Money Diaries

A Week In Jindabyne, NSW, As A Graduate Engineer On $76,200

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Today: a graduate engineer working remotely in Jindabyne who makes $76,200 and spends some of her money this week on new snow pants.
Occupation: Graduate Building Structures Engineer
Industry: Professional Services
Age: 23
Location: Jindabyne, NSW (but I usually live in Melbourne)
Salary: $76,200
Net Worth: $57,283 ($36,000 in ASX stocks, $1,500 in crypto, $5,500 in savings, and $18,500 in superannuation). My partner and I keep our finances separate at the moment, but we use an old everyday account of mine for groceries, contributing $70 towards it every week. We both have this sitting in our Apple Pay wallet, so it can be accessed regardless of who is going to the supermarket.
Debt: $4,217 in HECS debt, which will hopefully be paid off by the end of the year.
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $4,313 from my full-time job. I also work one day a week at the ski resort here and make about $250/week.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $1,100. Between six of us, we pay $6,000/month. The housing situation during winter seasons is unlike anything else. We live in a cute little three-bedroom house where everyone shares a room. This would usually be pretty unusual for a group of 20-something-year-olds. Luckily, we all met last season and became friends, so we were able to find a private rental together rather than going through staff accommodation.
Spending Money: $1,000. This is solely my pay from the ski resort, which is nice. Once I'm back in Melbourne, I'll be living off a single-job income again, so this will be reduced.
Save Up 1000: $90. This is a cool feature from Up Bank where you put away a varying amount into a locked savings account each week until you reach $1,000. I usually put about $90 away into this account.
Groceries: $240 
Car Expenses (Petrol, Insurance, Servicing): $450
Utilities: $285
Gifting: $150
Miscellaneous Bills: $150. This includes contraception, my phone bill, a Spotify subscription, iCloud storage, etc.
Gym: $100 
Health Insurance and Treatments: $150
Savings Contributions: I try to make a contribution of at least $1,500 towards my various savings accounts and investments each month. Sometimes it’s more, depending on how much I spend. 

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

I completed a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours, which I’m fortunate enough to have been able to put on HECS. I have been making voluntary payments towards it since I started working. My dad also helped a little as a tax deduction. I will hopefully be completing a master's degree in the next few years, so I'll have another $29,000 or so added to my HECS.

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

We didn’t have a lot of conversations about money growing up, which is strange as my parents work in the finance industry. I learnt pretty early on that you had to put away money for bills first, and that credit cards were a terrible idea. I now know that they can be a good way to earn rewards if you control your spending and pay them off regularly, but I’m not comfortable enough in my spending habits yet to allow myself to get one. I also learnt about investing and the stock market when I turned 20, which I'd say is pretty early.

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

My first job was at McDonald's when I was 15. I got it because I wanted to save up some money for a car. We lived semi-rurally, so I wanted to get my license and have a car by my 18th birthday, which would give me more freedom (public transport in the area was terrible and I had to rely on my parents to get anywhere). I ended up becoming a shift supervisor when I was 19 and continued to work there until I was 21.

Did you worry about money growing up?

I did a bit. My parents were quite sporadic in their views about money. One second, we’d be booking expensive holidays overseas, and the next, my dad would be telling my mum to return some new frying pans she'd bought because we couldn’t afford them. Overall, I had everything I needed and we were pretty comfortable. We lived in a nice renovated house on a few acres, and my sister and I went to an expensive private girls' school.

Do you worry about money now?

I definitely worry about money now. I think I’ve inherited a bit of a negative relationship with money from my parents. I often worry about spending too much (and I know I definitely do sometimes!). I worry about buying a house and potentially providing for a family in the future. I’m working on my relationship with money and figuring out what’s important to me, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

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

I’ve been contributing towards rent and groceries since I turned 18, but I didn’t have to worry about utilities and the other costs that come with living out of home. I'd say I’ve been 100% financially responsible for myself since I moved to Jindabyne last winter. When I get back to Melbourne, I'm planning on moving out. I think I could rely on my parents to help me if I was ever in a serious emergency and didn't have enough savings, even if that just meant moving back in with them for a while.

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


Day 1

7:00am — Wake up to my boyfriend's alarm. D. is flying home to Melbourne for a night for a fitness test as part of a job interview. I say goodbye as he sets off to Canberra Airport, then lay in bed, watch some TikToks, and eventually get up to make my first coffee of the day.
7:45am — I log on to work and get started with reviewing some drawings the drafter has sent me.
10:00am — Breakfast time! I’ve been trying to eat breakfast before 9am because I’ve heard it’s better for your metabolism, but I’ve been in a late brekky routine for so long now that I’m just not hungry earlier. For breakfast, I have scrambled eggs and ham on a bagel. I check the stock market and scroll through TikTok again. 
11:30am — Some RE/DONE jeans I’ve been eyeing off for a while are on sale on The Iconic, so I give in and hit the buy button ($287). They’re pretty expensive, but it’s so hard to find jeans that fit me how I’d like. I’m also very on top of returning clothes I don’t love. I use ShopBack, so I'll hopefully get a little something back eventually. $287
12:00pm — I get a notification that a parcel has arrived for me, so I head down to the local post office to collect it. Because I’m living 'rurally', mail doesn’t get delivered to our house. 
12:30pm — Get home and open the parcel. It’s a stunning Maison Margiela tote I ordered to use as a work bag when I'm finally back in our Melbourne office. It’s the perfect size and the faux leather is so soft — I’m in love! I have some leftover homemade sushi for lunch, make a second coffee and get back to work. 
2:15pm — Pause to go through the house with our real estate agent. It’s our mid-winter inspection and we pass easily. 
5:45pm — I had no meetings today so I’ve had a very relaxing day with no Teams calls. I close my laptop for the day and head to the gym. I usually train at a functional gym in Melbourne and I’m trying to maintain my strength while I’m away for the snow season. Hot girls train upper body!
7:30pm — Home, shower, cook dinner and talk shit with my housemates, M. and B. M. is making a short film showcasing Kosciuszko National Park and she’s got some sponsors on board, which is exciting. Tonight I’m making a big pasta bake with lots of veggies and some pan-fried ham. I jump into bed after dinner with an Anzac cookie and FaceTime my best friend at home in Melbourne.
Daily Total: $287

Day 2

6:45am — Wake up feeling terrible — there must be something going around. I have too much work to get through to warrant a sick day, but I decide to go back to sleep for a few hours.
8:20am — Begrudgingly get up and make a coffee, then log on to work. Have an hour-long call with my boss to discuss some issues with a building I’m designing. Have a browse of some designer bags. I’ve been feeling inspired to save for a nice timeless bag that I’ll be able to keep forever and pass onto my kids (if I end up having any!).
10:30am — I wait until I’m absolutely starving for breakfast and then make two crumpets with crunchy Biscoff spread, accompanied by some peppermint tea. I eat while reviewing drawings and designing extra required details.
12:00pm — I head out to do our weekly grocery shop. I always try and do it at lunchtime on a weekday, because living in a ski town means that it gets quite hectic on the weekend and the shelves empty out. I get a slab of Up & Gos for D., oat milk, salmon, pork mince, eggs, noodles and rice, some bathroom essentials we're out of, and lots of veggies. It comes to $146.67, paid for on our joint account (so $73.34 for my half). I also drop into the post office to return a pair of Levi’s that just didn’t fit right — luckily, Revolve offers free returns so it doesn't cost me a cent. $73.34
1:00pm — Have leftover pasta for lunch in the sun. Gotta get in while it’s nice and warm here!
3:40pm — FedEx delivers me a pair of Birkenstock Boston clogs that I ordered last week. I’ve been trying to get my hands on some for ages. They fit perfectly!
5:45pm — Log off work and have a quick shower. We’re going out tonight, but nights out here aren't like they are back in Melbourne. Here, you leave at 7:30pm and can expect to stand in line for two hours (love that small town life). I make some fancy Mi Goreng for dinner (it's fancy because it has a soft-boiled egg, tofu, bok choy, mushrooms, and dried seaweed in it) and scoff it down before leaving.
7:30pm — We go to the local pub for drinks and a boogie. It's a great night and I only spend $45 on drinks because I have a lot of people offering to buy me some. I head home at midnight and hop into bed. $45
Daily Total: $118.34

Day 3

7:15am — Wake up and feel severely hungover, more than I should. Alas, today is my one consistent day off to go skiing, so I force myself to get up. I feel like I had 300 drinks spilt on me last night, so I take a shower.
8:00am — Breakfast. Scoff two crumpets with Biscoff and sip a coffee.
9:00am — We arrive at Thredbo and head to the bakery. I buy a turkey salad roll for later and a Powerade for right now ($16.20). Food on the mountain is pretty expensive, but I get a staff discount. $16.20
9:30am — Proceed to ride allll day. I nail some new tricks in the park and also have some pretty large stacks. While we’re riding, I see some pants I really like. I’ve been looking for some for a while, but I feel like I spend too much money on clothes shopping. I’ll consider it more when I get home. 
1:30pm — Stop to eat my salad roll and get a beer. My lovely housemate, J., buys me a beer and a butterscotch schnapps.
4:30pm — Finish up riding. This day has rooted me and I have to sit down for a few minutes before I take my kit off. 
5:30pm — Get home and smash an entire bag of sea salt pea snaps and proceed to sit on the recliner watching Netflix for the next three hours. 
7:00pm — I’m honestly so exhausted that I can’t even bring myself to make dinner. D. gets home and makes some Mi Goreng. I pitch in and cook some gyoza for us to share. He heads out for beers with a friend of his who is visiting from Melbourne, and I head to bed.
9:00pm — Shopping at night is dangerous. For some reason, my impulse control is so much worse than during the day. I cave and buy the snow pants I’m obsessed with. They cost $300, including shipping from Sweden. It’s a small brand, so I don’t feel so bad about spending the money. $300
2:00am — Get woken up by my drunk boyfriend getting home from the pub. Ugh.
Daily Total: $316.20

Day 4

6:00am — Wake up to my alarm after what feels like not enough sleep. On Sundays, I work at a ski and snowboard rental place on the mountain. It gives me a staff lift pass, saving me a nice $1,700 if I were to buy my own.
6:45am — Make an oat latte and some coconut yoghurt with XO Crunch cereal, blueberries and hemp seeds before jumping in my car.
7:30am — Arrive at work. My boss, L., is late (as usual), so I sit in the cold for 20 minutes until he arrives. The morning flies by as I serve customers, handle returns and clean up the shop. 
1:00pm — It’s my break time and I’m so hungry. The bakery in the village does a bangin' turkey salad roll, so I grab one ($11.60) and lie down in the back of the rental shop to eat it. Unfortunately, our locker room flooded two weeks ago and it still stinks of mould. $11.60
4:30pm — The afternoon goes by pretty slowly. It picks up a bit at 2:30pm with guests picking up their rentals for tomorrow. My supervisor and I have a new tradition where we alternate buying caramel slices each Sunday. Today it's his turn, so I score a free caramel slice!
5:45pm — I finish work and succumb to buying a North Face Thermoball vest that I've been eyeing off ($187.50). I get a staff discount, but the cost of it still hurts. I have a rule where if I buy something, then something else has to go. My housemate, J., has been hunting for a fleece vest, so I might ask him if he wants to buy my old one to offset this new purchase. $187.50
7:00pm — Two successes! First, J. wants to buy my vest and will pay me $120 for it. Second, D. has offered to pick up Indian takeaway for dinner. We're both exhausted after a long week of work and he feels bad about waking me last night. 
9:00pm — Shower and literally crash in bed with my phone still in my hand.
Daily Total: $199.10

Day 5

7:15am — Happy Monday! Decide to get started on work early since I’m awake. I run downstairs and make an oat latte, then open my laptop. 
12:30pm — That was a fail. I’ve had endless IT problems all morning and have barely gotten any work done. Break for lunch as I’m hangry. I have three soft-boiled eggs on an English muffin with some avo and ham. I also have an apple because I skipped breakfast. My housemate, M., picks up a parcel for me from the post office. It’s my RE/DONE jeans. I try them on and like them, but decide to return them because if I’m going to spend almost $300 on jeans, they better be the gosh darn best jeans I’ve ever tried on. I’m okay with returning these because I found a pair of Ziggy Denim jeans that I love. They also happen to be much cheaper. I resolve to return the RE/DONE jeans tomorrow and buy the Ziggy jeans today. I hop online and click the buy button ($130 because I have a $20 off code). $130
1:00pm — I have three hours of back-to-back meetings. Zzz. I eat a crumpet with Biscoff spread and have a peppermint tea to get me through. 
5:45pm — I log off for the day and head to the gym. I don’t go as often as I would probably like to, but I’m grateful to myself for doing something other than skiing to keep me fit. All the comfort food and beer drinking definitely takes a toll. Today is leg day, so I do squats, calf raises, deadlifts, Bulgarian split squats and hip thrusts. It takes me about an hour. By the time I’m done, I’m sure I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. 
7:00pm — D. gets home from work and together we make salmon poke bowls for dinner. Kewpie mayo and some dried seaweed really makes it pop.
9:00pm — I jump into bed and have a FaceTime call with another friend from Melbourne, C. It’s funny how much FOMO I have about things going on at home, even though I'd rather be here. After the call, I go straight to sleep.
Daily Total: $130

Day 6

7:00am — Carpe the Diem! I get up early this morning to go to the gym and hit some upper body. I like going to the gym this early because then I don't have to worry about fitting it in after work. I'm really out of my routine though, so it hurts to be getting up this early.
8:30am — I’m home and showered, a homemade oat latte in hand, ready to start the day. Today will be really busy because I have tomorrow off. 
9:30am — Stop for breakfast earlier than usual because I’m hungry after the gym. Today I have the usual — coconut yoghurt with frozen blueberries, XO Crunch cereal and hemp seeds. 
3:30pm — Time flies by because I’m so busy, and I realise I haven’t had lunch. I quickly whip up some tuna, rice, cucumber, avocado, Kewpie mayo and dried seaweed into a little poke bowl and scoff it down. 
5:30pm — Clock off for the day and head down to the lake to watch the sunset. When I'm home, I have another shower because a) it was freezing cold at the lake, and b) I've had a long day and the hot water helps me relax. It’s pretty rare that I have more than one shower a day, so don’t come for me!
7:00pm — I make a pesto pasta loaded with veggies. I’ll need the carbs for energy tomorrow. 
8:30pm — The house settles down to watch a movie. We put on The Incredibles but one by one, drift off to bed. I don’t think anyone makes it through the whole movie.
Daily Total: $0

Day 7

6:10am — One of the perks of working at my company is that we all get one RDO [Rostered Day Off] a month. It recognises all those extra hours that we put in over the month. I'm using mine today to go ski touring!
6:30am — I pack my bag with snacks, a CamelBak of water, my avalanche safety gear and ski skins, and lots of layers. 
6:45am — Wash my face, put on sunscreen and LOTS of deodorant. Today is meant to be beautiful and sunny with no wind. This is perfect weather for touring, but also means I’ll probably be getting sweaty. I make some scrambled eggs and put them on two English muffins with avo. Then I make a coffee to go.
7:00am — I leave the house to go pick up my friend, D., who is coming with me today. 
7:45am — We arrive at Thredbo and get on the bus to the other end of the village. Another friend, C., joins us. It’s his first time touring and his excitement is contagious. I go to the bakery and buy my usual turkey salad roll to take with me ($11.60). I put my avalanche beacon on and tie up my boots. Typically, Australia doesn’t have many avalanches, but this season has been bad with a combination of big snow events, rain and very variable temperatures. This means that lots of slabs have been forming in the snow and not bonding. We’re very careful, but it’s nice to know that our beacons mean that there's a high chance we'll be found if an avalanche were to happen. $11.60
8:30am — Take the lift up to the top of the resort, then set out walking across the snow. It’s a perfect day and we enjoy chatting (in between lots of puffing) as we walk to our first line. 
10:00am — We ski down a beautiful wide, steep slope, down to a cute little red hut where we stop for an early lunch. Touring makes me so hungry, and I need to remember to bring more food. 
3:00pm — We spend the rest of the day walking up faces and skiing a few lines. Overall, it's a beautiful day with clear skies and very little wind. The sun is quite hot though, so I sweat a lot, especially when I'm walking up all the hills. I feel gross and can’t wait to shower when I get home. When we get back to the resort, we stop for a caramel slice and a coffee ($9.50). The perfect way to end a long day of touring. $9.50
5:30pm — On the way home, I stop by my friend's house to give them the vest they bought off me. While I’m good at shopping, I’m also pretty strict with the one-in-one-out rule. That means if I want to buy something, I need to sell something else and use the money towards it. This doesn’t really apply to basics like plain t-shirts and singlets. I drop my friends home and head back to my house. 
7:00pm — I have a big hair-washing shower and get into bed. It turns out to be a big mistake as I fall asleep, missing dinner and some staff drinks I had planned. Oops. Good night!
Daily Total: $21.10
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