Money Diaries

A Week In Regional Victoria As A Sales Manager On $80,000

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.

Anyone can write a Money Diary! Want to see yours here? Here's how.
Today: a sales manager who makes $80,000 and spends some of her money this week on an embryo transfer for her IVF treatment.
Content warning: This diary discusses miscarriage in a way that some readers may find upsetting. 
Occupation: Sales Manager
Industry: Agriculture — Farm Supplies
Age: 32
Location: Regional Victoria
My Salary: $80,000. I also get a company car.
My Partner's Salary: $25,000
Net Worth: $400,000 ($260,000 in house value, $70,000 in cash savings, and $72,300 in super.)
Debt: A $300,000 mortgage
My Paycheque Amount (Fortnightly): $2,431
My Partner's Paycheque Amount (Weekly): $700
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $1,557. I live with my partner and our three-year-old girl in a newly built four-bedroom house on a one-acre block.
Daycare (x4/week): $715, after our government assistance payment.
Utilities: $200 (including gas, electricity, council rates, and water).
Phone: $60
Private Health Insurance: $260
Internet: $90
TV Subscriptions (Netflix, Stan, Apple TV, Prime, Disney+): $58
Car Insurance and Rego: $1,500/year
Petrol: $150. This changes if we have big trips to Melbourne during the month, but if we're just around town, we don't use much petrol.
HelloFresh: $340. We get four weeks' worth of boxes and received a discount. It's been nice to get inspired again and not worry about what to cook.

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

Yes. I studied for a Bachelor of Business. In my second year, my parents told me that 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?

I was a waitress. 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?

Only a little bit. My partner and I are trying for a second kid with IVF. We won't know how much that will cost us until we successfully have a baby in our arms. After all our attempts with our first child, we ended up paying about $30,000. We've budgeted for that much, just in case.

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

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. My partner and I have spare cash, but we want to spend that on baby number two. I know I can always ask my parents if we need assistance — they want to make sure we 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 last year, which we also put towards our mortgage. We also received a $20,000 regional first homeowner's grant, plus a $25,000 bonus for signing building contracts before the end of 2020.

Day 1

6:40am — Alarm goes off. I get up, have a shower, and get ready for work. My partner, K., starts a new job today, so for the first time in a while, she gets to stay in bed while I get up. She used to work in a factory so she'd always be up and gone before I got up.
7:00am — I wake little E. up. She's not happy and prefers to be with K., her other mama, in the mornings. She doesn't want to get ready for daycare and keeps telling me that she's hungry. I give her a biscuit for now, but she'll have her full breakfast at daycare. After many tears, I finally dress her and get her in the car. She screams, "Mama!" the whole way to daycare. She cries when I drop her off, but I know that she has lots of fun once I leave, so I've stopped taking the crying personally.
8:10am — I arrive at work ten minutes late because of all the crying this morning. Luckily, my work has such a family-friendly atmosphere that no one really minds. I turn my computer on, get a cup of tea, and chat with my colleagues about their weekends. Local regional footy is always on the cards on Monday mornings. We chat about the team I followed as I was growing up — they're going quite well this year and will make the finals! I check my emails and get ready for a meeting with my boss.
9:30am — The meeting with my boss goes well. I want to take on more responsibility, so he's going to keep me in mind for anything that comes up. We also chat about an important email that I'm sending out about our company-wide sales forecasts. It gets approved, and I work on finalising it.
10:00am —  I'm really hungry, so I make a tea and get a snack from my lunch box. It's one of those little packs with cheese, crackers and ham. I skip the ham as it's super watery and I can't find the use-by date.
12:00pm — I'm hungry again but I don't have lunch until 1pm, so I make another tea and have a mint to get me through. I usually don't have breakfast, but now I'm thinking I should start.
12:50pm — I can't wait any longer and decide to eat my lunch — a leftover Korean bibimbap from our HelloFresh kit. My partner and I often add a little extra rice or veggies to the dishes to give us leftovers the next day. 
1:30pm — I have a scan appointment for my IVF treatment. In our quest for E., my partner went through two IUI treatments (intrauterine insemination) and two rounds of IVF. We had to go through a few rounds before she became pregnant with E. All up, it came to about $30,000 out of pocket. Now, we want to bring a second child into the world. This time, I will be carrying the baby. We wanted to use the remaining embryos we had, but unfortunately, I miscarried at nine weeks back in February. I'm a pretty logical thinker and knew that the body was taking care of itself, so I shouldn't blame myself for the miscarriage. In July, I did a second embryo transfer which did not stick. Now, we're onto the third try and our second last embryo. If these don't work, our backup plan is for me to do IVF with my eggs and the same donor. We've spent about $7,000 on my transfers so far. The lady who does my scan today is really nice. She tells me that I'll need to trigger myself later for an embryo transfer on Saturday. I don't pay anything today as it's covered by the fertility clinic.
2:00pm — I head back to work and send my important email. Then I message my colleague as I'm meeting her in a small town nearby as we're driving down to Melbourne for a work conference. We both love country music, so it ends up being a great drive.
7:00pm — We arrive at our hotel and head out to a Korean restaurant nearby for dinner. I have Korean fried chicken, chips and a Coke Zero. It comes to $18, but it's expensed on my work account. I walk to a small IGA and buy ice cream, chocolate, cheese, biscuits and milk (for my cups of tea at the hotel!) — $13.78.
8:30pm — Since I'm in the area, I drive to my cousin's house nearby to say hello. I also want her to help me do my trigger injection. I'm not mentally prepared to stab myself, so she has a glass of wine to prep herself, and goes in. I think she actually finds it quite fun.
11:00pm — I head back to the hotel and lie in bed, watching a little bit of Gavin and Stacey before going to sleep.
Daily Total: $13.78

Day 2

8:00am — This morning, we're up early and ready for the conference. They have provided breakfast but as you know, I don't really eat breakfast, so I just start with a couple of cups of tea. I listen to the speakers and do some networking. I always try to write a couple of key points from each speaker so I can remember what their talk was about when I go back to work and tell people about it.
10:30am — Morning tea is provided, so I have a couple of sausage rolls. Then it's time to listen to more speakers.
12:30pm — Lunch. This time, it's assorted sandwiches. I have a few but I'm still pretty full from morning tea. We get into breakout groups for the afternoon, and by 3pm, we're finished. My colleague and I head back to the hotel. I catch up on some emails and speak to K. and E. on FaceTime.
6:30pm — We head out for a drink in the city. My colleague has not been to Melbourne much, so I take her somewhere she hasn't been. It's a dive bar. I have an alcoholic ginger beer and she has a pint of lager. My shout. $25
7:15pm — I take my colleague to a Greek restaurant. I order a vegetarian platter because it has a lot of my favourites on it — three dips, pita bread, feta, and spanakopita. I also order some saganaki and a Coke Zero to drink. I pay $69 on my card, but this will be expensed. My colleague wants donuts and buys me one while she's at it. Yum. We jump on the free tram and ride back to our hotel.
9:00pm — We have a swim and spa in the hotel pool to unwind. This is really relaxing as no one else is in there. Although it's really cold, there's something about going for a swim that is really refreshing and fun. 
11:00pm — In bed and watching more Gavin and Stacey before I go to sleep. I love rewatching familiar shows before bed. I highly recommend this show — it's got short, sharp, and very funny episodes. James Corden stars in it and is the co-writer.
Daily Total: $25

Day 3

7:00am — I wake up and get ready for at 8am start at the conference. It's a half-day today so everyone who lives rurally can drive back home.
10:30am — Morning tea is served. I have a couple of party pies. The conference is interesting, but I don't know if it was worth the drive and two nights away from the family. I'll need to make sure I take note of that when RSVPing to conferences in the future.
1:30pm — It's finished and we start driving. We haven't had lunch, so we stop and get a snack at KFC before heading off ($10.45 — expensed). My partner doesn't like it and we never eat it, so I have to take this opportunity!
4:30pm — I pick E. up from daycare. She's really happy to see me and I get a big hug. We head home and play outside for a little bit. It's a little cold, but I want to tire her out so she doesn't watch too much TV. We head inside and K. comes home and starts cooking our HelloFresh meal — chicken with couscous and veggies. We eat together at the table. It's not my favourite dish, but it's okay. E. eats the couscous because she thinks it's baby rice.
7:30pm — I pop E. to bed and go relax on the couch with K., who is watching Hoarders. Then we pivot to a new show on Netflix — Instant Dream Home. I really enjoy it, but it does seem unrealistic that they can transform a home in twelve hours. They do show a little footage about the months of prep work that go into the big day, plus they have almost 250 people working on some of the sites! I guess being able to forklift in entire ready-to-go kitchens helps a lot too.
11:00pm — In bed watching Gavin and Stacey again. 
Daily Total: $0

Day 4

6:30am — I start getting ready for work before E. wakes up. 
7:00am — E. is awake! K. is taking her to daycare today so I don't have to. I prepare some rice bubbles for her breakfast. When she has breakfast at home, we often let her eat on the couch and watch the telly as it's not for too long. She loves a mix of shows, but we usually just have ABC Kids going for consistency. It also helps K. and I know the time, based on what show is playing.
7:45am — I'm out the door and off to work. Living in the country is great as I don't have to travel far to get to my office. If I'm travelling for sales calls, I'll need to cover more distance, but I set it up pretty well so I don't spend too many nights away from home. Someone in the office has made scones, so I have one along with a cup of tea. I reconfirm lunch plans with a colleague — we're definitely going out; we just don't know where yet.
10:00am — I eat a snack on the go — biscuits and cheese, hold the ham.
12:00pm — My colleague and I head out to lunch. It's our first lunch out together, so it's really nice to be able to talk to her away from the office. We order chicken toasties with sundried tomato and pesto ($12.80). It's YUM! I feel like a sweet treat, so when we get back to work, I have a Milo. I put a lot more Milo in than the instructions suggest. $12.80
5:00pm — K. buys bread on the way home at Bakers Delight ($7, paid on our joint account). I also see that E.'s swimming lessons have been debited — $24.50 for two classes. $165 has also come out for her daycare for the week, covered in my monthly expenses. I collect E. from daycare and she's super happy to see me. We chat all the way home. Well, as much as a three-year-old can chat. She was just pointing at stuff out the window and telling me about it. $31.50
7:00pm — Dinner. Tonight is a cottage pie from HelloFresh. It's really good. E. agrees and eats all her food. E. decides she wants to do some dancing after dinner, so we oblige. We cue up Shake It Off by Taylor Swift and Happy by Pharrell. After, K. pays for an online police check she needs for work ($50 on our joint account). $50
9:30pm — The usual. Head to bed and watch Gavin and Stacey until I eventually fall asleep at 11pm.
Daily Total: $94.30

Day 5

6:30am — I get ready for work. E. doesn't have daycare today, so K. will stay home with her. I get lots of kisses and cuddles before heading out the door.
7:00am — Today I'm making some sales calls in nearby towns, so I start the drive with an audiobook. I'm currently listening to Air Kisses by Zoë Foster Blake. It's a trashy rom-com, but I really like listening to things like this. I really enjoyed the podcast series, The Younger Man, which was adapted from Zoë's book. It's the reason I'm listening to her audiobook! Even though I don't have much of a skincare routine, the only products I have in my cupboard are from Go-To Skincare. I think Zoë is great and I really trust her.
8:00am — Because I'm on the road, I don't have any food with me. I try not to get sucked into buying unhealthy bakery food every time I'm on the road. At this point, I know where to get a nice sandwich or hot meal in most towns in the area. I need to stop for petrol — $110 on the company fuel card. I feel very thankful to have a company car and fuel with all these rising costs. I contemplate buying a healthier lunch, but at this point, I'm too hungry to reject the hot food at the service station. I grab a slice of pepperoni pizza and a cheeseburger ($17.50). I also see that K. has forgotten E.'s swimming nappies today at the pool, so she has to buy another set ($3). $20.50
5:00pm — I finally wrap up all my sales calls and drive straight to my parents' house. K. and E. are already there, welcoming me with open arms. My parents and E. have a very close relationship. She loves them so much, and they always have fun playing games with her. We have some takeaway Turkish food for dinner, including bread, dips, tabouli and meat. My parents pay.
8:00pm — I drive home and pack a very minimal bag for Melbourne — socks, toothbrush, undies and a spare top. My embryo transfer is tomorrow and I don't want to drive there and back on the same day, so I'm leaving tonight. I make myself a cup of tea and download an episode of Small Town Murder to listen to on the drive. 
11:00pm — I make it to Melbourne. I'm staying at my friend's place even though she's away at the moment. She messages me and tells me I can help myself to anything I want, so I eat one of her chocolate drumsticks from the freezer.
12:00am — I finally go to bed (but not before I watch a few Gavin and Stacey episodes).
Daily Total: $20.50

Day 6

8:30am — I wake up and get a call from the embryologist. She says a lot of scientific terms and for a full minute, I'm not sure if it's a good or a bad phone call. After a while, I realise that everything's doing what it's supposed to and we're ready to go this morning. No breakfast today, just a cup of tea.
9:30am — I get the tram to the fertility clinic, touching on with my pre-loaded Myki [public transport] card that I always have in my wallet for when I come to Melbourne ($4.60). I'm a little nervous this morning as this is my third transfer. My fingers are crossed that this is my lucky day. $4.60
11:00am — I love my doctor and the nurses at the clinic, which makes it an easier process. A transfer only takes a couple of minutes — they get the embryo in place, check it with a microscope, and then release it. After this comes a two-week wait. I might get pregnant, but I need to wait for my blood results to know. Every pang and sore boob could be a really good sign or it could be a sign that you're about to get your period. My partner and I promised we wouldn't do at-home pregnancy tests because they can be inaccurate based on the meds I take. I try not to get my hopes up during this time. My card gets pre-authorised for $4,645 — hopefully, I'll get about 25% back in Medicare rebates. $4,645
1:00pm — I go for a walk to find some lunch. I decide on Japanese and have teriyaki chicken and a Coke Zero ($11.60). I keep the Coke unopened as I want to drink it on the drive home. I walk back to my friend's house where the car is, enjoying my stroll around Melbourne. The fresh air calms me. I really needed this walk to process everything that happened this morning — it could be life-changing. $11.60
2:00pm — On the drive home, I listen to some downloaded episodes of Sounds Like A Cult. This episode is about LuLaRoe, an MLM clothing company based in the US. I drive to a small town nearby and watch the end of a local footy match, where I meet K. and E. We grab some hot chips from the canteen ($4.50). K. heads out as she wants to enjoy some time alone at Bunnings. She buys some parts for a drill, paint, and something called a 'goat foot' which helps pull nails out of things ($66.14). She then heads to Aldi and buys yoghurt, bananas, snacks for E. and me, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, laundry detergent, stain remover, a large bottle of olive oil, lolly snakes, Clinkers, lots of canned goods, tomatoes, an assortment of beans and pulses, and coconut milk ($250.66). $321.30
5:30pm — The footy game is over and E. and I are happy because our team won! This means we're in the finals. Now we just have to wait and see who we're going to play.
6:30pm — We arrive home and I make E. a toastie and get her ready for bed. She loves toasties. I can occasionally hide veggies under the layers of cheese, but sometimes she'll catch me and pull them out. I don't want to deal with the drama tonight, so I don't try and hide any. It's just a plain cheese toastie, I swear!
7:45pm — After E. is down, K. and I. have toasties too (with a fried egg!) while we watch Instant Dream Home. We also start watching The Gray Man. It's not bad and it's great to see Captain America (Chris Evans) play a very different character. I have a couple of Clinkers and K. eats most of the snakes.  We're tired, so we stop the movie halfway and head to bed at 11:30pm.
Daily Total: $4,982.50

Day 7

7:30am — I am awake and hanging with E. She's very happy this morning. We watch a couple of cartoons while she eats breakfast. I love Bluey and she only likes it sometimes, so we compromise and watch one episode of Bluey and one episode of Nella the Princess Knight. Once we're finished, she wants to play, so I get down on the floor and play with her and all her toys.
9:00am — K. wakes up and makes me a cup of tea while she has her coffee. E. wants to help whenever K. is making a coffee, so she makes a 'coffee' too (milk and chocolate powder). She loves pressing the buttons on the machine and is very good at not touching hot things.
9:30am — We're cleaning up our garage today. We moved into our home a few months ago and haven't unpacked everything from the garage yet. It also has a bunch of my parents' stuff in it, as they moved a while ago and have been trying to downsize. K. wants a lot of the stuff my parents are throwing away. I can't believe all those episodes of Hoarders haven't sunk in yet!
1:00pm — We get through a lot of work, so Mum rewards us with hot chicken, rolls, and coleslaw for lunch. We finally finish and have a lot of things to take to the tip. I make a mental note that this is proof we have too much stuff.
3:45pm — After the tip, we have a cup of tea with my parents. It's great to get out of the house and E. loves playing with the toys we leave at their house. My Linkt tolls account has been automatically topped up after my trip to Melbourne — $40.16.
6:00pm — I get home and start making a HelloFresh meal. This time, it's a Szechuan chicken and rice dish. E. just eats the rice. I am not going to get hung up on her eating habits at the moment. She's still young and she eats almost everything served to her at daycare. We do hide a lot of veggies in pasta sauces or sausage rolls, though. E. has a bath and gets lots of water on K. and me. I let her have her fun and put her to bed.
8:00pm — K. and I watch a couple of episodes of Instant Dream House. I've officially finished Gavin and Stacey, so I start on Season One of The Big Bang Theory. I haven't watched this in ages, and I can't stop laughing out loud.
11:00pm — I actually try and sleep.
Daily Total: $40.60

Anything else you'd like to add or flag?

Two weeks after this diary was written and my embryo transfer, I was told that I was having a chemical miscarriage. The embryo started to stick, but it just wasn't growing properly. I have stopped taking my medication and I should expect my period/miscarriage to happen in the next few days. I have to wait a little while until I can try again. I might be lucky and be able to try again this month, or I'll have to wait until next month. We have one more embryo left to try before we have to do a complete round of IVF to try to make more embryos. 
If you or anyone you know has experienced the loss of a child and is in need of support, please reach out to The Pink Elephants Support Network or call the Red Nose Grief and Loss hotline on 1300 308 307.
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour.
For many of us, money can be a major source of stress. But it doesn’t have to be. Become more confident with our beginner's guide to managing your money.

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it here.

More from Work & Money