Money Diaries

A Week In Fitzroy, Melbourne, On A $93,000 AUD 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.
Currency written in AUD
Occupation: Fundraising Campaign Manager
Industry: Not For Profit — Community Services
Age: 33
Location: Fitzroy, Melbourne
Annual Salary: $93,000
Net Worth: $77,000 ($65,000 in superannuation, $12,000 in stocks)
Debt: $30,000 of student loans in the UK
Paycheque Amount (monthly): $6,260 (I have salary packaging as I work for a NFP so I pay less tax).
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

These come out of our joint account:
Rent: $1,629. I live with my partner, T. The total rent for the month is $3,258 and we split it 50/50.
Groceries: About $150 — $200 a week. We tend to go to the shops to buy food a couple of times a week as we don't have a car and can't do big bulk shops — we only buy what we can carry!
Utilities: $160 (gas, electricity and water)
Internet: $75
Netflix: $16
Amazon Prime: $7
Spotify: $15
Stan: $14

I pay these solo:
Loans: $300 towards my student loan in the UK
Phone: $25
Health Insurance (Bupa): $32. I only have extras cover that includes dental and optical, and I pay ambulance cover annually which is normally around $40.
Audible Subscription: $10
Cat Needs: I cover any costs for our cat, O. He's mine from my life before T., and I prefer to pay for all his furry needs myself. With food, litter, and any treats I get him, I probably spend about $50 a month (though I buy these in bulk every few months).
Spending Money: I give myself $800 in spending money that covers clothes, beauty, going out and any other solo costs. I then save the rest of my money, which is around $2,200 a month (which sometimes makes it into my investments, and sometimes gets spent when I have a 'bad' month money-wise (especially if I do too much online shopping or I buy flights).
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Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?

Yes, I attended university in the UK and I studied Anthropology. I used student loans to pay for my fees. I had a number of part-time jobs while I was at uni — I worked in a call centre, a bar, and a bottle shop to try and make ends meet. I was living away from home so I had to pay rent, and this extra income helped me to do that. I remember earning just above minimum wage, which was about $1`5 an hour.

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

I grew up in a single-parent household, so money was tight. We didn't talk about money, but I just knew that we didn't have a lot and that it was a huge source of stress for my mum. Even as an adult, it was never really discussed. I felt like I lacked any kind of financial literacy. I worked in the credit card department at a bank call centre during my uni days, and learned a lot during that time, especially about loans, credit and APR. It really opened my eyes to just how many people also didn't understand the basics of finances. 

However, I've always been the type of person to spend money — even if I don't actually have it. I racked up $20,000 of credit card debt to pay for my PR visa in 2016. But I just kept adding to it — I bought things I didn't need and couldn't afford, like clothes, makeup, nights out... trying to keep up with the Joneses! I felt really ashamed. I knew that these things I was buying weren’t worth the debt that I was getting into, but I just really spiralled and kept buying things to make myself feel better, putting myself deeper and deeper into debt. I remember lying awake at night worrying about it, but I just couldn’t seem to shake myself out of the cycle. It was a difficult few years.

I managed to make a real change to that cycle when I was made redundant a few years later. I used my severance pay of about $30,000 to pay off all my credit card debt and closed all of those accounts. It was a real life-changing time for me. I'm determined to never go back to living like that — I now take full ownership of what I earn and never live beyond my means. Stuff is just stuff, and I now know that nothing you can buy is worth jeopardising your financial security or peace of mind.
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What was your first job and why did you get it?

My first job was working in a cookie shop when I was 15. I wanted to earn my own money to squander away on clothes, going out with mates and eventually buying cider to drink in the park! I truly believe all those gruelling hours on a Saturday made that Strongbow taste even sweeter! I remember feeling envious of my friends whose parents gave them an allowance, which meant they didn’t have to work. But in hindsight, I’m glad that I worked and earned my own money — it gave me a real insight into the value of money and what an hour of work will or won’t buy you. 

Did you worry about money growing up?

Yes. We had very little disposable money growing up — it was obvious, especially compared to my friends and extended family who mostly lived in double-income households. While I never went hungry or wanted anything extravagant, I just learned not to ask for things. As soon as I was able to, I got a job, which meant I could buy whatever I wanted. At the time, my main priorities were the skinniest jeans I could find, and a vintage fur coat I'd been lusting over — I was really into grunge-chic at the time! My mum worked really hard and still felt concerned about money, so she'd save everything she could — which is the opposite of me! I'm a natural spender, and it's only recently that I've begun to take control of my finances and have started saving and investing money. 
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Do you worry about money now?

Yes and no. I try not to worry too much about what may or may not happen in the future — I just save what I can. I was made redundant a few years ago, which shook me into realising that your job and financial stability can be taken away from you at any time. Right now, I'm building myself a safety net in case something like that happens again. 

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

When I was 19, I left home to go to university. It wasn't until I was 21 that I moved back to my hometown, where I lived with my then-boyfriend. I did that for three years and then moved to Australia, where I have been ever since. I'd say I've been truly financially independent since I was 21. I consider my savings and investments to be my safety net.

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

Over the past 15 years, I have received some inheritance — around $4,000 total — from my grandparents passing away. More recently, my mum has given me about $10,000 that I have invested.

Day One

6:30am — I wake up before my alarm and roll around in bed trying to snooze. My partner, T., always gets up very early and goes out for a morning walk. I get up and go to the bathroom, come back to the bedroom to open the windows and fluff the pillows and get back in. O., our cat, joins me for his morning cuddles. This always involves lots of head butts and him thrusting his bum in my face. I scroll through my phone — I have an awful habit of checking Instagram before I’ve even woken up properly. I wait for T. to get home.
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7:15am — T. is home from his walk. He makes coffee and brings it to me in bed where we have a cuddle and a chat about what's on for the day. We're both working from home still. I LOVE WFH! I really hope that my company decides to keep a hybrid working model going forward — I’d really like to spend some time face to face with colleagues, but I also love being able to sit at home in my PJs and have unlimited kitty cuddles throughout the day. 
7:45am — I join T. on the sofa and continue drinking my coffee. As I scroll on Insta, I see that cinemas are opening again — yay! As it's a public holiday next Tuesday, we book two tickets to see the Anthony Bourdain documentary that I've been keen to see. This is made even better by Mondays being cheap ticket day (!), so I get two tickets, plus the booking fee, for $22. I pay from our joint account, so only have to pay half. $11
8:10am — I realise what time it is, hop in the shower, get out and do my morning skincare — The Ordinary Vitamin C serum and Mecca's To Save Face SPF. I leave my hair to dry naturally as I can't be bothered to dry and straighten it on the regs anymore.
8:30am — I make T. and I breakfast. We eat the same thing every day — boiled eggs and toast. I’m not sure how or why we got into this habit, but it’s delicious, keeps me full until lunch, and stops me snacking. 
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8:50am — Make a tea and leave T. in peace to work from the dining room as I go upstairs to my 'office'. It's definitely been a perk having a separate space for us both to work while we’re working from home. My office doubles as the spare room and where we hang out the washing (that I then fold and leave on the bed for months... I hate putting clothes away).
9:00am — Time to log on and check emails. I approve some proofs from a campaign I am working on. I pop into the bathroom and quickly put some makeup on. This is a habit that I haven't been able to quit. I’ve worn makeup almost every day since I was 15, though it’s much more pared-back these days (less kohl and cat eyes!) I use the same products every day —  bareMinerals foundation (the powder one — it’s AMAZING!) and brow pencil, bronzer and mascara all from Benefit (I guess I’m a bit of a Benefit fangirl!).
9:30am — I have a call with my team. I recently started this job, and haven't met any of my team in person yet. I feel like I'm settling in alright though, and everyone has been really friendly. We're planning on meeting for dinner in the next few weeks!
10:00am — I make an iced coffee with oat milk. I bought an espresso maker in the first lockdown to make coffee breaks at home more delicious. It’s saved me so much money as I hardly ever go out to get coffee now. I cuddle O. and give him a brush as he's shedding everywhere. Go back to my desk, write some copy and do other tasks.
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12:30pm — Lunchtime! T. makes a delish pasta salad and I scoff it down in record time. We head out for a walk around the park — it's sunny and lovely and I want to just sit in the grass and drink beer. Instead, I have to head home for more work.
1:30pm — Decide to work from our roof garden. I make a fizzy cordial, change into some shorts and head up. I love having outdoor space — my last place had a balcony that you couldn’t even fit a chair on!
3:00pm — Back down to my office to finish some tasks off for the day. I look for somewhere to book a haircut — I haven't had one since March! I find a place that can fit me in in three weeks' time and pay a 50% deposit. $52.50
4:00pm — I remember that we need onions, so I pop out to the shop at the end of the road and treat myself to an ice cream while I'm there. $7.94 on the joint account — my half is $3.97.
5:00pm — Yay! It's time to clock off. I celebrate with a raspberry sour beer that I found in the fridge and sit on the roof with T. to soak up the last rays of sunshine.
5:30pm — Time to cook dinner. T. and I are fans of eating super early. Tonight I'm making a lentil and eggplant stew and a herby couscous from Ottolengi's Simple. We always sit at our dining table to eat, which is a routine that I really like. Plus, we always have a million condiments and side dishes, so we really need the space to spread out!
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6:45pm — Dinner was so yummy. After cleaning up, we head upstairs and settle on the sofa with O. to watch the first episode of Maid, and a bit of Love Island — I'm horribly addicted to reality television.
9:30pm — I brush my teeth and do my night skincare — wash and cleanse, The Ordinary Retinoid and an eye cream and night cream from Trilogy. I'm really strict with my skincare thanks to all those teen magazines I read when I was younger.
9:45pm — Give O. his night cuddles and stop him creeping into our room, which is a nightly battle! I wish that he could sleep with us, but he just gets super fidgety at 3am and walks over my head! I get into bed and read my book — currently Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. I'm really enjoying it — it's beautifully written and I find myself feeling really emotional when she talks about her relationship with her late mother and the difficulties she sometimes had relating to her. It rings true for my relationship with my mum too. 
10:30pm — Lights are off and I turn on Audible. I have to listen to audiobooks to help me sleep, and currently it's Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There.
Daily Total: $67.47

Day 2

7:00am — I've overslept, so I stumble into the bathroom and get changed into running gear. Then I decide I'm actually too tired to run, so T. and I walk around the park instead. I’ve recently started C25k, and I’ve found it really challenging, but seeing the improvement has been so motivating. I've gone from struggling to jog 3 minutes without wanting to collapse, to now jogging for 25 minutes! It’s a real achievement for me, as I’ve never been a particularly sporty person. 
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8:00am — I make coffee, get in the shower, do my morning skincare, and put my contacts in. Sometimes I think about how great it would be if I had perfect eyesight. I’ve been thinking about getting laser surgery, but it’s expensive and I’d rather spend my money on other, more fun, things. 
8:15am — I text my mum. I’ve been in Australia for over nine years now so I don’t really feel homesick anymore, but I really miss my parents and my childhood friends. My mum and I normally Skype once a week for a proper catch-up. I'm also regularly in touch with T.’s mum who also lives in the UK. T. and I got together in January 2020, so we haven’t been able to meet each other’s parents yet, but our mums went on a 'mum date' not so long ago — quite literally a ‘mothers' meeting’! I’m hoping to go home in April and will go and stay with his parents while I’m there, which is exciting.  
8:35am — T. and I have our eggs and toast and chat about the day and the upcoming weekend. Now that shops are open again, we can go and spend some money! 
12:00pm — It's been a busy morning at work and now it's time to take a break and go food shopping. It's one of those times where everything in the fridge has run out all at once, so we have a lot of restocking to do. We buy eggs, fruit, veg and salad, and a kilo of halloumi! We also get pepitas, pine nuts, cashews, a massive jar of peanut butter, popcorn, and chips. I also treat myself to lots of sweets at the pick and mix area. It comes to $76.66 on the joint account, so $38.33 for my share. $38.33
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12:45pm — Get home and eat lunch. I have leftover pumpkin curry from a few nights ago, and T. concocts a salad from items left in the fridge (which is his ultimate superpower!). 
2:15pm — Door buzzer goes — it's O.'s supplies that I ordered a few days ago, including 30kg of litter (that T. kindly hefts into the garage for me), a big bag of biscuits, plus his favourite treat - Greenies! This week's flavour is Savoury Salmon — he approves. 
4:00pm — Ugh, I'm struggling. I've written so much copy today, which I'm pleased about and ticked lots of things off the list. I decide to take a break and scroll through Depop (I really need to delete this app - it's dangerous). I've been on the lookout for an Adidas hoodie. I have one that I love, but I want one that's bigger and snugglier. I find one that's the same as mine but black and three sizes bigger for just $25, and hit that buy button. $25
5:00pm — We walk to Dan Murphy's to stock up on some booze. We buy a litre of Aperol, Gin, Vermouth and Campari, as well as a couple of bottles of wine and some tonic. It's $250 in all, but T. pays for half as it's his drinks. We split the rest on the joint account — $55 for my share. We get home, and it's G&T time, baby! $55
6:15pm — We retire upstairs to our living room and watch TV... too much Love Island. It starts storming and O. hates it, so he slinks under the sofa to wait it out. 
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9:00pm — I get ready for bed, read for a few hours and spray a healthy amount of This Works sleep spray on the bed - zzzzz.
10:30pm — Lights out and Bill Bryson on. It's so windy and thundery that I find it hard to hear the audiobook or fall asleep. T. is snoring next to me so I turn off the book and put some earplugs in. 
Daily total: $118.33

Day 3

4:55am — I wake up to crashing wind and rain and I realise I'm alone in bed, so I get up to see where T. is. He couldn't sleep because of the storm and is up reading. O. is still under the sofa. I go to the bathroom and then get back into bed, taking O. with me for ultimate comfort. 
8:30am — I drag myself out of bed and head into the shower, eat my eggy breakfast and head upstairs to work — TGIF! I read emails and then catch up on Money Diaries UK — I love reading about people's lives back home. T. and I have discussed moving back at some point, and Money Diaries gives me a great insight into how much people are earning and the cost of living there now versus when I left 9 years ago. I also love getting recommendations for UK podcasts and TV shows through the diaries I read. 
10:15am — I make a coffee, have a chocolate biccie, and text some friends to see how they are and arrange to catch up in the coming weeks, now that we're allowed out again. However, I've really embraced the slower pace of life. I used to be the type of person to be out all weekend with different friends going to gigs and drinking. I don’t know how I did it — I find even the idea of socialising exhausting now. I think those days are over now, which is good news for my liver and bank balance.
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12:20pm — As it's Friday, I go get a banh mi for lunch. It's still rainy and blustery, so I quickly power walk there and back. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but sometimes a bit of what you fancy does you good. $9.50
12:45pm — I devour my lunch, drink a Coke from the fridge, and lie down on my bed and cuddle O. for 20 minutes. He's so unsettled after all the stormy weather and is very needy and cuddly (but I'm not complaining!). 
4:00pm — I move back to the office/washing graveyard to have work team drinks on Zoom. I drink a tea and get called out for it — whoops! I just can’t drink booze and then do more work. Drinking is meant to be fun and relaxing!
6:00pm — Dinner! We have sweet potato wedges, guacamole, black bean and pineapple salsa and loads of halloumi for dinner — it's delicious. We wash up and head upstairs after dinner. We have a sitting room downstairs, however that never sees any action as the TV is upstairs and I'm obsessed with it.
8:30pm — Spend the evening watching too much Love Island (again). I'm not sure when I started watching quite so much reality TV, but I find it relaxing and super entertaining. Rather embarrassingly, I discovered 90 Day Fiance in 2020 and watched almost 10 seasons in a matter of months! Then I discovered all the spinoff shows and found myself emailing Binge to ask when the next season was airing — dark times!
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8:45pm — I drag myself off the sofa and run a bath with lots of Epsom salts and lavender oil, settling in with my book. This is the first bathtub I’ve had in my home since moving to Australia and I'm loving it! I’m such a bath person so they've always been on my house wishlist. Unfortunately, they're not as common here as they are in the UK. I can’t wait for the shops to open up properly so I can go to Lush and treat myself to lots of bubble bars and really up my bathing game!
9:45pm — I crawl out of the bath, pruned to perfection, and do my skincare. I use my Origins night mask this time for ultimate hydration, crawling into bed where T. is asleep already after such a disrupted sleep the night before.
Daily Total: $9.50

Day 4

8:30am — Whoops! I was meant to get up and go on a run today, but that extra-long sleep was just what I needed. I don’t even have time to doom scroll this morning! I get in the shower, do my skincare and brush my teeth. O. comes to watch from the doorway - creep.
9:55am — I'm getting a pedicure for the first time in months! I'm so excited that things are opening up again. I walk to the nail place about five minutes away. I already booked online, so as soon as I walk in, I'm in a chair and choosing a colour (I opt for baby blue, FYI). $40
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10:25am — I head to a flea market a block away and look at the stalls, but there's nothing I want. I should really think about looking for suitable gifts to send home for Christmas. I normally buy my mum ‘fun’ earrings as they’re small and easy to send, and I’ll also buy something for T.’s mum. I'm looking forward to a year where we can all do Christmas in person again — it’s been almost three years since I last saw my family.
10:45am — I walk home and have a glass of water, cuddle O., grab my bag and go back out. I head to the op shop at the end of the road to rummage. I love op shops and I’m really happy they’re back open. I also contemplate taking one of the many bags of clothes sitting in my garage to donate, but decide to take them to a closer one another time. It’s a constant cycle of buying and donating things from the op shops! I've always loved buying preloved clothes, thrifting and vintage shopping as I love the variety and prices. But avoiding the fast fashion industry is another perk, and the environmental concerns are a huge driver too. Plus, I’ve always felt inspired by thrifting — the variety and one-off pieces that you can find when rummaging through the rails is a big kick for me! Clothing has always been how I’ve expressed myself and something that I’ve always spent money and energy on because it brings me lots of joy. 
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11:30am — I try on a few bits and pieces, looking around the shop — but there isn't a huge amount of treasures to be found. This one isn’t great if I’m honest, since they don’t turn over their stock very often. I do, however, walk away with a long-sleeved striped top (can you ever have too many stripes?), $3.50, and a pair of black leather Chelsea boots for $7.00. BARGAIN! $10.50
11:45am — I get home, make myself a tea and grab half a pain au chocolat that T. bought earlier, and go and sit on the sofa with my laptop to do some work for an hour. I try to avoid working on weekends, but this campaign has a tight turnaround time and so I make an exception. 
12:50pm — T. gets home from a cycle. He’s given up asking me to accompany him these days, despite me owning three pairs of padded shorts! I finish up my work, send my feedback to the production team, and head downstairs to make lunch, which is leftovers from dinner. We make Bloody Marys to go with it — woohoo, weekend! 
4:00pm — T. gets home and we open a bottle of wine from the rack — it's a Cabernet Franc from a winemaker in South Australia. We're both big natural wine drinkers and always stock up when we go to vineyards or interesting bottle shops. At one point, we had 30 bottles in our collection! We've been making our way through these, and occasionally we'll stock up with more. Our budget for wine is usually $30 — $40 a bottle... or less if it's a school night! I also put some popcorn from the cupboard (sweet n’ salty!) into a bowl and we settle on the sofa to watch a film - we watch The King of Staten Island after scrolling through every streaming site possible! 
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8:30pm — We're both tired so we have a very early night. I start a new book — An Island by Karen Jennings, which is on the Booker Prize longlist this year. It’s set on an unknown island off the coast of Africa and is centred around a man who lives there alone until an asylum seeker washes up on the shore. I read about 30 pages and then fall asleep around 10.
Daily Total: $50.50

Day 5

7:15am — I wake up, check Insta, text my mum, and get ready for a run.
7:35am — I'm out the door with headphones on, listening to Bimini Bon Boulash’s book on Audible. Bimini is a gender non-conforming drag performer who was on season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. If you haven't seen the UK seasons of RPDR, I encourage you to check them out — I think it’s grittier, funnier and has more diverse talent than the US version. Their book is very good, smart, well-researched and funny, and hearing them narrate makes it even better. I miss UK accents and humour - no one does it better IMHO. 
8:10am — After a 30-minute run, I get home and get into the shower and then T. and I share the other half of the pain au choc and have a coffee.
10:00am — T. and I get on the tram for the first time in a very long time! I have money on my MyKi already — before lockdown I was commuting every day and would spend about $10 a day on transport. Now that I use public transport so infrequently, it's more like $20 a month. It’s nice to be doing normal things again, like people watching on the tram and trying to remember which stop is the right one for where we need to be. 
10:20am — We get off the tram, and walk over to Big W to return a faulty item: a legless sun lounger. This has been cluttering up our garage for months, so it feels so good to be rid of it! While we’re there, we have a look at some cheap activewear (because I’m a runner now, of course!). I buy a light running t-shirt and another pair of running shorts with pockets — why are we still making women’s clothes without them?! #pocketsarepolitical. $23
10:45am — We walk to another mall and go to Muji. We wanted to buy some sheets but the sizing isn't Australian standard and I don't want to buy ones that won't fit properly, so we buy some pens and notebooks instead (?!) Muji pens are the best! $15.50, paid on the joint account (so I only pay half). $7.75
11:15am — Head to Myer and buy some skincare. I get a pore minimiser from The Ordinary ($20). I really rate their products as they're so affordable and effective, plus I’m a sucker for their aesthetic. We walk over to Mecca, and I buy another tube of their sunscreen — To Save Face ($22). This is a great face SPF that works well as a base for makeup. $42 
11:45am — Head to Lush to buy my face scrub, but they don't have it (booo!). I buy a couple of bubble bars instead (yay!), opting for my favourite — The Comforter — and one that smells like citrus, called The Rainbow. I think the bubble bars are way better value as you can break bits off and get lots of baths out of them versus the OG bath bomb that’s just a one-and-done situation. $22 
12:00pm — We are tired and need sustenance, so we walk to Maccas and get a large strawberry shake to share — T. pays.
12:55pm — We get a tram to the pub. It's exciting to be back in the pub again, and we show our vaccine certificates (what is life these days?!) and go and find a seat in the beer garden. I order us two parmas, two gravies, and two schooners, coming to $66.59 ($33.29 for my half).
2:30pm — Parms arrive. They're VERY good — 8/10 (this pub is on a ‘best parmas in Melbourne' list). It’s great to be back in the pub, though I have to adjust to noise levels and needing to wait for the bathroom, which I’ve grown unaccustomed to after all these months trapped at home. But I actually feel so happy to be back in the world again, even if it’ll take some getting used to! After we’ve scoffed everything we decide to head home to sit on our roof.
6:30pm — Sit on the sofa with O. and watch Alone for a couple of hours. Alone is a new reality TV branch for me — it’s an American survivor-esque TV show that sees 10 people dropped into the wilderness, alone. They have to survive by hunting, foraging and trapping, and the last one standing takes home $500,000. We’ve watched a few seasons now — it's addictive! Although I do find it hard watching them catch and kill animals.
8:00pm — I have a bath and use some of my Lush stuff — I sit in it, drinking my tea and reading my book. Absolute Sunday night bliss.
9:15pm — I get out, do my skincare, and use a magnesium spray on my legs that’s meant to help sleep (and sore muscles). It stings, which means that I'm deficient in magnesium, despite using it regularly! 
Daily Total: $106 

Day 6

6:30am — Eww, Monday. I enjoy my job, but it’s really full-on and I find that I often start the week worrying about what might crop up and whether everything that I need to do will get done in time! But I try to keep those negative thought cycles and just general overthinking in check, focusing on what is actually happening versus what I’m worried might happen. I’ve recently named my overthinking voice Sheryl - so I can tell her to shut up (which I do often!).
7:15am — O. comes in for his morning cuddle and T. brings me a coffee while I message my mum. She’s a teacher and is back in school — it makes me really anxious to think about her potentially catching Covid, especially as I'm so far away that I couldn’t easily get home to look after her. It's been a tough couple of years knowing that I can’t just jump on a plane if something happens. I’ve booked flights home in April, and can’t wait to be able to hug my parents again!
9:00am — I log on to work for the day. There's lots to do especially as it's a public holiday tomorrow (hurray!). I don’t agree with the Melbourne Cup, or animal sports in general, so despite being pleased with not having to work, I wish it was under better circumstances and fewer horses had to suffer for it. 
12:30pm — Lunchtime! I make a cheese sanga and eat some veggie crisps and hummus, washed down with another Coke from the fridge. I bought a 12-pack and staggered home with it a few weeks ago, which I'm still working my way through. It's much cheaper than buying a single can from the shops.
1:00pm — T. and I go for a walk around the park in the beautiful sunshine. It feels so nice not to have to wear a mask while walking now, especially as it's getting warmer. I feel so lucky to live so close to a gorgeous park — it makes going for a walk or a run much more pleasant. The last place I lived had no park nearby and I really hated that. 
1:45pm — I get home and do the washing up. T. calls a car hire place as we're going on a trip to the Grampians in a couple of weeks — we had to postpone earlier in the year due to the C-word. I can't wait to go on a few hikes in nature, drink red wine in our cabin, and have some proper downtime. We’re staying in a cabin with a spa bath and a beautiful veranda with nothing but trees all around. I’m looking forward to some star gazing and hopefully we get to see some good wildlife. I’ve missed taking trips and I’m excited to start doing them on the regular again.
3:15pm — We raid the freezer and eat some chocolate ice cream as our afternoon snack. I would hate to think how many tubs we go through in a year! We have a couple of delicious ice cream places within walking distance when we want to be extra #treatyoself, but today — it’s Coles' finest. 
5:00pm — It's the end of the workday! I make an Aperol Spritz with the remaining prosecco from yesterday and cook dinner with things from the fridge/freezer. We make a seafood laksa with noodles and stir fry veg which is actually very tasty, and very spicy!
6:25pm — We head to the cinema and check-in and get a couple of choc tops at the candy bar — I get a Cherry Ripe, and T. opts for mint. ($11 — $5.50 for my share).
8:45pm — The film was great. I feel very emotional as we leave. I have always had such a soft spot for Bourdain — during my last few trips, I rewatched his episodes to get recommendations for places to eat. I had a great time driving to some dodgy-looking industrial areas when I was in New Orleans and Austin, hunting for these food places. After the movie, we bump into a couple of friends in the foyer. It’s nice to randomly bump into people again and be able to make plans to hang out knowing that they will happen.
9:15pm — We walk home and greet a very needy O. He has become so used to us being home 24/7 that he's struggling with separation issues — poor thing. We head bump and cuddle for a while. 
9:40pm — Skincare, teeth, bed. I finish my book and add it to Goodreads. I've completed my 2021 reading challenge of reading 33 books, two months early. I’ve always been a big reader, I think I’ve pretty much read every night before bed since I was a child — this is the first year I’ve recorded and reviewed each book on Goodreads though. It's interesting looking back at what I’ve read and seeing the patterns. This year, 30 out of the 33 books were written by women. This wasn’t conscious, but I do find myself gravitating to books that are written about the female experience I guess.
Daily Total: $5.50

Day 7

7:00am — It's my day off and I'm awake — thanks, brain! I get in the shower and clean the bathroom while listening to The Culture podcast. Nothing says being in your 30s quite like cleaning the bathroom at 7am on a public holiday! 
8:00am — T. gets home from a cycle, and we head to the supermarket to buy food as our friends are coming over for lunch and drinks later. We buy salad, tuna, ice lollies, ice creams, shower gel, pasta, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, potatoes and a bunch of other things which somehow comes to $95 ($47.50 for my half).
10:30am — We settle on the sofa with a coffee and I scroll through my phone for a bit, alternating between Insta, Linkedin (why?) and The Guardian. I used to be a bit addicted to reading the news, especially when the pandemic first hit, but it made me so anxious and I had to put myself on a ban for a while as I was unhealthily fixated. I think it’s really important to be informed and aware of what is going on in the world, but not to the extent that I was at that time.
12:00pm — T. and I tidy up the rest of the house. It's always pretty presentable, but when people are coming around, I get extra tidy! I make a pasta salad and get the glasses, cutlery and other bits ready for lunch. Every time we entertain, I realise that we don’t really have quite enough matching items! 
1:15pm — Our friend, S., arrives. She prepares her salad and T. and I make Aperol Spritzes, catching up with her. She recently had to self isolate as she came into contact with someone who tested positive, though it sounds like she made the most of hermiting and relaxing, so it wasn’t too miserable. 
1:30pm — Our other friends — A. and D. — arrive, so we sit down to eat a salad feast and have a proper catch-up. We haven’t all been together in about five months so there are lots to talk about. 
2:00pm — We make the next round of spritzes and go and sit on the roof and while away the next few hours talking and drinking. We have such a mish-mash of furniture. I’d love to have a proper garden set up with sun loungers and enough chairs for everyone, but we haven’t got around to buying them yet, so for now everyone is sitting on random camping chairs and beach loungers! Like me, I think our mates disagree with what the public holiday is for (the cup) but we’re happy to be able to spend a day together when normally we’d all be working! 
8:30pm — We're both exhausted from all the socialising, sun and drinking, so we head to bed. I start reading a new book called Severance by Ling Ma — a millennial drone dystopian novel with serious My Year of Rest and Relaxation vibes. I think I'm going to enjoy it! I only read about 20 pages and can’t keep my eyes open.
Daily Total: $47.50
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