finance

What My Salary Gets Me: A 21-year-old university student who saves $200 every single week.

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 21-year-old uni student from Brisbane, Qld shares her diary.

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

Video by MMC

Age: 21

Job: Administration Officer, Virtual Assistant and university student.

Salary: $33,000 approx.

Centrelink Student Supplement: Approx $4000 per year (depending on how much I work).

Housing: Renting with flatmates.

Regular expenses (monthly):

Rent: $720

Phone: $80

Transport: $90

Gym: $50

Utilities: I put an extra $20 per week away so when electricity bills come I don’t notice.

Internet: $20

Netflix: $0 (family log in)

Debt: HECS (unsure as I’m still studying)

Savings: $7000

Assets: Car

Friday – Day One

I wake up a little later as I don’t have work on Fridays and I’m currently in a study period for exams with uni. Around 8am, I get up and get dressed for the gym. Once finished, I make a smoothie at home, banana, protein powder (that I ‘borrow’ from my boyfriend), oats and blueberries, all fruit frozen. Then I hit the books and study. Around midday, I walk to the sushi joint near my apartment and buy two rolls ($5.20) and go back to studying. That night I go to my boyfriend’s place and we have leftovers for dinner that he got from his mum from the night before #score.

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Daily total: $5.20

Saturday – Day Two

My boyfriend is off for a work event and I have plans to meet up with friends and go to the movies. Our tickets were pre-purchased from a few days ago but at the candy counter, I buy popcorn ($6.50) and a lolly ($1.50). After the movie we look around the shops for a bit. I was looking for a dress for a wedding in a few weeks but find nothing. At around 7pm, my boyfriend calls me saying the work event has extended and invites me to meet him at a bar and join. Upon arrival his boss buys us both drinks, my boyfriend also buys me a cocktail and I later buy one for both of us at the Happy Hour ($20). We end up being home by 10:30 and eat a frozen pizza already in the freezer.

Daily total: $28.00

Sunday – Day Three

I wake up and my boyfriend makes us both eggs for breakfast given to him from his parent’s chickens. Later we meet up with my sister for lunch where we start making a plan for our Europe trip in 2020, we’re all excited. Lunch is $15 each. In the afternoon I pay my monthly phone bill, but I’ve already put money aside so it doesn’t come from expenses. I also go and do my weekly shop with my boyfriend. We usually meal prep together on a Sunday and take half each. I spend $30 altogether. This usually takes me to about Wednesday night. We meal prep our healthy version of spaghetti bolognese with lots of veggies and eat this for dinner.

Daily Total: $45

Monday – Day Four

I wake up at and go to the gym, then get ready and go to work. I make my usual protein smoothie and take a porridge sachet to have at work. I have my pre-made tuna salad for lunch from my weekly shop. After work, I go straight home and eat the spaghetti bolognese from the night before and study for my exam later that week.

Daily Total: $0

Tuesday – Day Five

Same as Monday I wake up, gym, smoothie and drive to work. I forget to bring my porridge and end up eating my lunch at 11am. Around 2.30pm a colleague asks if I want some hot chips, she’s ducking out to get some. I say yes, $4.50. I blame the lack of porridge making me want the second lunch. That night I try to study but get distracted by online shopping. The wedding I need to attend is in less than two weeks with a colour theme that I have nothing to match. I find a half-price dress for $50 and order it, hoping it fits.

Daily total: $54.50

Wednesday – Day Six

Today I skip the gym and go straight to work as I need to leave a few hours early for my exam. Also, it’s payday wooooo. Every second Wednesday I get both my pay and student supplement. My student supplement depends on how much I work which can change week to week. This fortnight I get $200 supplement and my paycheck is $1090. I immediately transfer my rent that is due and then transfer $400 into my savings. I like to save at least $200 per week. I eat my usual salad for lunch at work and leave at 2.30pm for my exam. On my way I get petrol. It’s so expensive I only spend $25, hoping it will get cheaper the next week. I eat the last of the spaghetti for dinner.

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Daily Total: $25

Thursday – Day Seven

I wake up and have some quick avocado on toast. The avocado is from my roommate’s parent’s farm which is great considering how expensive it is. I head to the library for some quiet to study and study right through lunch and leave at 2pm starved. I stop and quickly grab sushi again, $6.00. I walk past Cotton On Body and see they have a sale on gym tops, I buy 2 for $30. My boyfriend asks me if I want to have dinner together and I stop at Woolworths, grab a roast chicken and potatoes ($13.50), knowing I already have frozen veggies in the freezer.

Daily Total: $49.50

Weekly Total: $207.20

Reflection

I think for a university student I’m quite lucky with money. I have a good job that allows me to save and even get a student supplement. I know that I could save more but overall it was a pretty average week of spending (aside from buying the dress for the wedding). I’m pretty happy with my habits in meal prepping and taking lunch to work as I haven’t always done that. Perhaps when I graduate and work full-time I’ll get a little better with my savings!

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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