Money Diaries

A Week In Bondi, Sydney, As An Operations Manager On $200,000

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: an operations manager who makes $200,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a fruity cocktail at a rooftop bar.
Occupation: Operations Manager
Industry: Financial Services
Age: 35
Location: Bondi, Sydney
Salary: $200,000 ($170,000 plus bonus)
Net Worth: -$440,000 ($200,000 in shares, $250,000 equity in a property and $60,000 savings in a mortgage offset account.)
Debt: A $950,000 mortgage... yikes!
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $9,970
Pronouns: She/Her
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Monthly Expenses

Rent: I live with my partner and pay him $300 per week for the house he owns. It's a three-bedroom apartment and has amazing views of the beach. I'm very lucky. My boyfriend has great taste and we furnished the place together. I pay him a very low amount in rent but this is supposed to offset the tax benefits I lose from not living in the apartment I own (the six-year capital gains tax rule). In the future, this might not matter if and when we combine finances.
Mortgage: $3,200. I purchased my place in 2021 and had intended to live in it, but it's now an investment property as my partner and I have moved in together. It's currently the worst investment I have ever made as the numbers don't stack up, but at the time, it was somewhere I was supposed to live. I have no other loans and I've never taken out any form of loan for anything. I've always been lucky to be able to save before purchasing things and never felt the urge to get a loan for a super expensive car. 
Gym: $100
Netflix, Electricity & Car Bills: All split evenly with my boyfriend and approximately $280 for my share.
Strata & Bills For My Investment Property: $400

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

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce. I was very fortunate that my parents paid for this — my mum’s parents paid for her uni degree, so she wanted to carry this on for her children. However, she made us pay for each subject initially and then, once we passed, she would pay us back. I don't think she had much faith in us!
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Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?

I honestly don't remember much. We were very middle class and never really talked about money. It's only really in the last few years that we have started to talk more about it as I've started investing and bought my first property.

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

I worked at McDonald's as a 14-year-old. My parents instilled a good work ethic in us and emphasised that we needed to have a job. I've also always liked to have money and buy things, but my family didn't give me everything I wanted so I had to earn it. I worked part-time jobs all the way through uni. I even had two jobs for a while after I graduated.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Not that I recall. I think my parents had a business that was near bankruptcy before I was born, but they otherwise had very secure, decent jobs. I don't remember ever feeling like we went without, but we weren't spoilt and didn't have it all.

Do you worry about money now?

All the time! It's very annoying given that I earn a really good salary and have good investments behind me. I'm not sure why I'm so consumed by it. Initially, it started when I was preparing to buy an apartment — I wanted to understand how much I could afford for mortgage repayments so I tracked my spending for six months. Before I knew it, I was adding every cent I spent to it and had a monster, multi-tab Excel spreadsheet tracking literally everything you can imagine. I would prefer to stop because I think it has become quite obsessive and can make me stress over small amounts of money when I don't need to, but I just really love tinkering in Excel so I’m kind of hooked… 
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At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?

When I moved out at around 18 years old. As I said above, my parents never spoilt us and still don’t. I know that if I ever got into trouble, I would be able to call on family to bail me out, but it would be a loan! Otherwise, I don't get given any handouts or help. My parents' attitude is that they had to work for it all on their own, so why shouldn't we? It's pretty fair.

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

No.

Day 1

7:15am — Alarm goes off. I snooze it and cuddle my boyfriend until he gets up at 7:45am. I'm in the office today, so I roll out of bed and trudge around getting ready for work. 
8:10am — Get the bus to work. Tap my credit card. The cost of the day will come out of my account later, but this trip costs $5.
8:50am — Arrive at work just in time to get settled and have a bite of my breakfast (avocado toast, brought from home). Then I head into a meeting with my boss at 9am to prep for an upcoming meeting with some senior stakeholders.
10:00am — Back at my desk. I'm in a bit of a funk today for no particular reason — I just can't be bothered. But it's Melbourne Cup day, so the office has a fun atmosphere. I have a chat with my coworkers sitting near me to procrastinate.
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12:00pm — Free lunch! Thanks to Melbourne Cup, work has put on free food for us. We have a big selection of burgers, salads and fries. We all stand around chatting and eating for an hour and get given our horses for the sweepstake ($5). I end up with 'Without A Fight'. Then we get back to work. $5
3:00pm — Break from work to find an office TV to watch the race. It's exciting, but sadly, I don't win.
5:00pm — After a few long hours in the weeds of some boring spreadsheets, I'm keen to get home and head out the door bang on 5pm. I wander to the bus stop ($5) and get home a bit after 5:30pm. $5
6:00pm — Say hi to my boyfriend, who has been working from home, and catch up on our days. I have a few online deliveries that have arrived from The Iconic so I try them on. They are dresses for an upcoming wedding, as well as a slip skirt. I don't like any of them so I'll return them all. 
8:00pm — I'm still really full from lunch so I have a cup of tea and a chocolate bar instead of dinner.
9:00pm — Regret not eating dinner, but decide there is nothing worth nibbling on so I just push through my hunger and distract myself with the TV. My boyfriend is still working — he also works in banking and works very long hours.
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10:00pm — Say good night to boyf who is a night owl — he's only just finished work! I'm lazy and do absolutely no skincare routine, so I brush my teeth, hop into bed, and it's lights out by 10:15pm for me.
Daily Total: $15

Day 2

6:30am — Partner's alarm goes off. I roll over and snooze through while he gets ready for work.
8:30am — I'm working from home today so I snooze until as late as possible, then I scroll Instagram. I somehow find the will to get up at 8:40am. I'm sooo not a morning person.
8:45am — Wash my face, walk straight to the coffee machine, then sip my coffee in front of my PC, still in my PJs. I'm not sure this is the healthiest way to start the day, but I'm all about prioritising my sleep and this works for me.
10:30am — Work away til 10:30am when I have a meeting with a colleague. We discuss how we will tackle some deliverables for the upcoming week. Once we're finished, I finally get dressed. I wonder how many of my colleagues know that I'm wearing my PJs 90% of the time that I'm working from home.
11:00am — Haven't been to the gym in well over a week, so I decide that if I don't go now, it won't happen. I'm not really feeling it, so I decide to do a short and sharp one with a quick 15-minute run on the treadmill. I enjoy it but my body feels a bit niggly. Afterwards, I head to the supermarket and grab a couple of pears and some green beans for later. $2.33
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1:00pm — Have worked away the last hour and now break for lunch. Avo on toast and a cup of tea. Then join a few more meetings for the afternoon.
5:00pm — Log off at 5pm on the dot again as I'm not overly busy at the moment. My work can be very up and down in terms of how busy I am, so I make the most of it when things are quiet. It's a beautiful day. so I head out for a walk along the beach at Bondi. I'm so lucky to live in this beautiful part of the world! 
6:00pm — Hungry! We have been ordering HelloFresh for the last few weeks and have leftover tacos for dinner — yummy and quick. It's not cheap(er), but I have been feeling very uninspired with my own cooking lately and feeling a bit overwhelmed with choosing meals so I am enjoying the mental break. 
8:00pm — Boyfie gets home from work and we catch up on our days and cuddle on the couch. I do a bit more browsing online to keep searching for a dress to wear to this wedding that's coming up. I end up buying a black cocktail dress to try — hopefully I don't return this one! $280
11:00pm — Bedtime! 
Daily Total: $282.33

Day 3

6:30am — Same old. My partner's alarm goes off and he gets up and goes to work.
8:30am — I snooze until 8:30am, scroll on social media for a few minutes, waddle to the coffee machine and log on to start work at about 8:45am, again, still in my PJs.
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11:00am — After a busy morning, I realise that I forgot to make breakfast and I'm hungry. I go to the kitchen to make eggs on toast with avo for a late brekky and an early lunch. It's delicious! This week's food spend has been incredibly cheap as we bought a HelloFresh box last week that was delivered on Sunday. I’d say we usually spend about $150 to $200 a week on groceries for both of us. I like to cook from scratch so I do it often which helps keep costs down.
12:30pm — Break from work to go for a 30-minute wander outside. It's a beautiful day. I try to make sure I leave the house every lunchtime and after work to make sure I'm moving enough during the day.
5:00pm — Work throughout the afternoon on a number of things and run a few meetings. My job is very varied so I get to work on a lot of projects with lots of different people.
5:30pm — Head out for a walk and call my mum for a chat while I walk.
6:30pm — Grab dinner out of the freezer — a leftover chicken curry — and eat with boyf who has come home for dinner. He then goes into his office to keep working and I have an ice cream to satisfy my ever-present sweet tooth. Spend the rest of the evening on the couch, half watching TV and half doomscrolling the internet before going to bed at around 11pm.
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Daily Total: $0

Day 4

7:45am — I'm in the office today so I get up early (I don't even remember the boyf getting up today… zzz). Then it's the usual routine and I'm straight to the coffee machine before I get ready. So grateful for Nespresso; I have saved thousands not buying a daily coffee the last few years. 
8:10am — I don't muck around in the morning so I'm out the door and at the bus stop within about 20 minutes of getting out of bed. It's a beautiful day and I've got my usual daily commute podcast in — Do you F***cking Mind. I love how open and true to herself the host is — her swearing makes me laugh. The bus trip costs $5.
8:45am — Arrive at work around 8:45am and the office has good vibes for a Friday! We all work hybrid and come in whenever suits so it's a lucky dip of who will be in.
12:00pm — Work away until colleagues nearby start chatting about where to go for lunch. It's a beautiful day, so we settle for a Japanese place with outside seating that's a few minutes away from the office. I order a chicken teriyaki bowl and lemonade and we sit outside laughing and chatting for a bit over an hour before heading back to work. $24.50
4:30pm — My afternoon ends up being reasonably busy as I work on some PowerPoint slides for an upcoming speech. Before I know it, it's time to start packing up. I'm meeting my boyfriend after work for drinks and then dinner so I go to the bathroom, top up my makeup and head out a bit before 5pm.
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5:00pm — I wander up to the rooftop bar we're meeting at. It's such a beautiful day and we enjoy some drinks while checking out the view of the city. I have a Prosecco and some sort of fruity cocktail, and he has a few beers. We split our costs 50/50, but take turns in paying for drinks and dinners. Tonight he is paying for dinner so I get the drinks. $72
6:30pm — We head to dinner nearby — a delicious Mexican place. We pig out on more drinks, some tostadas, tacos and dessert — it's all amazing. My boyfriend pays. Then we head home at about 8:30pm in an Uber. This one is my shout as he got dinner. $27.80
9:30pm — We are pooped when we get home. I take my makeup off, shower and get into bed to watch Netflix, but end up just going straight to sleep.
Daily Total: $129.30

Day 5

8:30am — Alarm goes off and I snooze it for a minute, cuddling my boyfriend.
9:40am — Before I know it, I've snoozed for over an hour and it's now 9:45am. I get a little bit annoyed at myself as I try not to sleep in too late as I worry that it'll disturb my sleep schedule, but it's too late now. Boyfie makes coffee and toast for us and we hang in bed for a while.
11:30am — We eventually get up and walk down to our local cafe for (another) coffee. Boyfie pays this time. We chat for a while, then he goes to the gym while I pop to the chemist for manicure supplies. My nails have been ruined lately, so I'm trying to learn to look after them myself instead of finding time to get them done every fortnight. I spend $24.97 on new nail files, cuticle cutters and some new tweezers. $24.97
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1:00pm — Back home and I spend approximately 15 seconds trying to use the cuticle cutter before getting over it and giving up. I call a friend to catch up and then my mum rings. I end up lying on my bed talking on the phone for almost two hours.
4:00pm — I have ants in my pants now as I've done almost nothing all day, so I convince my boyfriend to go for a walk along the beach with me. It's still such a nice day and we can't stop saying how grateful we are to finally have a nice sunny weekend. We stop off at the local chicken shop and get an early dinner and eat it by the beach, my shout ($28). I am shocked at how cheap this is as we often Uber Eats a similar order for $55! $28
6:00pm — Head home and spend the rest of the evening on the couch watching a terrible movie called Dune. Not my choice.
10:30pm — In bed and exhausted. No need to worry about my sleep-in this morning as I fall asleep almost straight away.
Daily Total: $52.97

Day 6

8:30am — Alarm goes off and yep, I snooze it.
9:15am — Alarm goes off again. I force myself to sit up and stay awake so I can definitely sleep tonight! I have a little cuddle and a social and news media scroll in bed.
10:00am — Up and out pretty early (for me!) today as I want to make sure I can get a gym session in before I meet a friend around 1ish. I usually try to go to the gym two or three times a week, but I've been really slacking the last few weeks. 
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10:30am — Hit the gym but my body is still a bit niggly so it's not going great. Does anyone else have those injuries or things where it doesn't hurt-hurt, but you're aware of it and it doesn't feel good? No? Just me? Whenever I feel like that, I do pathetic gym sessions. This one lasts about 15 minutes. Then I wander the shops nearby before heading home.
11:30am — Make some peanut butter toast and a coffee and shower. This is unusual for me on the weekend. I usually go out for brunch at least one day of the weekend, if not both, so I'm saving some good cash this weekend.
1:00pm — Meet a friend down on Bondi Beach. I haven't seen them in a month or two so we have a really good goss and catch up on each other's lives. We only get in the water once as it's still quite cold and I'm a wimp.
4:00pm — Head home and grab boyfie to go and do some grocery shopping. We get very little and it costs a bomb. He likes instant coffee (weirdo), so we get a big jar of that, $37 worth of dishwasher tablets (?!), some chicken, beef burgers, tampons, some veggies and a few snacks (cookies!), coming to $104. I think there is a fair bit of leftovers in the freezer so hopefully, this will do us for most of the week. $104
6:00pm — I cook an easy dinner of chicken and delicious garlic buttery rice. I discovered the recipe on HelloFresh. I screw up the rice and it takes double the amount of time to cook, but gets there in the end.
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7:00pm — Settle in to watch The Block. And oh my god, what a scandal! I feel really sorry for everyone who didn't win much cash but particularly Ankur and Sharon. I think they were treated really unfairly throughout. 
10:00pm — Get into bed after doomscrolling again.
Daily Total: $104

Day 7

7:30am — Alarm goes off and I snooze it as it took me ages to get to sleep last night. I decide I'm going to be late for work and I'm cool with that.
8:05am — I finally get up, and realise it's highly possible that I have a meeting at 9am. I should've checked before deciding to be late. I usually need to leave by now. Eeek! Do the usual routine of coffee and getting ready, then nervously check my calendar and see that there's thankfully no meeting until 9:30am. I get out the door at 8:30 and pay for the bus. $5
9:10am — Arrive late/just on time (depending on who you ask) and get settled before heading to my meeting.
10:30am — Meeting done. I decide to treat myself to a coffee as the office is a bit cold and I'm tired ($4.50). Why does buying coffee make me feel guilty?! It feels like such a treat, but it's literally $4.50! $4.50 
2:00pm — The coffee filled me up so I work right through lunch as I'm not hungry. I need to go and return one of my online shopping orders, so I head to the post office and grab a sushi roll on the way back ($4.80). This is a cheap lunch so I feel like that's a money win and feel less guilty about the coffee this morning. $4.80
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5:00pm — I've spent the afternoon in a bit of a funk. I'm not feeling overly challenged at work lately and today hasn't been too busy so I've had a bit too much time to think. I leave at 5pm on the dot to try to get moving and get out of my head. It's a beautiful day and I put on some upbeat tunes. It cheers me up by the time I get home. I pay another $5 for the bus. $5
6:00pm — Boyf is working late so I'm solo eating leftovers from last night for dinner. Yum!
8:00pm — I try really hard not to have an after-dinner sweet treat, but I don't last and get stuck into a couple of choc chip cookies and a tea while watching TV.
10:00pm — Boyfie finishes work and we have a very brief chat about our days before I go to bed.
Daily Total: $18.50

Anything else you'd like to add or flag?

This was an average week in terms of spend except where food is concerned. I would usually pay for brunch with friends (which is around $60), and dinner with my partner that's around $250 once a week. I didn't do these things this week, so it's been much cheaper.
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