A Week in my Wallet: by TBG Editor Emma
“HOLY CRAP WHERE HAS ALL MY MONEY GONE?” I say to myself while standing in the line at Coles clutching a bunch of overpriced asparagus and some top-end halloumi – two items that I’ve coined as ‘essentials’ on the shopping list.
The problem with us as a generation, is that we seem to lose track of our money. Real fast. Finance experts often recommend sitting down and looking at a real week in your wallet to see where you’re going wrong. And so, I did, and I’m going to share it with you. There’s something about seeing how crap other people are with money that gives our generation a sense of comfort, don’t you think?
It’s kind of like when you vow to be super healthy and 100% #cleaneating with a mate, and end up confessing that you ate your body weight in brie and bathed in red wine instead of doing body pump.
In a minute you’re going to be all, “omg girl I totally get why you spend $3.61 on dried figs on Wednesday don’t feel bad.”
And all of a sudden we stop beating ourselves up, and realise that healthy finances are a journey, just like a healthy lifestyle.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll also be interviewing some other Broke Generation not-so-savvy spenders, to see where their money goes.
Ready to see a week in my wallet? This is just a normal week, excluding mortgage repayments and bills. I’d say it’s a mid level week. I didn’t go nuts, but I also wasn’t being conservative.
Ps this was from back in June when the World Cup was on and my dreams of England winning were still very much alive. Sob sob sob. Here we go.
It’s work-from-home day, so all my eating can be done at home, yaas. $1.71 came out of my account on laptop insurance, and I spent $4.50 on a coffee while I walked to the house I’m cat-sitting at for the week. Other than those, it was a pretty lean day.
It’s office day. I already had money on my Myki (train travel) card YAAAAS so no top-up for me today. Naturally I spent $4 on a coffee instead, but took lunch to work so I didn’t need to buy anything else. On the way home I stopped at Innisfree and bought $11 worth of face masks for my friend. She’ll pay me back, but for now, that’s an expense.
Brace yourselves. Here we go. I got up at 4am to watch the England match, and got so stressed/excited/OMFG WHAT that I had a huge nosebleed and ended up being late for work. This meant no time to prepare lunch or coffee or any sort of human functioning, so I stopped by Coles Express on my way in. Here I bought a soup for $5 and some very disappointing muesli bars that were $4. Then I stopped for coffee at $4.50 – yes I like almond milk and yes I did need an extra shot. By the evening it’s time for my friend’s birthday dinner, so I stopped by the Langham Hotel on my way and grabbed a $50 voucher to take her for Bailey’s hot chocolate another time. I wander around the city for a while as I’ve got some time to kill, and nip into the Nespresso boutique to try the new pod and get a free caffeine hit to see me through the evening (two birds, and all that). I almost got in an Uber to the restaurant, but with my Fitbit buzzing away, I plodded on.
I got to the restaurant early, and had planned to order myself a soft drink before the others arrived so I wouldn’t get sucked into having a wine but then a waiter came over and said Pinot Grigio was $5 before 7pm so LOL change of plan. We ordered a load of food to share and split the bill 5 ways, totalling $23 each (including the wine).
It’s late and cold but Uber is surging so I trudge to the train station as I’ve already capped out my Myki spend, so getting home is free. Can we all just cast our minds back to 17 hours ago when I got up YES I AM A SUPERHERO.
Couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was psyching myself out that I was so tired from the 4am England match start that I needed to get to sleep immediately. As such, I’m bleary-eyed this morning but can see that I’m out of Nespresso capsules NOOOOO. Coffee en route to work it is, but I’m running early thanks to a well-timed train, so I decide to get a $2 black coffee from the 7-eleven that’s slightly out of my way. Hello, step count.
Dinner out the night before meant no time to prep a lunch, so it was soup again, this time a $2.70 one. I also bought an apple for $0.63, and topped up my Myki card by $10 (which was a silly amount that’s barely more than one day’s travel but I had the cash so I did.)
By the time it’s 11.30am, one of the guys in the coworking space is heading up to the fancy coffee place and taking orders. I peek into my wallet and what’s this I see? HELLO FIVE BUCKAROONIES. I hand it to him and yell ‘STRONG ALMOND CAPP’ with an audible level of glee. Turns out the savings from the $2 weren’t enough to satisfy me.
It’s the Love Island Australia final tonight and I’m 3 episodes BEHIND schedule, so I spend 4 hours sinking into my couch and send my boyfriend out with my bank card to get naked burritos from Mad Mex, and bid farewell to $26 while I’m at it.
It’s work-from-home Friday so I hop out of bed early and make for the coffee shop. With an almond capp on order and $4.50 slithering its way out of my account, I see an email from a clothing store. “The Persia Dress in Navy is Back in Stock”. WELL BUTTER MY BUTT AND CALL ME A BISCUIT. I’ve been waiting weeks for this email. The dress has gone in and out of stock about 8 times, so I signed up for email updates on when it would be back. Within seconds I’m punching my digits into their system, scoffing at the $10 delivery fee and before I know it they’re the proud new owners of my hard-earned $69.99 and I’ve got a dress I’ll most certainly wear once.
I totter off to the gym for a sprint session for my half marathon training, before scooting into the supermarket for a banana – a modest $0.65.
Later that afternoon, I make for the train station and discover I’m in negatives on my Myki card. A weak and embarrassing $10 top up later, I head to a beauty salon where I’m having a facial FOR FREEEEEE after I won a competition they ran on Instagram (yes keep tagging 3 friends and liking this post bc sometimes dreams come true).
In the excitement of the free facial I tripped and fell into Acai Brothers and spunked FIFTEEN BUCKS on a baby bowl, but justified it by convincing myself I was getting a sore throat and therefore the antioxidant bowl was non-negotiable. I spot a 7-eleven and nip in to grab $7.50 worth of World Cup stickers – yes, stickers – for my 26 year old boyfriend who is collecting them.
On my way home I head BACK into the supermarket, this time with my trusty reusable bag, and spend $25.77 on some supplies for dinner (we’re making healthy pizza) and some Lindt hot chocolate flakes as a welcome home gift for the family I’ve been pet sitting for.
I get up and go for a run, stopping at a 7-eleven once I’m finished and spend $3 on coffees for me and boyfriend who has kindly come to pick me up as it’s started raining.
By the afternoon, I’ve put a wash on and it needs drying. Our apartment is small and freezing in winter, meaning it takes about 43 days to dry clothing, so I head down to the local laundrette and put $3 into the industrial dryer to blast my much-needed dressing gown and gym kit.
While it’s drying I head to Chemist Warehouse and spent $9.69 on a home balayage kit – which just proves you should never leave me at home alone when I’ve got ideas in my head. It’s the World Cup game tonight and England are playing, so before I know it I’m in BWS buying low carb beers for $8, and some ‘essentials’ like popcorn and Lindt dark chocolate for $32.77 in the supermarket.
I was up until 3am watching the World Cup, but England won so who cares if I’m tired. It’s a right of passage. I fly out of bed and make for the train station – I’ve booked a running class at a new studio. Your first class is free, so no cashola spent on this. The coffee I bought afterwards though set me back a neat $4.20.
By the afternoon I realise we’re out of cat litter and have decided that my cat is bored, so make for the shopping centre and spend $37 on 2 bags of litter, a cat-sized bobble hat that I know he won’t wear, a toy that projects a moving laser light and 3 dangle toys. We get home and it’s a no from him on the bobble hat but a big yes on the new toys. That’s a win.
A $14.95 spend on two marshmallow hot chocolates that I’m 99% sure gave us diabetes was paid for with a gift card that I got for my birthday, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that doesn’t count.
Grand total: $385.11
Essential spending $158~
The essential stuff was supermarket shopping, the friend’s birthday gift, the friend’s birthday dinner, the cat supplies and the $11 that I’ll get given back by my pal.
Non-essential spending $227~
I could definitely have gone without the dress and the naked burritos (I paid for both of us), and the $50 birthday gift and $23 birthday meal for my mate aren’t exactly regular fixtures. But it does go to show how a number of tiny incremental purchases add up to a large chunk of your income. I spent almost $32 on coffee that week, and $30 on forgotten lunches and on-the-go totally-not-needed acai bowls!