Money Diaries

A Week In Flemington, Melbourne, On A $93,000 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 penny.
Occupation: Consultant (Communications and Engagement)
Industry: Management Consulting (in government services and defence, transport, infrastructure, resources, and energy)
Age: 24
Location: Naarm, Wurundjeri Country (so-called ‘Flemington’, ‘Melbourne’, ‘Australia’) 
Annual Salary: $93,000 per year + 10% super
Net Worth: $30,900 ($11,500 in savings, roughly $10,000 in assets, and $5,000 in super, $4,200 in my sinking fund).
Debt: I’m still studying, so not paying off my HECS yet. My Afterpay bills are roughly $200 per month.
Paycheque Amount (weekly):
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $815 (I live in a shitty terrace sharehouse with three other women in their 20s!)
Gas: $10
Electricity: $25
Water: $10
Internet: $15
Gym: $75.60
Netflix: $10.99
Stan: $10
Disney+: $11.99 (I pay for Disney+ and my best friend pays for Binge — we exchange accounts.)
Soundcloud: $5.99
Spotify: I get Spotify Premium for free from family friends. I guess you can call me their honorary child!
Apple iCloud: $15.99 (For my mum and I)
Phone bill: $25 (Work gives me a $70 allowance for my phone bill!)
Nails: $60 (I get them done twice a month, and each time costs $30)
Lash Lift: $90 (I get this done every second month)

Mutual Aid - organisations I support each month.
Pay The Rent: $10. 'Paying the rent' is so important because — unless you're Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander — you're living on stolen land and contributing to the structural oppression of First Nations people. Instead of waiting on the government for systemic change, we need to act now.
Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC): $10.67. AYCC is a fantastic grassroots organisation that not only is led and run by young people, but empowers and upskills other young people in the process. Climate anxiety is something I feel in my bones every day, and idly sitting by watching a government do nothing but ~pray~ for our future is something that doesn’t sit well with me.
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS): $15. One in four prisoners in this country are Indigenous, even though Indigenous Australians only make up 2.5% of the national population. VALS assists thousands of clients each year and deliver a 24/7 support to Indigenous people in contact with the so-called ‘justice’ system. Donations have a big impact here.
Wuurn of Kanak — Land Back: $15. This is a Gunditjmara and Dunnai First Nations-led exercise of sovereign strength and self-determination to regenerate the land and waters. It's super fucking important.
Other mutual aid: I try to allocate around $15 per month for additional mutual aid. I see things pop up on my Instagram stories and donate as necessary. Some months it’ll be $50 and other times, $10.

Magazine Subscriptions
The Guardian: $14.60 (Digital subscription. This is a news source that is basically my safe space.)
The Monthly: $11.25 (Print subscription. A magazine with critical essays, investigative journalism and reportage.)
The Quarterly: $6.66 (Print subscription. This is also by Schwartz media which are more essays on politics and culture in so-called ‘Australia’.
Meanjin subscription: $13.33 (Print subscription. A journal of fiction and ideas, reflecting the breadth of contemporary thinking, be it on literature, broader art forms, politics and broader current issues.)

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

Yes. I’m currently studying Politics, Asian Studies and International Relations at The University of Melbourne. I tripped and fell into a full-time job, so I’m studying part-time until I finish my degree. I’m not paying any HECs as I haven't graduated yet.

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

Money was a really interesting topic as I was growing up. When I was a teenager, I discovered that my parents had had extremely privileged upbringings, with financial support from their parents until they were well into their 20s. They grew up not worrying about money and this definitely translated into how they parented me, as I also didn't think about money much.

But I think my parents' lack of financial literacy has started to frustrate me later in life. They couldn't teach me about taxes or investing (even when I explicitly asked!) because they never worried about money and always had accountants to assist them. So, I did what only children do when their parents don't know something — I got my information online. Youtube and Instagram have some really amazing resources for young people. I found myself really benefitting from the internet's girlboss wave and the trends that followed it, including fantastic tutorials on taxes, investing and budgeting.

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

My first job was at a local cafe by the beach. I was really lucky and didn’t actually need a job — my parents bought me everything I needed, but I wanted to start saving up for my gap year after high school. I started as a waitress and gradually transitioned to making coffees and drinks behind the bar. It felt like a massive promotion at the time, and I still ride this high! I worked short shifts every Sunday, but I was totally delusional in thinking that one 4-hour shift a week would help me save anything.

Did you worry about money growing up?

I never worried about money growing up. I'm really lucky and quite appreciative that my parents were able to provide for me and made sure I had a comfortable upbringing. However, my grandma lived with us for all of my school years, and having gone through the colonisation of her country and multiple wars, she brought her financial trauma into the house. She didn’t trust banks and would hide cash in my stuffed toys, freaking out when we would donate them to an op shop. It wasn't really a worry about money in the traditional sense — we worried about money adjacent to my teddy collection.

Do you worry about money now?

Yes and no! I’ve recently gotten a new job — it’s the best paying job I’ve ever had. So at the moment I don't really worry about day-to-day finances like making rent or paying bills. I'm super grateful for this, and it still doesn't seem real! But when it comes to thinking about future me, I do worry about money. I think being a financially independent young person can be a tough gig. The memes about the housing crisis are funny, and seeing friends get lumpsum inheritances is great for them, but it's hard to navigate some sort of future plan that involves saving and buying a house. Will I even be able to buy? Or will every landlord have like, twelve houses each by then — who knows?!

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

I think 2019 was the first year I was entirely responsible for myself. In 2018, I was still asking my parents for support for things like paying a rental bond, or asking them for loans. But in 2019, I’d stopped asking for help. I didn’t have any real savings until 2020, so I definitely relied on my parents as a financial safety net (loan sharks, if you will! Just joking.).

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

Nope — I wish! I’m currently being really nice to my elderly neighbours, so let's hope that we manifest a different answer after this is published.

Day 1

9:30am — I wake up and decide that it’s not the time to be vertical yet, so I remain horizontal and bury myself in my duvet for just ten more minutes. I haven’t been paid in four weeks as I’ve just started a new job that pays monthly, so I pay off some Afterpay bills for the rest of the week from my savings ($137.77). I use Afterpay to manage my monthly spending. It worked so much better when I was paid fortnightly at my last job! For now, I just use Sunday mornings to sort out my finances. I'll figure out a new system when I get paid in two weeks. I crawl out of the warmth and make myself a mulberry leaf tea — I don’t really get the health hype around it, but my 'granola' mum harvests and makes it from the tree in her front yard and it tastes like home. $137.77
10:30am — I text my friend J. to see if she’s up. We’ve planned to do something fun and day-trippy today, so we're thinking of either heading to a beach down on the peninsula, or to a swimming hole up north.
11:00am — I pick J. up. She literally lives 50 metres away from me, which is SO good, but she's moving back to Palawa (Tassie) — her home state — next week. We lived so close to each other for so long but missed most of the perks because of the pandemi-lovato. Sad!
12:30pm — Once we’re down on Boonwurrong Country (Flinders), we make a quick pit stop and grab some fish and chips for lunch ($24). Sadly the chips are very mediocre and probably the most fluorescent yellow chip I’ve ever seen (they're a level up from fluorescent chicken shop chips!). J. tries to pay me for petrol and lunch, but I tell her not to be silly and that she can take me on an adventure somewhere when I visit her off the mainland in March. $24
1:00pm — We head to Bushrangers Bay. I planned on showing her the rockpools, but when we drive past the car park, we see that it's absolutely heckers. We decide to head somewhere different, so I take her to a lesser-known spot nearby. We arrive and see that there's only a couple of other cars in the carpark — perf! We set up, eat our fish and chips, some mangoes and homegrown figs and mangoes I’ve brought, and sink a Furphy on some rocks. But we soon realise that we're running out of time — J. needs to be back in the city by 4pm. We have a quick dip in the rockpool in front of us, but bail because it's pretty dangerous with the high tide, swell, and massive waves nearby — oops!
2:30pm — We pack up and venture back up the very steep hill. As we make our way to my car, I can feel the weight of the pandemic in every single puff I embarrassingly make. There’s nothing like a long drive that brings out the best convos. J. and I are both consultants, so we each rant about our jobs (okay, mostly me!). Complaining to friends who work in the same industry really do be hittin' different. 
4:15pm — I drop J. off and head to the supermarket to try and get my shit together for the week. I pull up feeling mega unprepared — normally I have a list and a plan, but this time I’m winging it. In the store, I land on a meal I essentially eat every other week: yellow fish curry. I buy ingredients for that, see that red capsicum is the price of a firstborn so swap it for eggplant, and grab some other weekly essentials. I grab some milk and a kilo of coffee beans for the house (I'll split this with my housemates). It comes to $89.15 total, but my share is $63.85. $63.85
5:00pm — I unload the car and put the perishables in the fridge. I can’t hear anyone else at home, so I slither down to our weird basement living room to watch some mind-numbing TV. But I hit some sort of TV paralysis wall and can't decide what to watch. My housemate, S., comes home and catches me just staring at the Binge homepage. I explain that I can't settle on a show as I'm probably going to end up on my phone and not pay attention. I ask her to put on literally anything. She chucks on Landscapers. It actually turns out to be phenomenal and I watch it with her (without going on my phone!).
9:00pm — Fuck! Dinner! I completely forgot. I head upstairs and start cooking my fish curry. Candles are lit, I’ve got my 'grooviibabii' Spotify playlist going, and I’m vibing. 
10:30pm — I notice a group chat popping off on my phone, so after I eat dinner, I video call my friends N. and E. E. went over to see her grandma in Wales, got Covid, and — you guessed it — is stuck there. We’re planning on creating a new sharehouse together early next year, so we discuss logistics, where we want to live, dates and budgets for rent.   
11:30pm — Time for bed, I guess. I get into some comfies, make a Rooibos tea, hop into bed and watch The Office until I fall asleep. 
Daily Total: $225.62

Day 2

9:30am — Oops, I've slept in. I jump out of bed and log on to see if I’ve missed anything essential. I head into the kitchen, make myself a flat white and then bring it back to bed. I don’t feel great, and I think I have sunstroke. So I treat myself and check emails in bed. 
11:00am — It's so nice to have a lazy morning. Working from bed is an awful habit I've developed during the panini-press, but I try to limit that habit to the early morning. 
12:30pm — I love lunchtime! I sit outside in the sun like the lizard person I am, and eat my goat's cheese, chilli and avo toast with a coffee. Delicious. I explore Instagram to find menu inspiration for this Saturday’s lunch.
1:45pm — I get bored so I do some ~work-related~ online shopping. I buy a lanyard from Dreamtime Kullilla-Art, featuring Merryn Apma Daley’s artwork. When buying things that feature Indigenous art, it’s so important to make sure your money is actually going to the artist and Indigenous-owned businesses, not some weird white saviour organisation that is basically a front for exploiting First Nations artists. It's also crazy to say, but you need to make sure the art is actually done by an Indigenous artist. In the height of the BLM movement here, it was uncovered that a lot of companies and businesses were either selling Indigenous art that wasn’t made by Indigenous people, or they couldn’t provide a source. That's a red flag if I’ve ever seen one!
5:00pm —  I knock off right on the dot and clean my dumpster fire of a room. I’m facilitating a focus group for a client at work later tonight and need my Teams background to make me look clinically sane.
8:30pm — Focus group is finally wrapped up and I crawl out of my room and microwave some yellow fish curry with rice. I watch Succession with my housemates in the basement, and trawl Facebook marketplace and Depop because I’m obsessed! I find a Seoul 1988 Olympics cap (where my mum worked as a nutritionist!) on Depop for £16 (or $31 AUD) and buy it instantly. An absolute steal if you ask me — the others were going for over $90! $31
Daily Total: $31

Day 3

7:00am — Wake up, make a coffee and crawl back into bed to watch my friends' Instagram stories from my finsta. I find that having a second account is a nice way to cut down on social media time and stay up to date with your friends, without being inundated with all the people you don’t know and don’t care about on your feed. I briefly catch up on the news through the Guardian app, before deciding that I've enough and the world is literally a shit fire on the brink of collapse. I normally like to consume different types of media to exercise some critical thinking, but I’m finding myself only going to progressive left-leaning media for my news lately, because it feels safe there.
7:45am — I check my Depop inbox and find a new DM. Someone wants to buy my old phone case, so I respond saying it’s available. I clean and sanitise it and put it in a pre-purchased parcel so it's ready for the post office as soon as they click buy.
8:00am — Shower. I’ve been trying to cut down on my unnecessary plastic waste over the past few years. I’m a recent convert to shampoo bars — my new shampoo bar is mint flavoured and literally makes my head feel like it's on fire (but in a cool, soothing way). This shampoo wakes me the fuck up and I feel unstoppable, fearless, and like the world is my minty Listerine oyster. I moisturise my face with a couple of Aesop products before lying on my bed in my towel like a little wet rat. I start to think about the workday and all of the deadlines in front of me, but get too overwhelmed. I wish it was the weekend, RIP.
8:30am — Slowly start to build up some courage to get out of my wet towel. I change into a corporate-appropriate top and pop on my tracksuit and Uggs on my lower half. I then make myself a flat white with the Breville coffee machine my mum gifted to me. I used to be a barista, so I really enjoy the morning ritual of a good coffee. But now I get to miss out on the boomers yelling at me to make their takeaway coffees so hot it would burn their souls. 
8:50am — I log in early to check some emails and Teams messages to try and get a headstart on my day. 
10:00am — The group chat is popping off again — everyone is talking about our group Splitwise. I see that A. has sent me $120 for tickets I recently bought to see a DJ we love. My other friend, R., agrees to set up a Splitwise after we see a movie together tonight.
10:30am — A parcel arrives! I don’t know if it’s lockdown PTSD or if I genuinely get really excited when parcels come now. My Self Practice 2022 calendar cards arrive and I’m obsessed. They’re designed by Lauren Trend and are just such good quality.
11:15am — Another parcel arrives for me. I don’t know if you can tell, but I like to treat myself. It’s my Wuurn of Kanak merch — a hoodie and pair of socks that both say ‘LAND BACK’. Land back is such an important movement to get behind — @wuurnofkanak on Instagram has some great explainers on it.
12:30pm — I eat avo toast for lunch again. Second coffee. My head hurts and I want to watch TikToks in bed, but I continue working towards my deadlines.
6:00pm — Finally finish work and really don't feel like going out for dinner. I check in with R. to see if she’s still up for dinner and a movie, and she says she would be but that she’s having a really great time at work drinks. Works too well for me, so I tell her to kick on with them and that tonight's more of a horizontal phone-time night for me.
6:30pm — I go for a little walk to unwind from the day and my headphones die on me mid-walk. A sign from the universe to go home.
7:30pm — I heat up my curry again. Am I starting to get sick of it? Yes. Will I cook something else? Absolutely not. I head to the basement to watch some shit sitcom TV with my housemates and talk about our days. Drag Race is on and RuPaul is out of control, I love it.
Daily Total: $0

Day 4

7:15am — I wake up and feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I had an awful sleep thanks to our bestie, Miss Insomnia. I cancel going into the office today, and message my coworkers who I was meant to get IRL coffees and lunch with. Sad.
8:40am — My favourite person knocks on the front door — the postie. This time, the parcels aren't for me. I walk around the house and hand out deliveries like I’m a goddamn shopping centre Santa.
9:00am — I log on and get straight to work. I’m part of a small team running the company’s interstate virtual work event, and we’re working out some last-minute kinks and doing a couple of test runs before showtime. 
1:30pm — We wrap up the virtual event. It went so well! There were so many hours of planning and work that went into it, so I’m glad people had fun. It was also was a great way to meet interstate coworkers since I’m relatively new to the consulting firm.
2:00pm — I reheat my fish curry for lunch and do a cheeky lunch at my desk. Now my room smells like curry, yuck. I work for what seems like an excruciatingly long time, but also seem to hardly get anything done. I log off at 7pm and call it a day.
7:30pm — My housemate B. adds rent to the house Splitwise. My monthly rent is $815, but I pay her $549.40 because she owes me for bills and other things I’ve paid for since the last time rent was due. 
8:00pm —  I continue researching and brainstorming for a lunch I’m hosting this Saturday. I love, love, love to experiment with schmancy foods — food is definitely a love language for me and I love my friends so much! I finally have a draft menu which is great, because I can see what I already have and what I don’t, so I can start planning my food shopping throughout the week.
8:30pm — I have breakfast for dinner — avo toast again. This time, I top it with two cute fried eggs from the local farmer's market egg stall. After dinner, I log back onto my work laptop and do some unfinished tasks.
11:00pm — Finally log off and shut the damn work laptop. I’ve simply had enough! I call E., who’s still stuck in the UK. She’s missed her flight home since she'd had Covid and all her rapid antigen tests were positive, even though she's been in isolation for over a week. E. is one of my favourite people. It's so amazing to hear her voice. There’s something about someone close to you asking if you're okay. I realise I've been barely holding it together, so here comes the waterworks. I have a big cry, and she listens to me and supports me, which is kind.
1:00am — After our call, I cry in bed for a bit more. It's super cathartic — I've been trying to hold it together for a bit too long. After, I return to my desk to finish my report that's due tomorrow morning.
3:15am — I finally get to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day 5

8:00am — Wake up feeling like absolute shite. Surprise, surprise!
9:00am — I send through the report and feel so relieved. I message R. and tell her that I'm not feeling super great. Like the trooper she is, she comes over straight away with two coffees, a cinnamon scroll and some carrot cake. We all need supportive friends like her. We chat for a few hours while my report gets reviewed, and I feel so much better. I love my friends so much.
2:00pm — I have my fortnightly check-in with my line manager and raise the fact that I need a mental health day. I saw a post on Instagram the other day, and it linked the diagnoses of mental health to capitalist standards. It didn’t suggest that mental health issues don’t exist outside of capitalism, but explores the idea that psychiatry defines illness not by whatever challenge is presented to the individual, but by how it inconveniences capitalism. Rest is radical, so I decided to be radical and ask for the mental health day! My manager says yes and is so supportive. I’m starting to like my new workplace! 
2:30pm — My copy of The Sunday Paper, which I’d bought a few weeks ago, arrives in the mail. I plan to read it later when my brain isn’t feeling as fried. I check my phone and see that my gym has direct debited from my account ($37.80) for this fortnight. Whoops, I haven’t been in over a week. $37.80
3:00pm — My friend T. arrives at Tullamarine Airport from Ngunnawal Country (so-called Canberra). He Ubers to my house and arrives while I'm mid-meeting, so I let him in and continue working. 
3:30pm — I go out to the kitchen area where T. is, and we catch up over a cup of tea. It's so, so good to catch up with interstate friends after so many months apart in lockdown. 
6:30pm — I finish up WFH in my bedroom and come out to the kitchen to continue catching up with T. My housemates J. and B. also finish work and hang out with us. T. and I can’t decide what we want for dinner or even if we want to eat out. There are zero brain cells at this kitchen table. 
9:00pm — After a bottle of wine, we finally decide to go out for dinner. Fuck cooking! We order a Didi ($14.51) and head to Ngár-go (Fitzroy). On the way, we realise T. doesn’t have the Service Victoria app, so he spends the entire drive trying to remember his myGov password, resetting his myGov password, linking his Medicare to his myGov and then finally getting his vaccination certificate linked to his Service Victoria app. I don’t know if it was the wine or the awkward Didi driver, but I'm crying with laughter at being of no help to my friend. $14.51
9:26pm — We manage to order four minutes before the kitchen closes, frantically pointing to things on the menu — the pub's lighting is so dim that we can't even see the menu! We end up getting two orange wines, half a dozen oysters, burrata with smokey eggplant and tomato toast, and a crispy pork belly main — all to share ($106 — $53 my share). $53
10:30pm — We head over to Napier Quarter. Napier Quarter is pretty much closed, but we manage to get a seat outside and have a drink. We ask for the bartender's recommendation and order two glasses of Rosato — a beautiful chilled red. We don't look at the menu, so accidentally spend $41 on two glasses of wine (lol). $20.50, my share.
11:30pm — It’s freezing outside. Mine and T.'s nipples are rock solid, so we head inside while the bar closes. We’re a bit of a nuisance and can’t stop laughing at everything.
12am — R. finishes work and meets up with us. We all walk over to one of my favourite cocktail bars, Above Board. I’ve only been a handful of times, but when we walk in, one of the bartenders immediately recognises me. We talk shit over some truly fantastic cocktails. The bartenders are fun as, and join in on chatting shit with us and even give us a tour behind the bar. We stay until closing. I pay for the bill and tip 10% since they gave us a discount. $108.90 — my share $43.56.
1:30am — We walk to R.'s car and she kindly drops our drunk asses off on her way home — angel!
Daily Total: $169.37

Day 6

8:00am — My body, mind and apparently even my soul have betrayed me, as I naturally wake up early. So much for a sleep-in on my day off. I try to fall asleep again, but my room has no blackout blinds, ugh. My room is also at the front of the house — and of course, this is the morning where we get not one, not two, but THREE separate visits from the postie. We used to be best buddies, but now I feel betrayed. One delivery is for me, and the others are for my housemate. I usually do a Santa delivery of the parcels to my housemates, but this time I leave them in the middle of the hallway, right in front of the door. I crawl back into bed with the radical hope of catching some more zzzs. 
9:30am — I've hardly slept since 8, having more of a lie-in rather than a sleep-in, but I'll take what I can get. I reply to some messages from friends that I’ve been neglecting for a few days. At this point, the sun is streaming into my room so I accept that I won't be able to sleep, jump out of bed and get some Rooibos tea. I add a little honey from my mum’s community garden to my tea and I feel healed. I message T. to see if he’s awake and needs anything, but I get no reply — he's probably still sleeping (the lucky shit!). I remember that I received a parcel this morning, and head back to the hallway to open it. Yay! It’s a blanket I treated myself to a while ago, made from recycled wool from The Grampians Goods Co.
10:00am — T. replies, saying he’s awake. I make us both lattes and some scrambled eggs on sourdough for brekky. We’re both still feeling pretty dusty from last night, so I make us another iced long black to fuel us for the rest of the day. We continue hanging out in the kitchen, chatting to my housemates and discussing the birth chart of someone he’s recently started to date — Venus in Virgo, apparently. We then talk about our double signs in Venus and Mars — T.'s are both in Gemini and mine are both in Scorpio — love that for us!
2:00pm — I go over the draft menu for tomorrow’s lunch and finalise it. I write out a few lists of the ingredients I need for each dish and highlight the ingredients I don’t have. I text my mum to see if she has any of the ingredients that I don’t have at her community garden. She has some goodies in season, and we organise to meet at my place tomorrow morning.  I estimate how much I’m going to spend for the rest, and it’s roughly $150. 
3:00pm — I read The Sunday Paper. It’s the first edition and I’m so glad I bought a copy. My favourite article in the paper is by Amy McQuire, called 'Our Shared Resistance' — it’s such a great read. 
3:30pm — T. heads off to meet up with his other Naarm friends, and I head off to get my nails done. $30
4:30pm — I come home feeling pooped. I was meant to go shopping for tomorrow’s lunch. Maybe later. I watch Modern Family for a bit, enjoying an afternoon of no thoughts, an empty head and pure bliss.
6:30pm — My housemate B. is knackered from the capitalist hellscape that is full-time work. The thought of cooking a meal is too much, so we decide to order burgers for dinner and watch The Gentleman. $53.34 altogether, $22.24 my share. $22.24
8:00pm — I decide I want a sweet treat mid-movie but don't feel like dessert. We walk up to KFC and get frozen Cokes. $2 for two drinks — my shout because I have a bunch of silver coins I want to get rid of. $2
9:00pm — I’m meant to meet a couple of friends at Howler for a gig, but decide to continue my radical day of rest and give it a miss. 
10:45pm — I check my Instagram requests folder and see a bunch of messages I’ve missed over the past couple of weeks. One message is from an anti-vaxxer who had DM-ed me and Brooke Blurton in the same chat. I did some advocacy work for some First Nations Elders and had a few of my Instagram posts go viral. For some reason, the ‘sovereign First Nations’ movement (which I’m technically for) has mistakenly linked me to ‘freedom of choice’ and anti-vax bullshit, so I keep getting spammed. I used to reply, but it got too exhausting and I just don’t have the energy to use it this way. Blocked.
11:30pm — B. goes to sleep early. My other housemates are away — T.'s boyfriend got the keys to his new house, so she’s down in Djilang (Geelong) helping him move in, and J.'s flown to Meanjin (Brisbane) to see her boyfriend’s family for the holidays. I have a cheeky solo late one in front of the TV and go to bed at 2am. 

Daily Total: $54.24

Day 7

9:00am — I wake up to the sound of someone banging on my window (front room perks!) It’s my mum! I realise that I've slept in. Mum has brought some goodies from her community garden: french radishes, baby Dutch carrots, Kipfler potatoes, raspberries, kale, chard, rhubarb, pansies, parsley, basil, Thai basil and so much more. We catch up over a coffee at the kitchen table and talk about the lunch I’ve got planned. 
9:30am — Market time. I zoom over to Footscray Market to grab oysters, prawns, betel leaves, and some other ingredients ($56.63), and pay for parking ($1) —I love the inner west! I swing by my local butcher and buy a beautiful cut of porterhouse steak ($35.40) and head to the supermarket for the rest ($49.73). I now have everything for lunch, and I'm under my budget — yay! I have a rule of thumb for how much I spend on ingredients when I host — it has to be the max of what I'd spend on myself in an evening at a nice wine bar. $142.76
11:00am — I get home and start prepping straight away.
12:00pm — My friends start arriving and T. comes back home. Just like every other time I host, people arrive and I still haven’t showered or gotten myself ready. I get people helping me out with different tasks and dishes— everything is everywhere and it’s pure chaos. I love this warm buzz of cooking and talking and drinking with my friends pre-meal. 
1:00pm — We whip out the special occasion wine and have lunch out in the sun on the deck. Gorgeous, gorgeous girls love a garden lunch! B. takes out all her special occasion bottles of wine too, and we eat and drink all afternoon.
6:00pm — By this point, those who are still left are wasted and we move everything inside. We eat some sandwiches (the girls who get it, get it!) and crash.
Daily Total: $142.76
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