Money Diaries

A Week In Perth, Western Australia, On A $162,000 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. Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it here.

Today: a safety advisor who makes $162,400 a year and spends some of her money this week on Olaplex.

Occupation: Safety Advisor
Industry: Mining
Age: 30
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Annual Salary: $162,400
Net Worth: $208,000 ($17,000 in savings, $20,000 in my investment portfolio, $88,000 in superannuation, $329,000 in property value on an apartment).
Debt: $246,000 owed on my mortgage. I also have a credit card with a $6,000 limit that I pay the balance in full when it's due.
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $6,989. My HECS comes out of this as well as our health insurance (we get ours through a scheme my work provides). I also contribute $490 of my pre-tax pay towards a company share scheme. 
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $1,650. I live with my partner who contributes $650 a month to a joint account for our expenses, including rent and bills. I pay the remaining $1,000. My partner has his own mortgage that he contributes to — we both believe our own houses are our individual assets, but we split the cost of joint expenses.
Loans: $1,002 on my mortgage. I have a few months remaining on my HECS student loan balance which is taken out pre-tax. It should be paid off by the end of this financial year. 
Water: $75
Property Rates: $154
Home Insurance: $48
Pilates: (approximately $200 every 2-3 months)
Spotify Premium: $18
Breast Cancer WA Donation: $20
Netflix: Free (I mooch off my brother's account)
Stan: Free (I mooch off a friend)
Binge: Free (Paid for using Uber Gold reward points)
Internet: $70
Electricity: $40
Wine subscription:

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

Yes, I have a bachelor's degree. I started in commerce then swapped to health science. I finished that and realised that I didn't like the work. I moved overseas for two years and came back and studied occupational health and safety after being exposed to the work and wanting career progression.

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

We spoke about money and the importance of savings, not getting into much debt, trying to avoid the use of credit cards, and ensuring you're saving money. They were pretty basic conversations, but they were effective. There was a point when living overseas when I had to overcome my pride and call my parents and get them to transfer me $100 for groceries after I had underbudgeted for the week. When I was 25, the conversations became more complicated. My income changed dramatically after I finished my graduate diploma and I was earning four times more than I had previously. I had more than enough money to save and to do what I wanted, so I needed to implement stronger budgeting skills to make the most of my money.

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

I was 14 and worked in a fast food chicken restaurant. I don't know why I got it — my parents wanted me to wait until I was a little older but I think I was keen to have my own money.

Did you worry about money growing up?

No, but I know there were points in my childhood that my parents did. I was definitely around people who had more money, but also around people who had less money. I think as we got older it got easier on my parents

Do you worry about money now?

I'm more concerned about living outside of my means and not setting myself up well enough for the future. My partner and I eventually want children and that will likely mean we'll have less income to work with. I'm more concerned about living comfortably and not having to worry too much about money than trying to keep up with people, ending up in huge amounts of debt, or not being able to enjoy your life due to working all the time.

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

When I was 32, I moved overseas, so I became fairly responsible for myself then. I returned back home and eventually bought my own home. I have an emergency fund with $10,000 in it in case I lose my job. I was made redundant last year and was able to embrace this and not worry about money as I had a bunch in my redraw account, investment portfolio, and savings. I'm currently building up my other savings accounts since the redraw is no longer available, and I contribute $1,000 each month.

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

Yes. I was gifted $15,000 from my dad after my mum died. My parents also guarantored 10% of my mortgage down payment so I didn't have to pay for lenders' mortgage insurance. This portion of my mortgage has been paid off.

Day 1

4:40am — I wake up, quickly shower and get ready for work. Our start times have been pushed back half an hour this swing and I'm running slightly behind. I quickly grab some lunch from the mess (kind of like a canteen with free food for us to take!) and walk to the office at work.
5:30am — I officially start work. I attend a pre-start meeting, have a coffee and some water, and head to my second meeting of the day to go over the supervisor's plans.
7:30am — I pack up my room and pack a bag. For the next two nights, I'm going to two other sites that I also support. My job requires a lot of time on the highway, travelling between the different mine sites in my division. I put on some laundry as I don’t have enough clean clothes and go back to the office.
9:30am — I coach a supervisor on one of our systems and then finish up in the office and drive to my next site. It's been a really busy swing so far, so I’m excited to get some desktop work done on my projects. It's been very people focused and a lot of facilitation work, so I'm excited to go somewhere a bit quieter.
10:30am — I arrive at my other site and set myself up in the office and have some breakfast. I have recently started intermittent fasting after putting on a few kilograms that won’t seem to budge and my metabolism is feeling sluggish. I feel like it has helped kick it back into gear, though I'm very hungry this morning after doing cardio at the gym last night. I finish my breakfast (a ham, cheese and spinach toasted wrap) and start working. This site is smaller and feels like a holiday. I work on some project work and enjoy the quiet time.
1:00pm — My partner, Z., and I have recently had to change our holiday plans due to the borders remaining closed. We were meant to go to South Australia but will be staying in Western Australia instead. I quickly look up to see what refunds we can get. At this point, I've paid over $2,000, so I'm hoping we can get some money back. I ask two different places if they can waive their cancellation fee and give us a refund, and get back to work. One of my old superintendents messages me on Teams, so we have a debrief of the year so far. I go and check into my room at this site, and buy a can of Coke Zero ($3.70) for the hot walk back to the office. $3.70
3:30pm — I was meant to catch up with another team member, but they call me and let me know that they're not going to be at my other site and are at the site I've just come from. I need to drop off some things at my original site, so I make plans to catch up with him there instead. I have to jump online and change my accommodation requirements to let them know I'm staying at my original site where my permanent room is. Usually, we live on-site during the period we're working and fly back home to Perth at the end of our rostered swing, which is usually at the end of the eight days.
4:45pm — I attend my final meeting for the day and finish work at 5:30pm, heading back to my room.
6:00pm — It’s Friday and after six years of FIFO, I am officially over Friday fish and chip night. I decide to get my dinner from the wet mess (the on-site pub) and buy a chicken schnitzel burger and a Matso's ginger beer ($22.30). I generally don’t drink on-site but decide to treat myself. I eat dinner while watching the sunset and reading my book on my Kobo (which is kind of like a Kindle). I'm currently reading A Lonely Girl Is A Dangerous Thing. I wanted to start Daisy Jones & The Six but accidentally downloaded the French version from the library. I head back to my room and continue reading while messaging Z — he's also a FIFO worker. We're on the same roster but work for different companies, which means when we both fly back to Perth, our time at home is the same. I don’t find this hard on our relationship as we both work in the industry so understand the challenges and importance of communication. We also both realise there are some days where we’re just too tired to talk and it’s not personal or about the other person. I fall asleep around 9pm. $22.30

Daily Total: $26

Day 2

4:40am — I wake up and can hear it bucketing down. I know I'm going to be absolutely drenched from the walk to work, so I quickly pack my things and wait outside for the downpour to lessen. When it does, I head to the mess and pack my lunch, I’m disappointed by the food options today but not surprised. Due to the pandemic, the food hasn’t been as fresh and we have had limited options for basics to make up a healthy lunch. I need to start bringing more options up from home to get by. I leave the mess and get caught in the middle of another torrential downpour. 
5:30am — I arrive at work absolutely soaked and get laughed at by the guys on crew — it’s a bit of fun for the morning. I get changed in my office into a new shirt from my luggage. I borrow a spare disposable mask from the supervisor as my material one is soaked from the downpour, and attend my next meeting.

8:00am — I make myself a coffee and continue working. It’s quiet this morning as it’s Saturday. I check my emails and see that our accommodation is happy to refund us. This is a great win as I have $2,071 going back into my account. I tell Z. about the refund. We decide that we'll have to rebook those places to support them when we eventually go. Since I have some downtime, I take a quick look at accommodation options for our southwest road trip and make a list of potential places to stay at each stop (so far on the list we have: Hyden, Bremer Bay, Albany, Esperance, Denmark, Margaret River, Pemberton and Busselton), before continuing some project work. I'm having issues with one of the systems this morning as it is slow and clunky, I finally figure out what is going wrong with it and get what I need to do to get work done. 

9:30am — The team member I'm meant to meet up with tells me he won't have time today, so we plan to reconvene tomorrow. I decide to go for a drive for a change in scenery. After an hour away, I have breakfast back at the office, which is a pesto, cheese, spinach and parsley wrap and two biscuits.
12:30pm — It’s been quiet for a while and I’m getting a bit bored, so I pack up my things to drive thirty minutes to the next site and drop off some tech items we are trialling. 
1:30pm — I drop off the tech and since there's no one in the office, I get back on the road to head back to my original site.
5:30pm — I finish work, walk back to my room and get changed to go to the gym. I decide to do a Tabata workout with both resistance exercises and cardio today before heading to the mess for dinner.
6:30pm — Dinner is beef brisket, broccoli and quinoa salad. I eat it and take some cheese and apple rings to eat on the way back to my room. I message Z. and watch TikTok.
7:30pm — I have a long shower (it's hair wash day!) and open my Kobo to finish my book. Our start times and finish times have recently been pushed forward by half an hour and I’m still not used to it. I end up fall asleep around 9:30pm.

Daily Total: $0

Day 3

4:50am — I struggle to wake up and get ready for work. I'm running late today. I get dressed and struggle to find a hair tie. I eventually find one, putting me a further five minutes behind schedule. I quickly head to the mess, as usual, and pack lunch
5:30am — I arrive at work a minute behind and attend a pre-start. I jump into my first morning meeting and get stuck into preparing for a risk assessment next swing and add more details to my handover notes.
8:00am — The worker I have been trying to meet up with finally arrives. We try and work out our issue, but end up needing to lodge an IT ticket.
10:30am — I get back to the office and have yoghurt, all bran, tinned pineapple bits and chocolate chips for breakfast. I call my sister as we’re going away down south to Dunsborough with my family this weekend for another southwest getaway. She’s sent through a big shopping list. Dunsborough has shops around, so I don’t think we need to buy everything prior to getting there. We come up with a plan that involves me stopping at the farmers market on the way down.
12:30pm — I refuel and wash the car so it’s ready for my back-to-back and head back to the office. We don't pay for fuel as it's located on site. I'm at the point in my swing where I'm wrapping up my work and have a busy few hours prior to flying out tomorrow.
2:00pm — I make a wrap with eggplant, cheese, sundried tomato and chipotle mayo and toast it for lunch. I've hit a wall and realise how tired I am. I take a break, isolating and locking myself up in my car. I'm flying out a day early as I came in a day early, so won’t have face to face time with my back-to-back. I then grab a Coke Zero ($3.70) as an energy booster at the village shop before walking back down to the office. $3.70
3:30pm — I review a fatigue risk assessment and do some coaching with two supervisors. Everyone is feeling exhausted after this week. We have a lot on at the moment at work. I enjoy FIFO work and have been doing it for six years. It's great for the time off, but it can be hard to have a break when you’re on site as you don’t have a chance to switch off. This can be hard when you're having a bad day or bad swing. 
5:00pm — I eat two biscuits (choc chip and scotch finger). One of my friend's messages to see if Z. and I are free this coming weekend. Unfortunately, we're away. I check-in for my flight — only 24 hours until I'm on the plane!
5:30pm — I walk back to my room, put my AirPods on to charge for tomorrow's flight, and lie on the bed to watch TikTok.
6:00pm — Dinner. Tonight it's wedges, pasta, and bread. Not a balanced meal, but I'm exhausted and the other meals don't look appealing. The food hasn't been good this week.
7:00pm — I message Z. and watch some TikTok's — the usual!
8:30pm — I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $3.70

Day 4

4:15am — I wake up and doze in bed until 4:50am, then get ready and walk to the mess to grab some food to take away.
5:30am —  I arrive at work for the pre-start and the first meeting of the day. After my meeting, I potter around. I read the news as there has been a Covid case at a mine site nearby. This is really the first outbreak since the pandemic started, so it’s interesting to see what controls are in place.
6:30am — A 7am meeting I'm supposed to have gets cancelled. I speak to the emergency services officer about a public event they responded to and make sure they're okay. Everyone is fine, thankfully!
8:00am — I make a black coffee and chat to one of our supervisors about the work that’s going on and have a bit of a debrief of the week. This morning is more so just seeing what loose ends need to be tied up prior to flying. I run some reports and check in with people via email to see if they require assistance with open investigations. 

1:30pm — Final meeting of the day — a team meeting. We learn there are some changes occurring in our team with people leaving. It’s semi-expected, but I'm sad to lose people as team members. I drop my lunch bag in my room and walk back to the office. 
2:30pm — I have my final debrief with our new site senior supervisor before getting a lift to the airport. I normally take the bus, but today there are people going to the town next to the airport, so I can get a ride.
3:15pm — Arrive at the airport and go through the scanner. I grab a Coke Zero and hot chips (I swear I don’t normally eat so beige — this week has not been great with food!) ($12.50). I sit down and open my work laptop as I have a few emails. I see that none require urgent attention, so I leave them. I chat to a friend in my team over Teams and we have a debrief of the changes. They tell me about a position that might be upcoming within the team that might be suitable for me. I'm not sure as the roster is different and since my partner works away it would mean only seeing them three days every two weeks. $12.50 
3:30pm — I message Z. about the potential role and he asks if there is more time at home. We’re both on the same page when it comes to these opportunities as we both value our time at home and our time together during our breaks, especially since we’re on the same roster. During the first part of our relationship, we only lined up for 48 hours on our breaks.  We’re both at the point where more time at home is valued over more money. While I wait to board my flight, I look at engagement rings online. We know we want to get engaged this year, but I'm not a fan of traditional rings and prefer more simple styles, plus the styles I love I can’t really find in Perth. We’re at a stage where we want me to try on different rings to see how different stones sizes sit on my finger and how they look. We chat about how much of a difference the prices are and that the marketing is a joke. We haven’t gone much into the budget, but I'm not comfortable wearing a house deposit on my finger and would prefer to put the money towards our future or a great holiday. We discuss potentially doing virtual appointments with the brand I like as they are located in Melbourne and we can't go at the moment due to border closures.
4:30pm — I board the plane and start a new show — The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, watching four episodes. I have a small chicken sandwich to eat and I get a red wine to drink (both paid for by work, thanks guys!).
7:00pm — I land in Perth and get an Uber home. $23.23
7:45pm — I dump my things and message Z. and my friend, R., then wash my face with Medik8 cleanser. I head to bed at around 8:30pm and try and return some e-books I’ve downloaded on my Kobo, but I’m having technical issues. I fall asleep at 9pm.

Daily Total: $35.73

Day 5

7:50am —  I groggily wake up and read messages on my phone, getting out of bed. 
8:00am — I watch YouTube and message Z. I’m still very tired, so I cancel a Pilates class that I've pre-booked for 10am today.
9:00am — I have a shower, get dressed and pluck some stray eyebrow hairs. The first day back is more often a lazy day as I’m more tired. I'm always go, go, go when I'm on-site and definitely don't get enough sleep while I'm up there. I normally have six days off, but this break I have seven as I flew in a day early. 
9:15am — I walk to the post office to pick up a package. It’s extremely heavy and the weight distribution isn’t even. I have to stop about four times on the walk home. I bring it inside and open it — it’s my wine delivery! This month it's come with a free cheese esky, cheese knives, and an insulated wine bottle. I sit down to recover from my spontaneous weight lifting session. 
10:30am —  I walk to one of the coffee shops up the road to buy an oat milk flat white and a breakfast wrap ($18.60). Z. and I are normally on the same roster and he's usually responsible for buying coffee beans, making us coffee and breakfast. When I lived alone, I used to buy a coffee and a takeaway breakfast as a tradition on my first day back, so even though it’s more expensive, it’s a nice treat for myself after a busy week of work. $18.60
11:00am — I'm selling a coffee machine on Facebook Marketplace and log in to reduce the price from $400 to $380. It’s been up for a week with a bit of interest, but no buyer. It’s brand new and hasn’t been taken out of the box. We're selling it as it was a warranty replacement during Covid, but took three months to arrive. During this time, we decided to upgrade our current machine and sell the warranty replacement. 
11:30am — I grab some grocery bags and walk to the supermarket. I buy raspberries, blackberries, rocket and spinach mix, kombucha, light soy sauce, Noshu cherry and coconut bars, Chobani oat milk, toothpaste and two bars of no sugar added chocolate ($60.90). The main supermarket chains are out of a lot of stuff due to the spicy flu, so I know I’ll have to go to IGA later to buy more things. While paying, I activate all the offers on the supermarket's app so I earn more points. When I get home, I message Z. to fill him in on the supply shortages — we try to only buy what we need, but also feel like we miss out by doing that. $60.90
1:30pm — I walk to the library and pick up a physical copy of Daisy Jones & The Six. Z. messages and asks me if I can pick up some ginger beer for him so I walk back to the supermarket and pick up a bottle. I notice they've restocked some shelves, so take a look and grab two packets of low carb wraps that were also on my list to buy ($13.10). When I get home, I snack on some blackberries and have a small glass of kombucha. I then wax my moustache. $13.10
3:00pm — I have a call with a grout company as I’m looking at replacing the grout in my bathroom. I owned this place before I met Z. and he was renovating his own house. We’re currently living in my place while he finishes the renovations on his house, and then we'll move into his house and rent my apartment out. I am at the point now where I'm looking more into what needs to be replaced prior to renting out this place in order to make it more appealing for renters. 
3:40pm — I’m not hungry but know I need to eat, so I have two protein powder cookies and a Noshu cherry chocolate bar. 
5:00pm — I go for a quick walk to get outside and do a mad fit 2000’s hit songs dance workout (very badly) in my living room. 
6:15pm — I go and pick Z. up from the airport. We decide to go to the local pub for dinner and split some calamari and a Korean chicken burger. He gets a beer and I get a ginger beer. It’s been a lot of beige food this week and I’m not feeling great from it. $71.50
8:30pm — We go home and put on an episode of Manifest. We’re watching it together and it’s so bad, it’s good.
Daily Total: $163.20

Day 6

7:00am — I wake up and doze with Z. We get out of bed at around 7:30am. He makes us both black coffees and I make the bed. Z. leaves to go to appointments with various trades at the other house. 
9:00am — I do two loads of laundry and get dressed. I’m feeling a bit down this morning as I know I won’t see friends this week — we’re just too busy and going away with my family. While scrolling Instagram, I see a reel about grief which hits me with a bit of sting. I lost my mum just over a year ago and the grief comes in waves. I acknowledge my grief and allow myself to have a moment of sadness.

10:00am — I go on Adore Beauty and fill my cart with expensive things I'm nearly out of. Due to working FIFO, some things are easier to buy in twos which makes it more expensive, but a lot more convenient. I try to use the Honey extension to see if any discounts apply, but apparently, I have the best price. I then log in to a discount site through my work to see if any discounts apply. I'm able to activate a 15% discount code with brand exclusions, so I use that, taking me from a total of $359.85 to $305.87. I then apply ShopBack and get 3% back. I pay using my credit card as I know I'll have a surplus in my balance in the next few days due to my accommodation refunds. I buy two La Roche Posay prebiotic moisturisers, Olaplex no.3, Olaplex no.7, Wet Brush Backbar Detangler (much better than the Tangle Teezer!), Medik8 c15 vitamin c serum, and Philip Kingsley flaky itchy scalp shampoo. After I checkout, I realise I’ve forgotten to add the Cosrx snail mucin essence (I’ve been using this for three years — I love it), but I still have a little bit left of my current bottle, so I can pick more up later on. $305.87 
10:30am — Z. calls to let me know the splashback guy will be at the house soon with samples, so I go to meet him there and see what work has gone on since I was there last.  
11:15am — The splashback guy arrives and we pick a colour (ultra white, FYI). Since we’re there, I message my friend R. and see if she wants to come and see the place — I haven’t had any friends over to see it yet. She quickly comes over in between work appointments. We then both leave while Z. does some gardening and works on his car.
12:30pm — I arrive home and make some lunch. I make a smoothie with things we have at home — frozen berries, frozen leftover spinach, coconut milk, a bit of honey, flax and decide to add a small amount of coconut vegan protein powder. I normally add Greek yoghurt to make it thick and creamy but we don’t have any. After finishing my smoothie, I still feel hungry so make a wrap with Havarti cheese slices, spinach and rocket mix, rocket pesto hummus and chipotle kewpie mayo. 
1:00pm — I'm still hungry, so I have half a peanut butter slice that Z. brought home from work. I start reading my book and make myself an oat milk coffee.
3:00pm — I go and pick up a package at the post office that’s for Z. I send through photos of my shower to a company as I’m looking to replace the shower screen. I then do a quick YouTube workout and some hip mobility stretches. 
5:30pm — My dad comes over. Tonight, we’re going to a comedy fringe show. We grab an Uber there ($11.92), split a bottle of red wine, and grab some Mexican bowls. Dad pays. $11.92
7:40pm — The show is really funny! I always get a bit nervous as last time I went to a comedy show, I got picked for audience participation which makes me very nervous, ever more so because I have my dad and partner with me, and comedians can be crass sometimes! Luckily, this one isn't, otherwise, I might have died of embarrassment. After the show, we take an Uber back to our place and Dad goes home. $10.80 

Daily Total: $328.59

Day 7

8:00am — We wake up and finish packing for our holiday down south! We're driving down later this morning, so Z. makes us both coffees.
9:00am — We walk to a supermarket and buy some low carb bread to bring with us, also grabbing a packet of cauliflower puffs. They look like styrofoam packing tubes, but they're delicious. $9.10
9:30am — On the way home, Z. picks up two cans of cold brew and some French cheese flavoured potato chips from a fancy grocery store. $19.50
10:10am — We get on the road and drive towards a cafe called The Crooked Carrot, which is almost at the halfway point of the drive down where we'll meet up with my family. I read more of my book in the car while Z. drives. 
11:40am — We stopped at the cafe and meet my family for lunch. Z. and I split a chicken wrap as they are huge, and I also get an iced oat milk coffee to go with it ($27.45) We get back on the road. $27.45
12:30pm —  We stop at Bunbury Farmers Market and buy peanut butter, wagyu jerky, and dried bananas. The dried bananas are amazing — the last time we stopped we bought three containers! If you're travelling down to the South West region of Western Australia, I would definitely recommend stopping here for all the fresh food. $34.47
3:00pm — We arrive at the Airbnb and my family have already arrived. The Airbnb is nice and opposite the beach. I don’t think I've been on a family holiday with my siblings since I was fourteen. It will be a nice break from work — hopefully we won’t drive each other mad! We get changed and go to the beach across the road, do some floating in our giant floaties, and do some paddleboarding.
7:00pm — We have yummy barbecued fish with salad for dinner, plus some red wine. 

9:30pm — We spend time with my family and drink more of the red wine, then head to bed, groggy and happy.

Daily Total: $90.52
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