Money Diaries

A Week In Newstead, Brisbane, As A Financial Analyst On $88,000

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 financial analyst who makes $88,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on OGX shampoo and conditioner.
Occupation: Financial Analyst
Industry: Finance
Age: 25
Location: Newstead, Brisbane
Salary: $88,000
Net Worth: $274,615 (An apartment worth $640,000, $17,000 in savings, and $12,183 in ETFs and safe shares)
Debt: A $394,568 mortgage. My parents paid for my university, so I'm really grateful that I don't have a HECS debt.
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $5,137
Pronouns: She/Her
In the last couple of months, my partner and I have moved in together. We haven't combined our finances yet. We use Splitwise — an app that allows you to enter all your expenses and then split them evenly. We just keep this as a running tally, so if one person owes the other, then they'll get the next meal.

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $1,650 currently. It was $1,490 when I first bought my property — variable interest rates aren't fun! My place is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in an inner-city suburb. I also love that I can walk to work. My partner recently moved in and pays me $640 a month in rent. The second bedroom is our study.
Body Corporate: $1,100/quarter
Rates: $330/quarter
Electricity: $150 — $200/quarter
Internet: $80, split with my partner.
Phone: $30 (They made a mistake a couple of years ago and put me on an amazing deal!).
Binge: $10. Between my family and my partner's family, we get Netflix, Disney and Stan for free.
Apple TV/Apple Music: $20
Keep It Cleaner Membership: $50/quarter
Patreon: $7. I support my favourite podcast and the Patreon membership gives me three extra episodes each month.
Car Rego/Insurance: $3,000 a year
Savings Contributions: My savings have become a bit more haphazard now that I've bought a house. I have three savings accounts: short-term, long-term, and rainy-day funds. Every paycheque, I put around 50% into a holding account for all my bills. Then I divide up 20% to 30% of my pay between my short and long-term accounts. My short-term account is for anything from travel to a new laptop. My long-term account was for my apartment. My rainy day account is a little stockpile of cash that I've recently used towards health bills.

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

I have a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in International Relations). I was very lucky and my parents paid upfront for my degree.

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

They did. My dad owned his own business and my mum stayed at home looking after us kids, the home, and her parents. They struggled for a long time while my dad grew his business, but by the time I was leaving primary school, the business started to do really well. At this point, they started to put their money back into investment properties which also performed really well, given the property market. They talked about all these decisions quite openly, so I had a good idea of how hard they worked to get to their very lucrative position. Mum always emphasised how much they had to go without and how frugal they were, and why this was really important in getting to where they are now. I became a saver from a very young age and became interested in investments early on as I heard my parents talk about them. It also helped that I studied economics in school.

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

I got my first job as soon as I could. I worked as a receptionist at a kid's swim school on the weekends from Year 9 to Year 12.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Definitely not. I started to become more cognisant of money and finances when my parents started earning a lot more. We lived in a really nice house, so my friends often commented on how rich we were, which actually made me uncomfortable at the time.

Do you worry about money now?

Always! I know it's silly because as you can tell, I have a great safety net with my family and I've set up my savings and investments in a safe way. I still worry, though. I think money and expenditure will just always on my mind.

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

I became financially responsible for myself when I moved out. This was when I was 22, so I was lucky to live at home as long as I did, especially while trying to juggle university and a couple of jobs. Living at home through uni also allowed me to take unpaid internships which helped my career. I definitely have a financial safety net though, but I wouldn't want to rely on it.

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

Yes. My parents helped me purchase my apartment. I'd saved up $70,000 and they put in $170,000. I had planned to set up a payment plan to pay them back, but my dad asked me to put those recurring payments into shares or a term deposit. They're very generous and I hope I can make it up to them.

Day 1

8:00am — Bit of a sleep-in this morning, but honestly not as much as I wanted. I had my brother's fiancée's hens party last night and I wish I could've slept it off better! I'm awful at sleeping in. I head downstairs and have some bagels and a coffee for breakfast. 
9:00am — Finally work myself up to go for a run. Despite the late night, I really want to push myself to go. It's been really rainy lately so I want to make the most of the sunshine, and I haven't gone on a good run in ages. 
12:15pm— I drop my partner, C., off at the hospital. He graduated from medicine last year so he's just started properly working. He's currently doing a rotation through the emergency department, which means some truly terrible shift work. On the way home, I grab some sushi from our local Coles for lunch. $11.40
1:00pm — I sit down on the couch to read my book, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Before I know it, it's 3:30pm and I've finished it. I absolutely loved it! It's one of those classics I wish I studied at school because I would've gotten a lot out of properly analysing it. 
4:00pm — I was meant to go to the shops to get new work shoes because my loafers are breaking, but I got distracted by my book. Instead, I head online and grab some shoes ($90) from The Iconic. While I'm there, I see Cotton On is having a great sale, so I grab one cute work shirt for $20, a new top for $19 and a mini dress for $19. $148
5:00pm — I open YouTube and do a yoga flow. My go-to is Yoga with Adriene who is absolutely brilliant. She's endlessly insightful (I take so many learnings from every single session!) and every class is beginner friendly. Best of all, she has thousands of hours of yoga all available for free! 
6:30pm — Meet my friend for dinner at the local sushi train. I don't actually want sushi again as I had it for lunch, but my friend really wants it and I'm a people pleaser. I grab gyoza, edamame and chicken karaage. $19
9:00pm — Home again! I relax with a bit of reading and writing before I go and pick C. up. His shift doesn't finish until 10:45 pm. I like to pick him up because the few times I've just gone to sleep and let him make his own way home, he's woken me up at around midnight and I've really struggled to get back to sleep. I often get bouts of insomnia which is linked to my anxiety, so I try to make it as easy as possible for me to go to sleep. Picking him up and going to sleep together is a much better option than a midnight disruption. 
Daily Total: $178.40

Day 2

7:30am — Awful wake-up today. It's been really tough to have a normal routine when C. is on evening or night shifts. I get myself out of bed, grab some breakfast, and head out for a 20-minute walk to wake myself up. My Marley Spoon order has been processed overnight ($86). We swap around delivery services depending on which one gives us a discount, so the price varies each week. $86
8:30am — Working from home today. I took a half day on Friday because I was feeling sick, so I have a little bit to catch up on. On Mondays, we also have workflow huddles where we discuss our plans for the week ahead, so it's a busy day. I make myself a coffee using our machine at home and power through the morning. 
12:00pm — I grab myself some leftover homemade fried rice for lunch. It's not super filling, but C. has the day off and ends up going to the bakery down the road for his lunch. He grabs me a bacon and cheese roll, he shouts. 
5:15pm — I'm organising a couple of work events so I'm in and out of meetings all day. Then I pick up a particularly tricky transaction which takes up a lot of my time. Before I know it, I've finished work for the day. I jump in the car and head to the local shopping centre to meet my friends as we're seeing a movie.
6:30pm — We grab some dinner — just burgers and fries ($19) and then buy our tickets ($19.50). This cinema is a big chain and is far more expensive than the other boutique options around me, but it was geographically in the middle of all of us, so it's the easiest after a busy work day. We watch Where The Crawdads Sing. It's good, but not as good as the book. $38.50
10:00pm — Home again. I chat briefly with C. about our days then quickly fall asleep.
Daily Total: $38.50

Day 3

7:00am — I'm trying to get back into my schedule after C.'s night shifts, but I'm on my period, so my sleep schedule just isn't cooperating. For context, I normally wake at 6am! I'm heading into the office today, and because of my sleep-in, I don't have time to exercise. I have breakfast, wash my hair and then walk into work. It's lovely that I can walk as it only takes about 20 minutes. I love being able to move my body incidentally without having to schedule exercise. 
8:30am — Get to work and kick off with a coffee run with my friends. I have cut back significantly on my coffee expenditure as I was buying one almost every day when I was in the office. I don't get one today and just spend the time chatting to everyone.
11:30am — I wolf down a quick lunch before a presentation. Luckily, C. cooked while I was out last night, so there are plenty of leftovers in the fridge. We always try to cook for four so we have leftovers the next day.
3:00pm — While I'm at work, C. does a grocery shop and puts the total in Splitwise — $32, so my share is $16. I thought he was just grabbing milk, but when I ask him, he also said we needed detergent, bread, and fruit. $16
5:30pm — Work is finally done. It was a big day with quite a few lengthy meetings. I'm really feeling it, especially with my lack of sleep!
6:00pm — I'm home and consider doing a quick Pilates flow before deciding that I'm far too tired. I make one of our Marley Spoon meals for dinner — a barramundi tomato pasta. It takes a bit longer than I anticipated, but it's really yummy so it's worth it. C. is working late tonight, so I settle in. I watch All That Jazz, which is incredible. I've recently gone back and watched all the Bob Fosse musicals because he was so influential. I also bake some banana bread and read my book — The Thursday Murder Club. It's about four oldies in a retirement home who try to solve a mystery. It's very charming and funny and I highly recommend it.
11:00pm — I pick C. up and I am exhausted. I basically sleepwalk to bed.
Daily Total: $16

Day 4

7:00am — Gosh, I wish I could've slept longer. I pull myself out of bed, eat some breakfast and make coffee. Again, I have no time to exercise so I just walk to work. 
8:30am — As much as I stress about getting to work between 8 anf 8:30am, it all seems silly because as soon as I arrive, I go for a coffee run that's more about socialising than actual coffee. I don't even buy coffee! Because we're on the clock, we debrief about some work deals that we're struggling with.
9:00am — I get stuck into work for the day. My job involves going through a lot of data and coming up with a risk assessment, so normally my best work is done when I can just sit in front of the computer without any distractions. In saying that, I’m usually the one to distract others (every office has one!).
10:30am — A person I work with who is usually in the Sydney office has flown up to the Brisbane office this week! I've been really excited to meet her face-to-face, so we head out for a coffee — her shout.
12:30pm — For lunch, it's leftover barramundi tomato pasta. I eat this at my desk, but I'm only half working. I'm mostly focused on the Shameless podcast that I'm listening to.
3:00pm — I head to the kitchen to fill up on snacks. I make myself a green tea, and then get some Salada's and prep them with butter and Vegemite. This is one of my favourite snacks! The work kitchen also has Tim Tams — I don't even want to think about how many I've had since working here. 
4:45pm — C. picks me up from work because I have a psychologist appointment. I've been dealing with anxiety and insomnia for years now and I see a psychologist every month. They operate completely virtually now, so we have a Zoom catch-up from my bed. It's great, but I always feel really drained after. My bill for this will come in over the next couple of days ($170) but I get $88 back on Medicare. $82
6:30pm — We head out to a Japanese restaurant nearby for dinner with C.'s parents and brother. They've recently been to Uluru and Alice Springs, so they tell us all about it. We get six different plates to share, including Yaki udon, gyoza, and a chicken karaage salad. They shout, which is lovely. 
9:00pm — Home again. C. and I read for a bit before going to sleep. 

Day 5

6:30am — Slowly getting back into a normal routine. It takes me a while to get out of bed, but I eventually get up, make my breakfast and a coffee, and scroll on my phone for a bit. I get dressed, do a quick HIIT workout at home (courtesy of Keep it Cleaner) and jump in the shower. Once I've dried my hair, I walk to work. 
8:30am — At work and straight into a meeting. This time, it's about a charity initiative I'm trying to organise for the team — I want us to mentor students from an underprivileged school in the area. My team is really interested and which is awesome because I love organising volunteering and fundraising initiatives.
10:00am — My company is trying to attract more graduates, so a few colleagues and I have been asked to speak at our old university. I grab an Uber to the university (on the company card, of course), and when I get there, I'm given a (company-funded) coffee. We set up our booth and wait for students to ask us questions. We're worried no one will come, but we actually end up with a lot of interest! I have some interesting conversations with the students, enlightening them on some of the better aspects of my company. One of the first-year students was really taken aback when I send our gender diversity split was 50/50!
1:00pm — Back at work, thanks to another company Uber. I quickly get my lunch from the fridge (more leftovers of barramundi pasta) and settle in to do some actual work. A lot of emails have come through since I've been gone — all with new pieces of information for deals I'm working on — so I won't be able to get it all done today. While I'm at work, C. heads out to do a grocery shop. According to SplitWise, he spends $21 on veggies, fruit, milk and juice. My share is $10.50.
4:30pm — I head downstairs for another company-funded Uber. This time, three colleagues and I are going to a panel event that one of our clients is sponsoring. I suspect it'll be fairly boring, but I'm hoping there'll be good food at least. 
6:30pm — The event is really poorly run. There are no seats, so most of us have to stand while the panel takes place, which is pretty odd. I end up getting a beer on the bar tab though, as well as some spring rolls. Unfortunately, the food on offer isn't great.
7:30pm — I'm going home! It's been a long day of networking, so I'm super tired and ready to go to bed. I take another Uber home on the company card. C. has already cooked the last of our Marley Spoon dinners, so I eat that.
9:00pm — We watch a quick episode of Parks and Rec before I head to bed. C. starts night shifts tomorrow night, so he's trying to stay up as late as possible tonight so he can sleep all day tomorrow.
Daily Total: $10.50

Day 6

6:30am — I am so happy to be waking up at this time — I feel like I'm back in my routine! I head downstairs and make some coffee and raisin toast for breakfast.
8:00am — I'm working from home today, so I log on quickly to check my emails and Teams notifications, even though I'm not starting work yet. Checking things outside of work hours is such a bad habit of mine, but I do it a lot when I'm working from home. It's warmed up a little outside, so I head out for a run.
8:30am — 5km done and dusted, and it's time to officially start work. I have a whole day of no meetings which is absolute bliss. It's also handy as C. is sleeping in preparation for the night shift, so I need to be quiet.
10:00am — I go downstairs and make myself a coffee. I heat up some banana bread while I'm at it.
12:30pm— I'm trying not to have a full lunch break today because I want to clock off earlier. I grab some leftovers from last night's Marley Spoon meal and keep working.
3:00pm — I was planning on making a Thai green curry tonight, but I just don't feel like it. I spend some time procrastinating, trying to decide what I want to eat. I eventually land on burgers, but because I'm trying to be healthy, I run to Coles to get some crumbed chicken burger patties, cheese, burger buns, tomato and spinach. I know it's still not super healthy, but it's better than going out for burgers! While I'm at Coles, I see that my regular OGX shampoo and conditioner is half-price, so I pick some up. It comes to $38 and I pop it on Splitwise so my share is just $19. Since I'm close by, I quickly duck into the library because they've got the sequels to The Thursday Murder Club waiting for me. I also pick up She Is Haunted (a collection of short stories), Portrait of a Thief (an art-heist novel), and Dirt Town (an Aussie mystery). $19
3:30pm— Back home to settle into work for the afternoon. I make myself a green tea and polish off a box of Shapes as an afternoon snack. They're pizza flavoured — my favourite.
5:00pm — Finish work! I actually don't end up finishing early, but oh well. I'll feel a lot better on Monday knowing that I have everything done. I catch up on social media and read for a while before dinner.
7:00pm — C. wakes up and I make the chicken burgers. While we eat, we watch Black Bird — a new TV show on Apple TV. We get two episodes in and we're instantly hooked.
9:30pm — I drop C. off at the hospital and then head home to sleep. 
Daily Total: $19

Day 7

8:00am — I wake up and scramble to go and pick C. up from the hospital. We get home and I am HANGRY. I usually eat as soon as I wake up. I get some food and coffee into me and chill out a bit. 
10:00am — C. heads to sleep and I start knitting. I bought a knitting kit because I'd never done it before and really wanted to learn. I quickly realised that it's way harder than it looks though, so it's been sitting in my cupboard for months. I've been feeling so guilty, so I've vowed to whip it out and commit a few hours to it. I'm slowly but surely getting there! I heat up some banana bread to keep me motivated.
1:00pm — I eat a leftover chicken burger for lunch. It definitely doesn't fill me up enough.
2:00pm — I head over to my parent's house. Luckily, Mum has made scones! I fill up on some of those and say hi to my cat and dog. I miss them so much now that I've moved out of home. I have some pants that need a button sewed back on, and thankfully, Mum does the job!
4:00pm — I stop for petrol on the way home ($68). I need to fill up on petrol far less often now that everything's close by and I can walk to work. But gosh, these prices are still a killer. $68
6:00pm — I finally make Thai green curry for dinner. C. goes out with his friends. I pop on Apple TV and watch Trying. It's pretty good. I knit as I watch.
9:00pm — C. arrives home. We snack on chocolate before I go and drop him at work. I fall asleep as soon as I get home. Zzz.
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