A Week In Sydney, Australia, On A $148,750 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a head of marketing working in retail who makes $148,750 per year and spends some of her money this week on Tim Tams.
Editor's Note: All currency has been converted to USD.
Occupation: Head of Marketing
Industry: Retail
Age: 38
Location: Sydney, Australia
Salary: $148,750
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,669.74
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,284 (for a two-bedroom apartment in a beachside suburb)
Loans: $0 (I finished my masters last year — came to $33,150 all up, which I paid for upfront as I did it)
Car Registration and Insurance: $102
Opal Card: ~$120 (I have auto top-up on my card and I usually spend $30/week)
Health Insurance: $136 (you don't really need health insurance in Australia as the public system is pretty great, but I get a tax break for it and it's good for "extra" things like physiotherapy and glasses)
Fitness Bootcamp: $170 (I go three times a week)
Barre Classes: $170 (allows for unlimited classes, I try and go at least twice a week)
Phone and Internet: $80.75
Cleaner: $170 (three-hour session, twice a month)
Netflix: $0 (I use a mate's)
Stan: $10.20 (similar to Netflix, I pay for this and a few mates use mine) Spotify: $10.20
Superannuation: this is compulsory for employers to contribute to in Australia, it's a minimum 9.5% of your salary you can't touch till retirement. I have about $136,000 in there. I contribute an extra $527 a month, as I didn't get to contribute anything for the years I lived in the UK.
Savings: $1,700 (I've got about $148,000 in the bank)
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Day One

5:30 a.m. — I manage to only snooze the alarm once, then up for bootcamp (paid for in monthly expenses). My apartment is right by the beach, and I do this bootcamp three mornings a week. The getting up is painful, but at least it's coming into summer. Today is a moving circuit where we run between the exercises — it's a bit of a grind. Big boobs do not make for an enjoyable running experience.
7 a.m. — Back at home, I browse too long on Twitter (whoops), then shower and skincare routine before work. I don't really wear any makeup to work (I have my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted once a month), but I'm quite into skincare. Mornings involve Aspect Vitamin B serum, Aspect Vitamin C serum, Cosmedix moisturizer with sunscreen (gotta respect the Australian sun), and Genesis eye cream that is supposed to reduce dark circles.
8 a.m. — Bus to work, which costs $3.17 for the ride, but I have an auto top-up on my travel card (in monthly expenses).
8:40 a.m. — Breakfast is a coconut Greek yogurt that I'd left in the work fridge yesterday. Then straight into answering work emails.
12:10 p.m. — I was organized enough to bring lunch for the week, this happens about half the time. Today it's a sandwich with tzatziki, tomato, onion, tuna, and a salad. Try to resist a Coke Zero and fail miserably, have to go and buy one. I don't drink coffee because I hate the taste, so I take my caffeine hits where I can. It's then back to emails and working on an upcoming catalogue for the afternoon. $1.27
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5:05 p.m. — Out the door on time. I've had previous roles that involved really long hours and I still love it that it's not like that here. I get caught in major traffic on the way home. It turns out there is a film premiere for the new movie, The King. I glimpse Joel Edgerton from the bus (always loved him). Timothee Chalamet is apparently there too, but I don't see him.
6:30 p.m. — Home and a quick shower. Too tired to cook tonight, so I grab a pre-made minestrone soup out of the fridge. I then also eat a pack of prosciutto because it's best before date is today. Gourmet, it ain't. Nighttime skincare routine consists of Cosmedix rapid renewal serum and Cosmedix intensive moisturizer. I watch some episodes of Law & Order SVU, start reading a new book, and lights out just after 10.
Daily Total: $1.27

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — Alarm off, one snooze, and it's bootcamp once again — legs and abs today. It starts to rain just as we're done, so dodged that one.
7:30 a.m. — Too much time spent on Twitter (again) and then it's a rush to wash my hair, skincare routine, and get out the door to the bus. This is the last day of the school holidays, which means much less traffic, so the commute is a nice 30-40 minutes. Next week it will be back to an hour. The bus stop I get on at looks over the beach though, so it's not the worst way to start the day.
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8:50 a.m. — I get to work and thank god it's Friday. I look at what I need to accomplish for the day, it's mostly the little annoying tasks I've put off during the week. Great! Breakfast is a blueberry and almond protein bar I grabbed from home.
12:10 p.m. — I go to catch a lunchtime barre class. I don't usually do this as it's a bit of a rush, but I don't mind on a Friday (pass is paid for in monthly expenses). It's a Pilates-focused class, which isn't my favorite. On the way I back I buy a poke bowl — salmon, brown rice, red onion, beets, kale, and edamame with roasted sesame dressing, seaweed salad, tobiko, and crispy shallots. Yum. $13.77
3:45 p.m. — I manage to submit my work expenses, only about a week late. I have a corporate card and most of mine are fairly straightforward, but I still seem to put it off every month.
5:15 p.m. — We have a bar in the office with free wine and beer and we usually have drinks on a Friday afternoon. I'm going to a wine festival tomorrow, so I give it a miss this time and go to the bus stop. I manage to just miss a bus and have to wait 10 minutes till the next one, so I buy some blueberries from the fruit shop at the bus stop. $1.69
6:30 p.m. — Dinner is whatever I can find in the fridge. In this case, roasted carrots, roasted eggplant with miso paste, and sautéed spinach. Nice, but feels a little too healthy for a Friday night.
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9:15 p.m. — It's rugby time! Australia is playing Georgia in the world cup tonight. So lucky that it's on in Japan this year, they are fairly close to Sydney in timezones, so it doesn't mean any getting up at crazy times (like when it was in England four years ago). Australia wins.
Daily Total: $15.46

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — This is about as late as I can sleep in now, but I doze and play on my phone in bed till about 9. I then clean my apartment, change my sheets, and do laundry.
10:15 a.m. — I make myself a breakfast of scrambled eggs with English muffins. I top it off with Everything But the Bagel seasoning. I read so many Money Diaries where diarists used it, that I finally got a friend to bring some back from her last trip to the states. You guys were right, it is awesome.
11:20 a.m. — Shower and skincare stuff, then trying to decide what to wear. We keep getting teased with a few days of nice weather, but then it drops back down again (the down part is fairly relative, it doesn't really get that cold in Sydney). I can't wait till it's warm enough to swim at the beach again — I'm a complete wimp when it comes to cold water. I decide I want to wear a flat cap I never wear, so I find a maxi dress that (kind of) goes with that.
11:45 a.m. — I walk to my mate's house to go to the wine festival. I cuddle her baby before we go — it's the first time she's leaving him with a babysitter. We call an Uber, she pays. When we get there I transfer my money for the ticket to my friend that got them. We then proceed to try a load of different wines. They're lovely, but I have quite a bit at home already, so I don't buy any. $51
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7 p.m. — I was supposed to be going to the pub to watch the rugby tonight, but the matches have been canceled because of the super typhoon near Japan. I grab a bowl of roasted vegetables and some macaroni and cheese at a takeaway place on the way home and then have some pinot noir that I have at home. $11.90
Daily Total: $62.90

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Wake up feeling probably better than I deserve! I do nothing in the morning, but manage to lose two hours on Twitter. I'm trying to cut down on my social media use and I've managed to do so with Facebook and Instagram pretty easily, but Twitter is proving much harder. I'm obsessed with US and UK politics and there's so much to read about. Australian politics (mostly) has a lot less going on. I grab an apple for breakfast.
12 p.m. — I walk down slowly to my local pub to meet friends and their kids for lunch. I get there first, so I get a bottle of prosecco — what hangover? ($42.50). I end up getting a capricciosa woodfire pizza for lunch. My mate covers my lunch, I think it comes to $110 for all of us. Tipping isn't a big a thing in Australia — in a pretty casual place like this you might throw an extra 10% on if you like, but it's not necessarily expected, the government minimum wage is definitely livable (and I say that as a former waitress!). I will always tip if the place is fancy or if someone gives great service though. We leave the pub and get some gelato, I buy everyone's — I get lemon meringue and chocolate ($28.90). $71.40
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3:30 p.m. — I buy two postcards to send to my nieces who live interstate. They've only recently discovered the concept of mail and are very excited by it. They're only three and can't read yet, so I attempt to draw pictures on each one. $3.40
4 p.m. — Get home and watch the movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople, one of the earlier films directed by Taika Waititi. It is hilarious.
8:10 p.m. — Can't be bothered with dinner, so I end up eating corn chips and salsa for dinner. Healthy. I also steam some edamame I find in the freezer, at least I'm pretending this dinner is balanced. Catch a bit of the Japan vs Scotland game in the world cup, but decide I'm too tired to stay up to see the end.
Daily Total: $74.80

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — Bit harder getting up for bootcamp this morning. I've been going for a couple of years and it's been the same people for most of it, so it's nice, like catching up with friends. But with a lot more sweat involved. It's slightly warmer today, so we end up doing sand sprints. Shower, skincare, etc, when I get home.
7:15 a.m. — Hungry after bootcamp (corn chips, salsa, and edamame aren't a nutritional dinner — who knew?), so I make a smoothie. Coconut water, mango, and pineapple. I drink it on the bus.
8.30 a.m. — Monday is always a day full of meetings. I don't actually mind them most of the time. First up is one with my team so they can tell me what they're working on for the week. I grab some bread on the way in so I can have vegemite on toast for breakfast ($3.75). I also buy Tim Tams for the office snack food we all share. Tim Tams are an Australian institution and are amazing. I choose the double choc ones ($2.34). $6.09
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10:40 a.m. — I'm going down to Melbourne next month to go to the races — it's the biggest week of racing in the country. I've been going for years so have a few dresses to wear, but browse the Iconic (Australian online clothing site) anyway. I might settle for a new hat or fascinator instead. I usually feel fairly guilty when I buy new clothes, both from a mindless consumption angle and also an environmental one, so I haven't bought much for the last six months. These days, I try to at least think about a purchase for a few days and only buy it if I still want it after that.
12:15 p.m. — I duck out of the office to the local sandwich place for a BLT on sourdough bread $8.90
2:05 p.m. — So much for thinking about things for a few days — I have a very irritating meeting and I'm back on Iconic and buying HEAPS. Three fascinators, once hat, three dresses, some earrings, and a skirt ($633). I also pay extra for express shipping so it can be delivered to my home tonight ($11). I'll return some of them (the joys of free returns), but honestly. Complete lack of willpower. I snack on blueberries in the afternoon. $644
5:20 p.m. — Leave for work and get the bus home. I'm meeting my dad for dinner tonight (my mum is away with family) and we end up at a dumpling place. We eat five different dishes between us and have two beers each. He pays. I get home and my Iconic order has arrived. I only like the hat and the earrings. I'll think about this a bit and then do the return next week. In bed by 9:30 with a book.
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Daily Total: $658.99

Day Six

7 a.m. — Sleep in this morning, no bootcamp! I'm up, ready, and out the door by 7:50. Only 15 mins of Twitter this morning. I chuck on a jumper, which has half the back missing — I never really got these. Surely if it's cold enough to wear wool you don't want half your back exposed? Having said that, I own at least two, so I must have thought they were a good idea at some point. I wear the one today with a singlet underneath to make it slightly more work appropriate.
8:45 a.m. — Vegemite on toast for breakfast, using the same bread I bought last week. Few meetings today, but nothing too bad.
10:45 a.m. — My favorite shoe store is having a sale…I look at a pair of patent sneakers that would be good for work and resolve to think about it. For reals this time.
12:40 p.m. — I go out and grab myself two sushi rolls and some edamame for lunch. $9.69
1:05 p.m. — I drive myself nuts by looking for houses for sale in my area while eating lunch. I would actually like to buy a house (well, let's face it, an apartment), but Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world for real estate. A similar apartment in my building went for over a million dollars, so I'll keep renting for now. I'm also scared of getting a substantial mortgage on my own and I'm also worried about not being given a mortgage because I'm too old and it will take 25+ years to pay off. Of course, I realize I say this from the very privileged position of wanting to and being able to live in a very nice suburb, so renting isn't the worst. The rent I pay is actually really reasonable for this area as well. I favorite some places on the app so I can see their eventual final price tags.
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3:15 p.m. — I find an unopened bag of chickpea chips in my desk (thanks past me) and have them as an afternoon snack. I also find some mini M&M's and eat all of them.
5:30 p.m. — Off to a barre class, this is a cardio one and it hurts. In a good way. Kind of. I'm pretty crap about exercising on the weekend though, so has to be during the week.
7 p.m. — I'm going interstate at the end of the week for a holiday, so I'm trying to get through what's in my fridge without doing a major grocery shop. I ended up with a Thai red curry with chicken, spinach, chickpeas, and rice. I watch some episodes of Younger while I eat (I used to work in the industry, which makes me love/hate the show). I read a few chapters of my book before bed at 9:30.
Daily Total: $9.69

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — High of 27 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit) today, bring it on! I celebrate by wearing a dress and wedges to work.
8:45 a.m. — More vegemite on toast for breakfast. I could honestly eat this every day for the rest of my life and be happy. I've got a strategy paper to get done today, so I work on that all morning to send to my boss.
12:35 p.m. — Lunch is leftover Thai curry from last night, and a coke zero. $1.27
3:45 p.m. — My office is completely open plan and I love my noise-canceling headphones with a passion. I put them on today with a Spotify playlist and get through most of what I wanted to accomplish today. I finish snacking on the last of the blueberries, decide that isn't enough, and go out and buy salt and vinegar edamame crisps $2.55
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4:50 p.m. — I see a comedian is coming back for another tour next year — my sister loves him, but couldn't go see him last time as she had a newborn at the time. I check she's free on the date and buy her and her partner a ticket each for Christmas. I'll throw in an offer of babysitting as part of the present as well. $246.50
5:20 p.m. — Bus home and slumped on the couch. Barre is too much. Too tired for TV, so I read more of my book. I finish it and start reading The Handmaid's Tale. I want to reread it before reading the new book.
7:30 p.m. — I'm still in fridge cleaning out mode, so I make some pizza type things on pita breads. Artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms on one, spinach, blue cheese, and sweet potato on the other. That's the last of the vegetables in the fridge and I am inordinately proud of using them all up.
8 p.m. — It's holiday time as of tomorrow (I get 25 vacation days a year), so I make a list of what to pack. Actually packing would be easier, but I seem to have some psychological aversion to packing and only ever do it at the last minute, so that can wait till tomorrow.
Daily Total: $250.32
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