A Week In Melbourne, Australia, On A $91,972 Salary

Welcome toMoney Diaries , where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.

From healthcare, to transportation, to food and drink, the norms and culture of spending (and saving) can vary from country to country. To see how women’s spending habits differ — and remain constant — around the world, we’re featuring international diaries this week.

Today: an assistant surgeon and PhD student who makes $91,972 per year and spends some of her paycheck on potato gems (a.k.a. tater tots).

Editor’s note: All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.

Occupation: Assistant Surgeon & Full-Time PhD Student
Industry: Medicine
Age: 31
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Salary: $91,972

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $493 (My boyfriend and I are living with my mum right now, as we have purchased an off-the-plan apartment that will be finished at the end of the year and are trying to save before we move.)
Taxes: I set aside 40% of my income for taxes (this overestimates how much I owe, so the rest is savings.)
Phone: $89.46
Netflix & Stan: $18.95
Gym Membership: $84.91
Car Insurance & Registration: $107.40
Health Insurance: $162.23
Public Transportation: $37.91
Zoo Membership: $5.30

Day One

8 a.m. — My boyfriend and I sleep in. He’s been feeling quite down for the last couple of months and has recently realized it’s likely a relapse of his depression, which he hasn’t suffered from for the past few years. We have a chat and a cuddle in bed before making lattes, scrambled eggs, and bacon for brekkie. He decides to take a mental health day off from work and makes a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow. I do PhD work from home as per usual. Boyfriend takes our dog for a nice long walk while I write.

11 a.m. — I come across super cheap flights to Auckland (where my boyfriend’s family lives), and we decide to book a short four-night trip. Boyfriend pays for the flights ($471.07 for the two of us), and I use my credit card travel points to book us a luxurious first night in a five-star hotel ($304.73). We’re thinking of renting an Airbnb on beautiful Waiheke Island for the remaining three nights and inviting his family to come and stay there with us. Boyfriend got a new credit card last week and is trying to get to his sign-on amount ASAP to get his bonus points, so he is paying for more things than usual at the moment. (We’re aiming to have enough points between us to take a round-the-world trip in business class in the next two years.) I will reimburse him for half of the holiday when his credit card payment is due. $304.73

2 p.m. — We decide to take a break and get a coffee and hot chips to share for lunch from the café across the road. I order a “daytime” (non-alcoholic) special beverage with cold drip coffee, rosewater, and almond milk, but the waitress talks me into having the proper version which includes Frangelico — great start to a Monday. (It’s delicious, though.) Boyfriend pays the $23.

4 p.m. — My desk at home is a bit high, and when I have my chair at the correct height, my feet don’t touch the floor (short girl problems). I decide enough is enough and order an adjustable foot rest from Officeworks ($34.22). I need to spend a little bit more to get free next-day delivery, so I add in a mousepad for my boyfriend. $54.76

7 p.m. — My mum gets home from work, and we make dinner together. It’s one of the last days of warm weather (we are truly entering autumn now!), so we have BBQ sausages, green salad, and potato salad. We share the cooking and cleaning in our house. My partner and I are responsible for the menu planning and writing the shopping list, and my mum does the bulk of the grocery shopping, with us picking up any extra little things that we require throughout the week. Our main groceries are included in the rent that we pay to my mum each week. After dinner, we all hang out and watch Bachelor in Paradise Australia, followed by Pretty Woman (although boyfriend heads off to play computer games during the movie!). Then we head to bed around 11:30.

Daily Total: $359.49

Day Two

9 a.m. — We sleep in late again (dangers of working from home) and eventually get out of bed. I make breakfast while my boyfriend starts work (remotely from home). He’s usually on breakfast duty, but today I make our coffees and yogurt with granola and raspberries. I’m working from home again today, so I hit the computer after breakfast.

1 p.m. — My sister bought me a voucher for a facial from a place nearby, and my appointment is this afternoon. Traffic (as usual) is a nightmare in Melbourne, and it takes me nearly 40 minutes by the time I drive there, find a parking spot, and walk to the salon. It’s gorgeous, and I have an amazing hour-long facial. After the treatment, I buy a new cleanser which is supposed to be a bit gentler than what I’m currently using and a facial oil which is supposed to replace moisturizer. $108

3 p.m. — Boyfriend went to the doctor while I had my facial, so he tells me about it when I get home. It seems like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders, so I’m feeling relieved that he’s on the path to getting better. We eat leftover BBQ for lunch, and I have a quick play with the dog before getting back to my work.

7 p.m. — Boyfriend is working until 6:30 tonight, so my mum and I make a Mexican-inspired BBQ corn and chorizo salad for dinner. It’s delicious, and one of our favorites. Usually we make enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day, but decide not to tonight, as we will be out all day tomorrow, and I can’t stand food wastage. We watch Bachelor in Paradise again after dinner — is it just me or does it get really boring towards the end of the series…?

Daily Total: $108

Day Three

8 a.m. — It’s a public holiday in Australia, and we have plans with a couple of friends to spend the day at a wine region (Yarra Valley), approximately one hour from Melbourne by car. We’re looking forward to catching up with these friends, as many of our friends are either married with children or single AF, so it’s nice to spend time with another couple for a change. We’re picking them up (I get really carsick as a passenger, so have volunteered to be designated driver for the day) in a couple of hours, so I make scrambled eggs and flat whites at home to fill us up before we leave.

11 a.m. — We make our first stop at Chandon for sparkling wines. We each do a tasting ($4.54 per person) of five wines, and we find a few winners. Our friends pay. As usual, my boyfriend loves the sparkling shiraz, and I like the sparking rosé. We buy a bottle of each, and my boyfriend pays. From there, we head to a gin distillery called Four Pillars Gin, which I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. Upon entering, we’re told that the tasting is two and a half standard drinks each, so I sit out for this one, since I’m driving. I still have a couple tiny sips of a few that I haven’t tried before: Spiced Negroni gin, Modern Australian gin, Chardonnay barrel gin, and Sherry cask gin…YUM.

1 p.m. — We’re feeling a bit hungry (and the others are getting a little tipsy), so we decide to head to lunch at Innocent Bystander. It’s super busy today, and it seems like all of Melbourne had the same idea, so we have to wait a couple of hours for a table. We do a complimentary tasting of their range while we wait. Eventually, our table is ready and we order truffle and pecorino fries, broccoli salad, and three pizzas to share. The others each get a glass of wine but I get a lemon mineral water. We split the bill with our friends, and I pay for my boyfriend and myself. $51.50

3 p.m. — After lunch we head to another vineyard (Yering Station) and try more wines. Our friends are going through a Chardonnay phase, so they try those while my boyfriend focuses on reds and I try a bit of a range. We buy a bottle of red and a dessert wine (so delicious) to take home (boyfriend pays), and our friends find a Chardonnay that they like. We head to Yarra Valley Dairy to sit down and have a cheese platter, but unfortunately there are no tables left, so instead we do a complimentary tasting, and I buy two different types of marinated goat’s feta (one in saffron, garlic, and herbs, and one in chili oil) and a cow’s cheese spread with dill to put on bagels for breakfast. They also have a really cute reusable bag, so I buy one to put the cheese in for the trip home. $30.30

6 p.m. — Finally get home after dropping our friends off! My mum and I make a big batch of veggie-heavy fried rice with bacon and egg, and I make extra to take to my friend’s place when I visit her tomorrow. She had twins a few months ago and also has a two-year-old, so I try to always come with some meals for them, as she definitely has her hands full! After dinner, we veg out in front of the TV for a couple of hours before heading to bed.

Daily Total: $81.80

Day Four

6 a.m. — Early start today, as I have an operating shift on the other side of the city. My boyfriend makes us breakfast of flat whites and sliced tomatoes on toast while I get ready (love him!). In return, I drop him at work on my way.

11 a.m. — My operating shift finishes early today, so the primary surgeon and I decide to go for a walk together, as neither of us is hungry for lunch yet. I stop by my house to pick up my dog so she can come for a walk with us (two birds, one stone). I pay for parking next to the park, and we go for a nice walk in the sun. My surgical work is incredibly light this week because of the public holiday. $1.01

12 p.m. — Text the boyfriend to see if he’s free for lunch, as the park is a block away from his work. We head to a place we love that makes delicious hot chicken sandwiches (Southern USA-style) and serves natural wines. Trying to be alcohol-free today, so I get a soft drink instead to go with lunch. Boyfriend pays.

3 p.m. — Head over to visit my friend and her babies, bringing the fried rice and a birthday present for her two-year-old (a soft toy unicorn from Cuddle + Kind bought a few weeks ago). It’s nice to see her, and we hang out and have a cup of tea for an hour or so while I get lots of baby cuddles. They are super cute, and her two-year-old loves her toy. My friend mentions that she has been feeling a bit left out of friend excursions lately, and I ask her to come with me to the ballet in six weeks, since I have an extra ticket. I have a season pass to the Australian Ballet (bought in December of last year), which is incredibly expensive, but I absolutely love going.

5 p.m. — Make plans with a couple of my friends to see I Feel Pretty tomorrow night after work, and I buy my ticket online. No one can be bothered cooking tonight, so we decide to order in Indian food from this amazing place that has really authentic, super spicy food. We order from Uber Eats (and Mum pays): samosas, pav bhaji, chicken tikka masala, aloo baingan, butter chicken, garlic naan bread, and rice. The Uber Eats guy tells us this is his fave place when he drops the food off! $16.61

Daily Total: $17.62

Day Five

9 a.m. — I’m meeting a friend and her daughter for brekkie this morning, so I drop the boyfriend off at work on the way and park my car outside the café using the PayStay app to pay. I get cilbir eggs, green juice, and coffee and we catch up on each other’s lives while my dog and my friend’s daughter play. It’s my friend’s turn to pay for lunch, so she gets the bill. I’ll get it next time. Unfortunately, I forget to cancel my parking when I leave, so I end up paying for the full two hours instead of the one! $6.06

12 p.m. — I head into the city to go to the gym. My gym is located in my favorite shopping center, and I decide to have a look at the shops before heading up. I have a dinner tomorrow night that I’m a bit nervous about — it’s a dinner with my boss’s friends (some who I have met and worked with before), but everyone there will be five-to-10 years older than me and professionally a few steps above me, so I feel a little bit out of place. I try on a few dresses at Zimmermann, but none of them are quite right for the occasion. Then I find an amazing mohair coat at Scanlan Theodore, which I fall in love with and purchase ($492.70). After the gym (cardio and a meditation class), I go to another store and purchase a pink knit dress, plus a merino knit jumper for my boyfriend because there’s a promotion where I get $75.80 off if I spend at least $227. $666.40

2 p.m. — Eat leftovers for lunch at home and settle back into work for a few hours.

5 p.m. — A couple of my friends come over after work. I make us all negronis (my favorite cocktail, so I always have all the ingredients on hand!) and then we head to the cinema. We get a large popcorn to share and a bottle of water each. My friend pays, and we split it three ways. After the film, we decide to get burgers and potato gems. We walk back to my place afterwards, as one of my friends parked her car there earlier. Shower and bed! $34.11

Daily Total: $706.57

Day Six

9 a.m. — Boyfriend and I both wake up craving baked goods and coffee, so we stop by a bakery near us and pick up savory cheese and bacon rolls (he pays), which we eat at home with home-made flat whites. We spend the morning hanging out and watching a couple of episodes of Chef’s Table on Netflix.

2 p.m. — Boyfriend heads out to spend the afternoon/night with his mates, and I heat up leftovers at home for lunch. I mope around a little in the afternoon, and my mum and I watch a couple of episodes of Imposters. I start getting ready for my boss’s dinner — earlier than I usually would, because I’m nervous! I decide to wear the new Stila eyeshadow gel that I bought a couple of weeks ago, because GLITTER!

7:30 p.m. — Get to the dinner and actually have a pretty good time. Because there are so many of us, the restaurant dictates that we have either five or seven courses of the chef’s choice. We go for the five courses. I also have two cocktails. We split the bill evenly ($79.60 each) and I leave an extra little tip ($7.59). Tipping isn’t necessary in Australia, as everyone earns a fair wage, but I used to work in hospitality and I know how difficult it is! We head to a speakeasy-style bar after dinner, and I have two more cocktails. I contribute $37.90 to the bill for my drinks at the end. $125.09

2 a.m. — It’s late when I leave and I don’t want to have to wait up to 20 minutes for the tram, so I take an Uber. So much better to be home within five minutes at this hour of the night! Wake up my boyfriend when I climb into bed and get him to warm me up (sorry not sorry!). $7.51

Daily Total: $132.60

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Nothing gets you out of bed faster than the sound of your dog about to vomit on your sheets. We managed to get her out in time but not the best start to the morning! Luckily, my mum went to the market in the morning and there are fresh bagels for breakfast! We have them with the cheese spread that I bought at the dairy store in the Yarra Valley, and they’re delicious.

10 a.m. — When I was getting ready last night, I used up the last of my favorite liquid eyeliner pen, so I replace it via the online store and also order a new eyeshadow brush. (I’m new to using eyeshadow so I’m slowly building up my brush collection.) $62.92

11 a.m. — My boyfriend is obsessed with boardgames, and I agree to play some with him today. We play Terraforming Mars with his new expansion board, followed by Great Western Trail. I win both games (whoop whoop), which doesn’t often happen! For dinner, we make slow-cooked beef, red wine ragu, and fresh fettuccini. I pack in a lot of veggies and let the slow cooker do it’s thing. YUM.

8 p.m. — We eat the pasta (which is delicious) for dinner and watch the first part of the season finale of Bachelor in Paradise (which ends tomorrow night!). We hang out for a bit and then start getting ready for bed around 10:30 p.m.

Daily Total: $62.92

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