min read
· Posted on
February 21, 2024

How this 22 year-old in Melbourne on $61.5k spends her money

Everyone has a different background & experience when it comes to money. We ask young Aussies what they earn, what they spend & how they feel about money.

What's the key learning?

In this edition, we spoke to Elise* (for obvious reasons, this ain’t her real name). She’s 22, she lives in a Melbourne sharehouse and she looooves indulging her inner foodie.

Here’s how she spends her cash.

How old are you and what industry do you work in?

I’ve just celebrated my 22nd birthday and I’m in the professional services industry. More specifically, consulting/advisory.

How much do you earn overall per year?

My salary is $61.5k per annum. That’s inclusive of minimum voluntary super contributions, and (unfortunately) over-time pay… touchy subject!

Do you have any side hustles or a second job?

I don’t, but I’d like to. However, I don’t think there are enough hours left in my day for a side hustle.

How much does your rent or mortgage cost?

I live in a sharehouse with my two best friends. My share of the rent is $1350 per month, not including bills, WiFi and the obligatory cleaning supplies.

What are your ongoing expenses?

I have happily scammed off my parents' Netflix since 2018 (thanks Dad!). Normally, I pay $50 per week to F45, but I’ve recently gone on hold to focus on work/getting my life together/being ‘that girl’…

WiFi is split between my 2 housemates and I, so I’m paying approximately $20 per month for my share. Electricity comes out to around $90 each per quarter [editor's note: this was before the recent price hikes we’ve seen]. Water and gas are covered by our lovely real estate agents.  

Do you have any debts?

Only my HECS, which last time I checked (prior to the indexation!) came to a whopping $19k.

How often do you eat out and what do you spend on food each week?

This one hurt me to write…

  • I spend at least $5 a day on coffee from my local baristas (I now see this as a ‘fixed expense’)
  • Depending on the severity of my hangover, there’s a pretty high chance I’ll get UberEats on the weekend. As we all know, money doesn’t “count” when you’re drunk and/or hungover…right? I probably average 2 meals a week on the ol’ Uber Eats.
  • I’m a closeted foodie…and my bank account agrees! I’ve averaged a whopping $400 per month on eating out over the past three months, according to CommBank. Yikes!
  • Groceries come to around $300-400 per month
  • Phone bill: $75 per month

Do you spend any money on travel?

Does Opal count?! We live right by a train station, which helps guilt me into making the most of it.

Do you put any money in savings?

Sure do! I try to stick by the 50-30-20 rule (thanks, Flux!).

I often make the mistake of putting a disproportionate amount of my pay into savings, and have to regretfully move $100 increments to my spending account. I try to make sure at least 20% of my take home pay goes to savings each month.

Do you receive any financial help?

I do, and I’m very lucky to.

My parents assist me with small fortnightly payments to help me achieve my savings goals. I could easily get by without it, but I’m incredibly grateful for it nonetheless. 

Did you worry about money growing up, and do you now?

I didn’t worry about money growing up, and I’m really fortunate for that. It’s made me grateful for what I have now, and helped me realise the value of money and investing.

Do you have any money tips and tricks you'd like to share?

I’ve been pretty unlucky with fraud and losing my wallet due to getting drinks spiked. My saving grace has been separate bank accounts! I have a spending account (linked to my card) for day-to-day purchases and another account (not linked to a card) for my cash inflows and outflows. That's stuff like my salary, phone bill, gym payments etc. This system helps with damage control to a significant extent!

MAKE THE MOST OF UBER REWARDS - I’ve had free Binge for months!

Take advantage of sales and online shopping! There's always an outlet store somewhere, and nine times out of 10 that bag you want will be cheaper online than it will be in-store!  

Your local op-shop has some bargains - all you need is a bit of patience and a keen eye!

Don't get too hung up on instant gratification. I like to wait 24 hours before buying something online, as a 'self-test' to determine whether I really need it.

Don’t listen to the ‘finance bros’ who lecture you about the newest crypto cycle. Chuck some money in an ETF and for the love of God, don’t watch it every day! 

Reap the rewards of compounding interest. You’ll thank yourself later.

And last but not least: if you’re on a date, make sure the other person pays! (All jokes… but fr tho).

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