Money Diaries

A Week In South Perth, Western Australia, As A Pricing Analyst On A $104,750 Salary

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Today: a pricing analyst who makes $104,750 a year spends some of her time this week playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Occupation: Pricing Analyst
Industry: Government
Age: 25
Location: South Perth, Western Australia
My Salary: $104,750
Net Worth: -$6,738 ($20,030 in savings (split between an emergency fund and other smaller savings pots), $43,945 in superannuation, $2,631 in investments (I've only just started investing and have been using Superhero).
Debt: $73,344 ($44,000 in HECS debt and $20,000 USD ($29,344 AUD) in federal loans for my undergraduate degree in the US. I don't really count this as I plan to stay out of the country and pursue an Income-Based Repayment Plan where I'll pay $0 on it until it's forgiven. I've already paid $60,000 USD ($88,000 AUD) over the last two years towards this. I also churn credit cards for travel points (I have 470,000 Qantas points currently), but I pay off all my credit cards each fortnight and only get a new one to meet the bonus points criteria when I know I have big spending coming up.
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,671. This is higher than normal as I usually max out my super, with 13% of my payslip going towards it. Unfortunately, I've hit the maximum super contributions available, so I had to lower it until the new financial year starts in July.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $1,019. I rent a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment that I share with my housemate. I pay a bit more as I have the larger bedroom and essentially have a second room that I use as my office to work from home.
Loans: My HECS comes out of my paycheque each fortnight. I'm hoping that I'll have $10,000 worth of forgiveness for my US loans (but I'm not counting on it).
Dropout TV Subscription: $7.99
Patreon (Not Another D&D Podcast): $37.40 (shared with two friends)
Phone: $150 to $200 annually for pre-paid SIM cards.
Internet: $35
Gym Membership: $50
Hulu/Spotify: $15.54. My family in the States uses my Hulu account.
Amazon Prime: $60 annually. I split half with a family member.

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

I completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in economics. I paid for it with a combination of federal and private student loans in the US. I also completed a Master of Economics degree in Australia, paid for with HECS.

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

I remember helping my mom clip coupons every weekend, but I'm not sure money was ever really addressed properly. My family would use credit cards to save up airline miles for years, then fly us all over to Perth every five or so years to visit family. Going into my undergraduate degree, I knew that I needed to go to a cheaper school as my parents weren't paying, but we also didn't really discuss the impact of student loans. Since graduating with my Bachelor’s degree, I’ve made sure to openly talk with my younger siblings about the mental impact of having a lot of debt via student loans, especially as no one had that conversation with me. 

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

I would occasionally babysit, but my first official job was working in customer service for a retail gift shop and bookstore near my house when I was 15. I wanted to be able to earn money to do things with friends, as well as save money.

Did you worry about money growing up?

A bit. I knew we definitely weren't well off compared to the other kids I went to school with. All of my clothes were secondhand, and my parents were always a bit stressed about bills and expenses. However, there was always money for us to participate in sports and for our prescriptions to be paid.

Do you worry about money now?

All the time. I probably don't have to, but I am an extremely anxious person so I'm constantly crunching numbers to see if I have enough to retire or afford a house. With inflation where it is and a recession likely on its way, I'm pretty stressed. I'm thankful to have a job and it's extremely unlikely that I would lose it.

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

I became financially responsible for myself at 18 when I moved out for my undergraduate degree. In the worst-case scenario, I could always move in with family, but I hope that never needs to happen.

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


Day 1

6:00am — I wake up at my normal time but manage to fall back asleep, waking up at 8:45am. An extremely rare occurrence!
10:00am — I don't have much planned today besides a coffee catch-up late in the afternoon, so I throw on some workout clothes and a jean jacket, and decide to walk to Kings Park to read for a bit. It's meant to rain for the next week, so I'm happy to be outside for a bit. I'm currently reading How the Fear of Death Shaped Human Society. It’s been really good so far — it's about how different cultures in different time periods have treated death, especially in terms of preparation and post-death. It's actually quite a positive book! My only critique is that the author is a bit condescending toward non-western cultures.
11:00am — I head out and stop for a quick takeaway coffee — an iced oat latte. $5
11:30am — While walking, I have a call with my brother who lives in the States. There are so many stairs on the way to the park that when I get off the call 30 minutes later, I'm slightly out of breath!
1:00pm — I’ve been at the park for a couple of hours now and despite having multiple breaks to people watch, I make it halfway through my book. I decide to head back home to drop off my bag before walking to the cafe to meet my friends.
1:30pm — I realise that I forgot to eat after my late start this morning, so I quickly stop at the IGA on my way home, grabbing a pouch of Greek yoghurt. $2.50
2:30pm — I meet up with my two friends. We met during our Master's degree and spend some time catching up as it's been a couple of months since we last saw each other. I order some chips ($7) and then we go on a walk around the foreshore. $7
4:00pm — On my way home from the cafe, I pop into Coles to grab my housemate a Gatorade as he's a bit hungover. $3.65
5:00pm — I have nothing else on this evening, so I decide to take a bath and read some more of my book, soaking in the tub for an hour. I make a mental note to buy some more bath bombs and stuff for bubble baths. I'm now a prune, so I get out of the tub and dry off.
6:30pm — I reheat some leftover beef stew that I made in my pressure cooker. I used a recipe that made seven meals, freezing some leftovers. I still have two portions left, but I'm very sick of it now. I can normally eat the same thing for consecutive lunches and dinners, but apparently, I can't do that with this stew! I eat it while rewatching an old episode of Dimension 20, a show about actual Dungeons and Dragons tabletop games. The character, Cody, never fails to have me in stitches. 
7:00pm — I finish off my day by watching more of the show while I knit some more of a scarf I’ve been working on for ages. Then I finish my book and it's lights out by 10pm!
Daily Total: $18.15

Day 2

7:00am — I wake up and play on my phone for a while. So much Reddit.
8:00am — I get up and shower (it's hair wash day) and eat a fruit cup.
10:30am — There's a break in the rain so I head out to IGA to get some groceries. I purchase Parmesan cheese, pasta, butter, eggs and oatmeal packets ($30.38). When I get home, I put the last two stew dishes in the freezer — I'm just so sick of it. $30.38
11:30am — I make mac and cheese in the pressure cooker. It turns into half-cooked pasta with cheese. Not using this recipe again! I still eat it though. It's hard to be that upset at pasta with cheese. 
12:00pm — My boyfriend's plans got cancelled, so now he's coming over to hang out. Yay! I don't feel like reading a book, so I put on the Book of Mormon soundtrack and clean the house a bit so I don't have to tonight. I got a Dyson vacuum in January after seeing a friend use hers — I’ve never vacuumed more in my life! 
1:30pm — My boyfriend arrives and we just chill a bit on the couch and decide to play a game he brought over — Adventure Games: Monochrome Inc. It’s basically a three-part escape room/choose your own adventure in a box. We get halfway through, taking a break to have a hot drink. I have a chai latte and he has a hot chocolate. 
5:00pm — We order a pizza and some garlic bread from the shop down the road, walking down to pick it up to save on delivery fees ($11.75 for my half). We come home and watch an episode of Firefly ("Our Mr Reynolds") while eating and cuddle a bit before going back to our game. $11.75
9:00pm — We finish the game and read through all of the alternate answers! It was such a fun game. We pull out our phones to Google some other games from the same brand to order. I grew up in a family that would regularly play board games and card games, so I’ve always loved playing games (I’m terrible at video games, however). It was really exciting when I started dating my new boyfriend as he's also super into games so we'll often try out two-player ones. I’ve recently expanded my interest into playing Dungeons and Dragons, quickly becoming obsessed with it. I now have two different groups that I play with, which means I get to play D&D a few times each month. In playing any type of game, I’m definitely competitive, but also I love the social aspect involved.
10:00pm — After some more cuddling and playing on our phones, my boyfriend heads home. 15 minutes later and I'm in bed, fast asleep.
Daily Total: $42.13

Day 3

6:00am — My alarm goes off. I play on my phone for about 30 minutes before getting up to get ready for work.
7:10am — I'm out the door, English breakfast tea in hand, and walking to the bus stop. The bus and ferry schedules seem to have been modified, so I quickly look up alternate routes and walk to a different bus stop. I think I'll need to get up a bit earlier next time to make the 7:15am ferry. I pay using my Smartrider which auto-loads $20 whenever my balance is low.
7:30am — I'm on the bus and playing Wordle. Got it in five!
8:00am — I'm at work. I consider looking into getting an e-scooter because the commute would be way quicker. It’s times like these when I really miss having a car, but I know that I logically don’t need one right now. The first few years after moving to Perth, I was really busy with my degree and thesis. I didn't really need a car because I didn't have much spare time for trips besides going to the beach. Now that I have a bit more free time, I have a nagging thought that I should buy one.
10:00am — I've finished my tea from this morning so I make some oatmeal in my Keep Cup to eat for breakfast. Normally this happens earlier, but on Mondays, we have a team meeting at 9!
12:00pm — Lunch time! I heat up some more of my not-actually-mac-and-cheese and scroll social media for a bit. I’m so hungry!
3:00pm — I don't have too much urgent work today, so I kill some time and make a chai latte. Working in both finance and government means that my busy periods are staggered over the year. However, unlike a lot of financial roles, EOFY is not busy for my team, so I’ve just been working to get ahead on my Excel models and memos. This time last year, I was able to upskill and put together multiple Power BIs [data visualisation reports] which have been shared with lots of higher-ups.
4:00pm — I leave work and head over to the gym. I do a few super sets in the weights section, adding in some assisted pull-ups. I have a goal to be able to do just one regular pull-up one day. It turns into a pretty quick workout and I'm only there for about 40 minutes.
5:20pm — I catch the bus heading to the city as I need to switch buses there. While I wait for my next bus, I start reading a new book — When the Dogs Don't Bark: A Forensic Scientist's Search for the Truth.
6:15pm — Finally home! I heat up some mac and cheese for dinner and read a bit more of my book. It's a really fascinating account of forensic science and how different explanations can arise for the same piece of evidence. A super easy read so far!
6:30pm — I take a quick shower (blasting the Encanto soundtrack) and climb into my fluffy pyjamas. I lie in bed, knitting my scarf and watching some more Dimension 20, a hot chocolate in hand. I have reached peak cosiness.
9:00pm — I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day 4

6:00am — I wake up and play on my phone for a while, as per usual.
7:30am — It's a work-from-home day so I'm at my desk with a mug of tea. I’ve been working from home twice a week for the last couple of years (featuring extended periods of WFH time when Covid cases peaked), and I don’t think I can ever go back to working in the office full-time. I update my personal Excel budget and pay the electricity bill for the last few months. It comes to $225.71 (covered in my monthly expenses) — I pay half from my savings account and my housemate will transfer me the other half. Then I read the latest Money Diaries — I have two to catch up on!
8:40am — I have a meeting at 9:30am so I jump in the shower and throw on a pair of leggings and a NADDPOD sweater (peak nerd). I'm hoping it stops raining for a bit this afternoon so I can go for a walk and hopefully read some more of my book outside in the sun.
9:40am — I'm glad to be WFH today as I don't have too much to do. I work on a process plan for the next few months. I recently got promoted at my job — it's basically the same role, but I’m just taking ownership of one of our processes. It comes with a $13,000 pay rise too, which is nice! I finish some meetings and get up to make a breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and chilli flakes.
12:00pm — I stop working to heat up the last of my mac and cheese and watch the new episode of Make Some Noise! This was a spin-off of Dropout TV’s Game Changer, so it involves mainly improv actors being given a prompt and then essentially making up a little play around it.
1:30pm — It's freezing cold inside my apartment so I grab my Oodie. Truly one of my best purchases ever. I probably should have gone outside for a walk during my lunch break, but oh well!
4:00pm — I lock my laptop screen and head out for a walk along the foreshore. It's such a nice day out. While I walk, I listen to an episode of the Behind the Bastards podcast. I only recently got into this podcast, but I’m so glad I did. Each episode is a dive into the history of a terrible person in the world. There are some really wacky episodes, so I tend to just jump around to whatever topic fits my mood! I strongly recommend it if you want to hear about a historical event that seems absolutely absurd but actually happened.
5:00pm — I stop at the IGA on my way home and get some groceries — pasta, pasta sauce, chicken strips, ketchup and spinach ($16.58). After, I swing by the chemist to pick up my birth control ($29.95). I need to switch back to a cheaper one. My GP had me trying out a few others over the past year as I had a lot of acne (Masters theses are stressful, people!). But since none of the pills helped that much, I wouldn’t mind buying the less expensive one again! $46.53
6:00pm — I make spaghetti and chicken strips for dinner and read more of my book.
8:30pm — I finally finish my book! I definitely recommend it. I have a goal to read 52 books this year, and I'm officially halfway through! I'm asleep by 9 again — this is normal for me.
Daily Total: $46.53

Day 5

6:30am — I wake up to my alarm and play on my phone.
8:00am — I'm WFH again today, so I head to my desk with a hot mug of tea. I'm still in pyjamas, once again. They're warm and my apartment is freezing!
10:00am — Quick shower time. Another WFH day, another pair of leggings. I also make an omelette with spinach, cheese and allll the chilli flakes. 
11:30am — I'm freezing, so I make a chai latte while listening to part two of yesterday's Behind the Bastards podcast episode. It’s titled The Libertarian Theme Park of your Dreams/Nightmares and is about the founder of Action Park in New Jersey. Basically, a lot of people died and were injured because of a lack of safety regulations implemented.
12:00pm — I make more spaghetti for lunch and start working on a puzzle that a friend lent me. It’s Friends-themed. She’s obsessed with Friends and I’m obsessed with puzzles, so it's had multiple uses which is always nice!
4:00pm — Work is done! I work on the puzzle some more until my boyfriend gets to my house. Then we head out for a walk along the foreshore. He typically comes to mine during the week and I go to his place on the weekend. We’ve been seeing each other for a few months now and it seems to be going really well! On the way home, I run into the IGA to buy food for dinner — curry paste, rice, capsicum, green beans, sesame oil and chicken. $42.56
6:00pm — We make a chicken Thai green curry for dinner. I hate handling chicken, so my boyfriend takes over that part of the cooking. For that very reason, I usually cook with beef.
7:00pm — We watch some more Firefly while eating, finishing off episodes 7 and 8. I'm obsessed with this show, but knowing that there aren't any more seasons means that I'm savouring the experience as much as I can. I love sci-fi so much and the main reason I didn’t watch the show earlier is because I knew I'd be sad when it finished.
10:30pm — The boyfriend leaves and I fall asleep right away.
Daily Total: $42.56

Day 6

6:00am — I'm awake! I only scroll on my phone for 10 minutes before getting up. I get ready, grab my tea and head to the ferry at 7am.
7:10am — Somehow I forgot to grab a mask on my way out (?!). I quickly run to the IGA and buy a pack ($7.99) before running to catch the 7:15am ferry. In my panic, I forget that the ferry workers always have spare masks for passengers. Oh well. $7.99
7:30am — I arrive at work and sneakily read the newest Money Diaries while I drink my tea. I always love the Australian ones! I also need to throw in a shoutout for my Keep Cup — it's kept my tea hot for ages!
9:30am — I make my usual oatmeal from the packets I keep at work. They're usually brown sugar cinnamon flavoured.
11:00am — I need a break from my desk so I walk to the work kitchen and make a chai latte.
12:00pm — I have a 12pm meeting — people who schedule lunch meetings truly have guts. When I get out, I heat up my leftover rice and curry and read my book for 30 minutes. This one is called The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing. I tend to read a rather eclectic set of books as I just go to the library and randomly pick whatever looks good between the fiction and non-fiction books. It tends to be a bizarre collection of crime, politics, math, and feminism books. It’s very fun to judge a book by its cover sometimes! Though during my last trip, I accidentally borrowed only sci-fi books with the same alternate reality/multiverse storyline. They were still good though!
3:00pm — I need another break, so I get up and make a hot chocolate. I can't believe it's already 3pm!
4:00pm — I head home via the train and bus. I was planning on going to the gym, but dipped out at the last minute as I'm just not feeling it. I get home and immediately continue working on my puzzle while watching the latest episode of the Dimension 20: Coffin Run campaign. This is a D&D show that I’ve been watching for the last few years. I’ve loved all of the main campaigns and this recent side quest has been so good! All the players have acting and comedy backgrounds, so despite it being a gothic horror, I’m often in stitches. Watching people be so good at playing D&D is really fun. It's also definitely improved my D&D abilities.
6:00pm — I make spaghetti for dinner and continue working on the puzzle. I'm determined to finish it tonight.
10:00pm — I finish the puzzle (!) and then immediately head to bed.
Daily Total: $7.99

Day 7

5:30am — I wake up and am out the door by 6:45am. I'm not sure why I am actually ahead of schedule as I didn't get out of bed until about 6:20am! Fridays are more casual dress days, so I just throw on a pair of jeans and a random long-sleeved shirt from my closet. 
7:15am — I'm at work early (again, why?!). I've already had my tea but I still take a quick walk and get a coffee. Yup, definitely a coffee day. I grab an iced oat latte. $6.60
10:00am — I have a meeting — the coworker I'm meeting with has grabbed some muffins for us, so I take one and snack on it while we chat. I didn't have a chance to have my oatmeal this morning as it's been so busy, so the muffin is a very welcome surprise!
12:00pm — A work friend and I go out for our usual Friday lunch. This time, it's Japanese! I grab an avocado salmon roll (a weakness of mine) and a chicken teriyaki and cucumber roll, with a can of green tea to wash it all down ($10). I end up being full after the salmon roll, so I pop the teriyaki one in the work fridge to take home for dinner. $10
3:30pm — Since I got in so early, I'm done for the day! I wait for another coworker to finish up as we want to grab a bubble tea together — we haven't been able to get one together in weeks. My go-to is a passionfruit green tea, forever and always. My tea costs $6.20, but my coworker shouts mine as I got her last one. It's a really nice surprise as I had completely forgotten about it!
4:00pm — I catch the train and bus home. My Smartrider autoloads $20 onto it. $20
4:10pm — I realise that I've left my teriyaki sushi in the fridge! No! I text my bubble tea coworker to see if she wants it. I feel bad that it's going to waste, so I just want someone to eat it.
5:30pm — It's Dungeons and Dragons time! This week, I've made a new character as I just wasn’t loving playing a Druid. She's a sorcerer and I'm super excited to play her! Sorcerers get to use Metamagic (an ability that lets you change how spells work), which has been so much fun as it keeps things from being too predictable. While playing, I eat the rest of yesterday's spaghetti and have some chocolate brownie pudding ice cream. This is my online campaign that plays fortnightly so obviously, I’m playing at my desk in my pyjamas! My other campaign is in person once a month with some of my closest friends. We’ve all had the same characters for the past couple of years (with lots of near-deaths, though). I play a rogue wizard in that one — she’s my favourite character!
9:00pm — D&D finishes. We typically only play for a few hours at a time so I still get to bed at my normal time.
Daily Total: $36.60
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