A Week In Richmond, Victoria, As A Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist On $65K

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Today: a freelance digital marketing specialist on $65k who attends a dessert degustation with her friends. 
Occupation: Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist 
Industry: Marketing 
Age: 28
Location: Richmond (Melbourne, Victoria) 
Salary: $65,000 
Net Worth: $675,517, which includes 3 investment properties with a combined value of $1,190,000, an everyday bank account with $11,036, savings in property offset account of $113,191 and a superannuation account with $55,698.
Debt: I have $690,433 in mortgage debt across 3 investment properties, and $3,975 on my credit card (I use my credit card as much as possible to get Qantas points, and pay it off every month in full).
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): Since I'm currently freelancing and don't have a regular 9-5 job at the moment, it varies. It's usually around $4,000 to $5,000 for client work + $1,000 a month from property rental.
Pronouns: She/her 

Monthly Expenses 

Rent: I pay $900 each month for a small two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Richmond that I share with one other person. The apartment isn't anything fancy but the location is amazing! It's walking distance to restaurants/cafes and supermarkets, and has trams direct to the CBD. I purchased my own apartment during COVID to take advantage of the first home buyer stamp duty concession, but have now turned it into an investment property as it can bring in over $700+ per week in rent and I can't justify staying there myself. I'm only in Melbourne for 3 more months before going overseas to live the *digital nomad* life so I'm very thankful to be staying at a friend's apartment in the short term.
Monthly Loan Payments: I pay three sets of mortgages: $2712 for the first property, $1357 for the second and $508 for the third. Plus I need to pay whatever credit card expenses I have from the previous month.
Groceries: $200
Classpass subscription: $59
Spotify Premium: $6 (this is my share of a Spotify family account)
Pet Insurance: $67 (I have a British shorthair cat)
Private Health Insurance: $115 (hospital cover)
Eating out: $300
Transportation: $60 (mainly trams as I don't own a car)
Phone bill: $16
Entertainment: $50
Shopping/Skincare: $150
Property Admin Costs (council rates/body corp/water fees etc): $800 Savings contribution: Whatever is left from the month goes into my property's offset loan account.

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

Yes, I went to RMIT for two years and obtained an Associate degree in Fashion Design & Technology. There was the option to do a third year to turn it into a Bachelor's degree but felt like the industry wasn't right for me so I decided to leave it at two years.
As a very lucky Australian, my associate degree was paid via HECS/HELP student loan, and since I only did 2 years of higher education, the entire course cost me less than 14k, which I know is way less than majority of my peers. I paid it all off in 2020 as I was trying to purchase an investment property and my broker said I could borrow more from the bank if I didn't have my HELP debt. Otherwise I would've just paid it off slowly through compulsory repayments against my salary.

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

My parents are first-generation migrants who worked hard to create a lifestyle that brings them joy. Growing up, we lived a comfortable middle class lifestyle: I went to public school but did lots of extracurricular activities. We lived in a small house but went on lots of holidays. My parents liked to spend on experiences rather than 'things' and this has also shaped the way I view and spend my money.
My dad was business-minded and often talked to me about business and property and although my parents didn't specifically teach me how to save, do my taxes or which superannuation fund to use, they did foster an interest in personal finance and taught me how to invest in property which has helped me generate a lot of my own wealth.

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

My first job was at Brunetti Cafe — yep, the OG one off Lygon street. I did my Year 10 work experience there for two weeks and after that, they offered me a job. I was initially clearing tables and serving ice cream, but eventually got promoted to a cake girl behind the counters. I wanted a weekend/holiday job to earn some pocket money as I didn't really get much from my parents. Also, who wouldn't want to try all the cakes at Brunetti? It was awesome.

Did you worry about money growing up?

I didn't worry about money until I was 21, which was when I had to start fully funding my own life. Between the age of 21 and 26, I worried a lot about money and was very money-driven. For those 5 years, I worked very very hard. I did my 9-5 job then worked after dinner from 8-12 freelancing. I saved as much as I could, then invested it into buying investment properties the moment I had enough for a deposit.
I was very worried that I would fall behind my peers, and not be able to make as much as them due to me not having a proper "degree" or a job in finance or tech. I definitely became a workaholic and it led to multiple burnouts. Now being older, I feel much more secure, know how to take care of my mental health and have gone to therapy to address my tendencies to overwork myself.

Do you worry about money now?

I think day to day I don't worry about money, but money anxiety will always come and go. I quit my very stable 6-figure, 9-5 job about 4 months ago to go on a semi-career break. I then spent the subsequent month terrified of how I was going to fund my life with less than half of what I was earning previously. But after a few months, I realised that it was just emotional fear that wasn't based on much, and eventually those worries went away.
When I think about things like inflation or my investment properties rolling off their ultra-low fixed rates to a rate 3x (or more) what it was, I do panic a bit. But I know I can just plan/journal it out and rationalise to myself that I'll be okay.

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

My parents' house rules are that you have to move out after high school, so I was 17 when I moved out of home. They owned some student accommodation so I stayed there rent-free during my two years at uni, but had to pay for all my other living expenses myself.
I had to be fully self sufficient at 21, when I moved out with another friend into an apartment near the CBD. By then, I was already working full-time hours across multiple jobs. My financial safety net is very large as I'm SUPER risk-averse. Before I quit my 9-5, I saved up 100k, sat it in my offset account and told myself I could *technically* live off this for 3 years if I wanted to. On top of that, I could sell off my investment properties if I really needed the money. If I suddenly crashed and burned I could probably move back in with my parents as a very last resort and probably go on Centrelink if I had zero income or assets.

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

My parents kindly loaned me $40,000 to help with one of the deposits for my investment properties about 4 years ago, but I paid them back (plus interest) within the year through saving aggressively and freelancing alongside my 9-5 job.
Regarding passive income, the majority of it comes from my investment properties with a combined total of approximately $6,000 per month, but most of it goes back into repayments and maintenance. And lastly a bit of growth through superannuation (when the fund is doing well), but I don't look at that too often.

Day 1 

10:30am - I've just come back from South East Asia last week and it's taking a while for my body to adjust to the time difference (especially since I don't have to wake up early for work). I make myself an Earl grey tea to start the day, and skip breakfast.
11am - I try to knock out some life admin, paying property bills, sending out client invoices and chasing unpaid ones. I review some designs for one of my client's social media content calendar and send it off for approval.
1pm - Mondays are my favourite day after quitting my 9-5 job. You get to smash out all your admin with no distraction and the streets are nice and quiet. I tram into the city to run some errands ($5). I head to the money changer to change all my unused international notes back to AUD, and bring my Osprey backpack into Paddy Pallin to get it repaired (love a lifetime guarantee!). Then I visit the ASICS store to try to find some new running shoes, and get some sushi to fuel my city admin run ($5.80). $10.80
3pm - I do some groceries on the way home from the city. I will usually do one big shop at my closest Woolworths each week ($76.20).
5:30pm - I start to prep dinner, I will normally do a bigger cook on Sunday or Monday that will last me a few dinners. This week is kangaroo mince Bolognese with a tonnnneee of basil. It's fast and easy to cook, with minimal clean-up too.
7pm - I pop a cheeky few slices of garlic bread in the air fryer and have dinner. Delicious.
8:30pm - I do a little work after dinner, re-designing some hospo menus as the client had added new menu items to their store.
10pm - My room is a mess and I tidy up so I can have a more productive rest of the week.
12:30am - A 20% voucher for Paula's Choice lands in my inbox and I immediately purchase the 1% retinol cream I've had my eye on while waiting for a sale. ($71.20)
1:05 am - I watch some Youtube to wind down, but end up in a black hole of cute aesthetic Korean cafe vlogs. I save them all to my Google Maps for my next trip there.
2:05am - It's suddenly way past a respectable bedtime, so I put my phone on airplane and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $158.2

Day 2 

9:47am - I roll out of bed after pressing the snooze button a few times. I have a nice slow morning with a session of journaling.
10:30am - I work on my tax return for 2022, while my brain is still fresh in the "morning" while I chow down on some granola and yoghurt for breakfast.
12:15 - I get my ass out to a Megaformer (Lagree) class in the city. I book via Classpass (included in my monthly expenses), and run there as my 'warm up'.
1:30pm - My legs are shaking after class so I tram home ($5) and make myself lunch consisting of scrambled eggs, tomato and avo on toast. $5
2:00pm - I continue working on my tax return, making sure I record all my expenses in for my investment properties to get the maximum tax back!
6:30pm - I have leftovers from my cook yesterday and eat dinner while scrolling through friends' feeds on Instagram.
7:45pm - I've been wanting to make my own smoothies and juices as I'm having withdrawals from getting them almost every second day when I was travelling around Asia. I spy a super deal: a Russell & Hobbs Mix and Go blender that was originally $50 at Good Guys, price matched to $30 from another store having a sale and I had a $20 store credit lying around. Only $10 out of pocket — that's pretty much a cost of one Boost juice! I pull the trigger online. $10
8:30pm - I spend the next hour watching/researching smoothie recipes and saving them for reference later.
10pm - Take a shower and do my night skincare, trying to finish my current Skinceuticals retinol cream before the Paula's Choice one arrives.
11pm - I've been trying to get my front splits, so spend 30mins stretching while Netflix is on. Selling sunset is a great low-commitment show to stretch to.
12:00am - I plan my day tomorrow, take my Blackmore's Beauty Sleep vitamins and hop into bed for some shut-eye.
Daily Total: $15

Day 3 

9:38am - I spend the morning on multiple customer service lines: Qantas Marketplace to return a faulty product, Origin Energy to sort some bills for my investment property and the Victorian Energy Compare team since I haven't got my $250 paid out in the last round of Power Saving Bonus. Luckily I'm never on hold for long by calling at a quiet time.
11:30am - I do some research comparing pet insurance as my monthly premium for my British Shorthair seems to be super high — double what online quotes are displaying. I call up my current provider to see if they can lower it. They tell me to cancel my current policy and start a new one to get the new price. I decide that's a task for another day.
1:20pm - Walk over to my brother's house who lives about 15-minute walk away from me. I grab a Vietnamese Bahn Mi roll on the way over for lunch ($7.60). I borrow his car to drive out to Good Guys to pick up my brand new blender. Self employed benefits = avoiding traffic.
3:30pm - Back home, I open my new toy immediately and piece it together on my kitchen bench. I'm pretty excited to try it out. I make sure there's ice cubes in the freezer for tomorrow.
5:30pm - I go out for a 6km run along the Yarra River. It's a bit busy with people commuting home and lots of people with their dogs, but it's a lovely day so the vibes are 10/10.
6:30pm - More pasta for dinner but I treat myself with a Weis bar for going out on my run.
8:30pm - I do some more planning for my trip to South Korea. I spend a couple hours on Airbnb and trying to find some decent accommodation options and save them for later to discuss with my partner.
11:00pm - I think the evening run has made me a bit peckish so I snack on some teddy bear biscuits while I surf Youtube, realise they have a 1.5-star health star rating so I put them away after mindlessly munching through a couple already. I take a shower and brush my teeth so I stop snacking.
1:15am - I head to bed.
Daily Total: $7.60

Day 4 

9:30am - I'm excited to try out my new blender, and make an avocado mango smoothie to kick the day off. It's damn delicious and thank goodness avocados are so cheap right now. Gotta love an Aussie summer fruit season.
10:00am - I jump on a quick call with a client to discuss some upcoming marketing plans, and spend the rest of the morning actioning some of the material we talked about while it's still fresh in my head.
1:00pm - Lunch is my final serve of pasta with more garlic bread.
5:00pm - I see some old colleagues for dinner. We catch up on all the goss of the company since I've left and have a good time reminiscing our work days together. I shout them all bubble tea ($32.20) as I did when I was their manager. Wwe split dinner at Baby Pizza ($31.40). $63.60
8:50pm - I tram over to my partner's place for the night ($5) to hang out for a bit.
9:30pm - We have cookies and cream ice cream and watch The Continental on Amazon Plus.
11:30pm - I decide to head home since my partner gets up pretty early for work and my body clock just can't match his right now.
12:10am - I'm pretty tired from socialising today so I wash up and head to bed.
Daily Total: $68.60

Day 5 

9:00am - The alarm goes off but I snooze it a couple of times. I'm trying harder to wake up earlier, but my night owl body clock says no.
9:45am - I finally roll out of bed and start my morning routine. Skinceuticals Vitamin C, Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturiser, La Roche Posay Sunscreen. You can see I'm a L'Oréal girl; I worked with the L'Oréal team in my last full time job.
10:30am - I've decided to work from home today. Since I'm kinda self-employed, I have to actually motivate myself to work, since I have no boss to impress. I head to my local cafe (Maker Richmond) to smash out some work so I can't get distracted and laze around on my bed. I love all the industrial coffee spots in Richmond — I'm definitely spoilt for choice. I get a chai latte while working ($5.50) and finish off a couple of poster and email campaigns for my client's upcoming promotions. $5.50
1:05pm - I head home and make some lunch, which is a quick avo toast with some heated up minestrone soup from my grocery shop earlier this week.
2:20pm - I want to clear out and sell some stuff before I go overseas, so I spend the whole afternoon going through my stuff and listing 30+ things on Facebook marketplace.
5:00pm - I go for an evening walk before dinner. I get peckish so get a little pastry ($4.50), and do some groceries along the way since my regulars are on half price: Neutrogena face wipes ($4.10), oat milk ($1.65) and Earl grey tea bags ($6.75). $17
7:00pm - I meet up with my partner for dinner at our local Indian restaurant. Indian on Fridays nights just hit so good...idk why but there's something about it. The garlic naan is heavenly, and of course we overeat like we always do. Generally we split the bill when we go out to eat, or loosely take turn paying. Today we split ($32.40). $32.40
9:00pm - We waddle home and settle into a food coma on the couch. We watch some YouTube vlogs about Korea to get some inspo on weird/unique stuff to do when we go.
12:30am - I shower and head to bed.
Daily Total: $54.90

Day 6

9:20am - My partner wakes up to head to his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, so I walk home.
10:05am - I spend the morning doing some journaling and my skincare routine; I'm very grateful that I can spend these mornings with self-care. My mental health has honestly never been better. It's wild how much a decent break can do for your health.
11:00am - It's a WFH day. I know some people don't like working on weekends but honestly I don't mind since I don't have super intense weekdays. I spend a coupleof hours glued to my laptop with some lofi beats playing and smash out some designs for social media. I got a green light on another client's poster designs so I package it up and send it to the coordinator organising the prints.
1:25pm - I make a bowl of noodles for lunch. I chuck in some frozen dumplings, beef balls, frozen broccoli and Shin ramen. It's my guilty pleasure.
2:00pm - I'm feeling a bit lazy after lunch so I relax and catch up on some vlogs of my favourite YouTubers.
5:12pm - I apply sunscreen for the second time today. Yep, I'm trying to be extra sun smart this summer and do the whole re-apply thing.
5:37pm - I'm out for a 7km run today. The evening weather is gorgeous and it's a vibe with lots of people out on picnics.
6:30pm - I head towards the city to finish my run and get some takeaway Korean Fried Chicken from NeNe Chicken ($37.35). I head over to my parents' house to have dinner with them. We catch up on the week and it's so nice to spend some quality time with them. $37.35
8:45pm - I jump on a call with my partner while I tram home ($5) to catch each up on our days. $5
10:30pm - I'm planning to give some gifts to my apartment tenants and my friends who are looking after my cat long term while I'm overseas. I buy some 1/2 price Ferrero Rocher boxes from Big W online ($36) that I'll pick up another day. I'm clearly the 1/2 price queen if you couldn't tell already...why pay full price when you know you can just wait a couple of days? $36
12:58pm - I plan my next week and wind down for the day. I discover @glucosegoddess on Instagram and binge-watch her reels. She mentions that oat milk creates glucose spikes and now I'm questioning the milk of choice that I drink every day.
1:35am - I don't feel tired but rational me decides to head to sleep.
Daily Total: $78.35

Day 7

9:07am - I wake up and have a banana for brekkie. I get straight into some work, and start next month's content calendar for another client. A good solid 2 hours of graphic design gets me 60% of the way there. I'm happy with my deep work session for the day.
11:35am - For today's endorphins, I run to South Wharf DFO to check out some running shoes — mine are so beaten up and I'm desperate for a new pair. I have tiny size 5 feet so all the stores in the CBD have essentially sold out of my size and I have to sift through hundreds of boxes at DFO. Still no luck at DFO sadly. I do some window shopping around the rest of DFO, tramming home empty handed ($5). Since I know I'll be overseas again soon, I'm super conscious of what I'm buying. I don't look at anything mildly related to homewares and anything that can't come with me during my travels. Good for saving money. $5
4:00pm - I have a late lunch as I'm going out later tonight for a dessert degustation experience by Atelier Josun with some friends. I had some Korean leftovers from the day before and remember to eat some tomatoes and cucumber BEFORE my meal — thanks for the lessons, Glucose Goddess!
8:30pm - I walk to the event as it's held in a wine bar in Richmond. A girlfriend managed to book out the dessert event for 11 of us so it's essentially an intimate private seating. I have the non-alcoholic pairing which set me back $58 for the 3 courses of dessert. It's a pretty good experience if you're into dessert — and all the more fun if you can book out the whole place. $58
10:30pm - After the event, we take a slow walk back to my partner's place and hang out for a bit longer.
11:30pm - I can't stay up too late as my partner has to get up early for work tomorrow so it's lights out to a lovely week.
Daily Total: $63

The Breakdown

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