Money Diaries

A Week In Hobart, Tasmania, As A Physiotherapist On $92,600

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.
Anyone can write a Money Diary! Want to see yours here? Here's how. If your diary is published, you'll receive $200.
Today: a physiotherapist who makes $92,600 and spends some of her money on an Easter chocolate haul.
Occupation: Physiotherapist
Industry: Health
Age: 28
Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Salary: $92,600
Net Worth: $178,450 (My partner and I purchased our home for $683,000 in 2021 (we have an agreement that if we were to break up, we'd get back what we put in, which is $30,000 each, he'd get his inheritance back ($100,000), and we'd split the rest 50/50). I also have a car worth $14,000, $5,700 in a Mojo/emergency savings account, $950 in my 'me' account (this is for rainy days to spend on myself and I usually try and deposit $20 to $50 into it each pay), $15,300 in my main savings account, $10,500 in an offset account I share with my partner (we're trying to build this by $100/pay). We also have a shared account for groceries which we deposit $200 each fortnight. My partner and I split all bills 50/50 and only have shared finances for groceries and our mortgage offset, otherwise, our finances are separate.)
Debt: $529,000 left on the mortgage and a HELP debt of $22,000.
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,350
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: My partner and I purchased our 1950's brick home at the end of 2021. Our current repayments are around $2,400 a month, which we split evenly and pay fortnightly. This amount includes the small amount extra that we deposit into our offset account to build it up (extremely) slowly. 
Savings Contributions: I save around 40% of my paycheque per pay, give or take. This usually amounts to about $900 per pay across all of my savings accounts (I have multiple savings accounts, as per the Barefoot Investor's recommendations!).
Salary Package: I salary package $100 a fortnight onto a meals and entertainment card that I aim to use if I need to buy my lunch or a coffee before work. I try not to buy food if I can't use this but it doesn't work for Uber Eats or meal delivery apps and when the Friday night flop hits, it hits hard! So I sometimes just take the hit.
Gym: $260. I try to go at least three to four times a week.
Pilates: $180, which I try to do twice a week.
Netflix: $10.99
Apple TV: $10. I'll cancel once I finally watch a movie I've been wanting to watch.
MS Research Donation: $40
Telstra: $30
Beauty: $120 at least each month to get my brows done or a skin treatment.

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

I attended university and completed a bachelor's degree with honours. This was entirely funded by the government and I was lucky enough for it to be Commonwealth supported, so my HELP debt was only about $30,000. I obtained some small scholarships during my time at uni, which reduced my debt by a couple of thousand dollars.

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

My siblings and I used to participate in the school banking program, but our parents would often forget to give us money to deposit, so it wasn't a regular occurrence. We received about $5 as pocket money each week, but this stopped once we started working in after-school jobs. As a kid, I was quite terrible at saving and would often buy little things that I didn't actually need, like handbags and hair clips. However, I'm much better and consider myself a good saver now. I don't remember my parents ever discussing money matters with us, apart from telling me to stop buying pointless things!

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

My first job was in a video store/tobacconist/gift store. I earned $5 an hour, cash in hand. I got it because I was 16 and felt like I should be working. I also wanted to start saving for a school trip to France.

Did you worry about money growing up?

I don't recall ever worrying about money when I was a child. Although my parents didn't earn a lot, they made sure we had everything we needed. To manage finances, they would divide their pay so that my dad's income would pay the bills and my mum's would pay for daily expenses such as groceries, canteen, pocket money, and any handouts we requested or required. As a result, my mother always felt like she was the one controlling the purse strings. Wages in Tasmania are usually lower than in other states, and I know that I currently earn almost double what my mother did when she was working and helping to support the household. Despite this, my siblings and I participated in various activities, such as sports, piano lessons, dance, and school camps.
Looking back, I believe it must have been a struggle for my parents at times, but I don't remember them ever telling us we couldn't do something. We didn't go on many vacations or have expensive gadgets, but we always had what we needed. They also saved hard for each of us to participate in one significant school activity during high school. My brother went on a ski trip, my sister on a geography trip to New Zealand, and I went on a trip to France. The only time I recall worrying about money was as a teenager when my mother stopped working, and my dad was left to pay the bills and mortgage with his income alone. He would occasionally express his concerns, but this was around the time I began receiving Centrelink payments to support myself as a student at uni.

Do you worry about money now?

I sometimes stress about money. My partner and I are lucky to have good-paying jobs and a disposable income since we don't have kids yet. But, I still worry about the future. I get anxious that I'm not saving enough or spending money on unnecessary things like activewear or self-care stuff. Although, we're lucky to have a house full of furniture, cars, minimal debt (except for the mortgage), and can save money just because, instead of having to worry about a roof over our heads.

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

I became mostly financially independent when I was around 21 and in my second year of uni. My parents would still pay for small things like my roadside assistance up until last year. I now work hard to ensure I have a 'Mojo' account with at least $5,000 in it for unexpected expenses and large bills.

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

I haven't ever received an inheritance but my partner received one from his parents when we purchased our house, which was $100,000. Without it, I think we would still be in the market, so we're extremely grateful to his parents for their generosity.

Day 1

6:35am — I get up and ready for work. I wash my face while listening to the news on the radio, then eat breakfast at home (overnight oats prepped the night before), before leaving for the short walk to the bus stop. It's payday! I'm looking forward to getting paid as my partner and I have been on leave and spending a bit more than usual.
7:42am — I catch the express bus to work using my GreenCard ($2.80). I arrive in town around 8am, so I take the longer route to work along the waterfront and stop to read my book in the sun. $2.80
8:30am — I arrive at work and power up my computer, then put my lunch and snacks in the fridge. I always try to bring food from home to save money (and because it's often healthier), but I probably buy my lunch about once a week on average.
10:15am — It's a slow morning, so I duck out to the coffee van and grab an oat latte. I hand over my reusable mug but forget to state what size I want, so the barista fills it and charges me for a medium ($6.10). I savour it and chow down on a banana as well. $6.10
12:30pm — I take my lunch break outside. Today it's pre-prepped crispy tofu with salad and veggies (we usually buy our groceries on the weekend so I already have the ingredients).
4:36pm — I finish my work day and head to Pilates. It's a 25-minute walk, so I call my sister as I walk and get going. Luckily the class doesn't start until 5:30pm, so I have time to walk slowly and get changed before the 45-minute class. I take a detour past a pharmacy to grab a Dermaroller ($25.50) as I like looking after my skin and need to replace my old one. $25.50
6:15pm — Pilates finishes. I walk to the bus stop, eating a mandarin as I go. I hop on the bus ($2.80), and while I ride, I pay my bills and transfer money into my various savings accounts. I like doing this manually every pay as I feel empowered with my money, rather than doing a direct debit that I never see. I also call my salary packaging provider to rectify an issue with my deductions given the new financial year and end up on hold for 52 minutes. $2.80
7:10pm — I arrive home (still on hold) and start packing a bag for our holiday to see both my partners' and my family, who live in different parts of the state. When I'm done and finally off hold, I start cooking dinner with my partner. We use Dinnerly, which is a budget version of Marley Spoon. Depending on the week, we'll order between three to six meals (which will usually cost between $60 and $90).
9:30pm — After cooking, cleaning up, showering, and getting everything ready for tomorrow, I'm pooped. I watch a YouTube video in bed, then put on a podcast and fall asleep while my partner watches a YouTube video beside me.
Daily Total: $28.40

Day 2

6:35am — I wake up, feed the cats, wash my face, get ready, and have breakfast. I end up leaving late but manage to catch the express bus to work ($2.80). During the bus ride, I read a non-fiction book about the causes of depression and unhappiness which I find really interesting.
8:00am — I arrive in town and stop by the supermarket on my way to work. I buy a single serving of plain microwave rice so that I don't have to cook up the family-sized pack we have at home as we'll be away and won't have a chance to eat it. However, I end up buying a double serving of flavoured rice and some chocolates for my work colleagues as it's my last day before taking leave. $17.50
8:12am — I walk around the corner to grab a hot cross bun as a treat. I end up buying two — one traditional, one choc chip ($9). I'm really winning with my self-discipline today! $9
11:00am — It's another slow morning. I take a morning tea break to eat my hot cross buns and have a chai tea that someone has left communal sachets of.
12:30pm — I have a lunch of rice, crispy tofu, and salad. I take a quick walk to get some blood pumping, then get back to work.
4:36pm — I'm free! It's time to head across the state to see my family. But first, I head home via the pharmacy to pick up my new script ($77 for a three-month supply), I also grab some car snacks for the drive ($22). I buy stuff for both my partner and me, so I use our joint account. My share is $11. $88
5:00pm — I'm hungry, so I grab a piece of sushi ($5.20) before jumping on the bus ($2.80) and heading home. $8
5:45pm — I arrive home and immediately go into a frenzy making dinner, finishing my packing, and getting the cats ready. Our friend will be looking after them for free for two days, then our usual cat sitter will come in for two days, who I pay $60 to in advance. After dinner, we clean up and get on the road. $60
7:55pm — We stop for petrol about 15 minutes outside of Hobart. It costs $85 to fill up my car with premium fuel. I also buy my partner a Coke and I get a sparkling water. Then I spend $5 on a small chips from KFC. $90
11:55pm — After four hours of driving, we finally arrive at my dad's house and slide straight into bed.
Daily Total: $263.50

Day 3

7:45am — I wake up after a sleep-in. My partner and I slowly get ready for the day, then head out for brunch together.
10:45am — There aren't many cafes in my hometown but we decide on one and go in to grab a table. My partner orders eggs Benedict and a coffee, and I get a nourish bowl and a coffee (I usually prefer sweet breakfasts when I'm out, but there are none on the menu). He kindly pays for us both. Afterwards, I walk up to the bakery and grab a loaf of banana bread and some jam-drop biscuits to take to my grandma ($12.90). $12.90
11:45am — We arrive at my grandma's for a quick visit. I cut her some banana bread. Despite being 93, she's never tried it! I also cut myself a huge piece to make up for my savoury brunch. Then we head off to my mum's house.
12:30pm — We arrive at my mum's to sign some paperwork. She has MS and lives with carers. I would usually take her some food but she's just been diagnosed with diabetes, so I leave the banana bread in the car!
2:00pm — My partner and I are hungry, so we drive to the next town for lunch. He gets a pie and a Coke (which he pays for himself), and I get a turkey salad roll ($6.70). We also get two bags of biscuits as this bakery does amazing kiss biscuits and peanut/choc chip cookies. We use our joint account for this, as we'll both eat them. It comes to $20, so my portion is $10. My partner then goes over the road to buy some homebrew supplies for himself. $16.70
3:00pm — We drop into the supermarket on the way home to grab some things for tonight and tomorrow. My dad gives us his card, but we use our joint grocery money to buy three porterhouse steaks, some brussel sprouts, potatoes, mushrooms, fish and prawns. It comes to $67 (porterhouse is expensive!), with my share coming to $33.50. We also drop past a bottle shop so I can buy some white wine to pair with the seafood tomorrow ($12). My partner buys himself and my dad a beer. $45.50
4:00pm — I drop my partner back at my dad's and then drive to the gym. I pay $2.09 for parking as the class goes for an hour. I’m lucky because my gym has universal access, meaning even if I’m away, I can still go as long as there’s a studio nearby.
6:00pm — On my way home, I drop back past the supermarket to get some Easter chocolate that I forgot to grab ($28). I use Dad's card as I'm buying it for Mum on behalf of him. $28
6:16pm — I get home and dinner is already cooking. We have a lovely feast of steak and veggies, then settle in to watch the new season of Alone on SBS which was filmed in Tasmania. We go to bed around midnight.
Daily Total: $110.10

Day 4

9:00am — It's Good Friday today. My day starts with a sleep in and a breakfast of hot cross buns. Trust parents to have something edible in the pantry, even with an empty nest!
12:00pm — I spend the whole morning washing and vacuuming my car while listening to a podcast while my partner just watches TV. This takes a few good hours. Dad pops out to buy some items for dessert tonight — golden syrup dumplings with vanilla ice cream. He pays.
2:00pm — We head over to my mum's unit for a visit. As I haven't had lunch, I snack on some vegan cheddar pretzels that I bought as car snacks but didn't get round to eating, as well as an apple and peanut butter from Dad's pantry. It's a long visit but it's nice to catch up with Mum again. We chat about Stranger Things and leave just in time for her afternoon nap.
4:00pm — We get back from visiting Mum and get started on dinner. We're having my grandma over for spaghetti marinara with garlic bread and rocket salad made with the stuff I bought at the supermarket yesterday. Dad also has a few things that he's purchased for the occasion (like dried pasta, prawns and tomatoes).
5:30pm — I go over to Grandma's to pick her up for our early dinner together. We share a delicious meal and she gives me tips on how to make the dumplings for dessert. They turn out absolutely delicious and I serve them with a scoop of ice cream! We also have a glass of the white wine I bought yesterday, which goes nicely with the seafood and dessert.
8:30pm — I drive my grandma home and then spend the rest of the night on the couch with my partner.
Daily Total: $0

Day 5

9:00am — We wake up late as we're driving another three and a half hours to the east coast to see my partner's family today. It usually takes a long time to get going, as I always spend time with Grandma and Mum before I go. Grandma gives me a random assortment of food, including a frozen casserole (that’ll be good in the car…), some berries, ginger beer, kombucha, and fresh beetroot. We're only staying a short while at Mum’s which I feel guilty about, but before I know it, it's 1pm and we still haven't left. Oops!
1:45pm — After a lunch of McDonald's (my partner and I pay separately — my share is $11), we finally get going. I'm driving this time and stop for petrol after about an hour, filling up with premium again ($61). My partner is the car DJ this time, but his skills are far less superior to mine, so we put on a podcast about halfway into the journey. $72
5:00pm — We stop at the small IGA just outside of our destination and buy a couple of small chocolates for our nieces and some smoked cheddar (my partner is obsessed). We use our joint account, so my share comes to $5. $5
5:30pm — We arrive at my partner's family's shack just in time for dinner, which is BBQ hamburgers, sausages, and some air-fried chips. We don't feel guilty as they're more than happy for us to skive off them. There's usually way too much food at the shack anyway as my partner’s mum is known for overcatering and making sure everyone feels looked after.
8:00pm — I lay out some of the smoked cheddar with the strawberries my grandma gave me, corn chips from the cupboard, and some salsa that my partner's mum has bought. We all sit around watching TV and eating snacks until we hit the hay about 11pm.
Daily Total: $77

Day 6

9:00am — It's Easter Sunday today, so naturally, I have some toasted hot cross buns for breakfast. Then we all head outside for an Easter egg hunt with the nieces at around 11am.
1:00pm — Lunch! We cook up some pancakes as a treat and enjoy a slow day spent inside reading and watching movies due to the weather. Eventually, we manage to get ready and head out for a family dinner together in the next town, which is about a 12-minute drive away.
1:30pm — The restaurant is more of a bistro and as it’s school holidays, there are quite a few families with small children. The nine of us find our seats and I order spaghetti prawns with a side of seasonal greens. My partner also buys me a ginger beer at the bar. He also gets himself a beer and orders a parmi. After the meal, we go to pay but my partner's mum has beaten us to the bill and pays for everyone! She has a habit of doing this so we usually try to beat her. Alas, she wins this round!
5:00pm — We head home and munch on chocolates while watching old episodes of The Chasers War on Everything, heading to bed at around midnight.
Daily Total: $0

Day 7

9:00am — It's another sleep in day and a slow morning, before we eventually head out for a coffee with the family in a nearby town. Before we leave, I have some leftover buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. It's always leftover day at the shack!
10:55am — We arrive at the cafe and the line is huge. I order an almond latte for myself and an earl grey for my partner ($11.50). We enjoy our drinks before my partner, his sister, and I all go for a walk to the surf shop for some window shopping. My partner buys himself some shirts, but I just take a look around. $11.50
12:30pm — It's lunchtime and you guessed it — leftovers! We have the BBQ meat from the other night and munch on some fruit that needs eating. I’m super grateful that we haven’t had to purchase a lot of food this time around as it often goes uneaten and left in the pantry.
1:30pm — It's siesta time. I lay on the couch Googling claw clip videos while others either sleep, go fishing, or watch a movie.
3:30pm — My partner and I take his sister's dog for a big walk. It feels nice to do some exercise after a few days off.
5:30pm — We get back to the shack and dinner is cooking. My partner’s sister is making spaghetti bolognese and more air fryer chips. We eat together, then hang out until bedtime. Tomorrow my partner and I will drive home almost three hours. I'm excited to see the cats and get ready for the rest of the working week. We've been paying a cat sitter when we go away as our female cat is anxious and would probably die out of spite if we took her to a cattery. Our other cat is the total opposite (a real smoocher!) so he makes up for it. I think our cat sitter likes him!
8:00pm — We spend another chilled night watching TV together and eating Easter chocolate before a big drive home tomorrow. My partner’s mum starts laying out a few things for us to take home in a cooler bag, as predicted, and I go to bed with a full stomach (and a full heart).
Daily Total: $11.50
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour. You should always obtain your own independent advice before making any financial decisions.
For many of us, money can be a major source of stress. But it doesn’t have to be. Become more confident with our beginner's guide to managing your money.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it here.

More from Work & Money