Money Diaries

A Week In Launceston, Tasmania, On A $82,000 Salary

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Today: a lawyer who makes $82,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on Kewpie Mayonnaise.

Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Legal/Public Service
Age: 31
Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Annual Salary: $82,000
Assets: $263,500 ($200,000 equity in my house, $54,000 in super, $9,500 in savings).
Debt: $520,000 ($40,000 in HECS, $480,000 on a mortgage)
Net Worth: -$256,500
Paycheque Amount (fortnightly): $2,000
Pronouns: She/Her


Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $2,300. I live with my partner, L., in a three-bedroom 1960s weatherboard house. We’ve got a front and backyard for our dog, A. L. and I have a joint account that we pay for the mortgage and bills out of. We also have a separate account for joint savings, for things like travel (we have a lot of interstate weddings coming up this year, so it definitely helps!).
Loans: A $119 HECS repayment comes out each pay.
Patreon for Maintenance Phase (a podcast): $4.40
Pilates: $150
Gym Membership: $60
Binge: $13.99
Apple Cloud: $1.49
Phone: $150

Paid from joint account:
Spotify: $13.99
Utilities: $130 (Water and electricity)
Petrol: $100
Internet: $70
Savings Contributions: I put $1,800 into the joint spending account I share with L., $400 into our joint travel savings, and $800 into our joint general savings.

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

I went to university and did a combined degree. I paid for this using HECS, which is a pretty awesome deal. I'm repaying that now out of my gross pay. It's great as I don't even notice it coming out.

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

We didn't really have many conversations about money. My parents gave me pocket money and encouraged me to think about what to spend it on, but I didn't have amazing impulse control. We always had money for holidays and things, but I do remember periods in my childhood where my dad would sit me down and tell me we’d have to go without things, like new books (very important!), for a while.

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

I got my first job at McDonald's just before I turned 15. I got it because I wanted some financial independence, and wanted to meet new people outside of my school circle. I had part-time jobs all the way through the second half of high school and all the way through uni.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Not really. As I mentioned earlier, we had some periods when money was tight, but it wasn't hugely noticeable.

Do you worry about money now?

No. My partner and I were lucky enough to buy our house a few years ago. We got help with the deposit from both of our parents. I'm very aware of the privileged position this puts us in. It's so nice to have our own space to do whatever we want. My salary allows me to do luxury extracurriculars like Pilates, which I feel lucky to be able to do. I'm very content.

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

23 years old — when I got my first job after university. I always knew that I could ask my parents for help if I really needed it, though.

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

My partner and I both got help from our parents to pay the deposit on our house. I got $30,000 from my parents, and L. got $10,000 from his.

Day 1

6:30am — I wake up with the alarm and get up to take our dog, A., for a walk. We got him as a puppy almost a year ago, and he is just a delight. Back home, I make tea for my partner, L., and have breakfast. I shower, do my skincare routine, and get ready for the day. My morning routine is almost always the same. L. gives me a lift into town, and I get my booster vaccination at the free clinic.  
9:30am — Off to work after my vaccination. It's my first day back after going on holiday, and I'm struggling. I head out to get a coffee around 10am. Unfortunately, the cafes aren’t taking Keep Cups at the moment because of Covid. I get a small flat white. $4
12:00pm — I've spent all morning replying to emails that came through while I was on leave. After powering through these, I eat lunch at my desk and nibble on some raspberries. 
1:00pm — I go out for a walk at lunchtime because I need some fresh air. I listen to a podcast and wander the streets. It’s unseasonably cold! I pick up some contact lenses from the optometrist. Because not all of it is covered by private health, I pay a gap ($56). Back at the office, I keep working. This afternoon, I’m preparing some documents that will be used in a future court appearance. $56
5:00pm — I head out from work to catch the bus home ($2.80). When I get home, L. is in the process of making bread from scratch (what a man!). He puts a loaf in the oven, and our friends come over for dinner. I made a vegetarian lasagne yesterday in anticipation — we eat it all. We hang out for a few hours and then I head to bed around 9.30pm after they leave. Before I doze off, I read my book (Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado) for a while, then it’s lights out at 10pm. $2.80
Daily Total: $62.80

Day 2

6:50am — A slightly slower start this morning. I play ball with A. in the backyard, and then do the usual routine of breakfast, shower, and skincare. I'm out the door at 8am with L. by my side. We drop A. with my parents so he can hang with them and their dog for the day, and I walk into work.
10:00am — I meet L. for a break and we walk to one of our favourite coffee shops. He pays. Then I head back to work. While at my desk, I buy a gift voucher for The Iconic for my niece because it was her birthday yesterday ($50). One of my sisters and I will go halves on it so I’ll get $25 back eventually. $50
12:00pm — I head out of the office to get some lunch. The sun is glorious. I get two sushi rolls ($7) and some chocolates to send to my niece along with her voucher ($4.50). I go back to work to eat at my desk before having an actual break at 1pm. I sit in the park and listen to a podcast in the sun. I also go to a bookshop to buy a birthday card for my niece and accidentally end up buying Hanya Yanagihara’s new book, To Paradise ($38.99). Then it’s back to work! $50.49
5:00pm — I’ve been quite productive this afternoon. When I finish up, I walk to my parents’ house, pick up the dog, then pick up L. from work. We stop at the supermarket on the way home for some milk, muesli and Tabasco sauce (essential!) which we pay for using our joint account ($24.09). $24.09
6:00pm — We get home. The weather is lush, so I head out for a walk in the evening sun. I drop by the postbox and post my niece's birthday present. When I get home, we have leftovers for dinner and watch TV. I have a bath and read my book (I've almost finished it!), before going to sleep around 10pm.
Daily Total: $74.58

Day 3

7:00am — I have a later wake-up this morning because I’m working from home! Yay! I get up and take the dog for a big walk. Then it’s breakfast, shower, activewear and skincare time.
9:00am — I log on for the work day.
10:00am — L. and I head out for a coffee run. While he normally makes an excellent coffee using our machine at home, we’re both ready for a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. A. comes as well. I pay for both of us. $8.80
1:00pm — I have some leftovers for lunch. During my lunch break, I read my book (I’ve now moved onto To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara), have a nap, and wonder why I don’t work from home every day. 
2:00pm — I have a productive afternoon working on a complex case that’s doing my head in. It involves going through a lot of documentation and trying to balance some competing priorities. There’s something satisfying about really having to drill down into an issue, but I get sick of working on the same thing for too long, so I’m looking forward to a change!
5:00pm — When we knock off, L. and I take the dog to the park for a run and it is lovely. We’re still training him to come back when he’s let off the lead, so it’s always a bit of an adventure when we take him out, but he’s getting so much better!
6:00pm — Back home, I make dinner and we watch a bit of TV. I read my book, do my skincare, and it’s lights out at 10pm (keeping this diary has made me realise I’m very set in my nighttime routine!).
Daily Total: $8.80

Day 4

5:30am — I get treated to an early wake-up as L.'s alarm goes off, telling him to get to the gym. I snooze until just before 7, then get up and start my usual routine of breakfast, shower, and skincare. I drive into work, park nearby, and head in. 
9:30am — Some work friends, J. and G., and I head out for coffee. Because a lot of the office is working from home, I feel like I’m not seeing people as often, so this is a lovely change. While I love WFH, I think I like it best when I’ve got a fairly even balance of being in the office and home. I get a flat white ($4.50) and we catch up about everything. Back at the office, we have a morning tea for another colleague, T., who’s leaving the organisation. Normally I bake something, but I totally forgot this time. $4.50
12:00pm — I buy a toasted sandwich for lunch ($9.90). I’m normally pretty consistent in bringing food from home, but because everyone is bunkering down so much, I’m trying to buy lunch to support the businesses around my office. The weather is looking a bit grim, but I decide to risk it and go for a walk while listening to a new podcast (The Murdaugh Murders). I get a punnet of raspberries while at Woolworths ($3.50). Back at my desk, I work through the afternoon, providing advice for another government organisation, and replying to emails. $13.40
5:00pm — As I mentioned earlier, it’s T.’s last day at our office today, so a few of us go out for a farewell drink. I buy myself a beer and grab a wine for T. ($21). After about an hour, I get a non-alcoholic beer because I have to drive home later ($8). I’m trying to also get back to a bit of equilibrium and drink less after a fairly boozy summer! $29
7:30pm — T. drops me back to my car, and I drive home. Once home, I have leftover Vietnamese chicken salad for dinner and catch up with L. He’s been working from home all day so he's keen for a bit of social interaction. After this, I have a bath and watch Game of Thrones (well worth a rewatch, let’s just pretend the last season never happened!).
10.30pm — Lights out!
Daily Total: $46.90

Day 5

7:00am — I wake up to our alarm and take A. for a walk. When I get home it’s breakfast, shower, and skincare. I log on to work around 8.30am.
10:00am — After a productive start to the morning, L. and I take A. out on our coffee run. L. buys. Then it’s back home and back to work, caffeinated and happy.
12:00pm — I go to a Reformer Pilates class in my lunch break which kicks my butt. The monthly pass I pay for lets me go twice a week, which is perfect for me. I’d like to up it to three classes a week, but because that will increase the cost, I might wait until I get a pay rise! On the way home, I fill up my petrol tank, paying with the joint account ($95.36). I log back on to work and make some toast Vegemite toast for lunch. $95.36
5:00pm — I have a very productive afternoon working on a matter that’s in court next week. During the afternoon, a friend who lives interstate texts and suggests that she and her partner come for a visit in May. Yes, please! She books flights and I'm so excited. We became very close when I lived in Melbourne, and they had plans to come and visit in 2021, but couldn’t because of Covid. So it’s been a long time since we’ve seen them. I feel very lucky to have lots of close friends in Tasmania, but really miss our friends from the mainland. Hopefully, now the borders have opened up we’ll be able to see all our interstate friends much more regularly. After I log off, I take A. for a walk.
6:00pm — L. and I go to the pub to meet a uni friend, P., for dinner. We’ve got a local pub within walking distance and it’s always a fun venue. L. buys a round, then I buy one ($20.60). We chat to P. about relationships and politics (he’s always fun to talk to!), and then he and L. have a digression about video games (I stare out the window for a bit while this happens, my eyes glazing over). We each get a parmi for dinner, which we pay for using our joint account ($41). We head home and watch a bit of TV (we’re watching Chernobyl, which is excellent but stressful), before falling asleep around 10.30pm. $61.60
Daily Total: $156.96

Day 6

8:00am — I have a little bit of a sleep-in today before getting up and going to buy milk, bread and blueberries from the supermarket, paid for using our joint account ($15.42). L. gets up and makes us both coffee, then heads out for a bike ride. I vacuum the house and do a few loads of laundry. I also go to the butcher and grab some sausages, chicken schnitzels and steak, which I pay for on the joint account ($51.17). L. and I are fairly equal in terms of doing chores, which is very important to me in a relationship. I tend to get a fit of enthusiasm on Saturday mornings and get a lot done, which sets me up for a more relaxing weekend. $66.59
11:00am — L. gets back and we decide to head into town. We go for lunch at a bougie sandwich joint — L. pays. We buy a Sunbeam steamer ($67.96) and some new Krosno glassware ($94.90), both on the joint account. The steamer has been a long time coming (we’ve just taken ages to pull the trigger!), and the glassware is more of an impulse buy. $162.86
2:00pm — Back home, I read my book for a while and have an accidental nap on the couch. I’m still on To Paradise, but I'm finding it hard to keep going. I’m fairly disappointed because I really loved A Little Life (one of her other books).
4:00pm — One of my friends, R. picks me up and we go to visit another friend, S., who has just bought a house! I take a bottle of wine with me (we have a stash in the cellar) for us to drink. It’s a delicious pink pet nat. We spend a few lovely hours sitting on S.’s deck, gushing about the house and her plans for it. We also talk about R.’s latest dating escapades.
7:00pm — I get back home and L. has made meatballs! Hooray! We normally split the cooking 50/50 (the person who doesn’t cook washes up), but I love it when he cooks. He goes out to get parmesan ($14.26), paid for on the joint account. We open a nice bottle of red wine and eat together. We watch a bit of TV (we’re really powering through Chernobyl) and L. plays some video games (I think it’s Call of Duty judging from the banter). I’m asleep by around 11. $14.26
Daily Total: $243.71

Day 7

8:00am — Another sleep-in today. I take A. out for a big walk and come back and have breakfast. L. works in the garden while I’m out with the dog. When I get back, we go to get iced lattes because it’s a gorgeous day — L. pays (I’m starting to realise he seems to bankroll a lot of our coffee runs!). We go to the pet shop and get a brush for A. ($40.99 — paid for using the joint account). Who knew dog brushes were so expensive! $40.99
11:00am — We get back home and I sit in the sun and read my book begrudgingly (I hate not finishing books but I’m really struggling with this one). At midday, I go to a reformer Pilates class. Once I’m back home, I make lunch (tuna, veggies and rice). L. goes for another bike ride because he’s training for a race in March.
3:00pm — I go around to my parents’ place to catch up. My mum and I go to see my grandma, who has recently moved into a nursing home. It’s lovely to see her. I arrange to have her around to my house for lunch in a few weeks’ time (she doesn’t feel safe eating out in public because of Covid). I do the shopping on my way home and get bananas, muesli, milk, carrots, spinach, rice and Kewpie mayo ($63.20 on the joint account). I also nip into the chemist for some contact lens solution ($3.99). $67.19
6:00pm — Another friend, M., comes around for dinner (on the menu is a curried chicken pie) and brings dessert (Maxibons! Hoorah!). We play a board game — Settlers of Catan — together. L. wins. M. leaves, and L. and I go to bed. It’s an early night with lights out, around 9pm. Goodnight!
Daily Total: $108.18
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