Money Diaries

A Week In Warragul, Victoria, As A Graduate Speech Pathologist On $75,000

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: today a graduate speech pathologist spends some of her money on hot yoga classes and vodka, lime and sodas. 
Occupation: Graduate Speech Pathologist
Industry: Healthcare and education
Age: 22
Location: Warragul, Victoria
Salary: $75,000
Net Worth: $78,000 ($53,000 in savings, $11,000 in superannuation, and a car worth $10,000).
Debt: $17,052 in HECS/HELP debt
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $4,658
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses 

Rent: $0. I’m in quite a unique position where I don’t have a traditional ‘rental’ payment. At the start of the year, I moved in with my partner who had recently purchased and built his own home. We had many discussions on how we would split the expenses for it to be equitable for both of us, as I still wanted to save for my own home. I didn't want to be paying rent, especially since my parents lived 10 minutes down the road, so I cover all the bills, food, and other discretionary purchases, such as dinners or entertainment.
Phone: $40
Utilities: $450
House Savings: $2000
Short-Term ‘Fun’ Account: $1,200
Fuel: $80
Yoga Membership: $115. I go five times a week so this is very worth it for me.

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

Yes! I went to university for four years and graduated at the end of 2023 with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology. The first year of uni was during the pandemic, so I spent this year living at home. Looking back, it didn’t help me academically but it did help me financially as I was able to save more. I paid for my degree through HECS but my parents contributed about $15,000 to pay off my HECS debt. I worked hard during university to make and save whilst living out of home, often working 40-50 hour weeks at a hospital on top of full-time university, but my parents were always there to help me out if I needed it. 

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

Yes and no. My parents have done well for themselves, and as a consequence, have always provided a comfortable life for my family. My mum works in the government and my dad owns his own business. We went on holidays twice a year and have recently started travelling abroad. I feel very lucky to say I've never had to worry or been exposed to financial hardship or negative conversations around money. Rather, through my parents, I feel I learned the value of money early and therefore how to save quite young.

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

I got my first job at 13 as a field umpire for the local football clubs. In hindsight, this job was amazing! I was paid $80 or so to run around a field and throw a ball in. I got this job mostly because I wanted to umpire and my dad had a friend who thought I'd be good at it. It’s still one of my favourite jobs I've ever had. I didn't access any of the money until I was 17, so I only really got the job for fun. 

Did you worry about money growing up?

YES! For some odd reason, I have developed an irrational fear and almost anxiety around money. Although I had no reason to be worried (which I feel so lucky for), from my late teenage years, it was something I always worried about. I worried about spending my parents’ money, and that I wasn’t going to make ‘good’ money when I was older. I think this is why I worked lots outside of school hours and on weekends because I was so scared that I was going to be a broke adult.

Do you worry about money now?

Again, YES! I think about money every day, but I have come a long way with managing my anxiety around spending and saving money. I read books, listen to podcasts (She's on the Money is my favourite), and keep a highly organised and detailed Excel spreadsheet to track my expenses and track my financial goals. Given the absurd prices of housing these days, I feel my dream of owning property is still quite far away, despite having a fair amount of savings. But I’m also so young and want to travel and explore. I feel it's a dilemma that lots of people my age have – do we save for property or travel? My partner and I would love to move interstate, rent out his house, and try living in some new places before we settle down. I’m quite committed to long-term savings goals, but not at the expense of having fun and real experiences. 

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

I wouldn't say I’m completely financially responsible for myself yet, although I’m close. I got my first full-time job at the start of 2024, after graduating in 2023, which was incredible. The idea of annual leave and paid public holidays for not working is still a foreign concept to this always casual-work-girly. Whilst I do cover 90% of my living expenses, my parents pay for my car rego and insurance, but I’m sure this will change very soon. 
I’m happy to say I do have a financial safety net, as I have quite a good amount of savings. However, if I did fall into financial hardship, my parents and partner would be there to help me.

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


Day 1 

7:30am – Ahhh RDO day! At my job, I’m lucky enough that I can work a 9-day fortnight, with longer days so I can have every second Monday off. I don't think I’ll ever work a full fortnight! My partner F left for work ages ago, as he works early in the morning. So I get up, have my greens (a green concoction of veggies that’s supposed to be good for you), and make a black coffee. One of the major expenses I have cut down on is takeaway coffee! Now that I don't buy it every day, I save something ridiculous like $45 a week! 
10:30am – After doing a quick clean of the house, I jump onto my laptop and do a routine check – work email, spreadsheets, personal emails, etc. I’m excited to see that I’ve sold something on Depop – a bag that I never used for $35! Cha-ching! I plan to ship that off later in the week. +$35
11:30am – I finally decide to have some breaky and make a pineapple and frozen berry smoothie with kefir. I’m currently in the process of trying to 'clear' my skin by eating relatively clean and healthy, hence the gut-friendly kefir. I also decide to have a bagel with an egg, pickled onion, feta, and jalapenos. I quickly check my bank account and notice that my weekly yoga membership has been deducted. $39
2:00pm – I decide to get some work done. Last week I felt as though I slacked off at work, so I don't mind finalising some reports in the comfort of my home on my day off. I’m a new graduate, so the reports take me a little longer as I need them to be reviewed by a more senior speech pathologist. I spend an hour or so fixing and editing my reports that are due tomorrow, then I'll do the mountains of washing staring at me. 
4:45pm – Because it's a Monday and I’m feeling ambitious, I book two back-to-back Pilates classes. My partner is at his own training anyway, so I might as well! 
7:00pm – Pilates is all finished and I have a quick shower before getting started on dinner. I decide to make a quiche as I have a rogue pastry shell sitting in the back of my freezer. I’m actively trying to use things in my pantry to make dinners, which is a fun challenge for me. F arrives home and we enjoy our pumpkin and fetta quiche at the dining table. 
9:00pm – I’m trying (emphasis on trying) to get better at going to sleep early. I’m finding that I feel rushed and sluggish in the mornings, as I’m sleeping in late. So I confiscate my phone, read a few pages of A Court of Thorn and Roses and head to bed for the night. 
Daily Total: $39

Day 2 

7:00am – My new weekly goal of waking up at 6.15am is already off to a rocky start. I drag myself out of bed, put some Zach Bryan on, and started doing my hair and makeup for work. I make myself my typical array of drinks – greens, smoothie, and water before rushing off to work. I know I have a big-ish day today, so I need to be on my A-game, as my first client is at 9am. 
12:00 pm – My assessment is complete, as well as some reviews. Time to get started on the one million reports I must write. I scoff down my chicken wrap lunch and catch up with the girls in the work office, we chat about our weekends and clients for the day. Because it’s so hot, I walk over to Woolworths and treat myself to a raspberry sparkling water ($3.70). It's no sugar, so technically healthy. Having a Woolworths within walking distance has proven dangerous for my afternoon sweet tooth. $3.70
3:00pm – I complete a few more phone calls to parents (the scariest part of my job) providing summaries of the language and speech assessments I completed with their children. Then I see a few of my ongoing clients to wrap up my afternoon. They’re all in primary school so that means lots of fun games – Pop the Pirate being a personal favourite. I love being a speech pathologist, as one of the main responsibilities of my job is to play games with children. It’s the best! 
5:30pm – I rush out the door right on 5.30pm and head down the road to Pilates. I honestly think my Pilates membership is an absolute STEAL. When I was living in Melbourne, my Pilates memberships cost me two, maybe three times the amount it is now (and I had a uni student budget mind you), so I’m eternally grateful for regional Victoria prices. Tonight is my favourite class – hot yoga. You do everything you do in a normal yoga class but in 35-degree heat. 
7:00pm – I’m sweaty as I head home from Pilates, F is already home after going to the gym. We decide to treat ourselves to our steak, broccoli, and potato dinner, the final meal left from last week’s shop. F is still hungry, so he has an extra wrap after dinner. 
9:00pm – Crisis hits when we realise that my parents’ Netflix has finally kicked us out. We have just started bingeing the Vikings series and are obsessed, so I bite the bullet and get a membership. That’s one to add to the spreadsheet. $8.99
Daily Total: $12.69

Day 3 

7:00am – After snoozing the alarm three times, I get up and go about my typical morning routine. I have a quiet day at work, with only one assessment in the morning, but it's an assessment I’ve never completed before, so I have a quick 20-minute practice before heading into the clinic at 8:30am. 
11:00am – The assessment was a success and I can finally relax for the day. Because it’s the Victorian school holidays, we’re a bit quiet in the clinic, as lots of clients take breaks. I try to enjoy the quiet, as I know it’ll be busy again soon. 
2:00pm – We have been informed at work that our air conditioner is broken, which is not ideal. But it means that for the remainder of the afternoon we can work from home, which is ideal, as I only have reports to complete. 
4:00pm – I smash out the remainder of my short to-do list at home and I greet a very surprised F at the front door, who wasn't expecting me to be home. We chat about our day as we get ready for our respective gym classes. F lets me know we’re going to his parents for dinner, so my day goes from good to even better. I love their cooking! 
6:00pm – I hobble (literally) out of my reformer class, get in my car and head to F's parents’ house for dinner. I love it when they invite us over for dinner, as they are brilliant cooks, and honestly, they buy nicer meats and ingredients than our budget allows, so it feels like going out for dinner. Pork belly, chicken wings with blue cheese sauce and Thai salad. Amazing!  
7:30pm – F and I spend some time browsing a travel website. We’re planning to travel in 2025 for three weeks, probably somewhere in Europe but we are also considering Japan. We love the look of the 'Play and Pause' trips, as we’re a bit nervous to plan our own trip from scratch. 
9:00pm: We finish off a couple of episodes of Vikings, drink some chamomile tea, and call it a night. 
Daily Total: $0

Day 4 

6:15am – My partner woke me up this morning, so I woke at my goal time of 6:30am for the first time this week (small wins). Not that I do anything productive, I just sit on my laptop, check emails, and watch Europe holiday videos on YouTube to supplement last night’s holiday browsing. 
9:00am – Due to the air conditioning dilemma, our boss decided to move all our afternoon clients to the morning, so we can be in and out (whilst still achieving our billable hours), as quickly as possible. 
10:00am – I only have one client this morning and a supervision session with another clinician. I enjoy supervision. I always have lots of questions to ask them, so I appreciate this time. 
1:00pm – I leave work in the blistering heat and head home. On the way, I grab some snacks and dinner ingredients for tonight. We don’t have to work tomorrow because of the public holiday – I know, this was a three-day week for me, I promise I usually work more! I grab some popcorn (Cobs Chilli & Lime, obviously), a chocolate cake packet mix, and a few other pieces for dinner. I moved some money over from our grocery account to pay for them. $17
3:00pm – I complete some phone calls and reports for the rest of the afternoon from the comfort of our dining room table. To be honest, we don't have air conditioning in our house, so it's only marginally better than the clinic. 
6:00pm – I head off to hot yoga to end my week on a high. I’ve been loving the routine of going to yoga in the afternoons, instead of the morning. I feel it allows me to clear my mind of work before settling into the night. 
8:00pm – For dinner, we have enchiladas, courtesy of F’s mum, who gave them to us last night, and chocolate cake with cream and homemade berry compote. We do a big clean of the house for the long weekend and settle on the couch to watch a minimum of three episodes of Vikings. 
Daily Total: $17

Day 5 

9:00am – Ahhh nothing like a day off that you are being paid to take. F and I are hosting the ‘Triple J Hottest 100 Day’ for our friends on Saturday, so he heads out early to grab chairs and supplies from my parents’ house whilst I meet my mum for a coffee (which she paid for) and a chat. This is a typical weekend ritual; I am lucky that I live close to my parents and that I get to see them regularly.
10:00am – Mum and I sit for two hours, and have multiple coffees and a piece of banana bread before we part ways. My mum and I could chat forever, as we are basically the same person with the same opinions on everything, it's great. I head down to the shops as I want to look at some more work clothes. We don’t have a uniform, but I typically wear a tailored pant with a plain top. Nothing catches my eye, except a rip-off ‘Stanley’ cup at Kmart in my favourite pink colour. So I grab it ($15) and justify the purchase by telling myself I don’t have a drink bottle at the moment for work (which is true). $15
11:00am – I pay one of my most hated bills, the water bill, in full because I don’t want to look at it for any longer than I have to. I typically put money aside every paycheck for this bill, but due to some recent expenses, this time I had to cover it. I pay a humble $500 and pretend like it never happened. $500
12:00pm – My partner and I spend a good hour fully cleaning the house, in preparation for tomorrow, including the spider webs that covered the entire outside of our house. Then, because why not, we decide to take an impromptu trip to the beach.
2:00pm – We spend the afternoon lying on the beach, walking, and exploring the rock pools. We then grab a late lunch – there is a small Mexican food truck that we both love, so we grab some jalapeño poppers, a burrito bowl and loaded fries to share in the park ($45). The jalapeno poppers are quite literally my favourite food ever, and these don’t disappoint. $45
7:00pm – We get back from the beach and are knackered. We resort to a ‘whatever’ dinner, as I am yet to go grocery shopping and we have already eaten out today. We have made a conscious decision as a couple to stop eating copious amounts of takeaway due to ‘laziness’, as we were spending upwards of $80-100 a week on takeaway, which is eye-watering for us. Instead, if we can’t be bothered cooking, or going out for a nice meal, we have a 'whatever' dinner. Tonight that looked like egg, sundried tomato, chorizo, and feta bagels. We finish the night with a few episodes of Vikings. Duh
Daily Total: $673

Day 6 

9:00am – The sound of F mowing the lawns wakes me up. I have a quick smoothie before heading off to my hot yoga class to start the weekend right. I’m so proud of myself this week for being a regular attendee at yoga. One of my long-term goals is to complete a yoga training course. I think it would be a fun and productive side hustle to have. 
11:00am: Today, I’m splitting my time between my friend's party and the party F is hosting. I go to the supermarket and grab some last-minute snacks for the party for $25, and also some non-alcoholic drinks to take to my friends. I end up grabbing the Naked Life Non-Alcoholic Mojitos for $12. Then I head over to the Bottle-O and grab some seltzers for the afternoon, which end up being two different four-packs of drinks that were chosen purely because of cute packaging for $30. $67
1:00pm – I say a temporary goodbye to F and head to my friend’s house for the beginning of the countdown. I haven’t seen these friends in a while, as they live in other places, so it's great to finally catch up. Also, the non-alcoholic drinks taste awesome!  A win!
4:00pm – I make my way back to my house and I’m greeted by at least 20 people (some of whom I’ve never met). We play some drinking games, have some party pies and snacks, and relax whilst listening to the countdown for the rest of the afternoon. 
9:00pm – We call a taxi and we’re off to some bars in our local town for the rest of the night. I typically don’t enjoy going out, especially in our small town, but I make an exception for tonight. I just hate how expensive drinks are. I shout my friend a vodka, lime and soda once we get there and we sit outside at a booth to chat. $26
11:00pm – I’m off to the second bar of the evening, where I run into my work friend (who also happens to be my supervisor) and we chat. Not ideal considering I’ve had a few drinks by this stage, but oh well. I grab another vodka, lime and soda and make the mental note that this will be the last drink of the night. $13
12:15am – I grab another drink…whoops. $13
1:00am – My friend's partner arrives to drop us home. When I get home, I raid the cupboard and settle on a bag of popcorn, two cookies, and a single muffin. My lovely partner (who decided not to go out – clever man!) fills up my new water bottle and places it on my bedside table and I’m officially done for the night. I can't sleep just yet, so we watch Ricky Gervais' new stand-up show Armageddon on Netflix until we fall asleep. 
Daily Total: $119

Day 7 

10:00am – A very late morning for both of us! Whilst we would love to stay in bed and watch Vikings all day, duties call. We drag ourselves out of bed, make coffees, and begin cleaning the mess created by yesterday's activities. F starts with the outdoor area, and I attack the kitchen, which is covered in an array of frozen food boxes, chip packets, and various empty cans. 
11:00am – We have no food in the house and I’m secretly thanking ‘former me’ for already planning our shopping list. I pull on a matching tracksuit set, brush my teeth, and pop on some sandals to head to Aldi. 
1:00pm – We have recently started shopping at Aldi and honestly it’s the best decision. Grocery shopping used to take up a good chunk of a Sunday but now it takes us barely an hour. Also, the price difference is hard to ignore. F and I do our basic shops and then window browse the middle aisle – our favourite aisle. Our food shop is always well-priced, as I always meticulously plan it beforehand. $155
2:00pm – F and I finally decided that we needed food, so we make bagels with eggs and bacon. We put the groceries away and sit and enjoy some downtime on the couch with each other. We chat about yesterday and how much fun we had, as this was the first time we had hosted at the house. We decided it was a success, and despite the clean-up, very enjoyable. 
4:00pm – The lazy Sunday has well and truly taken over, as the Netflix binge begins. On today's agenda – surprise surprise – Vikings
9:00pm — I drag myself to the bathroom to do my end-of-week ritual. I exfoliate, shave, put a hair mask on, moisturise and straighten my hair. I also put some fake tan on, which I will wash off tomorrow morning. I feel like a brand-new person and ready for the week ahead!
The Sunday Scaries inevitably come. I know I have a busy week this week, with lots of new clients, so I look at my calendar, read some client files, and make some quick dot-point plans for their sessions. I make a quick to-do list for tomorrow, which makes me feel quite calm. I hop into bed with a big chamomile tea and have a quick cuddle with F, before eventually falling asleep. Goodnight!
Daily Total: $155

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