Money Diaries

A Week In Beverly Hills, Sydney, On A $82,000 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 resident medical officer who makes $81,884 a year spends some of her money this week on a bottle of flavoured Soju at Korean BBQ.
Occupation: Resident Medical Officer
Industry: Health
Age: 27
Location: Beverly Hills, Sydney
Salary: $81,884 (not including overtime pay)
Net Worth: $111,498 ($50,069 equity in our home, $19,033 in super, $18,807 in personal savings, $14,400 out of $28,800 in a joint savings accounts shared with my partner and $9,189 in ETFs). My partner and I each have our own credit cards and savings accounts, but we transfer into our joint accounts in the same proportion as our incomes. The mortgage payments then come out of one of the joint accounts.
Debt: $691,087 ($48,656 in a HECS loan and a joint $1,184,862 mortgage (my share is $592,431. We also borrowed $50,000 from our parents to help put down the deposit for our home, which we need to focus on paying back after our wedding).
Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,140.41, not including overtime pay. I'm very lucky that I get paid for all the overtime I do working at the hospital. With an irregular schedule and extra pay for any nights, weekends and public holidays worked, my fortnightly pay can be anywhere between $100 to $500 more than the base amount.
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $2,000 for my share of our mortgage, council rates and home insurance. My partner pays a greater share because he has a higher income. We bought a four-bedroom home last year.
Loans: $283, which comes out of my pre-tax income and goes towards my HECS.
Water, Gas and Electricity: $110
Medical and College Registration: $108.34
Internet: $22.5 
Gym: $60
Phone Bill (Pre-Paid): $10
Stan: $10
Netflix: $4
Spotify: $3
Apple iCloud Storage: $4.49
Savings Contributions: $1,600 each month. Every fortnight, $800 is automatically transferred from my everyday account into my savings account. Sometimes if have an unexpected expense (like new tyres), I need to transfer out of my savings though.

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

I was able to do my undergraduate science degree and postgraduate medical degree while living mostly at home. I ended up being at university for seven years, so I would have had a lot more financial pressure if I was living out of home. I was also fortunate enough to have a scholarship while at university which gave me $10,000 each year. I also worked part-time on top of that, so I was able to be a bit more frivolous with my money.

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

My parents were never very well off when I was growing up, but they were always very good savers. They never explicitly taught me about finances but I picked up on their habits, like making food at home and setting money aside for a rainy day. They also really instilled in me the value of higher education as the key to having a stable income in the future.

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

My first job was at a tutoring college. I did one-on-one tutoring with primary school students and was paid $7 an hour. I liked having my own source of money without needing to ask my parents for it. Back then, $7 felt like a lot! After being there for a while, I managed to negotiate a pay rise to a whopping $9.

Did you worry about money growing up?

In hindsight, my parents probably had money struggles while I was growing up, but they sheltered me from it quite well. We moved countries when I was three and then again when I was seven, so they had to start from scratch twice. Growing up, we never really ordered takeaway or bought extravagant things, and holidays would usually be pretty lowkey like camping. But I never felt like we were in danger of not having savings or that there were essentials we couldn't afford.

Do you worry about money now?

When I was living at home I had less financial responsibility, so I do worry more than I did now that I'm out in the world. After buying our first home last year in a very hot market, my partner and I are worried about the interest rate rises and what that will mean for our mortgage repayments over time. I keep telling myself that I'm still only at the start of my career and have more earning potential in the future, but it's still stress that sits in the back of my mind.

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

When I was 25, I moved out of home (during the last year of university) so I really only became financially independent then. I know my parents could help us if we were really struggling financially, but seeing as we already had to borrow money from them to help with our home loan deposit, I really don't want to have to ask them for help again.

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

My partner and I borrowed $50,000 from my parents that went towards our home loan deposit, but we intend on paying that back. Other than that, we haven't received any inherited income.

Day 1 

6:50am — It’s a definite struggle to get up this morning. My sleep schedule has been thrown completely out of whack after being on night shifts all last week. Then, I caught a cold which had me at home all weekend. I get up and have breakfast, a slice of toast with peanut butter and another with cheese, as well as a Nespresso using the machine my fiancé got for me last anniversary. It’s been an absolute lifesaver when I need coffee at all hours of the day, especially before evening or night shifts at the hospital. 
7:50am — I contemplate getting a coffee at the hospital as well just because it’s been so long since I’ve been out of the house, but decide against it. A good choice, as one of the consultants kindly buys coffees for the team before our ward round in the paediatric ward. I manage to squeeze in some sips while doing a few odd jobs before we start the round. 
2:00pm — Lunch is a pretty dull sandwich of silverside beef, cheese and tomato — the only three things left in the fridge. Neither of us managed to do a grocery shop over the weekend! Regardless, I don't have much time to eat it as I jump into more jobs for the afternoon. We attend a Caesarean section for a mum with a high-risk pregnancy. Thankfully, bub is born crying at the top of his lungs and completely fine. I clock off work and start heading home. I'm a bit hungry, so on the way, I snack on a few leftover pieces of fried chicken from the weekend (I’ll eat healthier later in the week!).
7:00pm — My partner and I have a few leftovers of stir-fried lamb and leek for dinner and watch some How I Met Your Mother on Disney Plus, using my partner's account. On Mondays, we usually do our own thing. My partner makes some poached chicken for our meals the next few days, and I do a bit of Pilates and watch some new episodes of Selling Sunset before we get an early-ish night.
Daily Total: $0

Day 2

8:00am — I have a glorious day off today and it's a beautiful sunny day! Every month, we get an allocated day off which is great. I take advantage of the sun with a short walk to the post office to return a package for a dress that didn’t quite fit. I get back and get cracking on some study for GP training. I have a look at some of the study materials the GP college is selling, but postage is $20. I hold off and decide to ask a friend if they’d like to order as well and split the shipping cost with me. I often find it overwhelming thinking about the amount I have to learn, but keep having to remind myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
1:00pm — Leftovers of stir-fried lamb and leek for lunch again. My partner works from home so we get to have lunch together, which is a great break in the day.
3:00pm — I do the weekly grocery shop, picking up some extra things for a BBQ we’re having for some friends on Sunday. I decide to splurge on some nice cheeses, including blue cheese. My partner and I split the shop evenly, so it works out to be $79.50 each. $79.50
4:00pm — I make a quick stop at Kmart to pick up some gift bags ($3). My partner and I got engaged recently and I thought it would be a great idea to ask my closest friends to be my bridesmaids by giving them some cute silky pyjamas we can wear together on the day. At Kmart, I can never resist browsing the home section. I see some cute trinket/ring trays that would be a nice gift for each friend and buy them ($12). Such a good find! $15
4:30pm — I make it home and manage to squeeze in a quick 30-minute run before driving off to see my parents and my dog. I spend ages in peak hour traffic, but it’s worth it to be able to cuddle my dog. She looks betrayed when I leave.
6:00pm — I meet up with my friends and future sister-in-law for dinner. It’s a self-serve Malatang place where you can choose what you want in a bowl and they charge you based on the weight and cook it in a broth for you ($20.02). We all end up with way too much food! Last stop is a dessert place around the corner where I get a mango and sago dessert ($9.50). $29.52
9:00pm — Before heading home, I make one last stop to meet a girl from Facebook Marketplace who's selling a Shona Joy dress ($120). It's a silky midi in a cream colour with cutouts at the side. I’ve been looking for the perfect dress to wear at our engagement party next month, and I think it'll fit the bill. It fits perfectly! I go home and can’t resist trying it on for my partner at home. He says I look fantastic. He's right. $120 well spent. $120
Daily Total: $244.02

Day 3

6:50am — This morning I have some avocado on toast and make some wraps for lunch with the pre-made poached chicken and salad. I get to work by 8am. We're one person down so it's looking to be a busy day. We discharge some kids from the ward — a lot of whom have come in for asthma and viral-induced wheeze, which is great experience for when I start working as a GP trainee as it'll help me recognise sick kids and counsel parents. There’s a lot of influenza A on the ward, and I make a mental note that I still need to get my flu shot for this season. We also spend time with a baby in the special care nursery — poor bub is having episodes of desaturation after being born with a cleft palate, which is unusual. They need a transfer to another hospital for proper airway management.
1:00pm — I have my wrap for lunch before the afternoon flies by. I attend my first delivery alone, running through all the steps for setting up the neonatal resuscitator that I’ve completed supervised many times. Thankfully I don’t really have to use it and all goes well!
4:00pm — Today is one of those days where there's a high turnover of patients coming up from the emergency department. When the hospital is bed blocked and there’s a lack of beds available, it’s a real worry as patients end up waiting for long periods in emergency instead. There's still such a big strain on the emergency department, even though we're three years into the pandemic. We discharge a few more patients from the ward to create more beds. On a brighter note, some medical students have left us some containers of biscuits in the office as a thank you. They taste like they’re about 50% butter, and they help me get through the rest of the day. 
6:30pm — It’s a bit of a late finish today so when I get home, my partner’s putting porterhouse steaks on the frypan. We originally wanted to go out for some cocktails at a nearby rooftop bar, but it’s cold and we both feel like staying in. My partner works in IT and he’s also had a long day full of meetings while working from home. I’m always grateful to chat about our days as we have such different areas of work with different challenges — it's quite refreshing.
We have steak and salad over some red wine from my partner's wine subscription service. My partner gets to pick the movie tonight, so we end up watching City of God, a drama set in 1960s Rio about crime and drug wars. We have to rent it twice ($2.99, then $5.99) because the subtitles were out of sync on the first platform. We both feel a bit snacky during the movie so we have some microwave popcorn from the pantry. I get paid today as well, so I make a few transfers to pay off my credit card before I go to bed. $8.98
Daily Total: $8.98

Day 4

6:50am — I’m having a good week and can’t believe it’s already Thursday. I had a bad sleep though — a lingering cough from last week kept me up last night. Breakfast is toast with avocado again and I pay off the remainder owing on my credit card from my everyday account.
8:00am — Today the ward is a lot less busy after discharging so many patients earlier, and we have a much more relaxed start to the morning. One baby in the nursery had some more episodes of desaturation overnight, so we do a septic screen to make sure we’re not missing an infection. Our consultant very kindly buys us coffee again and we get to take a coffee break during the round.
1:00pm — I have a chicken wrap from home again for lunch. I’m starting to get a bit sick of it but it’s healthy and easy, so I won’t complain. 
4:30pm — Leaving on time today! My partner is out with his friends today so I get home and do a few chores before deciding that I’ll finally return to the gym. I manage to do a full-body workout, but by the time I’m running on the treadmill at the end, I’m struggling and counting down the minutes. At home, I’m too lazy to cook properly just for myself, so I have a microwave curry from the freezer and mix some poached chicken in it. I watch some more Selling Sunset and get super cosy in bed while texting my partner. I'm resisting the urge to stay up until he gets home and decide to get an early night instead.
Daily Total: $0

Day 5

6:50am — It’s Friday! I decide to take the train into work today so I can go straight from work into the city, but realise I’ve woken up a bit late so end up rushing out the door. I have to change trains, and there’s a 12-minute gap. I make good use of this and rush across the station to get a coffee and Danish with a sausage in it ($9.34). I run back to the platform and when I tap on again, my transport card auto tops up ($20). $29.34
1:00pm — The day goes by quickly. I have yet another poached chicken wrap from home (grateful that it’s my last meal with poached chicken at this point) before some consultants come in the afternoon for a later than usual ward round. 
4:45pm — I hand over a few things to the doctor rostered on for the evening, make sure I’ve finished all my documentation for the day, and then I’m done for the week! I pick up a spicy tuna sushi roll ($3.90) on the way to dinner with my friends. $3.90
6:00 pm — I’m early to dinner, which is with a group of eight friends from high school. I’m pretty grateful we’ve found the time to catch up — we have a vet and another two junior doctors in the group who are all shift workers, so it's hard to get our schedules to align. Dinner is hot pot — we decide to get individual pots so we can all have different soup bases. We all chat about our recent holidays, and my friends ask for all the juicy details about my engagement.
We were on a secluded beach when he asked me. Afterwards, while we were hugging, we heard loud clapping from behind us — turns out a random bloke had seen the whole thing! One of our friends also recently got married — it’s been so sentimental to go through all these life stages with everyone, especially since we first met in high school. We order lots of meat, fried tofu skins, quail eggs, mushrooms and veggies. The final bill is a bit hefty ($65), but I’m glad I got to try the place as it had been on my list for a while. $65
8:00pm — Afterwards, we decide to go to an arcade where my partner and I split a game card ($17.50). I end up redeeming our meagre tokens won at the end for some Reese’s peanut butter cups. All my friends tell me that's a bad deal. $17.50
Daily Total: $115.74

Day 6

8:00am — We didn’t end up sleeping late, but it’s still a struggle getting out of bed this morning. Our first activity on Saturday is going to Mosman to do a half-day sailing course — a gift I got for my partner for his birthday last year. When we get there, the weather holds out, and there are even some patches of blue sky and sun! My partner hoists the main sail and learns to trim the sails, while I admit I’m more focused on enjoying the view and putting my feet up.
1:00pm — We say thanks to our skipper and find a café on the water. We take one look at the menu, which is a bit overpriced for us ($30 for fish and chips!) and end up leaving to another café down the road. I get some fish and chips ($20) and my partner orders a salmon roll. We enjoy the view and each other's company while talking about upcoming plans. I love these little relaxing moments so much. On the way back, we decide to take the toll road to save about 30 minutes of driving —  the toll account is my partner’s and unfortunately neither of us knows how much it costs. I’m in a food coma when I get back and try to take a quick nap but end up hitting snooze about three times. $20
6:00pm — We meet up with some friends for Korean BBQ. It feels like a lot of food, especially after last night’s dinner, but we all enjoy the marinated pork ribs and pork belly so much. We also have a bottle of flavoured Soju each, and the final bill ends up being good value for the amount we order ($50). Not to mention the free side dishes we get! We end up going to the same arcade again, as we still have credit on our card from the day before, and my best friend and I nail the ring toss game and win a couple more tokens. $50
Daily Total: $70 

Day 7

9:00am — I wake up feeling a bit less motivated to do anything this morning. By the time I’ve done some cleaning and laundry, I’ve lost the motivation to go to the gym and decide to watch more Selling Sunset instead. I light a candle and make sure the house is clean for when my friends come over.
1:00pm — My friends start arriving for the BBQ — it's mostly a group that I met through my undergraduate science degree. It’s exciting because it’s the first time we’re all meeting our friends’ four-month-old. She’s absolutely adorable and rugged up, though a bit cranky at times. My partner just got a delivery of wine bottles through his wine subscription, so we go through a few bottles of wine and have a healthy gossip session. Afterwards, we snack on some cheese and a fruit platter made by my friend. At the end, I have a bit more of a heart-to-heart with a friend that I’ve gotten closer to over the years, and it makes me very grateful for our friendship that’s developed even more since we finished our undergraduate degree more than five years ago now. 
8:00pm — It’s Sunday night and my partner and I are both feeling lazy, so we decide to pick another movie to finish off the week. We pick American History X off Netflix. It’s a good watch with lots of thought-provoking themes. It’s a chill Sunday night and we spend a bit of time cuddling before dozing off to start the working week again. 
Daily Total: $0
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