finance

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

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 29-year-old media advisor, who is hoping to buy a house.

Age: 29.

Job: Media Advisor.

Salary: $108,000, monthly after tax $6,530.

Housing: My partner and I just moved back in with my parents to buy a house.

Regular Expenses (monthly): $700 (total) give or take.

Mortgage (including additional payments) & Rates: $0.

Utilities: $50 (phone).

Insurance: $0.

Transport: $250 on public transport.

Groceries and household expenses: $400 which covers food, coffee and my dog’s food.

Subscriptions: $0.

Consolidated low interest loan: $0.

Gym: $48.

Splurge (clothes, makeup, movies, cafes, weekends away, gifts etc): $500 (mostly going towards my dog’s training right now).

Monthly income allocated to savings: $5,000 – $6,000 (my partner and I).

Assets: $455,000 in savings, $2,000 in investments, $20,000 in furniture, art. We have never owned a car.

Debt: $0 – no loan, no credit card, no mortgage, no HECS.

Long term planning: We would like to buy a house in Sydney, followed by a house in Europe.

Watch: The optimal salary for happiness. Post continues after video.

Monday – Day One

The day starts with an espresso at home. We use a stove top ‘Moka Pot’ espresso machine with beans we have ground. I make breakfast at home – Greek yogurt, kiwi fruit and psyllium husk. I take the train to work which depletes my Opal card by $5.15.

Lunch is last night’s leftovers, Yoram Ottolenghi’s slow cooked Greek lamb shanks with rice and lemon. My parents bought 10 shanks so we have leftovers. We use rice I bought a few weeks ago and homegrown lemons.

I then stave off the food coma with a preventative coffee; I make one using the espresso machine at work. At 2pm I’m hungry again – but luckily today is fruit delivery day at work so I grab and banana and a mandarin from the communal bowl. I go for a walk at lunch and see Wittner is having a sale. I buy two pairs of work shoes for $140.

I catch the train home ($5.15) and make linguine with a tomato, tuna, anchovy, caper and olive sauce for my family’s dinner. My fiance comes home with a bag of chicken drumsticks and cans of sardines for the dog, which takes $10.44 from out joint account.

Daily total: $155.52.

Tuesday – Day Two

Breakfast is an espresso and yogurt at home, then it’s off on the train to work ($5.15). Today I’m in a different office. I remember to pack a banana and a mandarin but forget to bring lunch. This means a desk drawer forage is in order. I end up having a piece of toast with sardines, followed by a piece of toast with peanut butter. I go for a run and visit a local gallery. There’s a painting for $600 I really want to buy but I resist.

Train home is $5.15 again and dinner is Sunday night’s leftovers – more lamb shanks and rice, this time with zucchini and salad on the side.

Daily total: $10.30

Wednesday – Day Three 

Today I’m working from home so I can attend a house inspection at lunch time. I start work early and have a late breakfast: a latte and some Weetbix followed by another espresso.

At lunch I visit the house. It’s beautiful with a view of the ocean and the price guide is $1.4million. The only other people at the inspection are older investors with negative gearing on their side. I’m considering lowballing them and offering $1.2 million. An $800,00 mortgage would be $3500 a month which is doable for us.

On the way back from the house inspection I pick up a salad from the Newport Arms ($19), take in the view ($0), and talk to some locals on how they handle the commute to the city. It seems difficult. I buy another espresso for the drive home ($3) and pick up a bombolone for my mum ($4).

I arrive back home and set up my laptop to work in the garden, my dog bounds around me and I remember I need to pick up his prescription later ($24).

After the chemist I go to the gym. A personal trainer tries to talk me into PT, but I resist.

I get home to dinner, my mum has made a lentil stew. After dinner we have some cheese.

Daily total: $50

Thursday – Day Four 

I’ve been paid, which is good. I panic when I see $2,800 and quickly remind myself I get paid fortnightly, which is not actually the equivalent of half a month’s salary (a month is 1 week x 4.35). Payday means I need to pay my mobile phone bill ($65), an upcoming hen’s party ($150), dog training ($150) and dog accessories ($120). I get the train to work ($5.15) and on the train deposit $2000 into our joint savings account. My partner also gets paid today, he transfers $3,000. I also remember to transfer my mum some cash ($100). Lunch is leftovers from last night, followed by a kiwi fruit and mandarin. I didn’t sleep well last night so I remind myself to visit the other office to get a coffee. Lunch is lentil stew leftovers.

Daily total: $595.30

Friday – Day Five 

I get a work call at 6am so Friday is off to a cracking start… not. Things are chaotic so I don’t organise myself well and instead have a coffee near my house ($3.50) before getting the train ($5.15). I also forget to bring my lunch so have a falafel salad near my office ($10). At 5pm my colleague and I have a drink near work ($10) before dinner with my fiance at an inner-city restaurant. We pay using a $200 gift voucher, but on top of that we spend $108 from our joint account which comes to $54 each. We’re good and get the train home, out of peak hour this costs me $3.50.

Daily total: $86.15

Saturday – Day Six 

We wake up early so we can visit a few open houses. We make coffee at home. The first house we visit sells at auction for $1.2million, the second house we visit sells for $1.5million. They’re both pretty dingy and uninspiring. There are lots of older investors about, which makes us nervous. We grab a coffee ($3.80) at a nearby cafe before visiting a house that we actually like. It’s only a 15 minute walk from my work and the price guide is between $1.4-$1.5 million. Again, there are lots of retiree investors looking to buy a rental. My partner and I discuss how the market is skewed towards investors and not first home buyers. We have brunch at a cafe nearby, I don’t have a smashed avo but I do have pancakes ($12) and another coffee ($3.50).

I drop my fiance off at his friend’s house and go meet my sister. Later, I go to Harris Farm and buy a bunch of things on sale. Capsicum and fennel are on sale, so is chicken. I buy 13 different things and spend $30 in total. On the way home I put $30 worth of petrol in my mum’s car. The bowser said it’s $1.85 per litre, which seems pretty expensive.

Daily total: $91.30

Sunday – Day Seven 

I visit my parents’ second property in the morning. It has a big garden so I take my dog for a run around and lie in the sun. After that I get ready for my sister’s baby shower and take her some lemons and parsley I picked in the garden. I will give the baby a present (likely $$) when she’s born. After the baby shower, I head straight home. I get a message from someone wanting to buy one of my wedding dresses (I bought more than one!). I’m selling it for $2,000 so hopefully that all goes ahead without a hitch!

Daily total: $0

Weekly total: $988.57

Reflection: 

I spent a lot more than I expected to, largely because all my monthly bills were due on one day. I still managed to save double the amount that I spent, but looking at my bank account over the next week I will need to budget hard. I can’t spend nearly $1,000 a week, that’s ridiculous. There are a few things I could have avoided, such as having coffee out, and having lunch at work. However I only ate out a handful of times and that included going to dinner and paying with the gift voucher. Once I have a mega mortgage, I will have to rein it all in.

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]

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