Money Diaries

A Week In Pyrmont, Sydney, As A Media Manager On $86,000

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Today: A media manager on $86,000 living in Pyrmont, Sydney, purchases tickets for the $150 million Powerball, window shops an Aje sale and takes advantage of multiple Priceline offers.
Occupation: Media manager 
Industry: Media
Age: 28
Location: Pyrmont, Sydney  
Salary: $86,823 
Net Worth: $245,465, which includes $167,837 in savings, $24,302 worth of a stock portfolio and $53,326 in superannuation.
Debt: $654
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $5532.29 
Pronouns: She/Her 

Monthly Expenses 

Rent: I pay $510 each month for my share of a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in Pyrmont where I live with my partner. The apartment is small but the location is within walking distance to work, public transport, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets. My partner’s parents purchased it as an investment initially and have been kind enough to offer it to us at a nominal cost. 
Loan repayments: I am lucky enough not to have any loans aside from my credit card bill, which I pay in full every month. My parents paid for my uni degree, which is the best inheritance I can ask for. I also have no car or no mortgage.
Groceries: $200 
Gym: I was recently gifted a class pack for a Pilates studio, which I am currently using. Aside from that, I have no gym membership. 
Spotify Premium: $0 (I just use my partner’s Spotify account) 
Private Health Insurance: $145 (hospital+extras cover) 
Transportation: $30 (mainly trains as I don't own a car) 
Phone bill: $96 (I prepaid my annual mobile plan) 
Entertainment: $0 (I leech off my sister’s Netflix account and my friend’s Prime account) 
iCloud Subscription: $1.49 a month

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

I am lucky enough not to have any student loans as my parents paid for my uni degree. My parents believe in setting up a college fund for us so we can feel free to study whatever we want without worries. I recognise how much of a privilege this is and for that I am grateful.

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

My parents are migrants who worked hard to make sure we never lacked anything. We always had food on the table and when I was older, they even started taking us on holidays overseas. My parents value experiences more than material things and I am grateful for this and how it has influenced my values and current outlook in life. They also supported me in pursuing different extracurricular activities. While I learned how to manage my money, taxes and investments myself, my parents taught me the importance of saving more than spending. They also encouraged me to supercharge my savings so I can get my foot on the property ladder before I turn 30 years old.

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

My first job was at a fashion boutique store my aunt used to own. I learned everything there is to know about operating a retail store from doing stocktakes, serving customers, etc. It was fun but tiring. I enjoyed having some pocket money to play with. Plus, having a clothing allowance to splurge on a new top every month was a treat.

Did you worry about money growing up?

No, I didn't. My parents always provided so I didn't lack for anything. Sure, I would have loved to travel in business class instead of economy for our yearly family travels, but my worries were more in line with first-world problems so I'm aware of how privileged I am.

Do you worry about money now?

I worry about money constantly. I want to travel and buy property and it feels like the target keeps moving. I get anxious about money when I spend it and feel immense guilt whenever I record my expenses on my budget tracker spreadsheet. I have to balance FOMO with financial responsibility, which is not the easiest thing to do. I love travelling and eating out, and I want to make sure I enjoy my youth while I can but at the same time, I am anxious about buying my first home. I feel like Sydney prices keep climbing up and inflation isn't helping either, so it’s a moving target. I also feel disappointed with the government for not upholding good building standards with so much apartment supply being in defective buildings. It makes my search harder! I remind myself of the many things I am grateful for though, which I force myself to write down to put things into perspective. That helps a lot and it’s cheaper than talking to a therapist.

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

I was very sheltered until I started working full-time when I was 21. That’s when my parents drew the line and told me to start standing on my own two feet. In retrospect, I needed that push so I could learn to be a proper adult. The reality of having rent and bills to pay while living in an expensive capital city such as Sydney hit hard. It forced me to learn how to work hard, budget and save to make sure I don’t become indebted to credit card companies. I feel more secure financially now but I still get anxiety when I spend money

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

I lived with my parents while studying uni. They also paid for my degree which was around $38,000, so that's the main inheritance they have gifted me. I am forever grateful for not having a hefty HECs debt to worry about. 

Day 1

9:23am: My partner (H) wakes up and prods me to help him do the laundry. I get up and do my skincare routine: Bioderma Micellar water to cleanse, followed by No7 eye cream, Go-to Vitamin C Serum, and Go-To Hydrating Sunscreen. 
10:00am: We spend the morning doing chores. Our apartment’s dryer is very old so we always hang our laundry up to dry, which takes time. Then I laze around on the couch as I read a book about time travel, Lost in Time. Science fiction is not normally my genre but I am challenging myself to expand my reading horizons.  
11:25am: We head to a pub to meet some friends. I ordered a beef ragu pasta which was surprisingly to die for. Our friends just got back from New Zealand so they were regaling us with their road trip adventures. I would love to go on a road trip around New Zealand too. Our friend has an employee discount so we managed to get 30% off the bill (around $16 per person). H pays the bill while I head over to my chiro appointment. 
1:35pm: I get some much-needed adjustments done while chatting with my chiro. Hearing the cracks is so satisfying. I learned that my chiro is a pretty cool gal and she’s done a few Ironman triathlons! How do I become someone fit enough to achieve half of what she has? I pay the ($31) gap for the session. $31
5:35pm: When I get home, I find out that H has done the grocery run and his mum also dropped off some food while I was out — her famous chicken satay skewers which I love, so we feasted on those with some rice and orange juice. Lucky me! 
8pm: I shower and relax on the couch after to unwind. H plays some random YouTube videos while I read my book. It’s surprisingly engrossing. I love that it’s also a murder mystery, it keeps me guessing who did what! 
10:05pm: I feel a bit tired so decide to head to bed.
Daily Total: $31 

Day 2

7:45am: I didn’t sleep well last night so I am grateful that I can sleep in today as I am working from home. 
9am: I spend the morning catching up on my emails and preparing a report. 
12:05pm: My friend messaged me. Turns out, she’s having lunch nearby so I decide to join her. I haven’t seen her in over a month because I was recovering from COVID until recently. I ordered a lunch deal in the food court. It’s braised duck with rice, steamed broccoli and a side of creamed corn soup for ($8)! What a good deal. We spoke about our jobs, and about the upcoming Powerball jackpot. Imagine winning $150 million! We each buy tickets ($17.50). We have a suspicion that if you buy online, you don’t win because if you look at history, no major winners have won from buying a ticket online. $25.50
1:30pm: The day flies by as I attend some meetings and finish some reports due tomorrow. I like breaking up the afternoon by taking mini breaks and scrolling on Instagram. 
5pm: I go to a Reformer Pilates class that kicked my butt. It’s leg day so my legs were shaking as I headed home. I am grateful for the instructor who helped guide me throughout the session. She’s so kind to praise my efforts afterwards. 
6:25pm: I arrive home and decide to cook a tofu dish and sauté some vegetables. I like doing my part for the environment by having a flexitarian diet. It also helps my bowel movements. H and I catch up on our respective days while we eat, all in all, they were pretty uneventful. H said he’s proud of me for exercising again, which I appreciate.
8pm: I watch an episode of My Life With The Walter Boys. I am grateful I don’t live in a house full of boys. It doesn’t matter if they’re cute or not, they’d just drive me nuts! 
10:10pm: I don’t feel sleepy but decide to go to bed anyway. I toss and turn until I eventually fall asleep an hour later. 
Daily Total: $25.50 

Day 3 

7:15am: I slept well last night so I feel well-rested today. I get ready and pack my egg sandwich and laptop into my bag for a day working in the office. 
9am: I catch up with my teammate who lives in Brisbane for our weekly work update. The hours pass as I proofread the documentation we’ll be using to train our team. 
11:45am: My coworker asks if I wanted to join her to go out for lunch but I told her I brought my own. I enjoy my toasted egg sandwich while scrolling on Instagram. I see that AJE is having a sale so I browse what they have available in my size. I eye the baby pink Quintette Backless Midi Dress but can’t think of an event to wear it to so I reluctantly decide not to buy it. Sigh, I would have looked so classy in it. The chiffon latticework reminds me of Chanel. If it’s meant to be, maybe they’ll lower the price further from the $289 and I have an event pop up to wear it to.
4:30pm: After sending some documents for review, I call it a day and make my way home. 
6pm: I heat up some leftover dumplings and eat them with some steamed vegetables and rice. I’ve been craving some vegetables so this hit the spot. 
8:05pm: My partner and I decide to watch a movie called Murder On The Orient Express. If you’re after something light, it’s a pretty good murder mystery to watch. It was really good so we made a note to watch Death On The Nile next. 
10:15pm: I don’t feel tired but when H asks me to go to bed with him, I decide to go with him to get extra sleep and be more disciplined. 
Daily Total: $0 

Day 4 

7:20am: I laze around in bed and stretch before rolling out to go to the loo. Trust my bladder to wake me up. Better get ready then! 
7:40am: My body still feels sore from Monday’s leg day so I decide to do a 20-minute Vinyasa yoga while following the Netflix video. I sure hope Netflix comes out with more fitness content because I'm loving these workouts! 
8am: I feel immediately better after the deep breathing and focused yoga session so I relax on the couch and continue reading my book. I am so engrossed that I almost forgot that I have to log on and start work remotely. 
9am: I message my teammates "good morning" and action some emails.  
10am: I jump into a training call to go through some new features of our marketing stack.
11am: While on my break, I get a notification that Shopback is doing a 20% bonus cashback on Priceline for Westpac cardholders and that’s on top of their 7% cashback. I’ve been meaning to replace my expired body sunscreen so I bite the bullet and do a quick online shop. I purchase a big pump bottle of Cancer Council Moisturising Sunscreen that’s 40% off ($18.89), some antihistamines ($29.99) and cotton pads ($2.44) all for ($51.32). I only have to spend $54 to get my $5 reward next time. Oh boy, do these reward programs work to motivate me to spend more. $51.32
12:50pm: I stumble upon a Money Diary by someone the same age as me and she already has three properties!? Although, she doesn’t live in Sydney... She mentioned eating Shin Ramyun and that made me crave some, so I follow suit and make a bowl for myself for lunch. I add some frozen broccoli and leftover dumplings to make it more filling. 
1pm: I call my friend. This is the first time we have spoken since the holidays, so we chat about how hers as she went home for New Year’s, and how I’ve been ring shopping so I can properly advise my partner what to get me when he feels ready to pop the question. 
2pm: The hours breeze by while I document some things we need for the upcoming team training.
4:45pm: I call it a day and call my sister to see how she’s doing. We talk about some Netflix shows we’ve been watching recently and some family drama (my aunt doesn't approve of my cousin’s girlfriend so we discuss the events unfolding before us. (someone pass the popcorn please) 
5:45pm: I heat up some leftovers for dinner and H and I catch up on how our days went. I told him about my conversations with my sister and my friend and he spoke about his plans for the upcoming long weekend.
Daily Total: $51.32

Day 5

9:05am: I have the day off today so I sleep in before getting ready for the day. It feels good to have a day free and full of possibilities before me. 
9:35am: I feel a bit meh with today’s hot weather so I decide to cure myself with some yoga. 10 minutes of following a yoga video and I feel immediately better. Movement is medicine.
10:05am: I indulge in some green tea while I journal. I find it so cathartic to list everything I am grateful for and things I am looking forward to. It helps me take a moment to pause and make sense of the world I am building for myself and my loved ones.
11am: I decide to do some laundry because the hot weather is ideal for drying. I also organise the flat, cut my nails and vacuum. It feels good to have cleaner surroundings. My hope is to be an organised queen one day like those ladies from The Home Edit show.
11:55am: I finish an egg sandwich just as my friend messages me that she’s on the way. We are meeting for lunch so I text her that I’ll be there shortly. I’m trying to save money so I eat before meeting her. We go to a Chinese restaurant and talk about our upcoming long weekend plans, and about societal expectations. Isn’t it crazy how if you’re in unmarried but in a relationship, people always ask "when you’re getting married?". If you’re married, the question switches to "when are you having kids?". When you have a kid, the question is "when will you have the next one?" It’d be nice if people just mind their own business. I remind myself to be more mindful when I catch myself asking the same things.
12:45pm: I order a Boost Juice ($8.80) and head to the library to borrow a book about home organisation. I see some free books they’re giving away so I grab a copy of The Intelligent Investor. I’ve been meaning to read that! $8.80
4:55pm: I head home from my Reformer Pilates class, feeling well spent. I’m going to sleep well tonight. I feel stronger even for just a tiny bit. I shower and blow-dry my hair. 
5:45pm: H and I feasted on some leftovers. He also made some nourishing miso soup with silken tofu. Yum. Then I chill on the couch and read my home organisation book while sharing some relevant pointers with H that would work for our particular space. Note to self: buy some shelf dividers from Kmart.
8:30pm: I finish my home organisation book. I mainly paid attention to the images because they’re so captivating! Then I entered my expenses as part of my mindful budgeting practice and watched an episode of the Headspace Guide To Meditation on Netflix until it lulled me to sleep. 
Daily Total: $8.80

Day 6 

9:15am: I sleep in and wake up feeling groggy. It’s another hot day, which in my grown-up mind means it’s the perfect laundry day! H and I do a load of washing, some vacuuming and wipe surfaces. Good teamwork!
10:20am: We decide to brave the heat and go to Coles to redeem our BBQ credits. On the way, H remembered that he has a 2 for $2 hash brown deal at Maccas so we spontaneously eat brunch there. He kindly pays. I love a good Sausage & Egg McMuffin. Sadly, Coles has run out of their BBQ range so our credits are wasted! We shouldn’t have left it so last minute. We see some oat milk and noodles on special so we do a grocery run, for which H pays for.
11:15am: Back home, we put away the groceries and H decides to shower. I chill on the couch and see that Priceline has a gift with purchase promotion (worth $180) so I spontaneously buy some participating products including the Klorane Dry Shampoo ($11.89), Gilette Sensitive Blade 4 Pack ($13.65) and Clear Skincare Sunscreen ($20) for ($45.54). I need all of those anyway. I tell H about it and he agrees it’s good value. $45.54
2pm: I read more of my time travel novel, which is very addictive. Then I realise that I need to call my dad, so I speak to him for a good hour. It’s been weeks since we last spoke. We talk about what he and mum have been up to recently, and I learn that they spontaneously booked a trip to Japan. Good for them! 
3:20pm: I realise that my Priceline orders are ready for pickup, yay! I head to the shops and go window shopping. I even try on a pair of tan flats with a cute bow. They suit my white dress perfectly and were even on sale for $40 but I wasn’t planning on buying anything else. I muster the will to say no. If I still want them after a few days and they're still on sale, then I’ll go back. I pick up my Priceline items and head home. 
4:10pm: It’s exciting opening my order and unpacking my personal care items. The beautiful lavender carry bag full of products was delightful. It has some styling products, shampoo, dry shampoo, a hair mask and hair colour products. Such good value!  
5:05pm: I cook a Japanese braised beef rice bowl (gyudon) recipe topped with fried egg. This is my first time trying this and given H’s enthusiasm about it, I will put this in my regular rotation of recipes. I like how easy it is to make without compromising on flavour.
7:30pm: The weather’s gotten a bit cooler so H and I decide to go on a walk around the neighbourhood, which culminated in me buying a chocolate soft-serve ice cream at Maccas for ($1.10). When did the 80c treat become $1.10?! $1.10
9pm: We chill on the couch and I busy myself with making a vision board on Canva and Pinterest, and start visualising myself driving my new car in a few months (I saved images of BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and Lexus cars). Meanwhile, H watches random YouTube videos beside me until we call it a night and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $46.64 

Day 7 

9:10am: We sleep in and it feels good to be well-rested. I had an odd dream about being put to random tests to make myself deserving of the love of my life. I was about to fish my phone out of the toilet bowl when my bladder woke me up. How random.
10am: I get ready and spray my hair with some Klorane Dry Shampoo. I love the smell. Then I chill on the couch and read more of my book. I decide I want to exercise today, so book myself a Reformer Pilates class for later on.
11:35am: H’s mum arrives. She brought us a homemade casserole. She’s very kind. We chat about life updates and I gave her some hair colour products, a bag and a wallet I’ve been meaning to pass on to her to declutter my wardrobe. Good thing she loves it! Ahh, it feels good to let go of things that no longer bring me joy.
12pm: I head to my Pilates studio. It’s glutes day today so my legs feel shaky but strong immediately afterwards.
1pm: I meet H and his parents for a Yum Cha lunch. We feast on some chicken feet, dumplings and egg tarts, while sipping some Chrysanthemum Tea. We spoke about how his cousins lost their deposit because the builder went bankrupt. How do people even get houses built around here, it feels like we hear similar stories all the time. I tried to pay the ($127) bill but H insisted he cover it. 
2:20pm: We say goodbye to H's parents and head to the library to return a book. I also take the chance to find a nice quiet spot to pore over some Money magazines and note down some ideas of stocks to buy next. My goal is to increase my stock portfolio within the next few years to increase my passive income through dividends.
3:45pm: I head home, shower and chill on the couch to read. 
5:30pm: H mentions he’s hungry so I decide to toss a few leftovers in the wok to make some fried rice with fried eggs. We eat it along with some miso soup with silken tofu. Yum. 
7:45pm: H and I unwind on the couch and binge-watch The Lincoln Lawyer while snacking on some cheesy Twisties. I try to be healthier and sip on a cup of peppermint tea afterwards. 
11:15pm: I don’t feel sleepy, especially after all the snacking but H convinces me to head to bed with him. I toss and turn before drifting off to sleep.  
Daily Total: $0
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