money diaries

A Week In Melbourne, VIC, As A Flight Attendant On $60,000

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, we meet a long-haul cabin crew worker who travels to and from Singapore before taking off days later for Dallas, Texas. She spends money on cocktails and street food in Singapore, continues to practise journalling and treats herself to Uber Eats twice in one day while battling jetlag.
Occupation: Long Haul Cabin Crew
Industry: Aviation
Age: 25
Location: Melbourne, VIC
Pronouns: She/Her
Salary: $60,000 approx. (It can fluctuate depending on the flight routes you work and cash allowances in different destinations)
Net Worth: $58,000 total. $37,000 in a high-yield savings account (Included in that is my emergency fund). $21,000 in Superannuation.
Debt: $0
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,300 approx. (Fluctuates each fortnight depending on routes flown and cash allowance amounts)

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $850 on rent. I live in a share house with two other good friends who are also cabin crew for the same airline. Our place is full of houseplants (the types that hardly need watering) and it's generally a pretty quiet house, as a lot of the time it's just me at home while my housemates are on work trips or visa versa.
Health Insurance: $140 private health insurance
Travel: $100 Uber/Didi, $30 Public transport
Phone Plan: $35 phone plan
Netflix: $23

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


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

Absolutely zero. I grew up with a single mother, and a father who paid no child support.

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

My first job was in retail when I was 15. I got it simply because I was keen to get to work as soon as possible! I knew I wanted to make my own money and start saving from a young age for financial security, which I didn't experience in my childhood growing up.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Yes, I did. I was aware we were well below "average" in the wealth department. I felt the gap between my family and those around me from a young age, I was acutely aware. I also witnessed a scarcity mindset which always left me feeling insecure and concerned about money and whether or not we had enough. I never asked my mother for anything, as I knew the answer would be no.

Do you worry about money now?

Sometimes, yes. The scarcity mindset is very hard to get rid of! I mainly worry about inflation and the rising cost of living, house prices and the rental crisis.

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

I moved out at 21 when I got my first full-time job in aviation (before that I was juggling several jobs simultaneously since high school). My safety net is in my emergency fund. I also have my mother who would let me live with her if need be and I'm forever grateful for that.

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


Day 1

9:30am: Peel myself out of bed... I am not a morning person!
11:00am: After a homemade breakfast of eggs, avocado, and chilli chutney on toast, I head back into bed for an hour of luxurious reading time.
12:00pm: Time for some chores! I set a timer for 30 minutes, and usually once I get started, I can't stop! My housemates and I share a cleaning roster, and it works really well for sharing the housekeeping duties and keeping things fair. I vacuum my room, hallway, bathroom, and living room, as well as clean all the mirrors and glass.
1:30pm: Cleaning is completely exhausting and a workout! So, to treat myself, I enjoy a homemade berry smoothie and scroll through Instagram Reels while regaining energy on the couch.
2:00pm: My housemate has just woken up (she landed from Tokyo earlier today and needed a nap). So, I manage to persuade her out of the house for a "landing day feast" at our local pub. We enjoy two cheeky gin and tonics ($16) and a pizza each ($12) — they're regrettably too small — and do some people-watching. We also chat about work and the latest drama. We walked to and from the pub and choose to count this as cardio for the day. $28
4:00pm: On our walk home, we head into Coles, and I buy some vanilla ice cream ($6.50), as I've got work tomorrow and I'll treat myself to an iced coffee before I leave home. $6.50
5:00pm: I am off to Singapore tomorrow for work, so it's time to pack. I am slow at this task and get sidetracked a lot. I usually play a comedy podcast to keep me company.
7:30pm: A dinner made up of fridge leftovers, followed by dishes and my bedtime routine! I try to get into bed early for work tomorrow. I do enjoy some Netflix time though.
Daily Total: $34.50

Day 2

7:30am: I'm up!
8:00am: Homemade iced coffee in hand, I get ready for work. With my hair and makeup done, I throw on my uniform and head out the door! My bags are already packed from the night before.
9:15am: Walking to my local train station (in uniform and with bags, which is always uncomfortable). But hey, I save a ton of money by not having a car, so I focus on that! I take the train into the city, tapping on with my Myki ($5.30), followed by the airport Skybus ($24). $29.30
10:30am: I arrive at the airport and head into my crew briefing. Afterwards, the crew walks to the aircraft to get the day started.
12:00 pm: Finally airborne! We have a full-service flow for three continuous hours of cabin service before I get a short break and enjoy my crew meal.
3:25 pm: I eat my crew meal quickly while standing in the galley. Afterwards, I pick at a few snacks until I'm reasonably full.
7:00 pm: Finally, it's time to start preparing for landing. The flight has been calm, and the two meal services went smoothly. I am definitely getting tired on my feet though. On my one-hour flight break, I started watching Cocaine Bear on the inflight entertainment, and so far, it's hilarious. I also technically had dinner onboard, which was crew snacks and chocolates... Not the healthiest or most balanced meal. My body is my temple, right?
8:30 pm: We're on the ground, and the last passengers have disembarked. We hand over the aircraft to the cleaners, engineers, and caterers, and rush through immigration to get on the bus to the hotel.
9:00 pm: Once at the hotel, I collect my room key and say goodnight to the crew. At this point, my legs are killing me, and I'm ready to crash. Luckily, I ate on board, so no food expenses today!
10:00 pm: I settle into my hotel room, turn on some Netflix to unwind, and get some well-earned rest.
Daily Total: $29.30

Day 3

10:00am: Hotels aren't great for sleeping, so I wake up feeling super groggy. I try to clear my head with some journaling and stretching.
11:30am: Ready for a walk to find some delicious breakfast. After about 15 minutes, I stumble upon a cute (but overpriced) cafe. I indulge in scrambled eggs on toast and an orange juice: ($35 Singapore dollars, $38.83 AUD approx.). $38.83
12:30pm: A leisurely stroll back to the hotel lets me soak in the heat and atmosphere. The breakfast was heavy, so I take it easy.
2:00pm: Back at the hotel, I grab my book and head for the pool, seeking — the sun here is intense! On my way back, I grab a takeaway burrito to refuel ($9 Singapore dollars, $10 AUD approx.) $10
3:00pm: Back in my room, I unexpectedly crash for a proper nap! This sometimes happens after flights and bad nights' sleep, so I welcome the extra rest.
5:30pm: Time to meet the crew for rooftop cocktails ($23 Singapore dollars, $25.50 AUD approx.), followed by some cheap street food. I got satay sticks and rice balls ($17 Singapore dollars, $18.85 AUD approx.) We walk everywhere this balmy evening. Feeling super grateful for great colleagues and work opportunities. $44.35
9:00pm: Back in my hotel room, and as a creature of habit, I do my usual nighttime routine — reading a few chapters of a book, and maybe watch some Netflix or YouTube. I'll try to catch anyone online from my family and then drift off to sleep.
Daily Total: $93.18

Day 4

9:30am: Wake up groggy again, but this time I try to get ahead of it by getting out of my room and heading for a refreshing morning walk along the river.
10:00am: I stumble upon a cute bakery, the perfect spot for some people-watching — business people rushing to work in their suits and pencil skirts. I treat myself to a milkshake and a croissant with ham and brie cheese ($21 Singaporean dollars, $23.30 AUD approx.). $23.30
11:30am: I make it back to the hotel just as the heat becomes unbearable outside. I take a moment in bed to scroll through Instagram and cool down.
12:00pm: Since I'm flying home tonight, I start to semi-organise my room and bags. I iron my fresh uniform and lay everything out neatly for tonight's departure. Annoyingly, I notice the skirt seam has a hole.
1:00pm: I head downstairs to drop off my uniform skirt to the local tailor, who always does quick and tidy alterations (and maybe for a fraction cheaper than Melbourne tailors). I do some window shopping, and after 15-20 minutes, I return to find the skirt finished ($12 Singaporean dollars, $13.30 AUD approx.). $13.30
2:00pm: On my way back, I grab some takeaway laksa for lunch ($10.50 Singapore dollars, $11.65 AUD approx.), along with some cheese breadsticks from the bakery ($6.30 Singapore dollars, $7 AUD approx.). $17.95
3:00pm: After devouring lunch, I try to wind down in preparation for my night flight. I close the shutters, put in my earplugs, and crawl into bed with a book, hoping for a pre-flight nap. Some days I'm lucky, others not so much. Today, unfortunately, sleep eludes me. I lie in bed willing myself to drift off, but eventually, my alarm jolts me back to reality — it's time to get ready for the afternoon "pickup time" (when we check out of the hotel and head to the airport).
6:00pm: Out of bed, bags packed, and back to doing my quick hair and makeup routine before dashing out the door to check out. A bus is waiting downstairs to take us back to the airport.
9:45pm: After the usual shuffle of immigration and passenger boarding, we're airborne once again. A quiet realisation hits me — this will be a long night. I won't sleep until I arrive home tomorrow at around 9am. Now, fatigue sets in, and I can't help but wish my earlier attempt at a nap worked out.
Daily Total: $54.55

Day 5

8:00am: We land slightly delayed due to traffic coming into Melbourne (holding pattern for 25 minutes... ugh!). Thankfully, that's pretty rare. But the flight was good, with lovely passengers. I'm just glad I'm on the home stretch towards my own bed!
8:30am: I'm off the aircraft and through immigration in record time. I text my taxi driver to let him know I've arrived. The airline pays for my one-way taxi which is a huge help for someone like me who doesn't have a car. Money saved!
9:30am: I almost fall asleep in the taxi a few times. I'm finally home and my dizzy head can rest soon. I dump my bags, rip off my uniform, and have a shower. Then I melt into bed with heavy eyes. These night shifts don't get any easier... ever.
1:30pm: After four hours of sleep I wake up with a banging headache, my body reminding me this kind of lifestyle is unnatural and she's complaining. I slowly get up and drink as much water as possible. Feeling too weak to cook anything, I settle for some ice cream while I order my Uber Eats weakness — carbonara pasta ($31). $31
3:00pm: My headache subsides after a good amount of food and water. I continue to take it easy, slowly doing some house tasks. I'm in the process of decluttering my room bit by bit, and it's therapeutic! I also unpack my bags and put on a load of washing.
5:00pm: I take a break and do some social media scrolling, my eyes don't have the energy for reading.
5:30pm: I start packing for my next trip to make things easier for myself in the long run. I hang the washing and water our houseplants. My housemates are away on work trips, so the house feels big and quiet in their absence. Sometimes I wish we could have a cat...
6:30pm: Feeling incredibly guilty about this, but my body feels so lethargic I can't bring myself to leave the house. Landing days can be rough sometimes, and today is one of those days. The guilt is enormous, but I order more Uber Eats — this time a Pad Thai ($27). $27
9:00pm: I'm back in bed with my laptop. If I'm lucky, I'll stay awake for an episode before sleep takes over.
Daily Total: $58

Day 6

9:00am: I wake up still a bit exhausted (a recurring theme in a flight attendant's life). Night flying really throws my balance off. But I'm determined to make it to the shops for some fresh and healthy food. Today, I'm dedicated to taking care of myself!
10:00am: Walking to the shops with an empty stomach — dangerous territory, but I'm feeling positive. I made it out of the house and am focused on fueling my body well today. I do a mini-haul of basic, healthy ingredients ($47). How such few items can manage to equal that much is beyond me. $47
11:00am: Feeling super motivated, so I cook a giant omelette with spinach and tomatoes for breakfast, and guzzle down lots of water.
12:30pm: Feeling proud of myself today and I'm on a roll, so I decide to head out for a walk to get some vitamin D and fresh air.
2:00pm: Lunchtime. I whip up a big, delicious salad with a mini cheese board on the side, complete with some nuts and crackers as a little treat.
4:00pm: Time for some reading and journaling. I've been trying to find more balance, and I've found these practices to be calming for my nervous system and helpful for my mental health. Highly recommend getting your thoughts on paper.
6:30pm: We're having an early household dinner tonight. My two housemates landed today, and I'm leaving again tomorrow, so, it's perfect timing for an early wholesome night. We make a Mexican-inspired feast from things we found in the pantry and some old veggies at the bottom of the fridge. It's nice to be in their company. Flying can get lonely sometimes, and I find myself really cherishing these small moments.
9:00pm: Crawl into bed for an early night before I take off again tomorrow and start the cycle all over again.
Daily Total: $47

Day 7

8:30am: Rise and shine! I start with an iced coffee for a pick-me-up, followed by a healthy breakfast of berries, yogurt, and muesli.
9:00am: Time to get ready! I do my hair and makeup next, with my luggage and fresh uniform already prepped and ready to go.
10:15am: My taxi arrives and whisks me off to the airport. Since today's flight to Dallas, Texas, is a whopping 18 hours, the airline graciously covers my taxi fare. Free transportation for me! During the drive, I listen to music through my headphones and mentally prepare myself for the fact that I won't be resting in my hotel room until approximately 24 hours from now.
11:30am: Preflight briefing is complete, and we're off to the aircraft for a long day at work. At least there's free food onboard — a silver lining!
11:59pm: The day has flown by (pun intended!). It's been a whirlwind of serving passengers questionable airline food, collecting mountains of rubbish, loading hundreds of meals into ovens, whipping up countless Bloody Marys, playing air-hostess babysitter, cleaning toilets (thankfully vomit-free today!), and chatting with some wonderful and interesting passengers and crew. Happy flying... (said with a hint of sarcasm ;).
Daily Total: 0

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