Money Diaries

A Week In Kensington, Melbourne, As A Digital Marketing Specialist On $35,000

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.
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Today: a freelance digital marketing specialist who makes $35,000 and spends some of her money this week on raspberry Vodka Cruisers to pre-game before the Harry Styles concert.
Occupation: Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist
Industry: Marketing
Age: 25
Location: Kensington, Melbourne, Victoria
Salary: ~$35,000
Net Worth: $15,352 ($30,000 in savings, $4,000 in investments (Raiz and Spaceship), $19,000 in super). My partner and I don't share finances and just split the cost of everything.
Debt: $37,648 in HECS debt
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): Around $2,600, but this isn't the same every month as I work for myself.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $610. I live with my partner and one other housemate in a two-bedroom townhouse rental. We pay $1,999 total each month. It's two stories, with two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and a little courtyard and balcony. My partner just moved in this weekend, so my rent has decreased by about $300 a month as I'm now sharing a room with him. Bills are around $120 a month which we evenly split between the three of us.
Public Transport: $100
Social Sports: $100 (I play futsal twice a week)
Netflix: $5
Union Fees: $55
Spotify: $12
Phone: $25
Donations: $30
Media Subscriptions: $15.50
Podcasting Software: $30 (My friend and I make a podcast as a hobby)
Savings Contributions: $120 into one long-term savings account and $100 into a different long-term savings account.
Raiz/Spaceship Investing: $50
Car: My partner has a car which I also use and I pay $50 a month towards insurance, but I don't have to pay for petrol ever as his work pays for it.

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

I completed a bachelor's degree which I finished at the end of 2019. I ended up going back to uni in the middle of 2020 because I couldn't get a job (grrr, Covid) and did a graduate certificate (four subjects cost me the same as a whole year of my undergrad!). These were both put on HECS. I honestly forget about my HECS debt most of the time and then when I very rarely go and check it, I get quite a shock as to how much it is.

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

Every year growing up, my parents would buy me and my sisters a money box where we would put any money we got into (but it wasn't much). Every year on Easter Show day, we would crack them open and count how much we had saved and get to spend that money at the show. Growing up, if there was anything we wanted that was a bit expensive, our parents would say they would pay for half if we could save the other half. It was very generous but it also taught us how to save. My parents were quite frugal when I was younger and I think because of this, I'm quite good with money now. I don't remember having many explicit conversations about money with my parents, but I wish they had spoken to me about it more.

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

My first job was delivering the newspaper in my neighbourhood. I can't actually remember how I got the job, but my sisters and I swapped doing it for years and got paid $32 a week (which we thought was a lot at the time!).

Did you worry about money growing up?

Not that I can remember. I know that when I was younger, my parents didn't have much money. I was conscious of that, even though they never spoke to us directly about it. Being the oldest child, I realised it while my sisters didn't. By the time they were more aware of it, my parents were making more money. I think this meant that I was much more conscious and careful with money than my sisters were.

Do you worry about money now?

At the moment I'm not making heaps of money from freelancing, so I have been more stressed about money recently than I have been in the past. I do have savings, but that's sitting in a long-term savings account. I like to pretend that money doesn't exist so I don't spend it on day-to-day things. I think I'm pretty good with managing my money, but it has been tricky going from a $72,000 annual salary, to now less than half of that freelancing.

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

I've had a job since I was 12 but became fully financially responsible for myself at 22 once I finished uni. While I did have a job during uni, my parents helped me out by paying my rent, while I had to pay for everything else. I do have a good chunk of savings as a financial safety net, but I know I could ask my parents for money if I needed to.

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

I recently received a sum of inheritance money from a close family member that passed away a few years ago. I have complicated feelings about this money though, as I would much rather have them back than have their money.

Day 1

6:30am — I wake up and scroll on TikTok for a bit. It's probably not a great way to start my week — I really need to get out of this habit!
7:30am — I head out for a short walk down to the river near my house and then come home and have a shower. 
8:00am — Make some toast for breakfast and look at my to-do list for the week. My partner moved in with me over the weekend so I’ve still got a bunch of stuff to sort out in the house before I can start working for the day. Specifically, my desk area — it’s a mess! I work from home full-time, so sorting my desk area is a necessity. 
9:00am — I sort out my desk and clean a few more little things in the bedroom and bathroom.
10:30am — I need caffeine, so I head to my local cafe for a coffee and to work there for a bit. I get myself an iced latte. $5.50
12:00pm — On my way home, I duck into IGA to grab some coriander ($2.99) for dinner cause I forgot to buy it on the weekend. On the way home, I listen to a podcast from some people I'm about to start doing a social media job for. They end up mentioning me in the episode, which is exciting! $2.99
1:00pm — I sit in my newly tidied desk area and do some more work before making a vego schnitzel sandwich for lunch. 
3:00pm — I reserve a library book online that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. This year, I decided that I need to start borrowing books from the library instead of buying them.
4:00pm — I'm quite tired after a weekend of moving, so I decide to have a cheeky little nap (perks of working for yourself!). I take the next couple of hours off to rest — I figure I'll do some work later tonight instead. I actually find that I tend to work better in the mornings and evenings, so I don't feel too bad about taking a couple of hours off.
6:00pm — Make stir-fried noodles for dinner using the veggies I bought at the market yesterday. 
7:00pm — My partner and I bought a new chest of drawers a couple of weeks ago, so on the weekend, I popped up an advertisement for my old chest of drawers on Facebook Marketplace. Tonight, a guy comes over to pick them up and pays me $25 for them. Score!
7:30pm — I watch the latest episode of MAFS while I do a bit more work. After the ep finishes, I hit the sack early.
Daily Total: $8.49

Day 2

7:30am — I wake up and decide to go and clean the bathroom straight away to get it over and done with. I was supposed to do it on the weekend but ran out of time.
8:00am — Have a quick shower and then make a bowl of yoghurt with fruit for breaky. While I eat, I check my emails and look through my to-do list for the day. I make myself a coffee and then head out for a short walk.
9:00am — I start work for the day. As I work for myself, I work from home full-time which saves me some money as I don't have to pay to commute. I also don't end up buying coffee out as often. That said, I do miss having colleagues sometimes. 
10:00am — I have a meeting with a new client (the podcast I mentioned yesterday!). The job should bring in about $660 each month, which is great. I'm super excited about this job as I love podcasts and I love social media so the fact I get to create social media for a podcast is a dream come true.
11:00am — I finish creating a new digital product I plan to sell. This is one of the things I’ve decided to do this year to bring in more revenue while working for myself. 
12:00pm — Lunch. Have leftover noodle stir fry from dinner last night and watch Love Island. After a quick break, I get back to work.
2:00pm — Have some watermelon as an afternoon snack and get a call about a quote for a canvas I want to get stretched. They told me it would cost $120, but as I’ve never had a canvas stretched before, I wasn’t sure if this was a good price. I decide to shop around a bit to see if I can get it done cheaper somewhere else. I call another place and they said they could do it for around $60, so I decide to drop the canvas off to them later in the week.
4:00pm — I head to the city to run some errands before I meet up with a friend for dinner this evening. I need to get some jewellery fixed that I've been meaning to do for ages, but when I get to the train station, I realise I forgot it. Great. Good thing I have a couple of other errands to run. I catch the train ($4.60) and go to Officeworks to print some stuff off for work ($3.50). Then I go and get my pill script refilled ($16, but my partner will pay me back for half. I feel strongly that expenses from the pill should be split as it is in both of our interests for me to not get pregnant right now!). Then I have some time to kill, so I grab a bubble tea ($8.48) and sit down in the food court. I do some work on my phone while I wait for my friend. $24.58
5:30pm — My friend finishes work so we meet up and head to the supermarket. She's going to cook dinner for me at her house.
6:30pm — My friend makes a yummy pasta for dinner, then we whip up a batch of brownies for dessert. I decide to take an Uber home instead of public transport — it was gonna take an hour otherwise and I'm already quite tired. $15.05
9:30pm — Jump into bed and watch a bit of MAFS before I go to sleep. 
Daily Total: $39.63

Day 3

7:00am — Wake up and scroll on my phone for a bit. Then I get up, have a shower, and get ready for the day.
8:00am — I make some toast and a coffee for breaky, then I prep some snacks for the day as I'm going to work from my friend's office. I used to volunteer for the organisation and they’re very chill, so my friend said it wouldn't be an issue if I came and worked from their office. Freelancing can be quite lonely sometimes, so I've been trying to find ways to work with people more. A few weeks ago, I went to a coworking space (where my housemate also works). I really enjoyed it and had such a productive day! But it did cost $44, which I can't afford to do every week at this stage. I'm trying to find free alternative ways of working with other people, so this is a great solution.
8:30am — I check my emails and looked at my to-do list for the day. Then I jump into a bit of client work and do the dishes.
9:30am — I catch the train into the city ($4.60) to have a coffee with a lady I used to volunteer with. She contacted me last week as she wants to start freelancing and wanted my advice. We meet at a cafe near Flinders Street. I get a cappuccino and we chat about her freelancing plans. It's so nice to see her for the first time in ages. She pays, which is very kind. $4.60
11:00am — After the coffee catch-up, I head to my friend's office in the city for a bit of work. There are about five other people in the office (I know a couple of them from my volunteering days), and it's just really nice to work around some other like-minded people.
12:30pm — I go and have lunch in the park near the office with my friend and her colleagues. We each grab a bento box for lunch ($12.50) from a little hole-in-the-wall place opposite the park. $12.50
1:00pm — We head back to the office where I spend the rest of the afternoon working on a client's website. 
5:00pm — Finish up work for the day and go meet my partner at his work in the city as we're driving to a friend's place for dinner. On my way, I pick up a bottle of red wine for us to take to dinner. $15
6:00pm — Our friends cook up a delicious barbeque for dinner. It's such a nice evening so we eat outside in their backyard. Once we finish dinner, we head to the outdoor cinema in St Kilda to watch The Banshees of Inisherin (my partner already bought the tickets). It had a lot of dark humour, but I really enjoyed it. Plus, it was so nice to catch up with our friends as we haven’t seen them in a while. 
11:00pm — We drive home from St Kilda and go straight to sleep.
Daily Total: $32.10

Day 4

7:30am — Wake up. I was planning on going for a swim, but I'm a bit tired from being out last night, so I decide to just go for a walk along the river instead.
8:30am — I come home, shower, and make myself a hot cross bun, a smoothie and a coffee for breakfast. Then I get stuck into work for the day.
9:30am — I quickly book tickets to the movies for a date night with my partner on Saturday night ($36). We don’t normally go to the movies, but happen to be going twice this week! $36
10:00am — I get an email from my union to check my superannuation account to see if I’ve been paid some superannuation money that I'm owed. I worked at a restaurant for a couple of months in the middle of last year and they haven’t paid my super yet, so I got in touch with my union who has been following it up for me. It was supposed to land in my account today but it wasn’t in there when I checked. I'll wait and check my account later today before I contact my union again. They only owe me around $250 which obviously isn’t heaps (especially considering how much effort I’ve had to put in for them to pay it to me), but it’s my money and I know it’ll accumulate in my super account over the years. The boss was also a real asshole and I don’t want him to get away with it, especially if he’s also stealing other employees' wages. 
12:00pm — I normally eat leftovers for lunch but we don't have any today, so I make a veggie burger with a spare patty I found in the freezer.
1:00pm — Last year when Melbourne had the floods, my housemate and I went and helped clean up the house of a family who was affected. The family are now moving back into the house as their renovations are finished and call us to see if we might be able to come and help them unpack. I have time as my work schedule is pretty flexible, so I drive over to their house to help them unpack for a couple of hours. 
3:30pm — After finishing the family unpack, I drive to a warehouse in Brunswick to drop off my canvas to get stretched. I bought the canvas artwork mid-last year and never got around to getting it stretched, but there’s the perfect place to hang it in a new room in the house, so it's really motivated me to get it done. I drop it off and they quote me $55 for it, which I’ll pay when I pick it up next week. 
4:30pm — I get home. I'm not feeling too well, so I go straight to bed and have a nap.
5:30pm — I wake up with a terrible headache. It was super hot today and I think I might have accidentally gotten heatstroke while I helped the family unpack.
6:00pm — I'm still not feeling great but I'm also really hungry, so I decide to cook some dinner. Luckily, it's pretty easy to whip up as I have a premade curry sauce.
7:00pm — Was supposed to go to futsal, but I'm still not feeling well so I have to bail. My partner and I just started doing this every Thursday night with some friends I used to work with.
7:30pm — My housemate has a friend over for dinner, so I catch up with her briefly then head up to bed to watch Love Island because I'm still not feeling well. 
9:30pm — Get an early night and hope I'll feel better tomorrow. 
Daily Total: $36

Day 5

7:30pm — When I wake up, my headache is gone but I'm still feeling a bit rubbish. Bloody heatstroke. I contemplate going for a walk but preserve my energy because I'm going to go see Harry Styles tonight (!!!).
8:00am — Have some toast and a coffee for breaky, plus a Berocca to try and make myself feel better. I also decide that it's best to work from the couch today.
9:30am — I have a call with a potential accountant for my business. I’ve never had an accountant before but as it’s my first year of freelancing, I figure I probably need one to help me figure out all the confusing finance stuff that I have no idea about. I also get an email from my union asking if I’ve received my super yet. I checked my account again but it's nowhere to be seen.
10:00am — One of my clients has paid their invoice ($660!) which is good timing as my bank account is looking a little empty. A friend from my futsal team also messages our group chat to let us know how much we owe for the previous games. I transfer her $22 for the previous two games I've played. $22
12:00pm — I have some leftover curry for lunch and do some more work from the couch. 
1:00pm — I'm supposed to go to a pole class but decide to cancel cause I'm still not feeling 100%. I have an eight-class pass for pole and they normally have a 24-hour cancellation policy, but because I called them up to let them know I was sick, I got my class back. My planned exercise this week is not going well!
3:00pm — I paint my nails for tonight and then do a bit more work before knocking off to get ready to see Harry Styles. People tend to get really dressed up for Harry Styles concerts and I'm planning on doing the same, so I need a lot of time to get ready.
4:00pm — Head to my friend's place, who lives around the corner from me. We finish getting ready for the concert together (blasting Harry Styles' music while we do so, of course). 
5:00pm — We catch a train into the city ($4.60) to meet our friends for dinner before the concert. We quickly stop at a BWS on the way and buy a four-pack of raspberry Cruisers for us to share at dinner ($21, my friend pays me back for half). We figured the sugar hit would be good to keep our energy levels high for the concert. $15.10
6:00pm — We meet up with our other friend at a dumpling restaurant. When we were leaving, my friend went to pay and the restaurant insisted that our table had already been paid for even though none of us had paid for it. My friend said multiple times that we didn't pay for it, but they said it was, so we got a free dinner! I do feel bad about it, but we really did try to pay.
7:00pm — We catch the tram down to Southern Cross. It's filled with people who are clearly going to the concert based on what they're wearing. It's such a good vibe.
11:00pm — The concert is bloody amazing. I love Harry!!! We forgot to bring water with us though, and because it was such a hot day, we all ended up so dehydrated by the end of it. It takes ages to get out of the stadium and when we finally do, we head to the nearest shop — Gloria Jeans — to find water. They were selling cups of water for $3 each to desperate concert-goers, so I buy a cup of water for each of us ($9). It's some expensive water, but we're so thirsty we don't even care. We were planning on going out after the concert but we were so dehydrated and tired that we just decided to head home. My friend and I catch the train home ($4.60) and I fell asleep pretty damn quickly. $13.60
Daily Total: $50.70

Day 6

7:30am — I have to pee so I end up waking up way too early for a Saturday morning. I can't get back to sleep, so I just lay in bed on my phone for ages.
9:00am — My partner brings me eggs on toast and a coffee for breakfast in bed, which was very nice of him. He’s proving to be a great new roommate!
9:30am — My partner and I spend the morning finishing sorting out the house and our room. They only moved in last weekend, so there's still so much to organise. While moving always costs money, the fact that my partner moved into my already established house meant that it was definitely cheaper than if we’d moved into a whole new place together. I'm pretty lucky it worked out this way as I’m not earning heaps right now, so my bank account is just thanking me for sparing the cost of an expensive move.
12:30pm — We make some pizzas for lunch and start watching the new season of Formula 1: Drive To Survive on Netflix. We’re big Formula 1 fans thanks to this show, but we can’t go to the Melbourne race this year as we’ll be on holiday at the time. The TV show will have to suffice!
2:30pm — I meet my friend at the pub for a catch-up. I'm running late so I decide to drive (I wasn't going to drink anyways) instead of taking public transport. On the way, I quickly duck past the library to pick up a book I’d reserved. 
3:30pm — I arrive at the pub and get two glasses of lemon, lime and bitters ($9). My friend also buys a bowl of chips for us to share. She’s just moved back to Melbourne after having lived in Tasmania for the last few years, so it’s been nice to see her so much again. We’ve been making so many plans together! $9
6:00pm — I head over to Cinema Nova on Lygon Street for date night with my partner. We're seeing the new movie What’s Love Got To Do With It that stars Lily James. My partner will buy dinner later, so I get our drinks — a glass of wine each and a Sprite — as well as some snacks. $40
8:00pm — The movie is really heartwarming and we very much enjoy it. On our way out, we remember to grab our parking voucher because it gives us two hours of free parking if you see a movie. Because we're there slightly longer than two hours, we pay $4 for parking (but without it, it would have been $12). We decide to try a new place near our house for dinner, but when we get there, it's a bit of a weird vibe and we don't really like any of the food they have. Instead, we head to the ever-reliable Laksa King (you can never go wrong with Laksa King!). We both get a big bowl of vegetarian laksa and an iced tea each. My partner pays. Then we head home with our full bellies and get an early night. $4
Daily Total: $53

Day 7

8:00am — Wake up this morning feeling well-rested after an early night. I get started with some chores and life admin around the house.
9:00am — My partner and I head to the Queen Vic markets to do our weekly food shop. We try to go to the markets every weekend to do the bulk of our shopping as we find it cheaper than going to the supermarket (especially for fruit and veg!). There’s also an Aldi near the market, so we'll get whatever we can't get at the market over there. We spend $54.50 at the market on fresh produce and bread, $26.20 at the Asian grocer and $37 at Aldi. The food shop cost a bit more than usual as I bought ingredients to make a fresh batch of chilli oil. My partner and I are also trying to figure out what our weekly food budget will be going forward. As we’ve just moved in together, it’s gonna take us a little while to figure out how much we need to buy to get us through the week. We split the cost of our groceries evenly unless something is specifically just for one of us. $58.85
11:00am — My partner takes our groceries home and I head to bottomless brunch with my girlfriends. I'm running slightly early, so on the way, I duck into Bunnings to buy some new lightbulbs for the house ($13). The brunch was bottomless gnocchi and cocktails, plus unlimited garlic bread! It cost $70, but we organised and paid for it a few weeks ago. While it's so nice to catch up with my girlfriends, I realise I don’t like gnocchi that much. I also don't feel like drinking very much. I probably didn't get my money's worth, but I had a good time, which is all that matters! $13
2:00pm — Some of my girlfriends and I head off as we have futsal. I play on two futsal teams — one on Thursday nights and then another on Sunday afternoons, both with different groups of friends. I am really enjoying doing social sports as it’s a great way to get some exercise, as well as catch up with friends. It also really doesn’t cost very much! It ends up being a really fun game and we win by one point. This was the first game back of the season, so we have to pay rego as well as the weekly team fee, so $17.14 each. $17.14
4:00pm — I go home and chill for the afternoon. I make a batch of chilli oil with the stuff I’d bought this morning and make a Chinese noodle soup for dinner (which I, of course, put the fresh chilli oil on). 
7:00pm — I eat the noodle soup while watching the latest episode of Survivor (it’s such a good season!) before getting an early night. 
Daily Total: $88.99
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