Money Diaries

A Week In Regional Victoria As A Public Servant & Editor On $75,000

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 public servant, editor and writer who makes $75,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a new book: 'Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia'.
Content warning: This article touches on instances of disordered eating that some readers may find upsetting. 
Occupation: Public Servant/Editor/ Writer
Industry: Public Service/ Publishing/ Creative
Age: 28
Location: Regional Victoria
Salary: Roughly $75,000. My public service job is around $80,000 annually (pro rata for three days a week) and my editing job is around $60,000 annually (pro rata for two and a half days a week). I also have another casual editing role which gives me around $1,500 to $2,000 a year, plus freelance writing income (also a few thousand depending on my availability to write) as well as an artistic practice. I’m hoping to reduce my public service hours slightly as I’m working so much more than I’m used to, and am struggling to find time for art, chores and fun.
Net Worth: $9,000 (Around $5,000 in savings, $33,000 in super and a car that's probably worth $1,000 or so. My partner and I are in the process of moving in together, so we don't yet have shared finances yet.)
Debt: $30,000 in HECS debt
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,500. I get one paycheque of $1,600 and another of $900. I get these on alternating weeks, which conveniently means that I’ve got money coming in each week. The $1,600 paycheque is due for a salary advancement starting later this month, which I’m grateful for.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $800, split 50/50 (so $400 for me). I’m lucky that I rent a house from a family member. It has a backyard and plenty of space for work, art and living comfortably. The rent is inclusive of gas, water and electricity. I acknowledge that this is a huge privilege that not everyone has access to. I currently live with one housemate who is in the process of moving out so my partner can move in.
Internet: $70
Toilet Paper: $32 every six to eight weeks
Groceries: $150
Gardener: $65 — $130 depending on the season and whether she just mows or also does other tasks, like weeding. 
Pay The Rent: $30
Charity Donations: $50
Phone Data And Credit: $30
Union Dues: $50
Medication: $30
Netflix: $16
Stan: $12
Spotify: $10
Binge: Paid for by my partner.
Disney+: Paid for by my partner.
Dog Stuff: $120 every six weeks for medicated food, and roughly $100 every two months for medication.
Private Health Insurance: $550 every three months. I need the highest hospital cover for my mental health needs (I occasionally access inpatient admission and outpatient programs). 
Psychiatrist Appointments: I’m very grateful that my psychiatrist bulk-bills my monthly appointments. I have autism, but I don’t receive any other formal or funded support for my disability.

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

I have a Bachelor of Arts and an incomplete Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing. I had Commonwealth-supported places and paid for my education using HELP.

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

My dad grew up in poverty in a large family, but was fortunate enough to benefit from free university and has worked his way up to a comfortable lifestyle.
Money was tight when I was little, but I was always provided with the essentials. My dad now has a safety net of savings, which I know he’d share if I needed urgent funds.
My mum is Northern European and her parents owned a beautiful home in a country with a high standard of living. She didn't undertake any tertiary education, but she is an extremely hard worker. Later, she received an inheritance from her parents (and the sale of their house), so she was able to buy herself a home after my parents’ divorce. 
My family talked about money in terms of not having very much, but I wish there had been more conversations about the fact that others have even less. After all, my parents were able to buy a home, and our needs were provided for. I’m sure they worried about money behind closed doors, but as a child, I never worried about dinner not being on the table.
There were a lot of wealthier people at my primary school, even though it was a public school, so perhaps our ‘poor’ status was more about the comparison to others in my family’s circle at the time. 
It was always made clear that my brother was very frugal and financially minded, while I was more artsy, literary and financially impulsive. This is still true of us now as adults, but I wonder if it was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t feel that I was, or am, very educated about finances.

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

My first job was at McDonald's. I got this job with the help of a friend as I had just finished school and wanted to make some money and get work experience before starting uni a few months later. I lasted about two weeks. The environment was overwhelming for me, and my social skills weren't appropriate for the front register.

Did you worry about money growing up?

No. I was provided for, and I was never made to feel that my family's financial situation was mine to worry about.

Do you worry about money now?

Yes, I worry about money now. I feel quite financially inept for my age. And while I'm lucky to be currently employed, I've struggled immensely with employment in the past, especially given my autism. I'm conscious that I could easily be in financial trouble if I lost one of my jobs, as it'd be incredibly difficult to secure a suitable new job.

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

I still don't feel financially responsible considering that I rent my home from a relative. I'm also very aware that my family will do what they can to help me if I need it. I may not have much of a safety net in my own savings, but I know my parents would contribute their own savings if I were ever in a dire situation.
I'm also privileged in that both of my parents are homeowners, which feels like a safety net if I need somewhere to stay. And while I have relatives who own two houses (which I obviously benefit from, given my rental situation), I feel conflicted about multiple home ownership and people profiting off of a basic need like housing. I think everyone should have a home before anyone should have two, and I strongly dislike the human right to shelter being treated largely as an investment opportunity, especially on stolen land.

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

My mum sends me about $50 a fortnight to support my living costs. For middle school and high school, I went to an international school where my dad was a staff member and so I received free tuition. My dad helped me with rent during my first few years of uni. I have occasionally received money for scholarships, and stipends for writing fellowships and opportunities.

Day 1

5:45am — My first alarm goes off. I still have a bit of time before I actually have to get out of bed, but I slowly nudge myself with incremental alarms. I message my partner our usual good morning message. I can’t wait for them to move in soon. 
6:10am — I’m up and start my morning routine. I make a cup of tea, turn on the oven to heat up a croissant, and take my medication, including ADHD meds, since today will be a long one (I don’t take them every day, just as needed). I don’t have work until 7:00am, but I like to have a bit of time to sit in front of the gas heater and dissociate. 
6:30am — Croissant time! I did a big shop yesterday, costing around $170 just for me, and I always think it’s going to last longer than it does. But I’m definitely set for the week… surely. My dog Bertha sits with me while I eat, and I give her a tiny crumb of croissant. 
6:50am — My work alarm goes off! I make another cup of tea and log onto my computer by 7:00am. I put on my Oodie and turn on my panel heater as it’s cold in the home office, and feel grateful that I can work from home. I usually try to do one day in the office for each of my jobs, but I don’t think it’ll happen for my public service job this week. I’m just exhausted. I start the day off with a five-minute mindfulness practice.  
9:00am — I get some difficult work news in my meeting with my manager, and have a cry at my desk once I’m off Zoom. My focus starts to dwindle, even with medication. I take the bins in, do a little stroll around the house, and give Bertha a kiss. I make another tea and have it with a Tic Toc biscuit.
11:00am — I have a professional development training on Zoom for two hours. It’s actually really good, but my eyes glaze over and I get fidgety after a while. I’m still quite agitated from the earlier meeting.
1:00pm — I have leftover mushroom pasta for lunch, feeling relieved that I cooked last night even though I wasn’t really in the mood at the time. The pasta was a HelloFresh recipe from last week. I get these boxes about every two or three weeks to take away some decision fatigue and add more variety to my meals. They cost around $80 a pop, which really isn’t bad considering the price of groceries right now (and my aversion to visiting the supermarket). 
1:30pm — I make another cup of tea and eat an apple, sans one slice for Bertha. I avoid checking my shopping tabs as I’m feeling sensitive and shoppy today. 
3:00pm — I take a little break and check my personal emails. My car insurance renewal notice is there — $1,293, which is $200 more than last year. Oof. That hurts. I just got my car serviced a few weeks ago, which was $430 (also $130 more than expected). I also paid for my roadside assistance last week ($280, since I’m paranoid about breaking down far away from home). So I’m going to wait a bit before paying for the insurance. I’ve got about a month before the due date. I could pay month by month, but that’s a few hundred dollars more expensive in the long run. As a consolation, I cut up strawberries and passionfruit to have with some yoghurt. I’m so glad that berries are getting cheaper again. I love fresh fruit!
3:30pm — I take Bertha for a quick walk before I clock into my other job at 4:00pm. I down a few Panadols first — the combination of working, crying, and not drinking enough water has left me sore and headachey. 
6:00pm — Mostly done for the day! I’m not particularly hungry, but I’m in eating disorder recovery, so regular meals and snacks are always a priority. I stick a family-sized pie in the oven and do some yoga while I wait for it to cook. I was going to get started on some freelance editing work that’s been sitting in my email inbox, but today has been tough and I can work on it over the coming days.
6:45pm — I eat a slice of the pie with some leftover salad. It’s yum. The pie was on special ($13, down from $19) and I’ll have leftovers. After dinner, I scroll on my phone and end up buying Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia for $36 on Booktopia (including shipping). I probably should’ve ordered it from my local indie bookshop, but I got impulsive. $36
7:15pm — I have a shower. I’ve been meaning to clean the bathroom, but I don’t know when I’ll do this. I’m new to working full-time and am finding it really hard to fit my chores in. My partner has been picking up a lot of the slack, but they’re not fully moved in yet, as my housemate is still in the process of moving out. It’s a big time of change, which makes me anxious.
7:45pm — I make another cup of tea and grab a few segments of a Terry’s chocolate orange. I watch an episode of Canada’s Drag Race (which is awesome), and then an episode of MTV’s Catfish (which is terrible, but I love trash).
9:00pm — I read a chapter of Rat King Landlord by Murdoch Stephens, and a few poems from Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong. I’ve struggled to read lately, but I need to get back into it. It’s one of my favourite activities, but like my art and writing, I struggle to fit it in sometimes.
9:45pm — I take my medication and fall asleep to Heartstopper, which I put on in the background as a comfort show.
Daily Total: $36

Day 2

6:30am — I ignored a few alarms this morning, so I get out of bed a bit later than I should (at the indulgent time of 6:30am, I know!). I make a tea and heat up another croissant. Cue Every Day is Exactly the Same by Nine Inch Nails. I check my bank account, and a few expenses have been processed overnight. My union dues ($175), my next HelloFresh box ($80), and my internet for the month ($70). But I’ve also been paid ($1,600), which is a relief! $325 total, covered in my monthly expenses.
7:00am — Time for work! I quickly throw my sheets in the washing machine before I log on.
8:00am — I make a coffee. My favourite drink is tea, and I usually tend to enjoy coffee more in food, but my focus is terrible again today. I use the shitty instant coffee sachets rather than my partner’s ground coffee. I can’t be bothered with the French press anyway — I don’t like using extra things that I’ll then have to wash, if I can avoid it. 
10:00am — I take a break to put my freshly washed sheets in the dryer and new sheets on the bed with a sprinkle of bergamot and lavender oils. I’m definitely slack with some chores, but I’m strict about changing my sheets weekly, even if changing the sheet on the weighted blanket is a particular pain. It’s an investment in my sleep and comfort. My partner is dogsitting in Melbourne this week, and I obviously have Bertha and work to attend to. It’s hard being apart from them for many reasons, one of those being the lack of option to divvy up the chores. By myself, I must often do chores during my work breaks.
10:30am — I make a cup of tea and serve myself another bowl of yoghurt with strawberries and passionfruit. Don’t you hate it when passionfruits are deceptively empty? Like, they feel promising and full, but then you cut into them and they actually just have a thick ring of outer skin with a pitiful amount of inner yumminess. It’s the only downside to this fruit, in my opinion.
12:00pm — I have lunch — leftover pie and salad. I eat at my desk, which isn’t ideal. I want to take Bertha for a quick walk to get some jimmies out, but I’m waiting on the gardener to arrive.
12:20pm — The gardener arrives and mows the lawn, and I promptly transfer the payment of $65 to her bank account. As usual, Bertha christens the fresh lawn with a big poo. $65 
2:30pm — I take a break, and this time I water our many houseplants with my funky pink watering can. I also take Bertha for a quick walk around the block. I’m snacky upon my return, so I have some mini salted caramel protein balls. Who do I think I am, eating protein balls? I must’ve been running low on snack inspo when I did the grocery order.
3:30pm — I have a sweet half-hour before logging on to my editing job. I head to the nearby shops and stock up on some Tread Softly Prosecco cans ($38 for eight cans). I’m tempted by a Biscoff KitKat at the counter, so I get one of those too ($2). $40
3:45pm — I get some good news about an arts fellowship program I’ve recently been accepted into! I needed this positive news! Mood-wise, I’ve been pretty low today.
4:00pm — I get into the editing zone! I’m working on some awesome articles, so the time flies. 
6:00pm — As a treat to end the day, I open a package that arrived a few days ago. It’s a colour-blocked corduroy pinafore in hot pink and purple, and I love it. I’m a very loud dresser, kind of like a randomised Sim, but massively gay. 
6:15pm — I’m stressed, which means I’m not hungry. I have a nervous stomach that makes me feel all clenched up, and that’s how my eating disorder started. But I know I need to eat anyway. I try a YouFoodz meal, which my mum encouraged me to get as a low-effort food option. It’s okay, and it was on special. I’m proud of myself for eating even when it’s uncomfortable.
6:30pm — I take a bubble bath with some Epsom salts, a face mask and Not for the Academy, a collection of lesbian poetry. I lock the bathroom door behind me; otherwise, Bertha will burst her way in and try to slurp up the bath water. Sorry, Bertha, but you’re ratty as all hell!
8:00pm — I rug up in my freshly sheeted bed, pop on some episodes of Catfish and Bob’s Burgers, read a few more Ocean Vuong poems, and now I’m ready to sleep. Yes, at 8:00pm! It’s rainy outside and cosy inside, and I put Heartstopper on in the background and doze off.
Daily Total: $105

Day 3

5:00am — I wake up extra, extra early today to do some freelance editing work before clocking onto my public service job. The sooner I do this freelance work, the sooner I can send off an invoice for it! I sit in front of the heater with a cup of tea and edit away!
6:00am — I make another tea and heat up a pain au chocolat. 
6:30am — Since it was payday yesterday, I do a bit of online Christmas shopping. Christmas is a while away, but I can’t stand being in a rush (or leaving the house during December), so I buy a gift each payday in the second half of the year, until I’ve got everything I need. Today I buy two containers of Mork hot chocolate powder for my dad ($50 including shipping) — one for me to give him, and one for my mum to give him. He’s notoriously hard to buy for, so we make it easier on ourselves by repeating gifts. And yes, my family still has a Christmas celebration together, even though my parents are divorced. $50 
6:45am — I sneak in a quick read of a published Money Diary before work. Meta, huh? I’m obsessed with them!
7:00am — Time for work! I’ll be finishing up early today, as my manager is worried about my stress levels and kindly encouraged me to take a few hours off. But shorter days can sometimes drag on, simply because I expect them to go quicker and I do more clock-watching. So we’ll see how it goes!
7:45am — Cramp attack! I pop a naproxen, grab a heat pack and feel relieved once more that I’m working from home.
10:00am — As I make my usual yoghurt and fruit bowl and turn the dishwasher on, I notice that I’m out of dishwasher salt. I visit the Miele website and make what is arguably the most boring purchase ever — $15.
12:00pm — I eat lunch at my desk again, the last of the leftover pie. I get an Afterpay reminder email for the colourful corduroy pinafore that arrived a few days ago. I pay it immediately ($25). I always do a manual payment once I get the reminder email, rather than waiting for the auto-payment date. I only keep a certain amount on my debit card at once, and I’ve occasionally incurred overdraft fees when a bunch of auto-payments or delayed PayPal payments happen overnight, so I really want to avoid this situation with Afterpay. $25
1:00pm — I clock off! To celebrate, I take Bertha for a long and luscious walk. It was a little rainy this morning, but the sun is now out and we meet a few other dogs on the way.
2:00pm — I take Bertha to the nearby dog washing station for a bath ($5). Once we get home, I give her a good brush. I love how soft and sweet she gets after a bath! $5
2:30pm — I use the extra time up my sleeve to do some more freelance editing work, and then try to do some art. My medium is collage, so what I really do is just cut a few things out of old magazines and arrange them on a page. They’re not yet ready for the gluestick! I can’t commit!
3:30pm — I video chat with my partner. I’ve missed them a lot this week while they’re dogsitting. They’re just amazing, and I love hearing about their day and discussing our plans for when they move in the next few weeks.
5:00pm — Now it’s my turn for a bubble bath! I usually try to limit my baths to once a week, but give myself some leniency in particularly tiring weeks, like when I’m stressed and crampy. This week is a two-bath week, and I enjoy my bath with a glass of Prosecco.
6:00pm — I’m craving mapo tofu for dinner, but I don’t have any mince (or energy!), so that’ll have to wait for another day. I fry up a fillet of salmon I defrosted earlier with an egg, avocado and some rice. I wash it down with another Prosecco.
7:00pm — I consider rewatching the new series, A League of Their Own, but I just finished it last week and I should probably wait a bit longer before a rewatch is due. I eat the Biscoff KitKat and watch a few episodes of Murder on Middle Beach, which is very sad. 
8:00pm — My partner and I sadly have a schedule clash with a drag show we were going to attend in a few weeks (we had originally booked it in 2020!), so we sell the tickets to a friend for $100. 
9:00pm — I take my medication, do some skincare and mindfulness, and fall asleep. 
Daily Total: $95

Day 4

8:00am — I’m not working today, so I sleep until the lovely time of 8:00am! I make a cup of tea, heat up a pain au chocolat and ease my way into the day with some episodes of Bob’s Burgers and What We Do in the Shadows
9:00am — I walk Bertha. When I get home, I take a shower and spend some extra time on skincare. I grab some clothes from a basket of clean laundry that’s just been sitting in the living room all week. I haven’t had time for folding clothes, but maybe I’ll do it this afternoon before I wash another load of laundry. 
11:30am — My dad is taking me out for lunch, so I’m excited for a good meal. I haven’t seen him for a few months. Usually when we have lunch, he pays, because I’m the kid and he’s the dad! Occasionally I offer to pay if we got out for ice cream or something afterwards.
12:00pm — My dad and I have a delicious meal of calamari, scallops, potstickers and ramen. I also enjoy a lychee saké. I take some leftover ramen home, and my dad drops me off with a lemon tea cake that I love from a bakery near his house. 
1:30pm — The friend who bought our drag tickets can no longer attend, so I transfer her $100 back. Oh, crumbs! $100
2:00pm — I’m tired after lunch. Socialising is exhausting, and it’s hard for me to give up a day off to spend on social outings when I’m struggling to recharge. 
2:30pm — I text a friend to see if she wants to have dinner after work in a few weeks. Even that feels like a stretch right now. I saw friends last weekend, and I still haven’t recovered from that. My social appetite is incredibly low, and I can’t fathom working this much and being this tired and then using my spare time to be around others. The way I describe myself is like a phone with a bad battery. I’m depleting rapidly just from being ‘on’, and all my tasks are like energy-guzzling apps that drain me further and cause me to crash when too many are open at once. I just constantly need to recharge, but it’s never enough.
2:45pm — I send a refund request for an item of clothing I bought a few weeks ago that arrived in a different size than what I'd ordered. I wrap a few Christmas presents and donate $20 to a friend’s LGBTIQA+ music project through the Australian Cultural Fund. $20
3:00pm — I’m crampy again, so I get into my pyjamas, warm up a heat pack, and eat a big slice of lemon tea cake (with a cup of tea, of course!). 
4:00pm — I watch an episode of Canada’s Drag Race and eat a kiwi. I’m so tired. 
6:00pm — I’m not very hungry after a huge lunch and slice of cake earlier, but dinner is important. I make a modified version of Melanie Persson’s silken tofu with egg and yummy sauce, plus some leftover rice from yesterday. And a glass of Prosecco! 
8:00pm — I watch a few episodes of Selling The OC and go to bed.
Daily Total: $120

Day 5

9:00am — Big sleep-in today! I pop the kettle on, heat up a pain au chocolat, and organise the medication containers for the week — mine and Bertha’s. I realise that I don’t have enough of my olanzapine to last the week.
10:30am — I really wanted today to be a non-speaking day, fully at home, but I begrudgingly head to the chemist to refill the olanzapine ($12). I also look for Vaseline, as I want to try the ‘slugging’ technique for my chapped lips. Surprisingly, they don’t have it, so I settle for lanolin ($10) instead. $22
11:00am — I walk Bertha even though I’m not really in the mood. Everything feels like a chore today. I feel good after the walk though; I’m glad I summoned the energy to do it. Bertha is an old dog, so she’s pretty happy to potter around the house and backyard and sleep for most of the day, but I’ll be out for about twelve hours tomorrow in my Melbourne-based office, so I want to make sure she gets a little extra attention today. 
12:30pm — I eat some leftover ramen for lunch. It’s so good. I watch What We Do in the Shadows and finally fold my clean laundry. 
1:00pm — I want to prioritise some collaging today. I’m so excited about my upcoming arts fellowship, but I really need time to actually, y’know, do my art. I cut out a few images and plan some collages, but I still don’t stick anything down. 
2:30pm — I read Rat King Landlord in my little reading nook, and enjoy a snack of smoked salmon, goat cheese, avocado and rocket on toast. Yum yum yum!
3:30pm — I do some emails, submit an artwork to an exhibition call-out and pack my bag for work tomorrow. I also plan my outfit — fruity pants, vintage patchwork cardigan, and a t-shirt that says ‘the vibe is in shambles’ with an illustration of Kermit the Frog doing a kickflip. It is indeed in shambles!
4:00pm — I throw shelled peanuts onto the front lawn. I’m trying to attract crows. 
6:00pm — I make another piece of smoked salmon toast. This is dinner today, and I have another big slice of lemon tea cake for dessert. 
8:00pm — I donate to a fundraiser that’s buying food and essentials for remote Aboriginal communities, given the exorbitant prices of basic supplies right now. $25
Daily Total: $47

Day 6

4:30am — I’m up incredibly early today, but I hate being in a rush, so I always try to give myself a good amount of time to ease into the day ahead. I make a cup of tea, heat up the last of my pain au chocolat, eat some fruit and watch a few episodes of Bob’s Burgers
6:20am — I hop on the train to Melbourne! On the trip, I start reading Black and Blue by Veronica Gorrie. 
7:20am — At Southern Cross, I get on a metro train that takes me one more stop to Melbourne Central. From there, I walk ten minutes to the office. On my way, I buy some strawberries ($2.50), yoghurt ($3) and chocolate ($2).  I also stop for an oat milk chai ($4.50). $12
10:30am — I have my strawberries and yoghurt. The strawberries are huge and delicious.
12:00pm — I buy an expensive soup ($14) from a nearby café. It’s really yummy though, and it suits the weather today. $14
2:45pm — I eat the chocolate. I have a headache. Work is busy today, but I’m feeling productive.
3:00pm — An invoice for some freelance work gets paid into my account — $400! Yay! I put it straight into my Goal Saver account; I need to stop treating my freelance money like play money. 
4:10pm — I get an Uber back to Southern Cross and tip the driver ($16 altogether). I try to take public transport all the way on my journey to work, and then allow myself an Uber to make part of the trip home easier. $16
4:30pm — The next train is delayed. Ugh. I buy some chips ($4) at the station. $4
4:40pm — I take the train home. My eyes are strained, so I listen to music instead of reading.
5:30pm — I’m home! I give Bertha lots of attention. I miss her when I’m in the office. My mum has stopped by to feed and walk Bertha, which I really appreciate. And my book from Booktopia has arrived in the mail! 
6:00pm — I have smoked salmon and goat cheese on toast again. Because I bought chips at the train station, I’m only a little peckish.
6:30pm — I eat some ice cream. Maybe I lied about only being a little peckish. 
7:00pm — I make a cup of tea and enjoy it with a pear and a Tic Toc biscuit. I definitely lied about only being a little peckish. 
8:30pm — Bedtime! Heartstopper! I’m exhausted!
Daily Total: $46

Day 7

6:00am — I have Crunchy Nut cereal for breakfast this morning. I have the morning spookies, where I’m just daunted by the day ahead. I constantly feel like everything’s about to fall apart, when I’m actually doing pretty well, all things considered.
6:30am — I check my accounts. My Myki automatically tops up to $50 whenever it dips below $10, and $50 has just been taken from my account after yesterday’s trips. It generally lasts me a while; I’m not in the city too much these days. $50
7:00am — I take Bertha for a walk first thing this morning. I’m at my editing job again today, so I don’t start until 8am. 
7:45am — I take out the bins, empty the compost, clear dog poo from the lawn, put a load of laundry on, and make a cup of tea before plonking myself down to work. All while Bertha sleeps soundly in the middle of my king-sized bed. 
10:00am — I take a break to put my laundry on the clothesline and make my usual snack of yoghurt, strawberries and passionfruit. 
12:00pm — I eat another helping of toast with smoked salmon and goat cheese.
1:00pm — My HelloFresh box arrives! Convenient! 
2:00pm — I make a fresh cup of tea and eat the last of my Terry’s chocolate orange. I think I love the ritual of making tea as much as I love drinking it.
3:30pm — It’s payday, so $900 lands in my account. I then order my partner a Christmas gift. It’s a handmade ceramic mug with a lovely yellow-red-purple glaze ($75, including shipping). $75
4:00pm — I take my wrongly sized order to the post office to be returned and refunded. I have to cover the postage costs though ($13). I’m tempted by some sushi rolls from the shop around the corner, but I leave it. I have plenty of food at home. $13
6:00pm — I cook the first of my HelloFresh recipes: prawn, tomato and feta pasta. I serve one plate for myself, and glad-wrap the other one up as leftovers for tomorrow. 
6:30pm — I sit on my bed and do some emails. I know working from bed is a no-no, but I’m tired of sitting at the desk and my tasks still need to get done. I also schedule a grocery order for later in the week: milk, bread, biscuits, croissants, waffles, yoghurt, muesli bars, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee, pesto and chicken ($85). I’ve got some easy meals planned for later in the week — pasta, S&B Golden Curry mix, and stir fry. $85
7:00pm — I have a shower. I’m probably not going to get to cleaning the whole bathroom this week, so I do a spray, wipe and rinse of the shower while I’m there. Better than nothing! I then make a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea. I’m completely obsessed with the bear on the box. I hoard tea boxes and use them for collage, and I’ve also accumulated Sleepytime Bear mugs and other merch. I’ve even started a cross-stitch of Sleepytime Bear. I love him. 
8:00pm — I read some essays from Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia, before watching some more Bob’s Burgers. I really want to watch new Glow Up or Tuca & Bertie, but I need to wait until my partner is back from dogsitting! Tomorrow is the day!
Daily Total: $223
If you or anyone you know is struggling with disordered eating, please contact the Butterfly Foundation at 1800 33 4673. Support and information are available 7 days a week. 
If you or anyone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety, please contact Lifeline (131 114) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636). Support is available 24/7. 
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