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What My Salary Gets Me: A 33-year-old primary school teacher on $92,000 a year.

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What My Salary Gets Me: A 33-year-old primary school teacher on $92,000 a year. © Getty Images What My Salary Gets Me: A 33-year-old primary school teacher on $92,000 a year.

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. In this series, we discover what women are really spending their hard-earned cash on, and nothing is too outrageous or too sacred. This week, a 33-year-old primary school teacher shares her weekly money diary.

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Age: 33.

Job: Primary school teacher.

Salary: $92,862.

Housing: I live in a two-bedroom unit which I own. My mortgage repayments are $1,200 per month.

Monthly expenses: 

Health insurance (extras cover): $40.

Phone and internet: $72.

Electricity: $70.

Savings: $30,000 in an offset account.

Assets: $1,000 in crypto (I think, too scared to check).

Subscriptions: Spotify $12.

I'm single and live alone in a place that I bought three years ago. I moved into my house a couple of months before COVID hit, so I was forced to stay home and save money which was both scary and fortunate. 

My sister and I share our family dog, she mostly lives with my sister but I often take her on weekends and school holidays. 

Watch: Four money hacks that don't cut out your daily cup of coffee. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.


First day of school holidays! 

I feel amazing even though I wake up at 5am. I’m unable to go back to sleep so I stay in bed with my dog. Eventually I make myself go for a jog. I manage to leave and return without waking her up.

In the afternoon, I visit my mum. We try to go for a walk but we only make it to the end of the road when it starts to rain.

Then I go home to read Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi. After finishing it, I feel inspired to cut down on my use of tech and download OffScreen, a free app which tracks phone usage.

Daily total: $0.


I'm training for a half marathon and Mondays are my long run days.

The good: no wind and no work to fit my training around. 

The bad: feet pain and I come home to a crying dog (her anxiety has been worse since the pandemic started).

I don’t have much energy afterwards so I make one of my favourite easy dinners - air fried cauliflower and mushroom burritos. I also cook some beef mince for my dog.   

Daily total: $0.


In the morning, I go grocery shopping. Today I am prepared with a list and I've even looked at the online catalogues to see what is on special. But it still takes me ages...

I go to ALDI, Coles and the green grocers ($92).

Afterwards, I meet a friend at a shopping centre. 

She has recently quit her job, and I have put myself on a clothes shopping ban, but we arrange to meet at the shops because it’s halfway between our homes. 

I go crazy buying gifts in TK Maxx ($50) but aside from that, I manage to stick to what I really need. 

I pick up a sports bra from Adidas ($25), sandals from Planet Shoes ($100) and socks and thermals from Decathlon ($60). 

Today is an expensive day because I also fill up on petrol ($75) and purchase airport parking for an upcoming trip ($117). 

Daily total: $519.


My tech experiment is not going well.

According to OffScreen, I am averaging 50 phone pick ups per day, which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t also use an iPad! 

I decide to turn off notifications and unsubscribe from mailing lists. I get a lot of emails from retailers so hopefully this way I can save money as well as time.

Anyway, today is fun - I meet an old friend for lunch and we try to get into a new cafe that is opening today (it was meant to open in 2020!) but we can’t get a table. 

We go to a nearby one instead and I have eggs ($16).

On the way home, I stop by Adairs for some essential oils ($13). I also buy a kettle from Myer using a gift card.

In the evening, I meet a work friend for a drink. I arrive early to find a free park (I hate paying for parking) and I get a glass of red wine ($10). 

Daily total: $39.


I start my day with a 10km run, then I take my dog to the vet. She’s an old girl at 16 so it’s an expensive visit. The check up and medications come to $600!

When I go home, I clean the oven and weed the garden. I can’t remember the last time I did either so it takes a while. 

I listen to some Mamamia podcasts (#notsponsoredjustgood) which makes the time pass more quickly. 

I cook a prawn stir fry and start a new book - Losing Face by George Haddad.

I was recently given a work iPad which I use to read e-books from my local library. The weather is freezing so a perfect night for reading a book with my dog on my lap.

Daily total: $600.


I am going away next week so I am trying to use up the food in my fridge. I make a berry and spinach smoothie for breakfast and a vegetable omelette for lunch.

I am pleased to say that I tried out a new hairdresser who is great! For years I visited a salon that was 40 minutes away but I recently learnt how to cut my fringe and I can’t justify driving that distance anymore. My new hairdresser is a lot closer. And bonus: she is way cheaper ($25).

I spent the evening reading my book - I’m really enjoying it. 

Daily total: $25.

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On weekdays, I stick to a healthy diet but today I decide to eat whatever I want. For lunch, I meet a friend and get a delicious smoked salmon and avocado panini ($13). 

On the way home, I get a French Toast doughnut from Walkers ($5) and do a quick Coles shop ($20). Luckily, my sister comes over and helps me eat some of the food.  

After she leaves, I go to Officeworks and buy some stamps ($10). 

One of the lockdown hobbies I’ve kept going is collaging and scrapbooking. On the whole, it’s been a cheap activity because I now make my own birthday cards and even gifts for my (notoriously hard to buy for) mum. 

Daily total: $48.


I think this week was representative of what I would normally spend. 

Since COVID, I have gone on a health kick and picked up hobbies in place of shopping. While I go through periods of increased spending (especially during summer months), it helps that I love to cook and don’t get takeout. 

I’ve always been a frugal person, but I’d say I’m now more mindful about how I spend my money. I’m hopeful that I can put more money towards my mortgage and go on an overseas trip next year.

Want to contribute your own anonymous money diary for What My Salary Gets Me? Email to get involved.

You can catch up on our previous What My Salary Gets Me articles here:

Feature Image: Canva/Mamamia.

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