Money Diaries

A Week In Brisbane As A Media Manager On $114,000

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: a media manager on $114k is selling her belongings on Facebook Marketplace and saving for an ‘adult gap year’. 
Occupation: Media Manager
Industry: Marketing
Age: 29
Location: Brisbane
Salary: $114,348
Net Worth: $497,316. My partner and I have separate accounts for everything but one combined savings account for our ‘gap year’ savings. We also share our home loan. We split everything bang down the middle and keep track of this via Splitwise, as we use my partner's Qantas point-earning credit card to pay for most expenses.
Debt: $293,848
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $8038
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses 

Mortgage: $230. I live with my husband in a townhouse we purchased together in 2019. We split the mortgage weekly which is $230 each. We had some glory years as we purchased right before the pandemic with 1% repayments where we were paying back about $160 a week, so we have never really struggled with our repayments and they have remained consistent with what we would have been paying in rent. Now, luckily, they're much lower than what rent would be! 
Spotify: $11.99
Disney+: $6.50
Private Health Insurance: $108
Home & Contents Insurance: $23
Savings: I have a weekly savings payment of $750 that goes to our joint savings account for the adult gap year we’re starting in three months! Whatever is left in my spending account each payday I transfer over to savings as well.

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

Yes, I went to university and did a double degree! I paid for it via HECS which I was able to pay off around 2021.

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

My mum grew up quite poor while my dad was middle class. My maternal grandmother spoke a lot about how hard it was on a pension and how hard life was during the depression. 
My parents never really bought me things just because I asked when I was little. We would DIY things first and then I was always told to save up or to make a business case for expensive things. For example, if I wanted a camera I needed to pull together the most cost-effective options, the best reviews and so on. We only really bought clothes as we grew out of them and only replaced things when they broke. So, while there weren’t conversations about money I definitely picked up a lot of their habits around money
I always had a Dollarmites account but my parents never really taught my brother or I financial literacy. We kind of just worked that out ourselves and asked for help if we didn't understand certain things.

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

My first job was at Hungry Jacks! I got it because I wanted money and wasn't getting any from my parents. I was a party hostess for the little kid's parties or on the counter. I loved it!

Did you worry about money growing up?

I think my parents definitely did but they never let it show in front of my brother and I. I always felt very provided for but I never thought we were rich

Do you worry about money now?

Absolutely! We’re about to quit our jobs, so I worry about money every day and what will happen after we take a year off and re-enter the job market. It's pretty scary! 
However, on a day-to-day basis I don't ever really 'fear' money. I've been working since it was legal and have been saving basically that whole time, so I have enough money to cover me through emergencies. Plus, I’ve been on rolling 12-month contracts for the last few years so I’ve been saving like I'll be unemployed for a while. 

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

I would say from around 18 I was financially responsible for my own expenses. However, I didn't move out of home and buy my own groceries until I was around 20. Since then I have been responsible for myself. 
I don't have a visible financial safety net (i.e. an inheritance waiting for me), however, I have the comfort of knowing that if I needed to I could ask my parents for help and they would support me in whatever way they could.

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

Yes! I have dividends that I get every so often from my share investments
My mum came into an inheritance that she used to help my brother and I pay for our house deposits which was insanely helpful. We could have afforded to do this ourselves, but this meant we didn't have to and we could put that money into doing incredible things like travelling.

Day 1 

7:00am – My husband and I are saving to take a year-long adult gap year and travel the world, leaving in three months. That means as soon as I wake up, I see a notification on my phone that my weekly $750 auto savings deposit has hit. My account is sitting at $84 with payday landing tomorrow. Jeez! Looks like today is a ‘no spend day’.
I head downstairs to make myself a coffee while my husband works out at home. I cut out buying coffee when we were saving to buy a house and haven’t looked back since, a coffee at home is now a much-loved part of my routine. 
8:30am – I’m working from home today, so I scroll through TikTok and take my daily Croatian lesson, then leisurely do my skincare routine before jumping online and getting started with work. I’m learning Croatian via an app called Mondly which costs $80 for the year. Croatian isn’t on Duolingo, but I’m loving Mondly.
I suffer relentlessly with TMJ, so I spend a good 10 minutes using my gua sha to massage my jaw and then do my physio exercises to help with my pain. My little tip – especially in winter – is to lather your face in jojoba oil before doing your facial massage, and then top up with moisturiser when you’re done, to keep your face hydrated and glowy during the day. 
A few minutes after starting work, a Facebook Marketplace buyer shows up to buy a massage gun I’m selling. +$30
12:00pm – Lunchtime hits and I pop last night’s dinner into the oven to reheat. My husband made a slow-cooked ragu-ish shepherd's pie and I’m so excited to dig in! 
I throw together a salad with some grilled zucchini and lettuce leaves we need to eat before they go bad. I notice we have some yoghurt that needs to be used up too, so I use it to make a delish Greek yoghurt dressing. YUM! 10/10 would eat again. We purchased our groceries on Sunday, so there’s no cost today.
On my lunch break, I run to the post office to ship a top I have sold on Depop for $120. I love, love, love this top so it was super sad to sell it. It was a gorgeous top from Sister Studios, a small Melbourne-based business, but it’s just not something I’ll be wearing when I’m travelling, so I bid her a sad farewell. +$120
1:00pm – I head back to my desk and spend the afternoon working away and joining a few calls. 
5:30pm – I change into my exercise clothes and do a guided tempo run on Nike Run Club, which is totally free. I pop in my headphones and listen to the radio playlist of ‘Espresso’ by Sabrina Carpenter. Ever since she performed this song at Coachella I haven’t been able to stop listening to it! I get in a 4km tempo run and head home to shower. 
7:30pm – My husband cooks dinner… shepherd's pie and salad again and I’m not complaining! We settle in on the couch and watch a few episodes of Alone Australia on SBS on Demand, which is totally free. 
10:30pm – We head to bed around 10:30pm after watching the TikToks we have sent each other. Bliss! 
Daily Total: +$150

Day 2 

7:00am – I wake up and have my coffee first thing. No savings leaves my account today so my remaining $84 is safe for now! I message a buyer on Facebook Marketplace to arrange a time for them to pick up a table I have listed. We’re selling all of our things in batches so it’s not so overwhelming in the lead-up to our departure.
I then get into my daily Croatian lesson and spend a little time on TikTok digesting the Taylor and Travis content from Coachella. Ah! 
10:30am – While I’m working my postie arrives with two absolute bargains I’ve scored. 
As someone with PCOS, hormonal acne is the bane of my existence, so I have spent a lot of my life on acne medication using really basic skin care products. Cetaphil has been one of my longest relationships but the price rises have meant I’ve been low on my moisturiser for about a fortnight now. I saw Adore Beauty had a sale on Cetaphil, so bought my moisturiser for less than half price due to the sale and some discount codes I had — major win! 
I’ve also been looking for a leather passport holder for my upcoming trip but have been gawking at the price of them. I came across a 100% leather one from Oroton on their warehouse website for $28. I immediately pop my passport in it and I’m in LOVE!
12:00pm – Another Facebook Marketplace buyer arrives and buys a side table for $50. We’ve made about $900 over the weekend from Marketplace which is a huge help to our savings. You guessed it, it’s time for leftover shepherd's pie again! I smash down my lunch while responding to some Marketplace and Depop messages. +$50
1:00pm – I’m back at my desk when another delivery arrives. It’s the A313 Retinol that I ordered – I’m so excited to try it! Because of my PCOS I have constant hormonal acne if I’m not on the pill. And I don’t want to carry 12 months of prescription medication around, so I’m trying to come off the pill before we leave. I read on some Reddit threads that A313 Retinol can really help hormonal acne when you come off the pill, so I’m giving it a try. Fingers crossed! 
5:00pm – The rest of the day flies by on calls and work. I step away from my desk and head out for another run. I don’t do a guided run today but just vibe to my playlist and focus on my pace. I head home so excited to shower and use my retinol! 
Tuesdays are when I do my ‘everything shower’ as Wednesday is my office day. So today is hair wash and shaving day. I bought an at-home laser device during the pandemic and just love it. Today I need to use it for maintenance, so do I that as well. I have saved so much money doing this and haven’t looked back. 
7:00pm – I’ve read online that to use the A313 Retinol your skin needs to be totally dry, so I wait about an hour post-shower to use it. I tentatively apply it as I’ve heard people online talking about it itching their skin. I don’t experience any side effects which is a win! 
7:30pm – We have chicken and some veggies in the fridge, so I decide to make some Mediterranean-style couscous bowls for dinner using what we have in the pantry. Building up a solid supply of pantry items has really helped us eat at home more and save money. 
We eat dinner and start watching the new series Fall Out on Prime Video. We’re obsessed immediately and watch about three episodes. We cycle through which subscription platforms we have and at the moment it’s Prime Video and Disney+. We should really cut back on this for our budget, but we know we won’t be able to afford this luxury on our trip, so we’re just enjoying them while we can. 
8:00pm – My pay hits, finally! I transfer any remaining funds (hello $84, lol!) into my savings account and leave the rest. I don’t have a crazy transfer routine when it comes to saving. My automatic transfer is pretty significant and I have a sizable amount of savings in another account separate to my trip one, so I don't need to be too regimented. 
10:30pm – Bedtime! I fall asleep dreaming about an overnight success from the A313. Lol! 
Daily Total: +$50

Day 3 

6:00am – My alarm goes off and urges me to take an at-home Pilates class but I hit snooze instead. I paid for a yearly subscription ($145) to Hustl’s online platform which I absolutely love, but I just can’t be bothered today! 
7:00am – I’m finally out of bed and up to make my coffee and get into my jaw massage routine. I was really clenching last night so the massage is much needed and I spend a little longer on this than usual. I have my coffee at home and make a smoothie for breakfast. We stock up on frozen fruit every few months for smoothies, so there’s no cost here.
8:00am – Time to get dressed! I’m feeling inspired by some clothes I had hanging in my Depop pile so pop them on. It’s an old Manning Cartell dress and a Jac + Jack t-shirt that I immediately fall in love with again. I head to the train and play the New York Times games and share the results in my group chat to pass the time. $4.50 
9:00am – I arrive at work and catch up with two friends for coffee. I don’t buy a coffee either time but just go along for the walk and gossip. The best part of the day! 
10:00am – Meetings for the day start and I’m away from my desk until lunch. 
12:00pm – I meet up with three friends from work and we grab lunch. We get Korean from a new place that has specials running, so I score a $20 bibimbap and beer. $20
1:00pm – I’m back at my desk and waiting on approvals for a few projects to come through, so I scroll through a few websites looking to purchase an iPad case with a keyboard to take travelling with in place of buying a laptop. I’m planning to freelance a little to make some money as we travel and don’t have a laptop, but do have an iPad! The one I’m eyeing off costs $299 but I come across a listing for one for $36 on eBay with amazing reviews, so I hit check out and hope for the best! Shipping is $10. $46
3:00pm – I make a cup of tea and grab a piece of cake made by a co-worker and spend the rest of the afternoon smashing out some work. 
5:00pm – I do my daily Croatian lesson on the train home. I message with a person coming to buy something from Facebook Marketplace and arrange a time for them to pick it up. $4.50.
6:00pm – My husband gets home from work and we both reveal we’re craving Grill’d. We’re stoked that we have this in common as normally we have to talk each other out of getting takeaway. We browse around on the internet to look for some discount codes but can’t find anything. We decide the Facebook Marketplace listing we’re selling today covers it and then some, so we decide to order anyway. Girl maths! We split the Grill’d and it’s $26 each. $26
7:30pm – We eat our Grill’d while watching more episodes of Fall Out. We’re loving this show!
8:00pm – I realise Mother’s Day is coming up while scrolling and watching TV, so text my dad and brother to see if they have any ideas for gifts. I purchased an Apple Pencil to help DIY some bits for my wedding and decide to make my mum a colouring-in book with family photos. She’s just retired and has taken up sketching as a hobby, so I think it’s a great gift! I spend the next few hours in Procreate drawing out the colouring-in pages. 
11:00pm – We hit the hay after a few hours of watching Fall Out. Oops! I shower and do my skincare before bed and notice I have a few small pimples after starting the A313 yesterday. I apply a hydrating serum and lots of moisturiser before heading to bed. My close friend is a sex worker and I know she was working tonight, so I check her location on Find My Friends before I fall asleep to make sure she’s home safe. 
Daily Total: $101

Day 4 

6:00am – The Pilates dream falls through again today as I snooze my 6am alarm. 
7:30am – I jump out of bed and quickly get ready. My clenching was bad again last night so I dedicate extra time to my gua sha massage and really focus on my jaw. I make a coffee to drink while I throw on make-up and drown myself in the last drops of my Dark Rum by Malin + Goetz and shed a tear that it’s empty. I don’t really have $168 at the moment to buy a new bottle. Thank God it’s Beauty Loop time and it includes a perfume sample which will tide me over! 
8:00am – I hop on the train to work and do my Croatian lesson, play the NYT games and catch up on easter egg theories ahead of Taylor Swift’s album launching tomorrow. $4.50
9:30am – Today is a free flu shot day at work so I get my jab before I get stuck into work. I score a free lollipop and relish the early morning sugar hit! 
11:00am – My $300 home-loan repayment reminder pops up on my phone so I check it’s all gone through ok and it has!
11:30am – I check my emails to see if I have been approved to start work for Data Annotation as a side hustle to save a little more for the trip, but there’s nothing yet. Sigh! I do see a notification that my $36 iPad case has been shipped though – maybe it’s not a scam?! 
12:00pm – I have a 12:30pm meeting and forgot lunch, so I duck down to the nearby Mecca to pick up my Beauty Loop box and my coworker’s. I get sidetracked running into a coworker on the street and chatting, so I have to leg it back to make it in time for my meeting and miss grabbing lunch. Damn! 
3:56pm – I get out of the 12:30pm meeting at long last and I’m STARVING! I head down to the local shop by my office and grab a freezer meal for $6. As I wait for it to cook, my coworker and I unbox our Beauty Loop boxes. I’m stoked with mine as it includes two new perfumes and a brow gel – both of which I’m out of! Winning! $6.
5:00pm – I head to the train a little early and hotspot on the train on my way home to finish off some work. $4.50 
When I arrive home, my husband has made cookies – life is good!!! We have some cookies and debrief on the day. He adds the cost to Splitwise. $6.
7:30pm – It’s couscous and chicken with the final episodes of Fall Out again. I don’t want it to end! 
I draw some more of my Mother’s Day gift while we watch. I received a few messages on Facebook Marketplace about my Apple Pencil while drawing, so it feels like I’m making money on the gift, lol! 
10:30pm – Before bed I decide to lather my face with the Korres Greek Yoghurt mask after using the A313 for two days. My skin doesn’t feel too dry but I’d rather play it safe! 
Daily Total: $21

Day 5 

7:30am – Fridays are work-from-home days for my husband and I, so we always treat them as our most leisurely morning and sleep in. We roll out of bed and make coffee and coordinate the day’s Facebook Marketplace purchases before starting work. Selling our stuff feels like a second job at this point!
When I do my face massage today I notice my jaw feels a lot more relaxed and less painful. Thank you gua sha for your service!  
8:30am – Today is a Taylor Swift release day, so I jump online for work and I’m straight into business to get as much done as I can so I can enjoy the release at 2pm. My first meeting is at 8:45am and it’s go, go, go from there! 
9:00am – The day takes a turn when we notice some ants that resemble termites in our yard. FUCK. I call a termite guy and he asks me to text him a photo of what we saw. The quote is $250 for an inspection, which I’m hoping we can book in ASAP. I spend the morning spiralling that our house is ruined. Great!
10:30am – I get invited to a gallery event tonight with free drinks. I consider it, but feel like I should say no and save the money I’d spend on a night out just in case of an emergency with the pest situation, and so I decline the offer. I have a crisis cookie from last night to feel better. 
12:00pm – We get Maccas to console ourselves after the potential termite discovery. Budgeting is all about putting what you love first and losing all the other things. For us – that’s food! We split the cost again. $12.45
2:00pm – Taylor’s new album drops so I spend about an hour listening to and digesting all the lyrics. All I can say is… ahhhhhhh. 
The termite company I spoke to earlier call back and I book them to come on Monday. It’s a hit to the budget but one I’d rather take than ignore the potential problem. 
3:00pm – The iPad case I saved about $300 on arrives and… it works?! What a bargain! I play around with it for a bit before getting back to work. I update this entry using it and it’s pretty good. I’m so impressed with my bargain-hunting! 
3:13pm – We sell a few more things from this week’s ‘drop’ on Facebook Marketplace. We’ve been uploading our things on a weekly basis to make it less stressful when we do leave. Today, we have sold about $130 worth of things. This week we have made about $960 on Marketplace which I haven’t captured here as most was sold over the weekend. It’s a nice addition to our savings and we really need every bit we can get. +$120
3:40pm – It’s time for my tongue myotherapy appointment! I do this to help with my TMJ issues by fixing my tongue posture and mouth breathing. I’ve been pretty bad at doing my stretches this past week but I’m always honest with my myotherapist. I dial in today via Zoom so there’s no charge. Normally I would go into the office where the cost would be $250. I’ll pay the invoice next time I’m in. The myotherapy has really helped with my jaw pain, so it’s a cost I’m so happy to pay.
4:24pm – I get out of my appointment to see Taylor has dropped another album. I decide to log off and listen with a glass of wine we already had at home. Life is good but damn these lyrics are sad! 
5:00pm – My husband and I debate if we should go to the art show. We could drive and enjoy the free drinks but we have terrible self-control and it absolutely won’t be a free night. We decide to stay in and eat the Taiwanese food my brother and his wife gave us to celebrate my nephew’s one-month birthday. It’s a Taiwanese tradition and means our freezer is stocked full of delicious Taiwanese food! 
7:30pm – I’m in a severe reading slump and haven’t been able to get hooked on any books I’ve started lately. I see that Animal Farm by George Orwell is on sale on Kindle for $0.99 so I download it and read a few chapters. $0.99
Daily Total: +$107

Day 6 

7:30am – It’s the weekend FINALLY! It’s a lazy morning where we slowly get out of bed to make coffee. 
8:30am – It’s a gorgeous day, so we decide to head out on a bike ride in the sunshine. We have a loop by our house that follows the Brisbane River for about 10km, which we love. 
9:30am – We get home and make mango smoothies with frozen mangos from the freezer. There’s nothing better to start off a gorgeous, sunny day than endorphins and mangos. Yum! 
10:30am – This is when the day gets interesting. We head out to a suburb about 30 minutes away via a motorway to pick up a backpack for my husband to use on our trip. On the way there, a car breaks down in the middle of the highway, causing the traffic to pile up and large trucks to swerve out of the way. We’re rear-ended by a mum and her kid but are missed by all the trucks. Thankfully, we’re all safe! There’s minimal damage to the car and our savings are thankful. We grab the bag and head home with our adrenaline absolutely pumping! My husband pays for the bag, so there is no cost for me.
11:00am – On the way home, I run into Chemist Warehouse to buy a La Roche Posay serum I’m out of. We pay on my husband’s card for the Qantas points and he’ll add it to an app called Splitwise for me to pay him back. $48
12:30pm – I get ready for a long lunch with friends before jumping into a DiDi. This place is expensive but food is everything to me, so I’m happy to splurge. My husband and I split the DiDi there. $11 
We order two bottles of wine and fill our table with Italian dishes. For dessert, we each order an espresso martini that takes us from long lunch tipsy to full-on drunk. There’s six of us at lunch but we split the cost by five as we’re there to celebrate a friend being admitted as a lawyer, so we cover her costs. $135
After lunch we have more drinks at the bar. My husband pays for these drinks on his credit card for the points and then I transfer later. We end up staying at the bar for a few hours and racking up quite the bill! $62
We head into James Street to see a DJ my friend is sleeping with. He’s playing at a gorgeous wine bar, so we order a bottle of red for the table and split it. $21
Our friend texts to say she’s at a bar down the street so we head over to meet her. I have one more drink before jumping in an insanely priced Uber home. $75
Daily Total: $352

Day 7 

10:30am – The hangover is real today! I stay in bed for most of the day, falling in and out of sleep.
2:00pm – My husband and I grab some Guzman y Gomez for a late lunch. I get a mini cali burrito with a Coke and we share chips with queso. It’s insane how good it hits after my hangover! We eat it while we watch an episode of Alone Australia on SBS on Demand. $21
3:30pm – While lazing on the couch, I notice that I’ve sold an Adidas jacket on Depop for $50. I also notice that I missed two offers because I was asleep for so long they expired, damn! +$50
4:00pm — A couple comes over to buy a camping table we’re selling. +$30.
6:30pm – I have a bath, wash my hair and crawl back into bed to mindlessly scroll TikTok for hours. Sundays are when we normally do our grocery shopping, so I guess that’ll have to be tomorrow’s problem! 
Daily Total: +$59

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My husband and I are saving to take a year off to travel from July, so I’ve done the days where we make money with + sign. We're selling stuff daily so wanted to make that clear!

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