A Week In Melbourne, Australia, On A $15,300 Salary

Photo: StockFood.
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.
Last month, we looked at several Money Diaries from moms leading up to the beginning of the back-to-school season: One mother had older children who were increasingly independent; another mom was a graduate student on active duty in the military; and another diary featured a stay-at-home mom with twins starting preschool.
This week, we're taking another look at scholastic Money Diaries — from college and graduate students. Today: an MBA candidate and bridal stylist who makes $15,300 per year. She spends some of her money this week on a Nutella muffin and a new, single-speed cruiser bike.
Editor's Note: All prices have been converted to the U.S. dollar.
Occupation: MBA Candidate & Bridal Stylist
Industry: Bridal
Age: 24
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Salary: $15,300
Paycheck (2x/month): $820
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $715. I have two flatmates.
Loan Payments: $116
All Other Monthly Expenses
Internet: $25, split three ways
Gas & Electric: $70. This varies; it's winter at the moment so it's higher than normal.
Water: $200 quarterly
Phone: $27 for 6 GB of data and 300 international minutes
Transport: About $45/week on the train
Gym: $47/month
Netflix: $0. I use my parents' account.
Hulu: $0. I use my best friend's. (Thanks, J!)
Spotify Premium: $0. I just signed up so I'm still on the free trial.
Adobe: $10/month. This comes out of my American bank accounts.
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8:30 a.m. — Out of bed, face washed, contacts in, teeth brushed. I prep my food for lunch as well as some snacks for the rest of the weekend. I have an intensive course for my MBA this weekend, so I'm staying with my uncle in the city. I pack all the fruit and nut mix I have left, two bananas, an apple, a salad with avocado and cucumber, tuna, and my probiotics. While prepping my food, I also make breakfast: avocado and bacon on sourdough toast and a smoothie (banana, coconut milk, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and almond butter). I head out ASAP because today is bike day!

11:30 a.m. — I put a deposit down on a cruiser about a month ago, but today is the day I get to pick it up. It takes ages to get across the city to the bike shop, but it's worth it when I hit the road on wheels! $149

12:30 p.m. — It takes me a while to get to school, but I finally make it to my group meeting (half an hour late) where we quickly decide how to divide up the assignment. I eat an apple and drink some water. I'm so sweaty from my bike ride!

3 p.m. — During a break from class, I go check on my bike (separation anxiety clearly) and eat my salad with tuna for lunch. I'm not sure what I'm doing for dinner since I'm staying in the city, and I want to make sure I get greens in somewhere. I snack on nuts before going to class.

6 p.m. — After class, I have an MBA student association meeting. It's an hour of discussing a future event I'm helping to coordinate called "Women in Innovation" and I'm psyched for it. I've secured a guest speaker who is the creative director of one of my favorite bridal brands!

7 p.m. — A new friend texts me and we go out for dumplings in Chinatown. (All my friends are new since I've only lived here for six months.) She generously pays and I tell her I'll get her back because we have dinner plans next week. I bike from the city to my uncle's house and get to bed around 10:30.

Daily Total: $149
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7 a.m. — Wake up groggy and get ready in a rush for the intensive course. Hop on my bike at 8 a.m. and just make it in time. No time for breakfast unfortunately.

10:30 a.m. — After a few group activities and a lecture, they give us a morning tea break! I'm desperate for coffee; I have two cups with two little cakes and grab a banana for later, while chatting with my cohort. Resist checking on the bike. Remember I need to pay rent, and transfer online to my flatmate quickly.

12:30 p.m. — They release us for lunch and I head to a burger place a few blocks over with a group of new friends. Of course, I stop to check on the bike and introduce it to everyone. I get a burger with a lettuce bun and fries with honey mustard. $17

5 p.m. — Done with day one! We're all keen for drinks so we head to the Asian Beer Café, and a new friend treats me to a cider. The president of the MBA student association I joined is also there, and gets a jug of cider later. I ride my bike back to my uncle's.

8 p.m. — Have some of the delicious pasta my uncle made and push through the reading for tomorrow. I crawl into bed around 10:30 and text with a new friend until I fall asleep.

Daily Total: $17
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6:45 a.m. — I kept waking up last night, probably a combo of being riled up all day and sleeping in a bed that's not mine. I get out of the house around 7:45 and ride to campus. I get to class early and have time to de-sweat before we start.

9 a.m. — I'm feeling shaky after the bike ride, so I have a banana and chug some water. Slowly even out.

10:30 a.m. — Finally morning tea break! I'm fading fast without a coffee. I grab a muffin as well and a banana for later. I hang out and talk to my new friends. We're all exhausted.

12 p.m. — Early lunch break today. My new friend C. and I grab sushi from a nearby food court and sit with another girl from our program. She and I both have a background in fashion! I get sushi and a coffee for C. and myself to pay him back for the cider yesterday. $15

3 p.m. — Another afternoon tea break with cakes. I might need a sugar detox after this weekend.

5 p.m. — Finished for the weekend! We don't have to gather again for a month. A group of us heads to a bar down the street and C. treats my cider again. We hang with the other members of our cohort for a bit before I hop on my bike and go to the train. I top up my myki card for the week. $20

7:30 p.m. — Home! I make a veggie burger on toast with a fried egg on top, roasted Brussels sprouts, and carrots with a little sauerkraut. I watch Gilmore Girls while planning my week ahead. Head to bed around 10:30.

Daily Total: $35
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6:45 a.m. — My internal clock wakes me up way too early for my day off. I text some of my friends back home in the U.S. for a while, and then go back to sleep.

8:30 a.m. — I wake up again, scroll through Instagram for a bit and try to FaceTime with my long-distance boyfriend, J., who lives in New Zealand. The connection is really bad today, so we agree to try again at the end of the day. I stay in bed and do some readings for class.

10 a.m. — Get out of bed finally and take my flatmate's dog for a walk. She works full-time and I like to give the pup a little extra attention and exercise whenever I can.

11:30 a.m. — I make breakfast and lunch: bacon on avocado toast with eggs on the side. My fridge is looking scarce but good thing it's grocery day!

1 p.m. — I hop on my bike and ride out to the shops to sit in my favorite café and work on school stuff. My favorite barista isn't working today, unfortunately, but I do have a free coffee on my frequency card!

2:15 p.m. — Nutella muffin! $5

4 p.m. — I finish studying and head to the grocery store, one of my favorite weekly activities. I spend about $180 a month on groceries, but I challenge myself to stay under $50 a week — and use all the produce. I grab chicken thigh that are on sale, as well as peanut butter, granola, zucchini, apples, cauliflower, fruit and nut mix, salad mix, beetroot, cucumber, spinach, tuna, and bananas. $44

7:30 p.m. — A friend drops me off at home from the gym and I take a shower and wash my hair for the first time in four days. I am a goddess.

8 p.m. — I make dinner: a veggie burger on toast with roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots. I munch on fruit and nut mix afterwards while I work on a blog post.

Daily Total: $49
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7 a.m. — Up early for work because it's the first day I'm riding my bike in! I pack lunch and work clothes to change into.

9 a.m. — I get to work right on time, despite making a wrong turn and going through a few very scary roundabouts. I eat a banana to up my blood sugar.

1 p.m. — It's a slow day since we're in the off-peak season. My salad isn't very satisfying today, so after I finish eating it I make a coffee run for my manager and myself. I get an almond latte and a tea for her. She gives me $5 for her drink. $4.50

4:30 p.m. — At the end of the day, I strike up enough courage to ask my boss for a performance review in the coming weeks. I'm approaching my six-month mark at the job and even though it's part-time, I'd like to grow and learn in my role.

6:30 p.m. — Upper-body/core class at the gym. I don't wash my hair afterwards because who has time for that?

7:30 p.m. — I make a batch of turkey meatballs to last me the rest of the week, with baked sweet potato and sautéed zucchini for sides. Later, I eat some strawberries while I send emails and do another draft of a blog post for this week. I listen to my Spotify “Sleep” playlist and fall asleep.

Daily Total: $4.50
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7:45 p.m. — Get out of bed. Flatmate is in the shower so I pack my lunch and fold laundry while I wait. I make breakfast: a smoothie bowl topped with toasted granola, strawberries, and peanut butter with two fried eggs on the side.

10:30 a.m. — Get to school and go to pick up a free coffee voucher I won from doing a survey. It's not there, so I leave my email for them to contact me when it's ready. I load my Starbucks app for the first time in ages and use my credit card since I can earn points on purchases. $5.60

3:30 p.m. — I love my leadership class, but hate how that it goes right through lunch. In the middle of class, I ate an apple and peanut butter. After class, I usually park myself in a comfy spot on campus and eat a packed lunch while saving readings to print later, and watching YouTube videos. Today, I run to the nearby Aldi to get a bar of dark chocolate that's on sale. I know I won't be able to make it through my finance class without it. $2

9 a.m. — I run into my gym friend outside Flinders Station. We ride the train home together and make plans to do dinner and a movie this weekend! I love having good friends and a social life again.

9 p.m. — I get home and have a late dinner of a veggie burger on toast, roasted cauliflower and carrots, beetroot and sauerkraut. Eat some more of my dark chocolate and get into bed around 11.

Daily Total: $7.60
7 of 9
9 a.m. — Actually get out of bed after FaceTiming my best friend back in Chicago, texting my mom, and scrolling through Instagram.

10 a.m. — Take the puppy for a walk and it's a STUNNING day. I'm so psyched that spring is on the way. I put my headphones in and basically dance my way to the beach with the pup.

11 a.m. — Make brunch: another smoothie bowl topped with granola and avocado, with bacon and tomato on toast. I FaceTime my boyfriend while I cooking and he's at school studying. Best way to start the day! Afterwards, I get to work on my marketing assignment.

3 p.m. — I'm sleepy and decide to bike to the café to work and get a coffee. My barista friend decides gives me the coffee for free! Word to the wise: Frequent the same café and befriend your barista if you want free almond lattes. I also buy a raspberry white chocolate muffin.

6:30 p.m. — Gym with my friend. When she drops me off, we sit in the car for an extra 10 minutes and chat about our bodies, health, and confidence. I love her.

7:30 p.m. — I'm feeling emotional and a little homesick, so I dive into my sister-in-law's Instagram and go through pictures of my nieces for 20 minutes.

8 p.m. — I make an easy dinner with the meatballs I prepped a few nights ago, plus roasted cauliflower and carrots, beetroot, and sauerkraut. Sometimes I'm good at adulting! For dessert, I have half a block of dark chocolate and watch Law & Order: SVU for the rest of the night.

Daily Total: $0
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Editor's Note: All prices have been converted to the U.S. dollar.

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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