Money diaries

Recently, I have discovered (and subsequently become obsessed with) Refinery29’s Money Diaries segments. I have always been interested in money- saving, budgeting, investing and financial goals are all things I think about frequently. I am very much on top of my bank account and check it multiple times a day, I don’t eat out a lot and I don’t regularly spend money on clothes or makeup. However, by the end of each fortnight I am consistently broke and wondering why I have trouble sticking to my budget. I decided to keep my own ‘money diary’ for the week to see what I am really spending my precious $$$ on.

Here goes nothing…

Pay (fortnightly, after tax and HECS): $1776


Rent and electricity: $350 per fortnight
Savings: $500 per fortnight into my personal savings, plus $50 per fortnight into a small joint savings account that my boyfriend and I share.
Car repayments: $125 per fortnight
Electricity and internet: $20 per fortnight
Phone plan: $75 per month

Spotify: $11.99 per month
Netflix: $0 (I use my boyfriend’s account)
Stan: $0. I’m currently on a free trial but will start paying $10 next month.
Gym: $14.95 per week
Raiz (money saving/investing app): $20 per month plus auto round-ups and fees (this mount varies).
Credit card repayments: I don’t use my credit card very much and some fortnights I don’t owe anything, but we were on holidays recently so it got a bit of a workout while we were away. Generally I will owe about $200 per month, but the amount varies.

Day one: Payday, yay!

Lunchtime. While I’m eating my lunch (homemade tofu and veggie stir-fry), I check my bank balance and notice my money has come in a little earlier than usual! In addition to my usual $500 per fortnight, I also transfer $50 into my joint savings account with my boyfriend, and $200 to pay off my credit card.

2pm: Last night at TRL, our team captain reminded us all that final payments for our fees are due, so I transfer him $60.

5pm: I finish work and drive straight from there to the gym. I’m not really feeling it today and it’s that time of the month (I also have a sore throat so I think I may be getting a cold), so I just do a quick workout and before calling it a night and heading home. Better than nothing though, right?

6.30 pm: My boyfriend is playing footy tonight so it’s just me for dinner- I make myself two black bean and mushroom veggie patties and have them with salad, avocado and a piece of toast. Dessert is some vanilla soy ice cream (we are a dairy-free house) and I begin watching The Bold Type on Stan.

8.30pm: The boy gets home and starts telling me about a podcast he was listening to, which leads to a long chat about politics, the gender pay gap, minorities, marginalisation and more.

10.30pm: We head to bed.

Total: $310 (plus the $500 that I always put into savings)

Day two

6.45am: I usually go to the gym in the mornings, but have been having later nights than usual and been tired in the mornings this week, so I’ve been sleeping a little later. I make a smoothie for breakfast, pack a sandwich for lunch and get ready for the day.

8.15am: I am driving to work when I start feeling anxious about whether I left a tap running while doing laundry this morning. Turn around and drive home to check tap (it was off) and then get caught in traffic. Am late to work.

9.00am: I transfer my boyfriend $30 for some pre-workout that he bought for us to share. $20 also gets direct debited from my account by Raiz (a money saving/investing app).

10am: One of the guys at the office is doing a coffee run, so I give him $3.50 for an iced long black. I rarely buy coffee as it’s a very unnecessary cost and I don’t really need the caffeine, but today I’m feeling a little flat. Plus, I just got paid #treatyoself

5pm: I finish work and head into the city to meet a friend for dinner. I opt to get the train instead of catching an Uber or paying for parking and since I already have money on my Go Card, it doesn’t cost me anything. We split a few plates and it comes out to $19.80 each. My boyfriend picks me up on his way home from the gym- I am lucky that he is very generous with lifts!

Total: $73.30

Day three

5.45am: It’s Friday, yay! I am up early and go to the gym before work. I’m wearing new workout gear and get in a good sweat, so I finish feeling smug and accomplished.

8.15am: I arrive at work and it is quiet today! I showered and got dressed at the gym, so I haven’t had breakfast yet. I eat oats with protein powder and fruit at my desk while I get started for the day.

12pm: I do my first bit of Christmas shopping on ASOS. A gift for a friend and a stocking filler for my boyfriend comes to a total of $53. I also have a Secret Santa to buy for work, but our work party is next week and I’m worried the online order won’t arrive in time so I decide to buy that in store this weekend. I eat my stir fry for lunch again.

4pm: I finish work early and head home. I had plans to meet a friend for dinner and drinks in the city, but this afternoon she suggested a night in instead which is always fine by me! My gym membership also gets direct debited which is $14.95.

5pm: I catch the train to my friend’s place, again using money already on my Go Card. She provides the drinks and I pay for the UberEats from an expensive pizza place for the two of us and her boyfriend. Total is $74, but they pay me back $30 later to make it even.

10pm: I fall asleep on the couch and my boyfriend comes to pick me up. Gosh he is good.

Total: $111.95 (I have subtracted the $30 they paid me back)

Day four

8am: My alarm goes off and I quickly get ready to meet another friend for a catch-up. Our Dinnerly box also arrives so I quickly unload that into the fridge before leaving. I have subscriptions to a couple of different meal delivery services, but I only get one every couple of months. I paid for this last week, so it’s not included in my money diary.

9am: I drive to the trendy coffee shop and there is free street parking, so no cost for transport. My stomach is feeling a little average from the pizza and drinks the night before, so I order an expensive green smoothie in an effort to cleanse myself. $9.50.

12pm: I get home and the boyfriend has had friends over, so we all hang out for a bit and then they leave and we decide to go to the movies. I pay for the tickets, and he pays for the snacks. Cost for me is $18.

5pm: We decide to make a roast and potato bake for dinner. YUM. We head to the shops where he buys lamb, but since I don’t eat meat I was planning on getting a pre-made roast veggie loaf. It turns out they don’t have any so I decide to make my own. This works out way cheaper since I already have most of the ingredients at home and just have to buy some lentils and kidney beans. The ingredients come to a total of $54.56, and I pay. We do most of our grocery shopping together and I usually pay the total, and then we work out what he owes me based on what we got. For example, he eats meat and I don’t, so he will later pay me back $26 for the lamb.

Daily total: $82.06 (Will later be $56.06 after he pays me back)

Day five

10am: It’s Sunday! We sleep in, eat toast and have a very lazy morning on the couch.

11am: We do an online order for next week’s groceries and I pay again. It comes to $40.26 and I pay, and he will later pay me $9 for his beef.

1.30pm: I head to our closest big shopping centre to do some more Christmas shopping and spent $28.97 on Secret Santa presents.

3pm: I finish shopping and go to the gym so that I’ve at least done something productive today!

5pm: I pick up the groceries- this is the first time we’ve done the online order and I think we will definitely do it again! It was quick and easy, and means we didn’t get tempted to grab things we didn’t need. My Spotify monthly payment also comes out of my account and is $11.99.

5.30pm: We realise we have both barely eaten today. We make a big dinner of leftovers, plus garlic bread and soy ice cream before watching a bad movie on Netflix. I call it quits about three quarters of the way in and go read before bed. At the moment I’m reading ‘Me and Earl and the dying girl’. It’s a young adult fiction which I don’t usually read these days but I’m really enjoying it- it’s funny and well done, and I feel like it will get sad as I get further in.

8.30pm: We go to bed early and have a nice long sleep.

Daily total: $81.22 (Will later be 72.22 when my boyfriend pays me back for meat)

Day six

6.30am: My alarm goes off, and I realise the sore throat I’ve been feeling for the last few days has developed into a cold. I blame the fact that we have started sleeping with the fan on high every night.

7am: I have toast and a smoothie for breakfast, then pack myself a lunch of leftover veggie roast with potato bake and salad as well as fruit to snack on.

8.30am: I arrive at work and resist the temptation to buy a coffee. My cold is making it hard to focus on anything and I feel very fuzzy. Caffeine might help me out a little, but I don’t want to spend money on a coffee that I probably won’t enjoy that much

12.30pm: I can tell I’m sick because I don’t feel hungry, but I eat my lunch anyway.

3pm: Cold is getting progressively worse. I eat a banana, drink a LOT of water, and one of the guys in the office gives me a Berocca to help me feel better (it can’t hurt, right?).

5pm: I finish work and head to the gym. I usually do weights and had planned to do an upper body today, but instead I just do 30 minutes on the stair master to try and sweat out the sickness. I pop into Aldi since it’s in the same building to buy some vitamins and tea in an effort to force myself to get better. I forget to buy the tea, but I do get some Vitamin C, orange juice and Christmas liquorice. Total is $9.37

6.00pm: I get home and it’s time to make dinner! I use one of the Dinnerly recipes to make a mushroom and tofu noodle dish and it’s delicious. My boyfriend also makes a side of fresh garlic bread, which might seem like a weird combination but he wants to make it and I’ll never turn down garlic bread!

7.30pm: We watch Crazy Stupid Love on Netflix because he’s never seen it, then I dose up on vitamins, read my book for a little while and go to bed at 10pm. Raiz also debits $5.31.

Daily total: $14.68

Day seven: 

6.45am: I am in a DEEP sleep when my alarm goes off. It’s only Tuesday but I feel exhausted.

7.00am: I pack leftover noodles for lunch, fruit to snack on and some protein balls I made. I make a smoothie for breakfast and chug orange juice to get some extra micro-nutrients. Still feeling congested but not terrible.

8.20am: I arrive at work and my boss is playing Christmas Carols, yay! I spend some time catching up on emails etc while listening to a podcast.

9.30am: I make myself a tea and drink some water before working on some content that is due this week. We are flying interstate for our work retreat/Christmas party on Thursday, which means all my work for the week needs to be done by then!

10am: I eat two protein balls and let my TRL team know that I’m not feeling well and might not be up for the game tonight- we are scheduled to play at 8.20pm, which is a little late for me at the best of times, let alone when I’m not well.

12.30pm: I email our graphic designer some content that I need him to help me out with. We work in different offices, so this kind of thing can often take a lot of back and forth and drafts. I heat up my lunch and drink a soluble Vitamin C tablet. One of the guys from my TRL team is trying to find some extra players to fill in as we are already short but he isn’t having much luck, so I think I might have to play. Usually just a cold wouldn’t stop me from playing, but since I’m flying interstate later this week for a busy couple of days and have a big weekend coming up, I really want to rest and make sure I help my body get better, not worse. If the team really needs me I will play though as I hate being flaky.

4.30pm: I finish work and head home. Since I’ve been very sedentary today I take a half-hour walk around our area to clear my head and move my body. It starts lightly raining and I start wondering if my TRL game will be cancelled.

6pm: I make an early dinner of a pea and feta pasta with mint and lemon juice, another Dinnerly recipe. It’s tasty and there is enough leftover for us both to take some leftovers for lunch tomorrow, woohoo! I put on an episode of The Bold Type while we eat.

8.00pm: My game didn’t get cancelled so I unhappily head to out to play TRL in the rain. The field is very close to where we live which is a great bonus and makes the late games a lot easier! The field is a bit slippery and I play ok, but not my best. We win 4-1 and it’s extra satisfying because the other team is a little snarky.

9.30pm: I head home, shower and collapse into bed.

Daily total: $0

Weekly totals

Food and drink (including groceries): $171.62. My boyfriend still owes me $35 from groceries.

Entertainment (including sport): $89.99

Home and health: $54.32

Clothes and beauty: $0

Transport: $0

Other: $357.28  (Including credit card repayment and deposit into joint savings account)

Weekly total spent: $673.21

Final thoughts/reflection: This looks like a lot, but I suppose it is a fairly accurate depiction of how my spending goes each week. My ‘other’ section included my credit card repayment and Christmas shopping, which I usually don’t do, so that explains why that section seems quite high. Re-reading the list above I don’t feel like I spend excessive amounts on anything unnecessary (apart from the expensive pizza and smoothie on the weekend, but that’s definitely not usual for me!), and other than the $60 for TRL fees there is nothing too far out of the ordinary in there. I get paid fortnightly and generally the first week of the fortnight is always more expensive for me- it’s the week I pay my credit card, any bills, and usually the week I fill up my car or do social things. Next week will be MUCH cheaper- I would estimate around $200 in total. Maybe I’ll record it as well to illustrate the difference?

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