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Follow-Up Diary: A Week In Regional Victoria, As A Sales Manager Who Just Got Divorced

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Today: a sales manager from regional Victoria visits Melbourne for a medical appointment and spends time with friends while her daughter is with her father. 

Content warning: This diary discusses miscarriage and stalking and may be upsetting to some readers. 
Editor's Note: This is a follow-up diary. Before reading this diary, we recommend you read this popular Money Diary from September 2022. 
Occupation: Sales Manager 
Industry: Agriculture
Age: 34
Location: Regional Victoria
Salary: $89,000
Net worth: $422,000 ($350,000 profit from the sale of our house, which is in a high interest account for now, plus $64,000 in super — I had to pay half of the balance I had at the time of separation to K, $4,000 in an everyday account, $3,000 in a savings account and $1,000 in cash). We were very lucky with the timing of getting our house and land during the pandemic and being able to sell when the market is high — and it helped that we didn't have a huge mortgage either.
Debt: $0 
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $5,086
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses 

Rent: $1,820
Internet: $75
Utilities: $140
Childcare/kinder: $749
Swimming lessons: $80 during term time 
Private health insurance: $211 (me and my daughter, E) 
Streaming services: $40
Spotify: $19 

What have you been up to since we last spoke?

My situation has changed a lot from when I wrote my last diary in 2022, while I was going through IVF with my now ex-wife, K. We kept going with IVF into 2023 and I had another couple of miscarriages.
After going through all that, we just worked out we weren’t going to be compatible in a romantic relationship long-term. We weren’t able to support each other in the way each of us needed. I moved out of our family home and we have finalised all our joint finances recently.
We share 50/50 custody of our daughter, E, and that’s working great. She’s going surprisingly well. We’re operating on the 2-2-3 model, which means that we each have her every second weekend and a couple of weeknights too. We speak to her every day in the evening for a couple of minutes – or sometimes just seconds – to see how she is and say good night. She enjoys showing off on FaceTime and these calls go really well, except for when she’s tired and cranky. 

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

Yes, I studied a Bachelor of Business. In my second year, my parents told me they were going to pay for my degree as long as I passed all my subjects. If I failed, I had to pay them back. I happily kept working hard at university to make sure I passed, and I'm very thankful for that now.

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

We spoke about money a fair bit. I never knew my parents' salaries, but I knew they worked hard and we benefited from it. If I did extra chores — like mowing the lawn or cleaning the car — I'd get paid an extra $5 to $10 allowance. But overall, say if I was heading out to dinner or movies with friends, my parents would just give me money.
They spoke to us about their investments in houses and shares. My mum taught me how to budget so I could look after my finances when I went to university. They always said that it was better to save for something specific, like a holiday or something you wanted for the house, as it made it easier to save.

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

My first job was waitressing. I got the job so I could make money during the summer holidays. I didn't work during the school year because my parents wanted me to focus on school work. I was also a waitress during university which I really enjoyed.

Did you worry about money growing up?

No, I was very fortunate to feel very comfortable. We went on family holidays, and I could do any extracurricular activities I wanted to. I had a more comfortable upbringing because we lived in the country and the cost of living wasn't as high. We also spent our weekends at community sports or with family friends, so the expenses would not have been huge for my parents.

Do you worry about money now?

A little bit – I’m in a good position for the future as we made a lot of money from the sale of our house when we split up. The divorce was very amicable and we did a 50/50 split on everything, so my lawyer bill was only about $8,000 — all they had to do was draft the paperwork and submit it officially.
I’m currently planning to invest the money while I decide where I want to live. I’m not sure if I want to stay regional, so I don't want to invest here if that’s the case. I’m now very conscious about when I get a new partner and how I’ll find joining some finances again in the future. My number one priority is financial security for E.  

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

At 22, I started paying rent and bills on my own, but my parents assisted with some of this through university. I always lived with housemates. I know I can always ask my parents if I need assistance — they want to make sure E and I are okay while they're alive, rather than just holding onto their money until they die.

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

Yes — I received $50,000 from my parents to help with a house deposit. I also received another $50,000 from my grandma when she passed away in 2021, which we also put towards our mortgage at the time. 

Day 1 

7:00am – I wake up with a bit of a cold and drug myself up. I test for COVID-19 and it’s negative (I also test a lot over the next couple of days to be sure and it’s all negative). I let E sleep in my bed on the nights I have her, as we both like it and she’s only five, I know this won’t last forever and it’s a comfort to both of us. She must start the night in her bed though. 
We get ready for kindergarten; it was much easier than yesterday as she didn’t put up much of a fuss about having to go. We’re ready and in the car when E sings out that she needs to go to the toilet. So, back out of the car seat and into the house to the toilet we go. Second time around, we are clear for take-off! 
7:45am – When we get to kindergarten, E’s teacher tells me she has a great imagination and has started to do some great drawings to go along with the stories she tells. I tell her she must be good for the day and that if the teacher tells K she was naughty, she won’t be able to do special things on the weekend with K. There have been a couple of days where we got some feedback that’s not great, however it seems to be normal behaviour for the age range and the teachers are not worried. E only turned five recently, so we didn’t want her to go to school this year. She’ll go next year and I think she’ll be very ready for it. 
8:00am – I arrive at the office and have a few chats with people before settling into work. We’ve been very busy lately and today I finally have a chance to catch up on some administrative tasks I have been putting off. 
10:00am – I get super hungry and decide to have some of the $1 chicken noodles in a cup from Aldi. I bought them yesterday. 
12:30pm – Lunch time rolls around and I go to a local café with a colleague to get takeaway. They shouted me lunch last time, so this time it’s my shout. I get a toasted salami focaccia and orange juice and they get a toastie, potato cake and dim sim. $22.90. 
2:30pm – I need to leave work early today to pick up my car – it broke down last weekend and has been fixed now. $1885 – expensed as it’s a work vehicle. 
I drive to my friend’s house after picking up the car. I’m staying with them this weekend. On the weekends I don’t have E, I try to keep busy with lots of plans so I don’t miss her as much. It’s a weird feeling! I try to distract myself from missing her but I also feel guilty for having fun and not being with her. 
7:30pm – We get Turkish food for dinner and I pay. I’ve been staying regularly at their place, so I like to contribute when I can to meals and other bits and pieces ($57.59). My friend goes to bed early and I watch a cheesy rom-com called A Nice Girl Like You on Prime Video$57.59
9:40pm – I go to bed early for a Friday night. I think it’s a good idea with this cold to try to get as much rest as possible. 
Daily total: $80.49

Day 2 

7:30am – My friend wakes up and makes us an omelette. Yum! They have to work this morning for a couple of hours, so I clean the apartment and go out to do some jobs. 
9:30am – E threw my phone in the car on Thursday night and then yesterday I dropped it and the screen stopped working, so I get it replaced. $150. It’s an iPhone X, I’m probably ready to upgrade to a 12 or something, but that’s $800 I don’t want to spend right now. I have a work phone too but the camera isn’t great and I’m not allowed to upload things to the cloud. I love taking good photos of E! $150
I’m a bit peckish, so I buy a finger bun with sprinkles at Bakers Delight. $2.30
My friend needed a couple of things from Kmart, so I go buy these for them.  $27.50
1:00pm – I just beat my friend back to their apartment. They need to go out to buy a phone and get lunch, so I go with them. We have Vietnamese food for lunch and my friend pays to pay me back for the things I got at Kmart. 
In the afternoon, I just chill at my friend’s place. They duck in and out during the afternoon to go see a couple of friends. I watch the new Anne Hathaway movie on Prime Video and I really like it! If you don’t like corny rom-coms though, I wouldn’t recommend it. 
3:30pm – I have a nap, which is really out of character for me. It was only a 45-minute nap, but I don’t think I’ve had one in years. Normally they mess with my sleep and I avoid them like the plague. However, I really enjoyed it and must have needed it. Perhaps it’s the cold!
7:30pm – When my friend comes back later, we have dumplings for dinner, which they insist on paying for. 
8:00pm – I speak with E and see how her day was. She had lots of fun and went to a show with K. She didn’t really want to talk to me and was a bit busy doing other things, that’s okay — I just love seeing her. 
My friend and I watch Miriam Margolyes’ Impossibly Australian – it’s very entertaining. It seems like when you get older, you can just say anything you want, and no one has any issues with it. We watched the one when she went to Byron Bay and the start of the Broken Hill episode. It’s great that she’s still learning new things at 82 – her spending the day with a Byron Bay influencer was very funny to watch. 
10:00pm – I head to bed for an early-ish night. 
Daily Total: $177.50

Day 3 

8:30am – I wake up, have a cup of tea and bid farewell to my friend. I’m super lucky to have some amazing friends. It’s been interesting to see how my friends have behaved after the breakup. Everyone has been nice, but some are more supportive and reach out more often than others. Almost none of my friends have kids and lots of them are single. I’ve always made a conscious effort when I’m with my friends not to always talk about E and to be able to have normal conversations about a range of topics. I know lots of my friends are over talking about their dates too, so I never push them to tell me stories — I’m just there to listen if they want to share. 
10:00am – I meet another friend for a coffee at the market and we have a great chat for an hour or so. I had something to eat as well, so I just added her coffee to my bill. $23.35
I decide to treat myself with a 30-minute massage – it was soooo good and with this cold, it really relaxed me. $40. I’ve been taking medication and when I’ve been out in public, I’ve been wearing a mask. I’ve also tested for COVID-19 and know it’s not that. 
1:30pm – I have a birthday lunch for a friend at the pub. I don’t have a drink as I need to eat some food with the cold medication I’m taking or I’ll feel woozy. It’s nice to meet some of their other friends at lunch, too. We all get along and have a great catch up. Lunch was okay, I liked the venue more than my meal though, but I think not enjoying the meal was my cold’s fault and not the venue’s. We split the bill – $39.05.
We have tickets for a comedy show in the afternoon which is funny. I have a glass of Prosecco ($9.09) and a Coke Zero ($5.05). I think the price of the soft drink is a bit wild: this is out of a plastic bottle and into a glass. I paid my friend in advance for the comedy tickets. $14.14
6:00pm – I drive home and speak to E on the way, however she’s not super interested again. She had a great weekend and I can’t wait to see her tomorrow! 
I don’t have a huge appetite and I’m super lazy when I arrive home, so I just have a chicken noodle cup and a couple of Salada biscuits. 
8:00pm – I’m currently super into the Taskmaster UK series and watch two episodes of this before heading to bed. 
Daily Total: $116.54

Day 4 

7:30am – I wake up feeling pretty rubbish but I know I’ll be able to go to work and be okay. I’m slower than usual getting ready though and end up being 15 minutes late. On the way to work, I go past a local cafe and grab a takeaway egg, cheese and tomato sandwich, $5. 
8:15am – Lots of people at work are feeling pretty crappy, so it’s kind of okay to be sick with everyone. If I go to serve a customer, I make sure I’m wearing a mask. 
12:30pm – I go home for lunch and have a pre-made meal I bought at the supermarket last week. I watch another episode of Taskmaster and I put the washing on the line. The afternoon goes slowly and I’m so excited to pick up E from Kinder! 
5:00pm – E seems happy to see me and asks me where we’re going. I tell her the supermarket but I don’t have a lot of energy and she says she’ll help me. We buy apples, grapes, eggs, soup, biscuits, yoghurt, washing detergent and bread. $61
I’m not in the mood to cook, so we order some Thai food and pick it up on our way home, which comes to $44. It was great! E ate all her chicken, rice, broccoli and carrot and I have plenty of leftovers for the next couple of lunches. $44
7:30pm – I put E to bed and then tidy the house a little – I’ll do a proper clean this week when I’m feeling better. I watch some more Taskmaster episodes and then the Shein documentary on Foxtel. 
10:30pm – I’m exhausted — it’s time for bed! 
Daily Total: $110

Day 5 

7:00am – When I wake up, I realise I’m starting to feel a bit better. I’m not normally a big breakfast eater but I have a medical appointment later today that I must fast for, so I have an egg on toast to get me through. E’s excited for Kinder today because someone from the local library is coming to read them books and do an activity. She thinks they’ll have a lovely voice. At the office, I can smell other people’s lunches and it’s making me feel sick on an empty stomach. 
1:30pm – The appointment is super quick and not cheap: $202.45, of which $102.45 will be reimbursed by Medicare. $202.45
2:00pm – I finally get to eat some lunch. I have some leftover Thai food – yum! I also take some washing to my parents' unit to dry it in the dryer. They have solar panels and I don’t even have a dryer, so it’s a win for me and no loss to them. 
2:30pm – I arrive back at the office for the afternoon and it’s not too hectic, which is nice. 
5:00pm – I leave work and go pick up E from Kinder. She’s packing up the toys and I wait until she’s finished. She also wants a piece of fruit as an afternoon snack, so I wait until all the kids have washed their hands and for E to get her apple slice. 
E wanted to go look at the toy shop (Kmart) tonight and I thought why not? I also said we could buy a treat to have after dinner (I normally only do this when I want a treat too, haha). She’s okay now with looking at the toys and playing with them in store, without having to buy them, which makes the trip to Kmart much more peaceful. Of course, we still walk out with some purchases. I buy E some slippers and a dressing gown, plus some little Smartie boxes and some Gobstoppers. $35.25
E is super into cooking and tonight she helps me make fried rice. The splattering bacon when it hit the oil scared her a little, there were also a few tears when I put peas and corn into it. I think she always eats more healthy parts of her meal if she has helped cook it. And the incentive of having a treat afterwards always helps too. 
7:30pm – We both have a shower and then it’s time for E to go to bed. I stay up and watch some more Taskmaster. I buy tickets for the movies tomorrow night, using Telstra Plus and they are only $13.50 each. $27
10:30pm – It’s time for bed!  
Daily Total: $164.70

Day 6 

7:00am – I wake up and get E ready for Kinder and myself ready for a day trip to Melbourne for another medical appointment. E is great at drop-off today, but I always get a bit sad as I’m not going to be with her for a couple of days. I don’t let her see this though. 
The drive to Melbourne is easy, and I get to my appointment with plenty of time to spare. It costs $180, $80 of which will be reimbursed by Medicare. I had to schedule a surgery for two months’ time. The lady who helped me with the booking was great and very patient, as I was trying to make it when I didn’t have E, and when I knew people could look after her for a couple of nights too, depending on my recovery. $180
12:15pm – I have lunch with a friend. I get some Vietnamese rice paper rolls for $11.80. I spend the afternoon working from a café since I don’t want to waste a whole day of personal leave. I get a Coke Zero and a sweet treat for $7. $18.80
5:30pm – I’m meeting up with a friend for dinner and a movie. I love coming to Melbourne and being able to see all my friends. We have Italian and split a pizza and pasta, and also have a glass of bubbles each. We split the bill and it comes to $47 for my half. $47
We see Challengers and I don’t know what I think about it. I don’t think I will rewatch it, but I didn’t dislike it. I think maybe it was not what I was expecting. I like Zendaya; she’s a great actress. I just didn’t like her character much. The videography was different too but not in a bad way. 
9:30pm – I arrive back at my car in the all day parking I booked online, $25. I drive back home. It’s not a bad drive, and I’m home by 11:30pm. $25
Daily Total: $190.80

Day 7 

7:00am – I wake up and get ready for work. 
8:00am – I start work. I have a few projects to work on, so it makes the time go quickly. 
11:30am – I have an early lunch as I have meetings over lunch today. I eat the last of the leftover Thai food. 
2:00pm – All my meetings are done and I’m hoping the afternoon will go quickly. I help a couple of colleagues out with things and make lots of phone calls and it goes quickly. I’m waiting for my boss to return tomorrow to go over a couple of things with them, this will get the momentum going. I have a quick scroll on Sage and Clare and I finally use my voucher I got for Christmas. The voucher was $100, so I was only out of pocket $3.50. $3.50
5:00pm – I finish work and head home. I don’t have any plans tonight, so I get lots of tidying done and fold the laundry. I also put my electric blanket on the bed, which I’m super excited about. I change mine and E’s sheets too. I have leftover fried rice for dinner and watch Taskmaster. I also have two packets of E’s Smarties and the rest of my Gobstoppers. 
7:30pm – E calls and shows off the ice cream she got for dessert. I watch an episode of Baby Reindeer and I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch all of it. I was stalked in my early 20s and strangely I felt a bit triggered all these years later. I speak to a friend who’s overseas visiting their family. It’s nice to have a chat, I’m jealous they are away for five weeks and are enjoying the sunshine but we discuss the possibility of me going with them next year. After we hang up, I watch some more Taskmaster. 
11:00pm – I finally go to bed. When I don’t have E, it’s hard to get motivated to look after myself and get a decent night’s sleep. I rarely go after midnight these days, as I do feel the effects the following day. 
Daily Total: $3.50 
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