A Week In Melbourne, Australia, On A $56,084 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a health promotion officer who makes $56,084 per year and spends some of her money this week on a humidifier. Editor's note: All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
Occupation: Health Promotion Officer
Industry: Public Health
Age: 31
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Salary: $56,084
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,537.95
My Wife's Salary: My wife is currently on unpaid maternity leave, so she doesn’t have an income at the moment, and I cover all of our joint expenses.
Gender Identity: Non-binary
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,641 (I live with my wife and baby in a three-bedroom house.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My wife is American and had student loans, but her parents paid them off.)
Internet: $52.88
Electricity: $41.55
Gas: $25.69
Water: $25.69
Netflix: $7.55
Car Registration: $50.62
Car insurance: $72.11
Phones: $52.88 (My wife and I are both on prepaid phones — a really good deal here.) Savings: $150

Day One

6.40 a.m. — Baby wakes up, so I grab her to change her nappy and head to the kitchen to start making coffee. I make myself toast with peanut butter, mashed banana, and honey. Trying to get out the door to work can be hard sometimes when I just want to play with the baby all day!
9 a.m. — Arrive at work and prep for a meeting. I make a cup of tea. (My office provides free coffee and tea.)
10:30 a.m. — Meeting is about to start, and my colleague brings in freshly made scones and jam! I scarf one down.
11:30 a.m. — Meeting is done, and I heat up leftover minestrone soup for an early lunch because I'm going to a forum during my lunch hour.
4 p.m. — Forum was great — it was about racism and sexual health in Australia. I grab a pastry on the way out and pay for parking on my parking app, which is so much more convenient than carrying heaps of coins with me! $4.23
8 p.m. — I get home early, so I get to hang out with the baby, which is extra special. We have a yummy dinner of spelt pasta with eggplant, spinach, red sauce, and smoked mozzarella with wine, and watch Botched and SVU until my sister arrives. (She's staying with us for the weekend, yay!).
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Daily Total: $4.23

Day Two

7 a.m. — Wake up and peruse Instagram while laying in my bed. I finally get up and head to the kitchen to start coffee and grab a bowl of wheat squares with almond milk. Make wifey a bowl of the same thing but with Moo Milk, and I am out the door!
11:15 a.m. — We work near a really beautiful lake and park, so a few colleagues and I try to go for walks around the lake most days. Because we have a health policy, this walking time is incorporated into our days and doesn't take time away from our designated lunch hour. After the walk, we all sit outside in the work garden, and I eat vegan leftovers that I had from a workshop we had the other day.
3 p.m. — I remember we still have leftover cake, so I grab myself a slice. Then I make a phone call to an amazing woman who talks me through how to make the survey that I'm working on more gender diverse and trans inclusive. I hang up, and consider maybe I'm in the wrong job.
5 p.m. — Off to home I go! Wifey asked me to stop by someone's house and pick up free onesies, so I head there first. Traffic is terrible, though, and I regret going on a Friday night at peak hour. I'm almost out of gas, so I stop at the gas station in the hopes that maybe traffic won't be so bad in a few minutes. $57.52
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6:30 p.m. — I finally make it to dinner at this new Indian place around the corner from our house with my wife, the baby, my sister, my cousin, and two of our friends. We enjoy happy hour Aperol Spritzes and delicious food! Wifey and I pay for our share of the dinner. $52.88
8:30 p.m. — Everyone comes back to our house so we can put the baby to sleep. We continue drinking more wine and tea with dessert.
Daily Total: $110.40

Day Three

7:30 p.m. — Wifey and I wake up with colds. I make coffee and porridge with almond milk, cherries, cashews, cinnamon, Greek yogurt, and maple syrup for myself, my wife, and my sister.
11:15 a.m. — We all decide to head to the farmer's market one suburb away. Wifey is starving, so we swing by Falafel House and get her a falafel wrap ($5.50). By the time we get to the market, there isn't much produce left, but we get a bag of mushrooms ($4.50) and beautiful purple dahlias ($6). My sister and I have delicious Korean/Japanese food from a food truck that I go to regularly. I get the chicken teriyaki ($8.30) and my sister gets the chicken koreano. $24.30
4.15 p.m. — We have a lazy afternoon but decide to head to the park for a bit. Baby loves the park because she loves looking at all the big kids and going on the swings. We walk to the store and grab chocolate, salami, milk, carrots, a can of tomatoes, and red lentils. $14
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5:30 p.m. — My sister heads off to her hotel because she has to get up at 3 a.m. for a work event tomorrow. Wifey and I debate ordering pizza because she has a $10 off coupon, but then she decides to cook dinner, and makes us carrot, pumpkin, and red lentil soup with toasted cheese sandwiches — just the thing for this autumn evening!
Daily Total: $38.30

Day Four

10:45 a.m. — We've been up for awhile just chilling at home. My mate, A., texts me and asks to hang out. I suggest this place for brunch that's like an urban farm with a café, and I bring the baby. I get a long black and a Korean fried chicken burger with potatoes. We both share our food with the baby, as she is eating solid food these days. $31.73
1 p.m. — After dropping off the baby, I catch the tram to meet a friend and see Love, Simon at the movies. This is a birthday treat for him, so I pay for the tickets. $43.14
5:30 p.m. — Movie was lovely and gave me all the feels! And it was great to see my mate. I stop by a pharmacy on my home to pick up a humidifier, because the three of us are all stuffy and I'm hoping this will make us feel better! $32.50
6:30 p.m. — Home in time to switch parents! Wifey is heading to a comedy show, so it's just me and the baby tonight. I heat up pasta leftovers because the baby loves pasta. Then I give her a bath, and she gets water everywhere!
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10 p.m. — Wifey is finally home! Baby has just transitioned to an arms out swaddle, and man that was hard work! I had trouble putting her down — every time I coughed, she woke up. By the time Wifey got home, the baby and I were both crying. But now finally — sleep!
Daily Total: $107.37

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — It's Monday morning, but because I'm facilitating a workshop that doesn't finish until later tonight, I don't have to be in the office until 12 p.m. — yay! I enjoy breakfast of fried eggs on toast with Wifey and the baby, and then I get to work on applying for this leadership program I want to do. The application due date is today!
12 p.m. — Get to work and catch up on the office gossip. The CEO has been on leave and a manager left recently, so I want to know how that went down. I decide to eat lunch now, because who doesn't want to start the day with lunch! I heat up leftover soup.
3 p.m. — I'm rushing to finish a draft for this workshop that I am facilitating for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women on gender equality. I ran it a few weeks ago, and I think a lot of things need to be changed for me to be happy with it. I grab a cup of tea and a biscuit from the kitchen so I can power on.
6 p.m. — Workshop starts, and I meet the women for the first time this week. They are lovely, and one of them brings her five-month-old baby, so I get to have a cuddle as well. I eat the very minimal dinner provided: grapes, watermelon, crackers, and French onion dip. But hey, at least it's free?!
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Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I'm heading to a work event, so I quickly eat cereal and put my coffee in a to-go cup. I'm not the most confident driver or parker if I don't know where I'm going, and I want to allow plenty of time to get there.
10:45 a.m. — The event is a launch for a new sexual and reproductive health strategy for a women's health organization. I grab two mini bagels with smoked salmon and a savory muffin to take with me for the hour-long journey back to work.
11:45 a.m. — I get back to the office and need to put my head down and work to make sure I am fully prepared for my meeting this afternoon. My lovely colleague offered to run to the shops and grab me sushi. I pay her back. $3
6 p.m. — I get home late because traffic is really bad! I eat delicious mushroom stroganoff for dinner with a glass of wine and then I'm ready for bed!
Daily Total: $3

Day Seven

7.30 a.m. — I get up at my usual time, but am feeling fairly unwell. This cold has really got me down. For breakfast I eat toast with eggs and coffee.
11 a.m. — Wifey and the baby have gone to meet friends for lunch, so I just chill at home. I decide to run to the store to get sweet treats. I pick up a chocolate chip brioche, Nutella, and caramel spread. I head back home intending to work on my résumé, but I decide to binge watch Game of Thrones instead because I am seriously behind. $11.51
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2:30 p.m. — I feel very sick, and nap the rest of the afternoon.
5 p.m. — Wifey wants me to come with her and the baby to pick up a free little car for the baby. I go with them, but don't feel well at all. We stop by the pharmacy on the way home, and I grab cough syrup and a nail buffer I have been meaning to buy for ages. We get home, and I pass out in bed. $14.02
Daily Total: $25.53
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
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