finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 34-year-old Sydney mum-of-two on a salary of $144,000.

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 34-year-old education worker from Lane Cove, NSW, shares her diary. 

Age: 34

Occupation: Education consultant.

Salary: $144,000 annually and my husband earns $105,000 (not including our super or company car entitlements for my husband). We completely share our finances so both incomes go into joint accounts and we use that for all expenses.

Housing: Renting a three-bedroom apartment in Sydney (approx. 9km from the CBD), and are hoping to buy a property to live in within the next two years.

Regular expenses (weekly):

Rent: $640

Internet: $15

Netflix: $5 (family sharing, we pay for Netflix, my sister pays for Stan)

Phone: $15

Cleaners: $70

Childcare: $892 after rebate (we have two kids)

Utilities: We set aside $70 a fortnight so that when the bill comes we aren’t surprised.

Savings: We (well my husband maintains it, but I happily follow it and have equal input) keep a very detailed spreadsheet of all our expenses and allocate enough each fortnight to cover known expenses (car rego, insurances, electricity, hair appointments, childcare, travel, pretty much any ongoing expense we know about). We have around $40,000 sitting in our accounts right now, offset against our loans.

We allocate $1265 a fortnight from our pay to share to cover general spending expenses e.g. groceries, meals out, wine, entertainment etc. for the four of us. Everything else goes on our credit card so we can track our spending habits, which we pay off in full each month.

Gym membership: $23.50

Giving: We allocate $20 a week in our spreadsheet and donate regularly to a range of charities.

Assets: Our car is worth about $19,000. We both have super accounts but don’t contribute extra to them.

Debt: We have two investment properties and currently owe $479,000 on them combined. Both currently have tenants and cost us approx. $100 per week. One is currently on the market.

Side note: The Mamamia staff confess how much debt they’re in… Post continues after video.

Video by MMC
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Tuesday – Day One

I get the bus to work ($3.73) and get coffee on the walk to the office ($4). I buy some fruit from Woolworths for morning tea (there’s a Metro right near work, so I visit here way too often). I get a text message from the local swim centre that the girls fees for next term are due today, so open my banking app and transfer them a tidy sum of $294. I head to the gym in my lunch break and pick up sushi on the way back to the office ($9.50). I get the bus home ($3.73), pick the kids up from childcare and hubby has made butter chicken for dinner. We meal plan as much as we can and get our groceries delivered on a Sunday or Monday.

Daily total – $314.96

Wednesday – Day Two

We get our fruit delivered weekly on Wednesdays from a local company. I know it’s not the most economical choice, but it’s much fresher than the supermarket and it saves us from having to drag two kids to the shops each week ($70). Bus to work ($3.73). I didn’t get time to unpack the fruit order to take any to work, so I ducked down to Woolworths to pick up an apple and some yogurt ($7). Lunch is leftover butter chicken and cauliflower rice from last night. I get the bus home ($3.73) and pick up the girls from daycare. For dinner I make pasta bolognese.

Daily total – $88.19

Thursday – Day Three

I’m in a rush to catch the bus ($3.73) this morning and of course, get coffee ($4). In my rush to get out the door, I forget to pack any snacks for work, so (again!) head to Woolworths at morning tea and pick up a mandarin, some Coke No Sugar to keep in my desk drawers for 3pm pick-me-ups, and some bread for home ($11). For lunch, I get a salad ($9.90) on the way back from the gym and eat it at my desk. After work, I get the bus ($3.73) and then drive to pick up the kids. For dinner, hubby makes roast veggies and steak sandwiches.

Daily total – $32.36

Friday – Day Four

Same routine… bus ($3.73), coffee ($4), work. Keeping this diary has made me realise how much I’m a creature of habit. I’m starving today so snack on some fruit, chickpeas and crackers I bought from home. At lunch, I go for a run and pick up a roast vegetable salad on the way back ($10). I leave work early (bus $3.73) to pick up the girls from my mum and take them to the doctors where my youngest has an appointment. Thankfully, as it’s for vaccinations, it’s bulk billed. Once I’m home I make homemade pizzas and open a bottle of rose which I’ve had in the fridge since last week, which is good, as normally we’d walk down to the bottle shop on a Friday afternoon and spend more.

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Daily total – $21.46

Saturday – Day Five

D-day… the dentist for my eldest daughter and myself. We recently did the numbers and cancelled the extras cover on our private health insurance (we only ever used dental) so I’m a little scared to see the bill. It isn’t too bad, $199 for both of us. We got coffees afterwards, $9.40. In the afternoon we met my sister and her fiancé at the pub. We spent $76 on drinks and dinner for the girls. They then came back to our place where we spent $30 (our share) on Thai takeaway.

Daily total – $314.40

Sunday – Day Six

We get coffee and breakfast today ($39), and then walk up to the local fair. We spent $20 giving to a local charity, $5 on a ride for the girls and $6 on another pour-over coffee. After lunch at home, we meet friends and head to Luna Park. We spend $64 on tickets there, then dinner at home.

Daily total – $134

Monday – Day Seven

Back into the work week routine. Bus ($3.73 each way), gym, lunch (salad $11.80). Our weekly grocery shop arrived ($223.55).

Daily total – $242.81

Weekly total – $1148.18

Reflection

Childcare eats up a huge amount of our budget but is unavoidable. We’re looking forward to being able to save more once the kids are older. On our incomes, we can definitely afford to up the amount we donate to charity. I spend a lot of money eating lunch out, but I hate cooking and prepping so have avoided making lunch at home but that and the extras I spend at Woolworths Metro add up quickly. We were also doing pretty well to stay within budget until the weekend came. Eating breakfast out and drinking ate up a little more budget then we would have liked.

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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