Money Diaries

A Week In Glengowrie, Adelaide, On A $65,000 Salary

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 pre-construction administrator who earns $65,000 a year spends some of her money this week on 'The Etna' pizza with cheese, salami and olives.
Occupation: Pre-Construction Administrator
Industry: Construction
Age: 22
Location: Glengowrie, Adelaide, South Australia
My Salary: $65,000
Net Worth: -$427,750 ($4,000 in shares, $5,000 in savings, $16,750 in super.)
Debt: $453,500 (A $450,000 home loan (I bought a townhouse on my own last year) and $3,500 in HECS debt for a diploma I am currently undertaking.)
My Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $4,336
Pronouns: She/Her
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Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $1,747 total. I earn $1,300 a month from my roommates, and I cover the rest. This allows me to save about $1,500 each month. I'm making the most of this as I know my roommate will move out soon, so it'll just be my partner and I, meaning my savings will decrease significantly. My partner lives with me and pays me rent, but we don't share finances. We do have a joint card that we use for food, dates and takeaway.
Utilities: $640. This covers electricity, water, strata, contents insurance and internet.
Phone: $50
Car Insurance: $50
Gym: $68.20
Dance: $40
Petrol: $110
Microsoft: $10

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

I am currently studying for a Diploma in Marketing at TAFE. I paid for my Certificate IV and V upfront, and am paying for my diploma with HECS. I plan on transferring my credits and studying for a Bachelor's degree in the future, but I want to make sure I really want to do it before I fork out the money for it.

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

Money wasn't really discussed unless it was telling us that we couldn't have something. My parents ran a business and gave us anything we wanted. I can’t recall any discussions about how to save, but my dad made it very clear from a young age that you need to work hard to get what you want in life.
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What was your first job and why did you get it?

I worked in an ice cream shop when I was 15. I got the job thanks to a friend and used the money to get a gym membership and buy lunches out on the weekend. I really liked working, so I got a second job at a retail store when I was 16. I used this money to save for an overseas holiday that I went on straight after graduating from school.

Did you worry about money growing up?

Never in the early years. We seemed to have everything we needed. My parents’ business gave us the freedom to travel and get all the toys and clothes we ever wanted. It wasn’t until we got a bit older that the business started to struggle. I became aware of money and the importance of having a backup option. My parents still don’t have any saving habits or ever focus on budgeting.

Do you worry about money now?

All the time! I don’t know why, as I've worked full time since I was 18 and lived at home until I was 21, giving me plenty of time to get ahead. I've always had savings and have already managed to buy a townhouse. I just know that I never want to get a credit card or loan. I have a habit of comparing myself to others, so I feel a bit jealous when I hear that other people have a higher salary.
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At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?

I have been paying for all my ‘fun’ expenses since I was 15, but didn't become independent until I was 21 when I moved out. If I was desperate enough, I know that my parents could help me to some extent.

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

I receive around $1,300 in rent each month, as my partner and friend live with me. This helps pay some of my bills. I have never received any inheritance.

Day 1

7:00am — I wake up and get going right away. It takes me about 10 minutes to get ready. I drive to work with my boyfriend, T. We carpool so he doesn't have to take public transport, plus it gives us another chance to hang out before our busy days. Parking at work is free, which is another benefit of driving. When I get into the office, I make an oat milk cappuccino and oats with berries, honey and peanut butter for breakfast.
10:00am — I sort through my emails as it's just been a long weekend. 182 unopened and not actioned, ugh. When I have a spare second, I buy a trial pass at a reformer Pilates studio — five classes for $50. I grab another oat cap and snack on a pear that I had packed earlier. $50
1:00pm — I have lunch at my desk — leftover penne bolognese. Then, I take my lunch break with my work friends. I fill up on petrol ($54.02 — this should last me two weeks) and we head to Target. I buy a top on sale ($4) that's perfect for Pilates. It should motivate me as I'm a bit nervous to start. $58.02
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5:00pm — I finish work and head home to do some chores around the house. I start some dinner prep — we're having pork steaks, sweet potato mash and broccolini. My partner will finish the cooking while I'm at the gym. Then I head to the gym for a Zumba class. I love dancing as exercise!
8:00pm — I head to T.'s parents' house to grab a Covid test as he's feeling unwell. His parents also bought us some plates that we needed to finalise our dinner set, so I pick these up too. I head home and watch Toy Story in an attempt to put us to bed, lemon and honey tea in hand. T. and I both take out Covid tests and we're negative, woo! We already had Covid at the start of the year, so we're thankful we don't have it again. It's probably the flu that's going around lately. We munch on some passionfruit. I have a shower and do my skincare routine — double cleanse, hyaluronic acid, retinol and moisturiser.
Daily Total: $108.02

Day 2

7:00am — Same wake-up time for me. T. isn't feeling well, so he's not heading into work today. As I'm by myself, I get in there a lot quicker. A lot of people are away for school holidays, so I do a sneaky scroll on my phone before getting into emails. I have the same breakfast as yesterday — an oat cappuccino and oats with berries, honey and peanut butter.
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10:00am — It's still really quiet in the office. I focus on prepping for a meeting this afternoon. Another oat cap, a pear and some popcorn as a snack.
1:00pm — Eat at my desk again before heading out for a stroll around the parklands with the work girls. It’s so nice to get out in the middle of the day and have some fresh air. Plus it helps us get our steps in as we don't move much during the day.
5:00pm — Leave work and head straight to the gym for a boxing class (my favourite!). I go most weeks with a friend that I met through dance. We work really well together because we've been going for so many years.
7:30pm — Head home and stop by the servo to get my T. a Powerade to make him feel a bit better. I buy two for $7, putting it on our joint account. Come home to finish cooking dinner — T.'s put the beef on the BBQ already, so I make the salads. We combine them and have huge beef salads and garlic bread — delish! $7
10:00pm — I get ready for bed with a cup of honey lemon detox tea. I pop Gogglebox on, have a shower and do my skincare routine. I've been getting to bed at a good time because of T.'s sickness, which is nice. We usually don't go to bed until 11:30pm! I tuck him in with a heat pack and some water.
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Daily Total: $7

Day 3

7:00am — I find it harder to get out of bed today, knowing it’s the Friday before a long weekend. T. is still in bed sick. I get to work, make my oat cap and my oats and have a chat with some of the girls in the team. We're a team of ten girls across similar positions so it’s nice that we (mostly) all get along. 
10:00am — It's been a slow morning. It’s a good change as the last three weeks at work have been crazy busy. I make another oat cap in the kitchen and snack on a pear — the usual! I think podcasts are going to be the only thing to get me through to lunch today, so I pop on She's On The Money. It's a finance podcast and I find it really helpful.
1:00pm — Eat my lunch at my desk again — leftover beef salad and a yoghurt. Today, we spend our lunch break in Kmart. I buy a scrubber to help clean my shower as I'm struggling with mould. I also buy some little containers for my salad dressing ($10.75). I just need to get through four more hours and then it's the weekend! $10.75
3:00pm — I organise my Coles click and collect for pickup tomorrow. We usually buy food to last us for four dinners and five lunches, plus snacks and breakfast. We eat at one of our parents' houses once a week, and we'll usually get takeout twice a week. This week, I order beef sausages, lamb shoulder, tortillas, Doritos, tomatoes, canned corn, black beans, avos, Asian slaw, wedges, pumpkin, broccoli, coleslaw, bananas, bars, Grain Waves, pretzels, chickpea chips, apples, pears, potatoes and frozen chicken strips ($86.46, paid on the joint account). $86.46
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6:00pm — Head out for dinner at my favourite pizza joint with my cousin and a friend. I could eat traditional Italian pizza all day, every day! I order 'The Etna', which is basically just cheese and salami pizza, plus olives. We're catching up as it's been a while since we've all been together, plus I haven't given my friend a gift for her birthday yet, which was almost a month ago. I transfer my other friend $30 for the present and get a takeaway pizza for T. ($53). He transfers me $25 for his half. $58
Daily Total: $155.21

Day 4

7:30am — I have a little bit of a sleep-in, but wake to T. with a snotty nose and a cough. I don’t think he's going to play football this afternoon. We head out to our favourite coffee shop where I order two oat milk lattes ($11.60). We go for a short walk on the beach and try and warm T. up for football. $11.60
9:00am — We head to the IGA and grab some ingredients for croissants ($6). T. still isn’t feeling well, so I make some breakfast and chill on the couch with him. I'm a bit nervous for my first trial of Pilates today, but happy to get my body moving. I've been slack the last few months. I'm also praying I don’t catch whatever T. has! $6
12:00pm — Pilates was amazing! I feel so strong and fresh after the class and I'm so excited to go back. I head to Coles to pick up our groceries, head home and eat some more leftover beef salad for lunch, snacking on some chickpea chips. 
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2:00pm — It's official: T. isn't playing football today. He's way too unwell, but we head out to watch the game anyway. It's a pretty quiet weekend ahead which is unusual for us, especially on a long weekend. We usually go to T.'s shack, but his uncle is staying there.
6:00pm — We settle in for dinner on the couch tonight. Because it’s the weekend, we order some takeout. We get Dumpling King — I order crispy pork with rice and share some of T.'s dumplings. I transfer T. $31 for my share and feel guilty for not going to pick it up — it feels so expensive to order through UberEats these days! $31
Daily Total: $48.60

Day 5

9:00am — I get a better sleep-in this morning. It’s probably my favourite part of the weekend! We get up and go grab a coffee at our favourite coffee shop again — this time it's iced oat lattes with caramel syrup ($11.60). We go for a beach drive as T. isn’t up for walking today. The weather is absolutely perfect, considering we're coming into winter. $11.60
11:00am — We chill on the couch for a bit and I put on the new season of Selling Sunset. I can’t get enough of the amazing clothes and shoes (and of course, the houses!). I make us some croissants for breakfast and snack on a little packet of Grain Waves from yesterday’s grocery shop.
1:00pm — I've spent the morning cleaning, so I desperately need to get out of the house. I go and get my toenails done as it's been forever since I last got a pedicure ($50). I head to the chemist and buy some skincare — face cream, a hair mask, retinol and a concealer ($38.69). $88.69
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4:00pm — After getting back into binge-watching Selling Sunset, T. and I feel like making margaritas. We need some triple sec so I quickly run out and grab some ($26.99). T. transfers $10 to help out. I mix together some tequila, lemon juice, ice and the triple sec. The margaritas come out pretty good, especially considering this is my first time making them! $16.99
7:00pm — I've been slow-cooking lamb all day because we're having lamb nachos tonight. I prep some tomato salsa, corn and black beans and mashed avocado and top it onto some corn chips with the lamb.
8:00pm — T. officially can't stand any more Selling Sunset, so we change to Friends — our go-to show when we can't be bothered. We watch a few episodes before going to bed.
Daily Total: $117.28

Day 6

8:00am — I wake up not feeling great — I've got a super sore groin and a sore throat. I don't feel as sick as T., but I'm worried that it's going to creep up on me. I go have a warm shower to help wake me up and loosen my muscles. It's so bad that I have to keep massaging my legs.
9:30am — I meet up with a friend for a walk at the beach. We grab a coffee on the way ($6). It’s nice to get the body warmed up and moving. While we're there, we have a good gossip about the week that passed. We're so lucky to be this close to the beach. I hope one day that I can live right on the esplanade. $6
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11:00am — I pick T. up and take him to get a coffee. I don’t get one this time. We go for a beach drive and then grab a few things to make a late breakfast. We're a bit off as it's the long weekend. I grab an eggplant, Turkish bread and mozzarella ($5.55 for my half). When I get home, I grill the eggplant, some zucchini and pumpkin, then grill some pesto and mozzarella on the Turkish bread to make sandwiches. $5.55
2:00pm — I have a headache and my groin is still sore, so I lay on the couch and binge The Home Edit on Netflix. I have another Pilates class this afternoon and I really don’t want to miss it, so I'm putting all my energy into feeling better for that. 
5:30pm — Pilates is painful but I feel good that I got it out of the way. I have a break from now until next weekend and I definitely need it. I come home and start roasting some vegetables for dinner — we're having leftover pulled lamb and a roast vegetable Moroccan couscous with roasted potatoes.
8:00pm — My roommate has come down with Covid and is isolating at her boyfriend's, so I take some things over to her. I'm lucky that she doesn't really hang around too much, so I'm not a close contact. Once I'm home, I tuck myself into bed with some Haigh's chocolate almonds that T.'s grandparents gave us for Easter. You can tell why it's so expensive — it's delicious!
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9:00pm — After finishing my bag of chocolate and playing on my phone, I do some skin care (I was really slack over the weekend and not doing it!), and head to bed. 
Daily Total: $11.55

Day 7

7:00am — Back to my work wake up time. I’m not feeling the best as I've caught whatever T. has. We slowly head into the office and I make my breakfast oat cappuccino and my oats with berries, honey and peanut butter. I don't really drink my coffee this morning as I'm not feeling it. Plus I have to get up to date for a few meetings later this morning.
10:00am — Time flies! I get through all my meetings. It's always tough to come back after a long weekend, so anything to get away from the desk is nice. I snack on some Grain Waves and another coffee that I actually drink between my meetings.
1:00pm — Leftover couscous and lamb for lunch today at my desk. I then go outside for a little walk and relax in some fresh air, catching up on the weekend with my work friends. The girls are a bit older than me but always seem to come up with more exciting weekends. They were both out eating and drinking all weekend! I get a bit jealous, as I hate doing nothing but I'm excited about next weekend, as I'm staying in the wine region with my school friend.  
3:00pm — Feeling peckish as I need the extra energy to keep me motivated, especially now that I'm sick. I eat a packet of popcorn I'd packed. I really need to get to 5pm, so I distract myself with a chat with the other girls. This seems to pass the time at work! I also pay off a PayPal charge for some clothes I brought a few weeks ago ($38.90). I always have the money but can never bring myself to spend it in one go. $38.90
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6:00pm — Nothing on tonight — I don’t have dance and I pushed out my Pilates class as I think my body needs some time to recover. I get home and make beef sausages with wedges and an Asian salad (pre-prepared packet from Coles) and just veg out on the couch watching the new Heartstopper series on Netflix. 
8:00pm — I get some bad news. I'm a bit upset, so I put myself to bed while T. does some chose around the house. I don't think I'll go to work tomorrow so I don't bother with any skincare tonight.
Daily Total: $38.90
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.
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