finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 25-year-old journalist on $53,000 who spends $390 a month on fitness.

Mamamia’s What My Salary Gets Me asks Australians to record a week in their financial lives. Kind of like a sex diary but with money. So not like a sex diary at all. We still find out the best kept secrets though. We discover what women are really spending their hard-earned cash on. Nothing is too outrageous or too sacred. This week, a 25-year-old senior journalist from Sydney, NSW. 

Age: 25

Job: Senior Journalist

Salary: $53,000

Housing: Renting a room in shared apartment.

Regular expenses (monthly):

Rent: $1040

Phone: $90

Gym: $120

Personal Trainer: $270

Utilities: Roughly $180 on electricity quarterly

Internet: $30

Stan: $14

Spotify: $9.99

Health insurance: $35

Fuel: $60

Debt: $30,000 HECS Debt

Savings: $1500

MM Confessions: The fashion items we’ve blown too much money on. Post continues after video. 

Video by MMC

Monday – Day One

I get up at 5am, catch a bus to the gym ($3.58) and kick start my week before catching a train to the office ($1.79). There, I grab myself a large almond iced latte ($4.50) to have at my desk, along with my pre-packed breakfast of oats and some fruit. Lunch is a salad brought from home – I like to save my bought lunches for later in the week. My route home is the same ($5.37). There, I’ve already got dinner prepared from my weekend’s meal prep, so I don’t have to run to the supermarket.

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Daily Total: $15.24

Tuesday – Day Two

It’s off to the gym again before work ($5.37) and I grab my morning coffee ($4.50) before rolling into the office. I’ve got all my meals and snacks ready in my bag, so when mid morning rolls around I head downstairs to the building’s cafe with a colleague for another coffee ($4.50). After work, I have night classes for a course I’m studying in the city, so I take a train there ($1.79) before realising I’ve forgotten my dinner, and have to grab some Mexican takeaway ($13.00). At 9.30pm, it’s too late to take the train so I catch an Uber Pool home ($11.00)

Daily Total: $40.16

Wednesday – Day Three

I wake up and don’t feel like going to the gym, but it’s the same route to work anyway ($5.37). I get my coffee ($4.50) and decide to treat myself to some hump day avocado toast ($6.50). Lunch and snacks are brought from home, so no money spent there. Some colleagues and I catch a train to the cinema ($2.50) for a movie and decide to grab a few wines beforehand ($10 for two during happy hour). Popcorn is provided, but it’s another Uber ride home. I don’t feel like catching a share ride, so I get an UberX to myself ($21.00) before eating some leftovers once I get home.

Daily Total: $49.87

Thursday – Day Four

I wake up to a lovely notification that Afterpay has deducted $44.50 from my account, from a purchase I made eight weeks ago. At least it was the last one! I eat breakfast at home before heading to work ($5.37), and decide to make a coffee at the office instead of buying one. By 10am I hit a lull, and a colleague asks if I want to grab a coffee. I agree – and spend another $4.50 on the best almond latte I’ve had. After lunch, I get another mid afternoon coffee as a pick me up ($4.50). It’s almost Friday and I’m starting to get lazy with my spending discipline. After my night course ($2.50) I get another Uber Pool ($11.00) home and eat a toasted sandwich for dinner.

Daily Total: $72.37

Friday – Day Five

Friday is lazy spending day. Once I get to the office ($5.37), I promptly treat myself to yet another coffee ($4.50) and avocado on toast – this time with goats cheese ($8.50). Work provided lunch today, so I choose that over my container meal and splurge on another coffee mid afternoon ($4.50). After work, a friend and I grab dinner and some drinks ($50) and I decide to get an Uber home ($25). I check my internet banking and see my weekly direct debit for the course I’m doing has been taken out of my account ($118.00). Looks like I’ll be having a quiet weekend in!

Daily Total: $215.87

Saturday – Day Six

After a bit of a sleep in, my partner buys us brunch so I don’t end up touching my wallet for the day. We eat lunch at home and utilise one of our freezer meals for dinner.

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Daily Total: $00.00

Sunday – Day Seven

This morning I’m up around 7.30am and drive to my course in the city. It’s a flat rate for Sunday parking ($15.00) and saves me from catching public transport. I buy a coffee during the morning break ($3.50) and get some sushi rolls for lunch ($7.60). Once I get home, we remember we need to order our groceries (we do this online), so that’s another $98. Because we’ve run out of food in the house, we walk down the road and get some Indian takeaway ($35.00) for dinner which we eat while watching Netflix before the working week starts again. 

Daily Total: $159.00

Weekly Total: $551.64

Reflection:

I think it’s easy to forget how easily you can go through money. It takes only a few seconds to spend money that could take hours to ‘earn’ back. I feel like I always intend to have a good spending week, but even when I try to cut back on luxuries, it’s the direct debits I forget about that catch me out. I’m always hanging out for the next monthly pay day, so I’ve started keeping an expenses spreadsheet which I look at regularly so I know when direct debits are coming out and so I can prepare for periods when more bills might be due. I definitely don’t see me saving for a house anytime soon, that’s for sure!

Please note: The feature image used is a stock photo.

Mamamia’s What My Salary Gets Me series drops every Thursday. Want to share a week in the life of your bank account with us (anonymously of course, no judgement here)? Send us your Money Diary to [email protected]

For more What My Salary Gets Me:

What My Salary Gets Me: A 30-year-old lawyer on $92,000, who owns an investment property.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 22-year-old disability worker who spends $1117.75 on pay day alone.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 24-year-old accountant on $70,000 a year, who spends $1500 a month on rent.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 29-year-old on $108,000 a year, with $455,000 in savings.

What My Salary Gets Me: The 36-year-old project manager who spent $3,795 in one week.

What My Salary Gets Me: A Sales Director on $120,000 a year, who refuses to cook.

What My Salary Gets Me: A 34-year-old on $21,400 a year, who has hardly any daily expenses.

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