Money Diaries

A Week In Oakleigh, Melbourne, As A Compliance Consultant On A $346,000 Joint Income

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Today: a senior compliance consultant at a bank who lives off $346,650 a year and spends some of her money this week on dental implants for her father.
Occupation: Senior Compliance Consultant
Industry: Banking
Age: 34
Location: Oakleigh, Melbourne
Salary: $346,650 ($151,650 base for me and $195,000 base for my partner)
Net Worth: $2.75 million (joint). We have three properties in total, one to live in and two investment properties, which have a combined total value of $3.35 million. We have $920,000 cash in our offset, a car worth $50,000, $150,000 in super each and shares of $10,000.
Debt: $1.88 million (including investment loans for our properties, $14,000 on a car lease, and $6,000 of credit card debt which is paid off each month).
Paycheque Amount (Monthly): $23,370
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $4,844. We own our home, which is a three-bedroom unit in Oakleigh, Melbourne. We’ve come off fixed rates sadly, and our interest payments have now tripled. We’re fortunate that we have no home loans, so all of our interest expense is fully deductible against our taxable income as it goes towards investment property loans.
Netflix: $17
Amazon Prime: $10
Spotify: $12
Childcare: $2,010
Gym Membership: $84.54
Land Tax: $775
Car Payment: $1222
Health Insurance: $320
Electricity: $68
Gas: $60
Water: $143
Internet: $79
Savings Contributions: As we have an offset account. I transfer funds into the account as soon as we get paid to serve as temporary savings to help reduce interest. What’s left after expenses at the end of the month then becomes our savings. Before we had a child, we trained ourselves to live on one income whilst the other’s salary went towards savings in full so we used to be able to save 50% to 60% of our income. Now with a child and increasing interest rates, we’ve only been able to save about 37% of our income which is around $8,000 to $9,000.

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

Yes. Both my partner and I attended university and met through our course. I did a single degree in Commerce while he did a double degree in Science and Commerce, as well as an MBA. We were lucky to have our parents pay for our undergrad degrees so we have no HECS debt. My partner was also super lucky to have scored a full scholarship for his MBA. The only caveat was that he had to do the course full-time, so he had to forego his salary and took an extended leave. As part of the scholarship, he also got a little stipend (allowance) from the sponsor.

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

My parents have always taught me that you need money in order to survive (and thrive!). Growing up, I’ve always had a propensity to pursue creative fields, but my parents weren’t supportive of it because they didn’t think that I could get a decent-paying job in arts. We lived comfortably and Dad was paid well as a C-Suite. I always had enough pocket money and didn't have to worry about money, but they certainly didn’t overindulge me either. My dad taught me as a teen to not get trapped by a lifestyle and to use money to make money. I was always encouraged to save. They focused more on the importance of having a good job instead of having a ton of money though. Maybe they think that having a good job will inherently bring you more money so they focus on what matters most (to them).

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

My first job in Australia was at Macca's! I worked overnight shifts from 11pm to 7am. I went for it because I wanted to get work experience for my resume... and some pocket money wouldn’t hurt! I was only given $1,000 per month (excluding rent), which wasn’t a lot as I used to go out a lot with friends and had so much time on my hands. Working certainly helped with that!

Did you worry about money growing up?

No. I didn’t worry until when my dad was sick for a period of time when I was a teenager. Looking back, I think he was uncharacteristically stressed. He wasn’t getting on with his boss who sort of told him to quit. He was hospitalised for a bit and my mum started panicking as he was the sole breadwinner and told me to cut spending. Luckily for all of us, he recovered and managed to find another job.

Do you worry about money now?

Yes, big time! I worry that we’re not saving enough. I worry that my child won’t have enough. I worry that my parents won’t have enough. My parents’ circumstances have changed so much since I was growing up and now they need financial support from me. I’m really risk-averse and admittedly somewhat paranoid. I worry that I’ll lose my job and I won’t ever be able to find another job for the rest of my life because no one would want to hire me because I suck at interviews. My partner is the voice of reason as he tends to balance me out and calm me down when I get my little freakout moments here and there.

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

20 years old. I graduated a bit earlier and started working right after uni. My parents continued to support me for a few months before they cut me off completely. I’ve been supporting myself since then. My safety net is my partner and our offset account.

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

I do from our investment properties and dividends. My in-laws also decided to sell their property in Melbourne (they live overseas) a while back and gifted us the proceeds from the sale. This is their inheritance in advance, so we don’t expect to receive any inheritance from them when the time comes. It takes self-discipline and restraint not to blow the inheritance you get in advance. We used the money to pay off our home loans and proceeded to purchase investment properties since then. That’s how we could afford to not have any non-deductible property loans.

Day 1

7:41am — My son has been calling mama for a few mins now, so I guess this is the start of my day. I quickly get up, tidy my bed, dash to the bathroom to scrub my lips, and then I go into the nursery to greet him. Today, we’re planning to head to NGV as I’ve been wanting to have a change of scenery from the usual shopping mall trip (the weather hasn't been great). He doesn’t let me change his nappy right away and prefers to dawdle in the morning, wanting me to read him books, play with stickers, and do anything other than get on with the day. Sometimes I let him, other times I don’t.
9:00am — Finally time for my morning coffee and I start getting ready to go out. I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut, so I make it a point to do my makeup a bit differently and dress in something other than leggings and sneakers. It takes time though, so my partner has been understanding enough to take my son out so that I can get on with it.
10:45am — Head out to the city. My partner is having second thoughts about going to NGV as we left later than planned. It’s not solely due to me getting ready — he actually ended up going to the supermarket to get some groceries ($109.12) and ended up taking longer than expected. We decide to have an early lunch first in South Melbourne and possibly head to either the market or NGV later. $109.12
11:20am — Get to the restaurant and order our dishes. I get fried chicken with rice and he gets spiced beef on rice ($33.50). Our boy has his salmon with veggies on rice which we brought from home. We always have to take turns when eating out with our son, so my partner eats first while I take care of the kid. $33.50
12:15pm — All done. Since our toddler seems like he’s got energy to burn, we decide to head to NGV. It’s not ideal as his nap time is usually around 1pm, but I convince my partner to throw caution to the wind just for one day.
12:40pm — Get to NGV and checked out the 'Up, Down and All Around: Daniel Emma for kids' exhibition. My son has fun but I think he's still a bit too young to enjoy the activities. It's still good to check it out anyway — my goal was a change of scenery and I consider it achieved.
3:00pm — Get home. My boy's fallen asleep in the car and I was hoping I could transfer him to the bed, but unfortunately, he has other plans. I do the usual routine of putting him in the sleep sack and reading to him before putting him in the cot. He keeps wanting me to read all the books and doesn't want to go to sleep. I read a huge pile and decide that enough is enough, putting him in his cot.
3:40pm — I’ve been wanting to bake some chocolate chip cookies, so I check out what ingredients I’ve still got left. Then I head to the supermarket to get the rest of the ingredients, as well as some pork medallions for the week. $35.35
4:03pm — Get home, prepare and weigh the ingredients for my cookies.
4:20pm — I wake my boy up from his nap as I don't want to ruin his night's sleep. I get him ready and take him to the local library as I need to return some books. The library closes at 5pm today and I know I'm cutting it a bit late, but it’s better than staying at home.
4:50pm — Get to the library. We even manage to borrow new books. WIN.
5:10pm — Get home and start mixing the ingredients for my cookies while my partner prepares dinner for our son and himself.
6:30pm — Cookies are done. They taste good and satisfy my chocolate craving, but I'm not happy with the texture. I wanted soft baked cookies — they came out soft but turned harder as they cooled. I think I need to adjust the temperature and timing for the oven next time. I prepare my dinner which is just stir fry pork and veggies on rice from yesterday. I normally cook a big batch on the weekend which lasts us for several days during the week.
7:00pm — Bathtime! I actually quite enjoy bathing my son. Help him brush his teeth and off to bed!
7:55pm — He's off to sleep, so now it's my bath time!
8:30pm — Enjoy a glass of red wine and snack on some crackers.
9:30pm — Off to bed!
Daily Total: $177.97

Day 2

7:00am — Decide to finally get up after snoozing my alarm once or twice. I jump in the shower and start putting on my makeup whilst watching YouTube videos. This is one of my fave things in my daily routine — you'd be surprised to hear how much I've learned from YouTube! People tend to discount it and say bad things about these channels, but I think it's how you use it that matters most. Lately, I've been enjoying this channel called Wired, where experts answer questions from Twitter about random topics in their fields of expertise.
7:50am — The toddler is up, so I ask my partner to handle him as he'll be working from home and I'm heading to the office today. I'm nearly done getting ready and we're looking good for time.
8:30am — My partner drops me off at the train station before he drops our boy at childcare as it's on the way. $10 for the train. $10
8:50am — Book occasional care for next week and notice that their price has now gone up to $35 per session. I book two sessions. $70
9:30am — Have our team meeting, featuring some free muffins!
12:00pm — Go out to have some Thai food for lunch with some colleagues. I order the rockling on rice ($18). Then we make our way to a doughnut shop. I'm so tempted to buy one but decide not to as I've brought some cookies from home. Any penny saved is a penny earned, and with that logic, I just saved myself $6. I check the account and also see that my partner has bought a baguette from a bakery that's well-known for its good portions and affordable prices ($9.63). $27.63
1:30pm — Back at the office. I get ready for a catch-up with an ex-teammate and meetings until close of business.
4:30pm — Heading home. Cook some pork chops for dinner. Give my son a bath. Put him to bed and jump in the shower.
8:30pm — My time to unwind. I'm watching the finale of a really old Korean drama on Netflix.
10:00pm — Turn in for bed.
Daily Total: $107.63

Day 3

7:13am — Out of bed and tried to move as quietly as possible out the door. No luck this morning — my kid's up and calling. I ignore him for a bit while I get ready, then wake my partner up. You know how on flights we're meant to put on our oxygen masks first before helping others put them on?Completely true. Once I'm ready, I help change my boy's clothes and I send him to childcare.
8:20am — Get home and start getting ready for work. I like to browse the organisation chart to familiarise myself with the lay of the enterprise as I work for a large organisation.
9:30am — Have Coco Pops for breakfast — not the healthiest choice, but so good! My partner tells me that we'll have a handyman come today to help repair our dining table ($84.75). It's important as our dining table doubles as my work desk and I do love this piece. I'm hoping that he can fix it as I'm not really keen to replace it. $84.75
11:30am — Make a homemade pizza for my boy's dinner. Toppings are green capsicum, mushroom, chicken breast, and beetroot with mozzarella. Not sure that beetroot and chicken goes well, but don't think he'll mind! For lunch, I have Spam and fried eggs with ginger and spring onion sauce.
4:40pm — It's been a quiet day, so I decide that it's a good day to log off a bit early and hit the gym for a class.
6:30pm — My partner picks me up from the gym with our boy. Sadly, he doesn't enjoy his pizza! Apparently, he's been very difficult and my partner's had enough of him.
8:20pm — Finally he's down for the night. He was particularly challenging tonight. It's time for me to enjoy my hot shower and wind down.
10:00pm — Time for bed. I watch The Good Doctor and drift off to sleep.
Daily Total: $84.75

Day 4

8:00am — A late wake-up today. For some reason, I'm feeling pretty tired. I realise that my boy is up too, but I'm just gonna ignore him for a bit while I quickly dash to the bathroom to get ready for the day. My partner comes to the rescue and changes his nappy.
9:00am — The nanny arrives while I'm still getting ready. She takes him to a playground that's nearby. Fortunately, it's not raining today even though it's a bit gloomy. Since it's the school holidays, the occasional care is closed so I've gotten a nanny in on Wednesdays and Thursdays to look after him in the morning until nap time, which I pay $100 for each time ($100). He loves our nanny and was even asking for her last night. She's been a godsend as she's a mom of two boys herself and lives so close to us. After, I transfer $1,000 to my dad overseas as I've agreed to help him pay for his dental implants, which is costing about $8,000 in total. So far, I've sent about $7,000. $1,100
11:30am — My boy is still out with the nanny and I'm getting hungry, so I fix myself some lunch featuring some leftover chicken stir-fry and Spam. I have my lunch whilst watching some YouTube videos on personal finance. I like to watch these videos to look out for tips on what else I can do to save more money, but I find that I've been doing all these things for ages since I've adopted quite a frugal lifestyle for as long as I can remember. I feel like a lot of my spending is mostly on services (like childcare, a nanny, and a cleaner) — I don't mind spending on these things as it really helps make my life a bit easier. Whilst I do like the finer things in life, I rarely buy things that I enjoy like clothes. I find that I'll always delay the purchase until I convince myself that I don't need it. Sometimes I wonder if this is sad as I'm denying myself the chance to actually enjoy the fruit of my labour, but I can't help but feel irresponsible when I do. When I returned to work several months ago, I 'splurged' by buying a $8 Moccona instant coffee instead of the $4 Woolies brand coffee. Something I didn't mind 'spending' on was taking extended parental leave (of 21 months) — I consider this a luxury as it gave me invaluable time that I wouldn't have had with my son. Since we're not planning to have a second child, I want to be able to give him the best that I can and not look back at anything with regret.
2:00pm — My son is finally down for his nap while I try to finish stuff I need to do for the day. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, my partner and I take turns logging off work a bit earlier to look after our boy since he's not in full daycare for these two days. It's a bit of a pain, but we save a little bit on childcare since we don't get a large subsidy. Fortunately, our work is flexible enough to allow us to do this. We usually log back in after he sleeps which is around 8pm. I need to run a few errands, so I think I'll take him to Chadstone this afternoon. He loves going out and doesn't really like staying at home, so we always have to plan an outing when we look after him.
3:45pm — My boy is up and we head to Chadstone.
4:00pm — I head to Mister Minit to get my belt punched and drop off my boots for repair. While waiting, I get some sushi for my boy and me ($10.10). We head to the parent's room for our snack. I love spending time in the parent's room — it's so comfortable and well-equipped. After we finish our sushi, we head back to Mister Minit. It costs me $10.07 to get the holes punched and I can pay for the shoe repair when I pick them up in a few weeks’ time. We then head to Kmart to let him play with the toys. $20.17
7:10pm — Get home and my partner bathes and put him to bed. I log back on to do a bit more work and check for any messages or emails. It's a quiet week for me work-wise. I get a bit deflated when that happens. I love being busy and love a decent amount of stress.
8:00pm — Have my shower, wind down in front of the TV and that's my day!
Daily Total: $1,120.17

Day 5

7:10am — I force myself to finally get up as today I'm going into the office. I need to get up earlier if I want some quiet time while I get ready.
8:30am — My partner takes me to the station ($10). He's working from home again but I've organised to have our nanny come to look after our boy ($100). $110
9:30am — We have our team meeting. I've got several meetings today, as well as a catch-up with an old friend. He lives in an apartment near my office so I've offered to get lunch for us and eat at his place.
12:00pm — Lunch time! I get us some Japanese — a chicken katsu curry don and some fried goodies, which cost me $33.60. Lunch is on me as he's hosting and it really isn't much! $33.60
3:40pm — I head home after my last meeting of the day, but before that, I make a pit stop at this Chinese place that I've heard good things about. I get us some calamari and duck on rice dishes ($31.50). My partner and our boy picked me up from the restaurant. $31.50
5:30pm — Both my partner and I are so hungry and excited to try our takeaway and it doesn't disappoint. I think we'll be getting food from this place more often!
8:35pm — My boy is finally down for the night. It's a bit later than usual because he woke up late from his nap. I notice that there are a bunch of payments to Amazon on our account — my partner bought nappies, wet wipes, toothpaste and laundry detergent. $75.81
9:00pm — I turn in early as I'm feeling so tired from my day. I watch And Just Like That on my bestie's Binge account and drift off to sleep.
Daily Total: $250.91

Day 6

7:00am — I hear my boy and decide to come and get him. He's still sleepy but he wants me to read him some books.
8:00am — My partner's up so he takes over so I can get ready for my day. I make coffee and I have it while putting on my makeup and watching YouTube videos on money-saving tips and how to build more wealth.
9:15am — I have my fortnightly catch-up with my boss, just casual chit-chat. I feel very fortunate that I have a good boss — he's a real people person who affords his team an excellent work/life balance. It's rare to come by!
11:00am — I get notification from my boy's childcare that he's gotten a spot for an extra day from mid-July. This is a win for us, but that also means our childcare expenses are gonna go up! Oh well, our freedom is well worth it! I notice that there's a payment to Afterpay that's just come out, which is for a pair of boots and a blazer from Forever New ($43.49). I also see that my MYKI has automatically topped up ($10). $53.49
11:40am — My partner and I head out for Korean BBQ with some friends. We have all-you-can-eat Korean for $20 per person! $40
5:00pm — Pick up our boy from childcare. We decide to head to Southland and have dinner there. There are some play areas for the little one, and he's much happier going out which makes it a little easier for us. I drop by Bed, Bath N Table and noticed that they've got some nice towels and throws, so I decide to pick some up for a friend's birthday present ($65.85). I've already got her an ice cream maker but thought this would be a nice addition too. $65.85
7:30pm — Head home, bathtime, then bedtime.
Daily Total: $160.90

Day 7

8:00am — I struggle to get up today as I didn't sleep very well last night, which means that gym class is out this morning. I was also meant to have lunch with a friend, but something came up so we've rescheduled it to tomorrow instead.
10:30am — We go to the toy library to make some returns and get new toys. Turns out our membership is up for renewal, so we pay the annual membership fee ($90). My hubby fills up petrol for our car ($85.33), and I notice that our payment for our car wash membership has also come out ($48). $223.33
11:00am — Decide to keep the lunch reservation I made with my friend and go with hubby and our boy instead. I'm famished by the time we get to the restaurant, so I get soft tofu soup with a fried chicken combo and my hubby gets the bulgogi soup ($52.48). We also get sushi for our boy ($11.21). $63.69
2:00pm — We head home as it's past nap time.
2:40pm — He's finally down for his nap. I decide to have one myself to make up for the little sleep I got last night.
4:30pm — Wake up to heavy crying. Our boy is throwing a fit as my hubby had to wake him up. We decide to take him to Southland again so he can play.
6:00pm — It's my mother-in-law's birthday today, so we video call to wish her a happy birthday as she's overseas
6:45pm — Dinner at Grill'd. I only eat onion rings while my partner gets a burger and chips. $28.30
7:45pm — Head home, bathtime and bedtime.
Daily Total: $315.32

Anything else you'd like to add or flag?

Writing this entry makes me reflect that my fixed expenses are just off the charts! I've always known that my discretionary spending is quite minimal, so I'm not too worried about that. I don't know how to reduce my fixed costs though, which is a bit worrying. I'm grateful that we can still save, but I'm not really okay with how costly our fixed expenses are.
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