day, but haven’t had the chance to buy any new ones yet.
11:00am — My friend arrives downstairs so I meet her in her car. She drives us to Glen Waverley but we arrive a bit too early because The Boiling Crab isn’t open yet. We walk around the area and drop into Chemist Warehouse where we try and kill some time. I pick up some new eyelashes ($14). Half an hour later, we walk back to the restaurant and have lunch. It was definitely... an experience. The flavours are very one-dimensional, which is disappointing for food that's meant to be smothered in sauce. We also deduct points because of how expensive it is ($78). $92
1:30pm — We’re pretty full but are intrigued by the Asian supermarkets close by, so we pop into one since I need to buy some groceries anyway. We don’t find anything that tickles our fancy, so my friend decides that we need to drive out to Blackburne to go to a specific shop. When we get there, I buy a few snacks and pantry items — $60.
2:30pm — She drops me home and I chill out on the couch for a little while. I have another dinner with a friend later tonight, so I'm taking it easy.
6:50pm — I freshen up my makeup and change into an outfit that’s a bit warmer. I make my way to the train station and catch my train into the city. I end up being late for dinner (just public transport things!), but finally make it. It’s nice to catch up with her since she’s just started a new job. We use that as a celebratory excuse to spend more money than expected on dinner — $77.
9:30pm — She's kind enough to drive me home and I immediately have a shower and go to bed.
Daily Total: $229

Day 4

5:45am — Yep, my alarm goes off again. This time I really need it to as I have a Pilates class scheduled for 8:45am. I stay in bed for a little while, waiting for the sun to rise. Eventually, I get up and brush my teeth. I decide whether or not I want to do my skincare routine since I do want to walk down the strip after class to go shopping. I decide it’s best to do it now.
8:00am — I make my way to the tram stop and head over to the Pilates studio. After class, I pop down to a nearby cafe and get a coffee ($4.50). The long weekend must be making them super busy because I end up waiting 20 minutes for my takeaway. $4.50
10:00am — I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of trousers so I wander down the strip and go into multiple stores to see if I can find any that I like. I don’t find anything, but I do walk past a MECCA and pop in because I do need new products. I decide to finally bite the bullet and buy an expensive perfume I’ve always wanted — the Margiela Maison Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540, 70mls. It's usually $376, but I have a gift card I need to use, so I won't pay even half as much. I fill up my basket and get colour matched for an ILIA concealer and foundation. I only end up getting the ILIA True Skin Serum concealer because I still have more foundation at home, but it’s nice to know what colour I need to get once I run out. My total purchases ring up to $102.
12:00pm — I’m still checking out different stores when a guy I’ve been chatting to on Tinder asks if I want to grab a coffee. I message him saying that if he’s free at 2pm, we can meet in the city. I don’t hear back so I head home.
1:00pm — I have a shower and put on makeup in case I do hear from him last minute. Plot twist: he messages me at 2:10pm. By then, I've decided that meeting a random man off Tinder isn't worth scurrying into the city for. The upside is that I save a couple of dollars by not buying another coffee!
2:30pm — After cleaning up the apartment a little bit, I end up watching TV while folding my laundry. I spend the rest of the night here.
9:00pm — Time to unwind and go to bed.
Daily Total: $106.50

Day 5

7:00am — My alarm goes off at the usual 5:45am. I lie in bed and text my friend if she's still up for going on a hike as I'm relying on her for a lift today. She messages me back telling me that she's still keen and that she'll be at my place at 9. I get up and brush my teeth. Before she arrives, I clean up the apartment a bit more, put on a bit of tinted moisturiser, and do my eyebrows.
9:00am — My friend arrives and I head downstairs to meet her. The rest of my friend group messages and says that they're running a little late, so we decide to pop by the Macca's drive-thru to get some breakfast. I order a bacon and egg McMuffin meal with a coffee — $9.85.
10:00am — We’re the second to arrive. It’s a little colder than I thought it would be and I regret not bringing a jacket. We wait around for the rest of our friends to arrive and finally head off at 10:45am. 
1:30pm — We finish up the hike and decide to go to a local bakery for lunch where they have award-winning pies. I end up getting a potato pie and an apple crumble, but decide that I also want to try the plain beef pie that has won all the awards as well ($23.69). Afterwards, we head to a winery nearby and one of my friends buys a bottle of wine to share. $23.69
5:00pm — I finally get home, feeling full and tired. I eat some leftovers and make a note that I need to cook soon, so I quickly go through all the ingredients in my fridge. I still have some protein in the freezer that I can defrost so I don’t anticipate needing to do a big grocery shop any time soon. 
10:00pm — Sleep time!
Daily Total: $33.54‬

Day 6

7:00am — My alarm goes off because I have a yoga class booked this morning. I’m too lazy to go, so I quickly cancel it so I don’t have to pay a cancellation fee. In my defence, It’s gotten really cold and dark in the morning now! It’s the second Monday of the month, so my gym membership gets direct debited — $29.90.
8:00am — It's another public holiday today so I stay in bed a little longer since I don’t need to work — yay! Eventually, I get up and do the usual morning routine that I don't think anyone wants to read again.
10:00am — That guy from a couple of days ago messages me again to say that we should try to do coffee another time. I never replied back to him, so the double text is a bit much — but also kind of flattering??? I think about whether I want to reply back and text my friend for advice. She says to go for it, but my gut says not to because he seems like a poor communicator and not worth the headache. As you can tell, I’m really bad at dating.
11:00am — I'm getting hungry. It's that awkward time where it's too late for breakfast but too early for lunch. I dig around my fridge and decide to make some toast with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Eh, I'll throw an egg in there too.
1:30pm — I accept that I’m not going to leave the apartment today and that today is going to be a lazy life-admin sort of day.
9:00pm — Sleep time!
Daily Total: $29.90

Day 7

7:00am — Did I go to the gym this morning? No. But I do get up because I have work today and there's something urgent on my plate. Cue the morning routine, and bam, I'm in front of my laptop by 9am.
9:50am — A friend of mine is visiting Melbourne. I’ve offered to let her stay here with me so she doesn't need to get an Airbnb or hotel. She texts me that she’s on her way.
12:00pm — I contemplate cooking lunch, but my friend arrives so we decide to get UberEats instead. We toss up getting dumplings but decide that since it's raining, ramen is a better option. I place an order for the both of us. She asks me to tell her how much it costs, but I avoid it and decide to treat her ($65). We save on delivery fees as she offers to go for a walk to pick it up. $65
5:30pm — I finish up work and get ready to go out for dinner. It was my friend's birthday last week, so I've made a booking for a fancy place to take her to while she visits. We head to the CBD via train and order six dishes to share, a bottle of red, and two cocktails. Because it's her birthday, I've coordinated with some other friends that we'll split her portion of dinner. After their $100 contribution, I end up paying $208.56.
9:00pm — Even though I still have some vegetables in the fridge and protein in the freezer, I figure I should do a grocery shop this week. I grab a random assortment of items because I need to meet a $50 minimum order to qualify for delivery. I order avocados, cotton buds, chicken breast, some Brita filters because they're 50% off (yay!), butter, Weetbix, and a couple of dairy-free milk chocolates (I’m that weird person who always has multiple kinds of milk in the fridge for different purposes). I'm excited to use my Weetbix as I keep seeing breakfast dessert recipes where people are using them to make a crumbed base — I want to try it! $60.60
Daily Total: $389.60
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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