Money Diaries

A Week In Croydon, Adelaide, As A Fundraising Coordinator On $78,500

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 fundraising coordinator who makes $78,500 a year and spends some of her money this week on Barbenheimer tickets.
Occupation: Fundraising Coordinator
Industry: Not-For-Profit
Age: 25
Location: Croydon, Adelaide
Salary: $78,500
Net Worth: $14,317.75 ($15,057 in superannuation, $3,046 in an emergency fund (I'm slowly working on building this up to $5,000), $405.31 in savings (the anxiety is real), $1,050 in investments, and a car worth around $20,000). My partner and I keep our finances completely separate and have done so for our (almost) eight-year relationship. However, we recently opened up a joint account to start saving to move interstate to Melbourne next year. Once we've made the move, the account will be used to start saving for a house. We use Splitwise for any expenses (bills, date nights or coffee runs) to keep track of everything.
Debt: $23,990.56 in HELP debt and $1,250 left on my car loan to my parents.
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $1,887.64
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $1,740, split with my partner. At the start of this year, my partner and I signed on to our fourth year living at our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Our landlords live two doors down from us and we have a great relationship. They never cross any boundaries but have also been so generous over the last four years with only one rent increase of $15 a week. They even bring us a Christmas present at the end of each year! They were advised to charge us $460 in rent but declined and only charge us $435, which is such a win. We are so grateful and know our experience will be very different once we leave this house. We try to be good tenants in return and look after the property. We have done lots of jobs over the years and typically my partner will fix anything if it breaks. He's extremely resourceful!
My partner and I split the $435 cost equally as we earn a similar amount. The house has a large backyard and a shed out the back, which has been great for my boyfriend. He is a qualified mechanic but now works in IT support. He still does cash jobs on the weekend every now and again. Other than rent, we pay roughly $350 a quarter for gas, $580 for electricity and $200 for water. My boyfriend pays for these and I transfer the money. We keep track of all our costs using Splitwise.
Car Loan: Only one loan I'm very excited to be done with! I have a car loan of $160 a fortnight that goes to my parents. They bought a car for me during my third year of university. I came from country South Australia to Adelaide without a car. I managed for a few years without it and walked EVERYWHERE. I caught lifts with my friends who had cars and have become a public transport professional. The interest-free car loan will be paid off early next year.
Binge: $13.99 (I use my boyfriend's family account for Netflix)
Spotify: $11.99
Pet Insurance: $52
Aquaerobics: $120. I go twice a week, with each class costing $15.
Internet: $75, split with my boyfriend.
Phone Bill: $62 (I plan to switch to a cheaper provider soon)
General Bills (Utilities, Rego, Psychologist): $400
Regular Short Term Savings Contributions (Travel, Gifts, Concert Tickets etc): $600
Emergency Fund Contributions: $200

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

Yes. I went to university for just under four years and picked Bachelor of Media with a major in Journalism. I did a working gap year in my hometown before moving to Adelaide where I saved a lot for the first year of residential college fees. My parents covered the rest. My degree was a HELP loan that I'll be paying off for many years to come. I also took another government loan of around $10,000 to go to Japan for winter school. I worked a series of rogue jobs from being an English tutor, to doing freelance writing jobs that paid next to nothing, worked as a barista and a casual social media content coordinator at uni, and also had a casual job as a junior copywriter which eventually landed my first full-time gig out of uni. My parents would help me when I needed though.

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

Not really. Their approach to money was very high-risk, high reward. My dad owned his own business and Mum worked as a nurse, but over my childhood, they built four houses and renovated one. We lived in lots of different houses growing up and had stints in rentals for a year before the next house was built, which we then lived in for three to five years before the process started all over again. My dad also invested in several other businesses, with two ventures that ended up being riddled with conflict. Despite their challenges, my siblings and I never went without.

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

My first job was washing dishes at Red Rooster. I worked there for five months before levelling up to a (less greasy) job at Target. I got the job when I just turned 15. I wanted money to go to the movies and buy clothes.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Honestly, never. I feel lucky that I never had to worry, but it didn't give me a real sense of the world and the importance of financial security and freedom. I thought that once you started working full-time, managing money was easy and you had to means to do whatever you wanted. I was so wrong.

Do you worry about money now?

All the time. I think about money every day, but I have come a really long way with how I manage my money, particularly in the last 2.5 years. I have read books on managing money, listen to podcasts every week and have implemented an automated system to cover everything I need to live and really give myself a budget to stick to for other expenses. I stupidly planned two international holidays for one year during a cost of living crisis. I went to Japan in January and I'm going to Cambodia/Vietnam in September. I haven't saved nearly enough for the September trip and I am powering through trying to save as much as I can now. Then I'm moving interstate with my boyfriend next year to Melbourne. I have made a promise to myself that I won't travel internationally for the next three years once I've moved. I know I'll get on top of things next year. I've got to commit to a long-term financial plan, but girlies just want to have fun.

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

I become financially responsible for myself at around age 22 when I got my first full-time job as a junior copywriter. Even though my salary was low, I felt on top of the world that I was getting paid regularly, and much more than I was used to. I hadn't started my financial 'journey' yet, and spent my money on travel, gifts, manicures, wine and hosting people for dinner parties.
I got a rude shock to the system when I left my first full-time job after six months. It was an extremely toxic workplace. I worked as a barista for six months after that and lived on $700 a fortnight. That was all a blessing in disguise because I had to get my shit together and get savvy with my expenses. I learnt a lot during that year.

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


Day 1

7:30am — I wake up to my dog jumping on the bed for a cuddle. This is a standard morning greeting from our golden retriever, except I'm normally the one awake and opening the door to let him in to jump on my boyfriend. I had a sleep-in today as I've planned a 'sick' day off work. I've been meaning to take a day for myself for weeks as I'm generally feeling flat and have had way too many work and personal commitments lately. I text my boss that I'm not feeling well and start my day. I get out of bed, make a coffee and some oats and catch up with my boyfriend before he heads out to work.
8:30am — After scrolling and watching the news, it's time to get moving. I start with my morning skincare routine — I wash my face, put on my CeraVe vitamin C serum and then layer on my La Roche Posay tinted SPF50+. I put away the dishes from yesterday, give the kitchen a clean and start on my mission to declutter. As mentioned, my boyfriend and I have a plan to move to Melbourne next year, so we have five months to downsize and declutter our lives. We've made a good start but we are continuing to chip away at it. I start with going through our records and only keeping the ones we actually listen to. I clean my study and put together some bags to take to Salvos of stuff I don't need anymore.
10:30am — Second coffee of the day! I make myself an iced latte and continue cleaning. I take some photos of the plants I have out the front to put on Marketplace later. I fill in the holes in our backyard from our dog and pick up the poop. Riveting day off so far.
11:45am — I'm already hungry so decide to make lunch. I've got leftover rice and a bowl of egg whites in the fridge from dinner last night (sausage and egg yolk pasta). I heat up the rice, whip the egg whites with chilli and garlic before pouring them onto the pan. I cut up some cucumber, avocado, coriander and spring onion to have with my egg and rice. The dish is a 10/10 for a throw-together lunch. Grab a sparkling water (Mt Franklin sparkling is heaven) from the fridge and settle into the couch for lunch.
1:30pm — Do my dishes and get ready for a walk. I'm in a book club with three of my girlfriends and need to catch up on my audiobook before the end of the month when we'll meet for drinks and dinner. Our book club is usually just for laughs, we love a trashy fiction. However, the book this month is an erotic novel about a priest who breaks his vow of celibacy. I'm about a quarter in and need to keep powering through to make the dinner date deadline at the end of next week. I couldn't get this book through my local library but started an Audible free trial that I'll cancel once I've finished.
3:40pm — I get my dog ready for the park and jump in the car. The park is a great option when I can't be bothered walking him. He's a pain to walk so I opt for a stress-free walk earlier and a trip to the park after. He has a ball with his puppy friends and I rush home to get ready for my tax appointment.
4:20pm — Leave home for my 5pm appointment with my accountant and listen to the Toni and Ryan podcast on the way. I catch up with my accountant and go through the usual work expenses and shares. She says I should get a tax return of around $1,400, which is more than I expected after preparing to be disappointed with how much my return is.
6:25pm — Home to make dinner. I fought the urge to pick up a gyros on the way home and I'm glad I did. I haven't bought takeaway for lunch or dinner in a few weeks and I'm feeling smug about it. Mexican burrito bowl night! I cook some rice with black beans, fry some chicken with a paprika seasoning and chop up cucumber, tomato and coriander. Throw everything together and top with cheese and sour cream. Settle in to watch an episode of Stranger Things with my boyfriend. We're rewatching season four because we have run out of good TV after finishing The Bear.
9:15pm — Turns out that episode went for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Oops. Whole night is gone now. I have a quick shower, do my skincare and hop into bed. I doze off instantly.
Daily Total: $0

Day 2

6:30am — My alarm goes off after a shocking sleep. Thank god it's a WFH day. Dog is instantly whining when he hears I'm awake. I get up straight away and let him outside, turn the heater on in the lounge room, put a load of washing on and make my coffee and oats.
7:30am — I've had a scroll, watched the news headlines and decide I can't be bothered with a morning walk and want to get a jump on work and catch up on what I missed yesterday. I reply to some emails and Slack messages, and get a call from my boss soon after to say that our team will now be reporting to someone else when they hire someone new. I also missed an incident yesterday where a colleague (a manager too) was publicly trash-talking a girl in our team's work. Get filled in on that and now I'm even more glad I took yesterday off. Work has been hectic lately with drama, office politics and a high turnover.
10:00am — Work until my coffee break for the day! I hang my washing up and put on another load of clothes.
12:20pm — Get ready for a run! I am new to running and I am trying to go for a run at least twice a week on top of my aquaerobics. My run is a slog but consistent.
1:10pm — Stretch and heat up my leftover burrito bowl. I check my account to see if my pay has come through yet. It hasn't, but my friend has transferred me $241 for her Taylor Swift ticket I managed to get three weeks ago. I put that money straight into my emergency account.
3:45pm — Pay is in! My pay comes into my main cash hub and sits there for the rest of the day. Tomorrow morning my pay will be automatically split among my different accounts.
4:11pm — Finish up my work for the day, shower and get ready to head into the city to see an advanced screening of Barbie with the work girls! The premiere was only a couple of days ago and I've heard good reviews so far! I wear the only pink top I own, my vintage white blazer and flare pants. I'm going for a preppy Barbie look. I shove down dinner (a frozen meal I cooked weeks ago) and drive into the city.
6:19pm — Arrive in the city late after being stuck in traffic. Find an undercover car park and walk down to the cinema to a pink carpet entrance. Catch up with the girls, buy a glass of bubbles ($9) and head into the theatre. $9
8:35pm — Ryan Gosling as Ken stole the movie. I loved the movie and thought it was clever but not ground-breaking, it was just a sugar hit in the best possible way. I say goodnight to the girls and walk to the car park, pay the fee ($8) on the way out and drive home to get ready for bed. $8
Daily Total: $17

Day 3

6:30am — The dreaded alarm goes off and I'm up straight away. I do the usual routine — coffee, breakfast, skincare routine and then wake my boyfriend up to see if he wants to go for a walk. We get ready and take our dog for a quick walk to the park before heading into the office.
8:40am — Get to work slightly late as per usual. I only live five minutes up the road but somehow still can't manage to leave on time. Say hello to my colleagues, write a to-do list for the day and check my emails, then make a coffee in the kitchen. It's not the best but it's free.
9:20am — Our team decides to decorate our colleague's desk before she comes in. It's her last week in our team and our last day all together as most of us work from home on Friday. We put streamers everywhere, blow up balloons and leave her farewell card and gifts on her desk.
10:30am — I get a Slack message in the group chat with two other girls in my team. We need an emergency coffee meeting across the road. I've reached my daily two coffee limit but still come for moral support. One of my best workmates had a tense meeting with our boss about her professional development and needed to vent. This is nothing out of the ordinary for my days in the office. She wants more guidance but he doesn't have the capacity to mentor her because of his workload.
12:00pm — Lunch! Heat up my pork noodle stir fry and eat in the lunchroom while I chat with my co-workers. We decide against a walk and chat until my next meeting with my boss.
1:00pm — My boss and I catch up quickly to chat about dates for my next two fundraising appeals. I've got to source patient stories (both appeals are cancer-related), interview, book a photographer and write letters, eDMs, articles and the landing page in the next six weeks.
2:00pm — In back-to-back meetings until 4pm. We have a team meeting where we go through all our projects and everything that needs actioning for the week. Then I have another meeting for our major fundraising campaign we are currently running.
4:10pm — Finish up meetings. I'm completely braindead after all that thinking and talking. I finish up writing an eDM and a couple of social captions and log off.
5:00pm — Our team and a few others are heading to Tony Tomatoes in North Adelaide for my workmate's farewell dinner. Dinner isn't til 6pm so we head to Pastel Wine bar for a quick drink. I buy a white wine ($14), drink it quickly and walk down to the restaurant. $14
6:03pm — Find our table and order a grenache ($11) straight away. It's a great group of people tonight and very wholesome vibes. I get prosciutto pizza ($26) and eat every bite. Someone else pays the full bill and sends their bank details. $37
8:15pm — We say our goodbyes and I drop my colleague home as he's on the way to my place and doesn't drive.
8:45pm — Home at last. Two nights out in a row is so tiring. My introverted self needs a day of alone time. I have a quick shower, cuddle my dog and hop into bed.
Daily Total: $51

Day 4

5:45am — I've been having the worst sleeps this week. I've had an unusually busy week socialising and don't normally drink during the week. I try and sleep for another 30 minutes but eventually get up and start the day.
6:30am — Quick breakfast of oats with honey and a coffee, then my boyfriend and I head to the park with our dog. It is FREEZING outside this morning so we don't last long before heading back home.
8:30am — My boyfriend and I are both working from home this morning, so we tick off a couple of things before starting work. We book our return flights from Adelaide to Melbourne for our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam for $342 all up. My boyfriend pays and puts my share of $171 in Splitwise. I'll pay him back this week. We also book dog boarding for the 17 days we are away which costs us $300 each. Having a dog is expensive but lucky I love him. $471
10:00am — I've caught up on my emails so now it's time for my second coffee and to have a quick tidy-up. I do the dishes, chuck our bedsheets into the wash while I listen to a podcast called The Drop. It's a pop culture podcast focused on TV and movies, most of which I watch. They are reviewing Barbie and Oppenheimer this week so I listen to the first half talking about Barbie and pause before the last half of Oppenheimer.
10:45am — Speaking of Oppenheimer, I book my tickets to the movies tomorrow morning for my boyfriend and I. I get these tickets for free because I used my Telstra points to buy them. Win!
12:20pm — Manage to talk myself into a run. It's much easier to commit to on work-from-home days. I run as far as I ever have, and I'm so stoked! I normally have neighbourhood checkpoints on my run where I stop and walk instead, but I managed to keep pushing past them because I felt good!
1:10pm — I make Mi Goreng with a fried egg, chilli, coriander, edamame beans, spring onion and lime. It hits good after a run. Then I have a quick shower and wash my hair.
4:30pm — I put my monstera plant up for sale this week and a lady comes over to pick it up! It's my favourite and biggest plant, but I'm sadly selling my entire collection to move interstate. The monstera is over two metres tall so I put it up for $150. I help the lady get the plant in her car and she hands over $150 in cash! I bought the plant for about $20 five years ago, so that's a money win in my mind.
5:00pm — Finish up work right on time after some solid project work. I need to order groceries for the weekend so do my usual click-and-collect. Since I've been out for dinner so much this week, I opt for a lighter shop and work around the fruit and veg we already have. I get lots of half-price treats like BBQ Shapes and ice cream, and make my meal plan for the week ahead. I decide on green chicken curry for meal prep, and some dinners like a chicken and veg rice soup, fish, rice and veggies, and a veggie Buddha bowl ($74 for my share). $74
6:30pm — Boyfriend gets home from work and we get ready to go to our friend's house for dinner and the footy. We pick up three pizzas on the way for the four of us, which will be split four ways ($10 for me). I had a bottle of sparkling in the fridge that I forgot to bring, so we quickly find a drive-thru Spin N' Save on the way to their house. I grab a bottle of Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon ($12) on special. $22
10:30pm — Head home after a nice night catching up and drinking wine. I fall asleep instantly after doing my skincare routine, of course.
Daily Total: $567

Day 5

7:30am — Wake up feeling a bit groggy but glad it's the weekend! I laze around and eventually say to my boyfriend that we should catch up on And Just Like That. My boyfriend is a recent Sex and the City convert (although it's unfair to compare SATC to AJLT). We watch the latest ep where she FINALLY contacts Aidan after they've been teasing it for the whole season, then get ready to head to an unusually early screening of Oppenheimer.
10:20am — We get our popcorn and drinks, but my boyfriend pays for it. I'm not mentally prepared for a three-hour movie but can't wait to not think about anything else for a while.
1:40pm — Oppenheimer was incredible. I honestly couldn't fault it! The casting was 10/10 and Cillian Murphy will be gunning for an Oscar after that performance. It was a long but rewarding movie and I wasn't bored once.
2:00pm — Home to make a late lunch of my standard go-to — Mi Goreng with edamame beans, spring onion and a fried egg. Not mad about it.
4:00pm — Tick off a few boring life admin tasks while I laze in bed. I order dog food and set up a recurring delivery, which will save us $20 every month ($110). I scan and send our passports over to our travel agent who is sorting out our visas for Cambodia and Vietnam and put some clothes up on Depop that I wasn't having much luck with on Marketplace. $110
5:30pm — Before I head out tonight, I quickly start meal prep. I fry green curry paste with onion, garlic and ginger and put the mixture into the slow cooker with the chicken thigh, coconut milk, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves. I'll leave this sit for a few hours while I'm out and my boyfriend will make the rice and put everything away.
6:05pm — I order pizza (again, I know) before I head to my brother's house to watch the footy. I pick up three pizzas and garlic bread, then drive another five minutes to get to my brother's house. My share for pizza is $25 — it's a very bougie woodfire pizza place. $25
10:10pm — That footy game was truly wild. I didn't get my tip (I'm in a competition with my brothers and their friends) but I'm still on top of the ladder! A win in my eyes. I head home, wash my face and hop into bed for an episode of Girls, but fall asleep halfway through.
Daily Total: $135

Day 6

7:30am — Awake and not happy about it. I set my alarm for 9am most weekends but can never sleep in past 7:30am. I scroll on my phone and realise Hamish Blake had his infamous cake night last night to make his daughters Lego themed birthday cake. My boyfriend and I lie in bed and watch the whole night unfold on his stories. Always great content.
8:10am — Get out of bed and make eggs on Vegemite toast and coffee for my boyfriend and I. He heads out straight after to go to dog training at our local park and I get my day organised. I'm heading out for the whole afternoon today so I'm trying to get on top of my jobs for the week ahead. I put on my last load of washing and put away my giant pile of washing that's dry while I listen to my audiobook for book club. I can't wait for this book to be over. I also split our grocery order and put it in Splitwise.
11:10am — Have a shower and get ready to leave for lunch at my cousin's house 40 minutes south of Adelaide. We're taking our dog and also need to bring two chairs down for my cousin that we are giving away before our move. My boyfriend drives.
12:40pm — Arrive at her house by the beach and have a delicious gyros lunch cooked for us with lamb and haloumi. It was a five-star lunch. We talk for hours and fill each other in on our lives.
4:00pm — My boyfriend's sister lives around the corner from my cousin, so we pop in and visit her and the kids. We have a quick cup of tea and catch up. I'm feeling very braindead at this stage though. I think my social battery has run out.
6:05pm — Finally get driving to head back home. The full weight of the Sunday scaries is upon me. There's nothing worse than being tired on a Sunday night knowing you have to go to work the next day.
7:00pm — Cook a quick dinner of pork, pumpkin and coleslaw. My boyfriend does most of it while I shower. We eat dinner and watch an episode of Stranger Things and try and get an early night to catch up on rest.
Daily Total: $0

Day 7

7:00am — Alarm goes off and it's time to start another work week. I make my usual oats and coffee and get ready for the day. I do my skincare routine, and a subtle make-up look. I put on my tinted sunscreen, liquid blush and highlighter, brush my brows and put on Too Faced brown mascara. I quickly tidy the house, put out the recycling and make my way to the office.
8:40am — I arrive at the office and feel so run down after not much time to myself on the weekend. I think my period is coming too. I jump straight into a meeting with a girl in my team to discuss this week's upcoming content for one of our fundraisers.
10:00am — Coffee time. I make a quick coffee on the work coffee machine and grab a mandarin from our free fruit bowl before doing some deep focus work planning our next appeals.
12:00pm — Lunch! I heat up the curry I made on the weekend and catch up with everyone on their weekend. It's a nice day so a few of us decide to go for a walk around the block.
1:10pm — Back at my desk and I'm prepping for an interview this afternoon with our feature story for our breast cancer appeal.
2:30pm — Log onto Zoom and have a great chat with our feature. Although after this chat I don't think she's the right person to feature for this appeal and her story isn't going to connect with our audience. I immediately contact another source who I think would be a better fit for the story.
4:00pm — I finish transcribing the interview. Even though I don't think it would be a good fit for this current appeal, her story might fit well for some other content. I make a cup of tea and continue to contact some other people for another appeal.
5:00pm — What a long day. Too much talking and not enough solid writing time. I know my entire week will be like this, which makes it so hard to catch up on work. I feel exhausted and think about cancelling my aqua-aerobics class, but talk myself into it and tell myself I'll feel so much better. I quickly rush to the supermarket to get chicken thighs and parmesan ($17.10) for a chicken, rice and veggie soup, then I come home to get ready for aqua. $17.10
6:00pm — Arrive at the hydrotherapy pool, pay the casual fee ($15) and hop into the pool ready to move. We have a new instructor, so the exercises are much different than what we usually do. I like the classes to be as high-intensity as possible, but this class is all about dance. We do different dance moves to 70s, 80s and 90s music. It was fun but don't feel like I got the solid workout I normally do. $15
7:05pm — Home to the delightful smell of my boyfriend cooking dinner. The chicken and rice soup is bubbling away and I quickly jump in the shower before it's ready. I wash my hair, moisturise and get cosy on the couch for dinner. We put on the last episode of Stranger Things.
9:30pm — Bedtime! Ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
Daily Total: $32.10
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