Money Diaries

A Week In Glenside, Adelaide, As A Government Employee On $89,000

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Today: a government employee who makes $89,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on furniture for her shiny new home.
Occupation: Government Employee
Industry: Federal Politics
Age: 28
Location: Glenside, Adelaide
Salary: $89,000
Net Worth: $185,000 (An apartment worth $300,000, $40,000 in superannuation, $10,000 in shares, and $50,000 in savings)
Debt: $215,000 on my mortgage
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,500
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $1,280. I recently bought my own place but it is tenanted for another month. Until I can move in, I am staying with my parents and pay $110 a week in rent.
Electricity: $150
Internet: $25
Phone: $80 
Pilates: $69 for three classes, every two weeks.
Hot Yoga: $150 every ten weeks. I go once a week and buy a ten-class pack.
Rock Climbing: $60/year

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

My parents never went to university and drilled it into my head that I should go to university straight out of high school. I chose a degree I wasn’t 100% committed to and hated every aspect of university life. I failed a class in my final year and hit a mental wall. In my fourth year, I ended up getting a job and left university with the intention to return, but I never did. I have no regrets about leaving as my career has been steady and I learnt no valuable skills at university. I understand why my parents pushed for me to go, but I think the world has changed considerably and real-world experience and on-the-job training provide far more valuable skills — at least in my experience.

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

We didn’t have any conversations about money, but I knew that it was tight. We always had food on the table and holidays away, but I knew my parents were stressed about money. Seeing all that stress and occasionally being without money in my adult life has made me very aware of how important a financial safety net is. My parents also made sure that I never got a credit card and gave me $750 to start off my share portfolio.

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

I got a job at KFC when I was 15. I got it because I thought having a job was so grown up. When I got this job, my parents made me save every dollar. It was annoying at the time, but I'm really grateful now that I walked into adulthood with a nice amount of savings. All of the money I made at that job has been the foundation for my savings into adulthood. Knowing what security feels like has made me work hard to ensure that I always have a safety net.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Yes and no. I wouldn’t worry on a day-to-day basis, but as I grew older, I realised that money was tight.

Do you worry about money now?

Kind of. I have decent savings and a good income that I can fall back on if times get tough. However, I always worry that I won’t have enough saved for the future or won't be able to take care of my parents when they get older.

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

I moved out of home when I was 23 and paid for all my expenses myself (like rent and bills). I moved back home at 25 for six months and didn’t need to pay rent or bills, but when I moved out again, I became self-sufficient. Since breaking up with my boyfriend earlier this year, I've moved back home again. I pay a small amount of rent and buy food and other items to help around the house, but I am saving more money than I usually would living out of home.
I recently bought a house and will be moving in shortly, so I'll once again be paying my own way. My parents cannot give me financial support but would always let me move back in with them if I needed to.

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

There's no inheritance coming my way. I have recently bought an apartment which I will be moving into soon, but when I first bought it, it was tenanted for three months so I have been receiving rent, which covered most of the mortgage repayments.

Day 1

8:00am — This week, I'm taking time off from my job as I have too many flexi days owing to me. I also need to sort a lot of things before moving into my new home, which I finally bought after a long time of looking and stressing about house prices. Because I've got the week off, I sleep in a bit. I brush my hair, throw on workout clothes and brush my teeth before having a coffee, which is also my breakfast (a bad habit). 
8:30am — I leave the house and head to my reformer Pilates class that starts at 9. I love reformer Pilates and have a great session sweating it out. I buy Pilates in packs to make it cheaper (it's still an expensive way to exercise but I love it) and I am back home by 10:30am.
10.30am — I have my second cup of coffee and make myself a protein smoothie with food that I already have at home — protein powder, oats, honey, peanut butter, spinach, frozen berries and almond milk. 
11.00am — After breakfast, I decide to take my dog for a hike. It's actually my brother's dog, but he stays with my parents a lot and I love him, so who's counting? We jump in the car and head to my favourite spot. It’s only 15 minutes away and has a great, steep hill for the maximum workout, plus beautiful open fields.
1.00pm — We both have a great hike and I can see my dog is ready for a nap, so we drive home. He has a long drink and falls asleep in the sun. I make toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch with avocado, capsicum and onion and have my third and final coffee for the day. I normally have three coffees a day as it's the only thing that keeps me going.
3.00pm — I use the rest of the afternoon to do some life admin, including paying bills, ticking items off on my to-do list and light cleaning.
5.15pm — I have mat Pilates on Monday nights with a friend, so I jump in the car and head over for the 6pm class. It might seem over the top to do two Pilates classes in a day, but this night class is more of a relaxing stretch as opposed to a hardcore workout. Plus, I love being able to see my friend at a set time every Monday night. 
7.00pm — What a great class! I love it when the foam rollers are used. After class, my friend and I chat for 15 minutes before going our separate ways. I head home and see that my mum has left dinner for me — steaks, potatoes and green beans. I am very spoiled when I stay with my parents. I eat dinner while watching The Nanny.
8.00pm — I shower and get ready for bed. Since I have been back home, my nighttime routine has been stripped back to some moisturiser and a brush of my teeth. I say goodnight to my parents and watch more of The Nanny on my phone before it's lights out at 9pm.
Daily Total: $0

Day 2

6.30am — I wake up early and can't fall back asleep. It's annoying because I don't have work today and want a sleep-in. I scroll on my phone (Wordle, Insta, Facebook) and watch some more episodes of The Nanny until 7:30am when I finally roll out of bed. I brush my hair, make a coffee and sit in front of my computer to continue some life admin.
9.00am — I am slowly going through my wardrobe to cull everything before I leave my parents' house. I love getting my mum's opinion on clothes — she's brutal but gives great advice. I try on some clothes before getting changed for the day and brushing my teeth. My dad and I are going fridge shopping for my new place today.
10.00am — My dad and I leave the house and travel to six different fridge shops. Some are super dodgy warehouses and others are very upmarket and overpriced. I find two fridges I like, but I hold off on committing to one just yet. 
12.00pm — We arrive home and I have leftover lasagne for lunch. I’m still hungry, so I have a piece of toast with avocado and follow it up with some almond chocolate stolen from my dad. Living with my parents has cut down my food shopping bill a lot!
1.00pm — My mum and I spend the afternoon browsing homewares stores. I have to buy so much, but I don’t like rushing into purchases. I find a couch and bedhead I love but I don't pull the trigger yet. I do, however, buy three colourful tea towels. $12
5.15pm — We arrive home and I quickly run to the supermarket to pick up some ingredients for a pasta I am making tonight — pasta, cream, cheese, onion and butter. $20
5.45pm — I come home from the shops, pour myself a wine and chill out with my laptop until 7pm when I start cooking the pasta. I enjoy another glass of wine while I cook because it makes me feel like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen (I do not). The pasta turns out great.
9.00pm — I have a shower, do my basic nighttime routine and fall into bed to watch some more episodes of The Nanny on my phone before falling asleep around 10pm. 
Daily Total: $32

Day 3

8.30am — Wake up slowly and alternate between scrolling on my phone, resting my eyes and trying to go back to sleep.
9.30am — More sleep eludes me and the craving for coffee has grown too strong, so I make my way to the kitchen and make a coffee for my parents and myself. 
11.15am — I head off for a hair appointment. I've known my hairdresser for a long time. He does a great job and is cheap. For half a head of colour and a blow dry, it’s only $135.
1.00pm — I am back home and my uncle drops by for a visit and stays for around an hour. After he leaves, I am starving and very hangry, which isn't good for anyone. We don’t have much food in the house though. I know I should do some shopping, but it takes a lot of effort. I make some homemade chips for lunch.
4.00pm — I decide I want to buy the bedhead that I saw earlier in the week. The only catch is that the sale ends today (I love leaving things to the last minute!). It’s a beautiful, white Balinese style and is the perfect length. I have been looking for one for a while but they're normally $1,000, so paying only $300 is a pretty good deal. My mum and I jump into my dad’s ute (very handy) and race to the shop to buy it before the shop closes ($299). It's a lot harder to put the bed head into the ute than we thought and we end up having to use lots of ropes to anchor it into place. We drive home very slowly and pray it doesn’t get ruined. Luckily, we all make it home in one piece. $299
5.30pm — I am feeling quite tired, probably because I haven't eaten enough. I take my dog out for an hour-long walk. It clears my head and my beautiful boy has a great time. I know it isn't a good idea to not eat, but sometimes the day gets away from me. When I move into my new place, I'm planning on getting into better and healthier food habits.
6.30pm — I chill with some wine before eating a steak dinner that my mum cooks. This is definitely a nice benefit of being back with my parents. After eating, I have a shower, do my basic nighttime routine and head to bed by 9:30pm. 
Daily Total: $434

Day 4

7.00am — Slowly wake up and scroll on my phone for half an hour before getting out of bed. Then I drink a coffee and throw on some exercise clothes. I am getting very used to not having to do a mad rush in the mornings. 
9.00am — I have my reformer Pilates class and feel the burn. I get home by 10:30am for my second coffee, followed by a protein smoothie. 
11.30am — I meet up with my high school friends for our monthly book club brunch. It’s a great way for us all to catch up regularly and argue about the pros and cons of the book we are reading. We all take turns picking a book — the only rule is that no one can have already read the book we pick. This week, we discuss a book I chose — The Salt Path. Everyone hated it, including me, but the food and coffee is good. I go for a classic smashed avocado on toast with halloumi. It comes to $35 for breakfast and one coffee. $35
2:00pm — Arrive home and make my third coffee for the day. I decide the afternoon is too beautiful to waste, so I grab my dog and head to the nearest hill hike for a two-hour walk. My dog loves this — I would never push him or make him walk longer than he can handle. 
5.00pm — Arrive home, make tea and have some chocolate. I spend some time on my computer and do some light cleaning. I also start to get ready to go out for the night.
7.00pm — I drive into the city to meet my friends for dinner and play some pool. We head to a Chinese restaurant and I get a wonton soup and a craft beer ($26). It’s my first time trying wonton soup and unfortunately, I don’t love it. After, we head to a newly opened pool hall. We manage to get the last free pool table and settle in to play three games. I lose all three, but I love playing anyway. The silver lining is that my friends pay for all my games, but they also leave with bragging rights. $26
12:00am — We decide to call it quits and all walk back to our cars. I head home and fall asleep straight away without taking my make-up off. I can never be bothered when I am exhausted. I keep meaning to get into a better routine, but this idea goes straight out the window once 10pm hits.
Daily Total: $61

Day 5

8.00am — Wake up and decide not to lay around for too long. I quickly get out of bed, head to the kitchen and make a coffee. 
9.00am —  After coffee, I throw on some clothes, brush my hair and put on sunblock. I saddle up the hound and head out for an hour-and-a-half hike. I've really enjoyed getting back into nature and exercising. Normally, I usually spend my holidays travelling, but having a staycation this time around has been more fun than I thought it would be. I'm also getting through a lot of things that I've been putting off for a long time.
11.30am — When I get home, I have my second cup of coffee and follow it up with a protein smoothie. Then I jump back on the laptop to chill out and slowly keep working my way through my to-do list.
1.00pm — I have my third cup of coffee followed by a trip to the bottle shop for two bottles of red wine ($30). After, I stop by the greengrocer next to the bottle shop and buy a pumpkin, asparagus, onion and capsicum ($12). The final stop is the supermarket for halloumi, a lot of coffee pods (I use them very quickly) and tea ($31). When I get home, I make a halloumi, capsicum, spinach and avocado sandwich, followed by two pieces of chocolate and a cup of tea. $73
3.30pm — I spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning before my sister arrives. She lives interstate but is coming home for one night for a work trip. That means she'll stay with us and we'll get to catch up on everything. My brother and uncle also head over for dinner. I offer to cook, but my cooking is generally not edible so I've been instructed to stay out of the kitchen. I don't argue as cooking isn't my strong suit.
10.00pm — It's great to see my sister. I wish she lived closer and I miss her a lot. When she lived in the same state as me, we would do so much together. Both of us have moved around so much in the past few years, so it's been a while since we have both lived near each other. We have weekly phone calls, but it isn’t the same as seeing her in the flesh. She has an early start for work tomorrow, so we all decide to head to bed at around 11pm. I jump in the shower, do my quick nighttime routine and fall asleep around midnight. 
Daily Total: $73

Day 6

9.00am — My wake-up time keeps getting later and later, which I'm not mad about. I think it means my body is accepting that it's in holiday mode and finally relaxing. I am typically quite a tense person and a bit of a stress head, but I think a lot of that has to do with working, which unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of not doing (unless I win the lottery). I head to the kitchen to make my first cup of coffee, then sit on my laptop to do more life admin and catch up on the news. Buying and moving houses takes a lot of work, especially with a tenant involved. When I bought the place, she still had three months left on her lease. This meant that I had to live back with my parents on a short-term basis. Once the lease is finished, my tenant is moving interstate, so she has no problem that I'm unable to renew her lease. Once my coffee is finished, I go and change into exercise clothes, put on a load of washing, clean the kitchen and make myself a protein smoothie for breakfast. 
11.00am — Get the dog ready for another hike. He gets so excited when I bring out the lead and does zoomies in the back garden. We have a great hike today and spend two hours in the beautiful sunshine. We also see a few dogs on the trail which always helps tire him out. I get back home and have leftover lasagne and a coffee for lunch. Then I make pumpkin soup — it's one of the few items I can cook without burning. If I'm required to cook for myself, I'll usually just order takeout.
5.00pm — I leave to go to my rock climbing club. I climb for three hours and feel great after. At only $60 a year, this is such a cheap and fun activity that does a great job of keeping me fit.
8.30pm — Get home and see that my parents have cooked veal for dinner. I grab the food and eat with them while watching an episode of Alone. We're obsessed with this show and can’t wait for the next season to come out. It’s a survival show where people compete to see who can survive alone in the wilderness the longest. My parents and I enjoy judging the participants on their survival skills while we are safely in our home, very well-fed.  
10.00pm — I jump into a long, hot shower, do my nighttime routine of moisturiser and brushing my teeth and fall into bed. I drift off to sleep straight away. 
Daily Total: $0

Day 7

9.00am — Wake and scroll on my phone for half an hour before coffee starts calling my name. I continue my life admin — organising power connection for my new house and getting paperwork together for my tenant to leave — while drinking my coffee. Then I have freshly squeezed orange juice that Mum makes for me. I'm incredibly spoiled and living the high life. It will be hard to move out again.
10.45am — I get changed into jeans and a jumper before heading to the kitchen and making myself another coffee.
12.00pm — Head out to the shops and buy some ingredients to make pasta — olives, spinach, mushroom, tomato and onion ($30). Come home, start cooking and eat straight away, accompanied by a third coffee. $30 
2.00pm— Head to the library to use the printer and scanner. I always forget that cash is still a thing and the printer only accepts coins. By a lucky stroke of fortune, I actually have some coins in my wallet to pay for the printing. It costs $2 and my bag feels lighter now that I have ditched the coins. $2
5.15pm — Head out for my hot yoga class. It feels great to sweat and stretch out and I feel relaxed as I head home. For dinner, I have leftover pasta and two glasses of red wine (balance). I shower and I’m in bed by 9pm.
Daily Total: $32
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