Money

Bank Balance Confessions: The 30-Year-Old Guy Who’s Figuring Out His Finances

Here at The Cusp, we believe that talking about money empowers us to make more informed choices – and that tracking your spending can be revelatory. Here’s the latest instalment in our series exploring the income and expenditure of young Australians. Want to get better with money? We can help you there, too.

Every week $1647.655 drops into my account. Given $400 of that goes to rent, another $50 or so for regular ongoing memberships (like gym and internet) and I wouldn’t spend more than $150 on food, it *always* surprises me how little I manage to save.

I’m debt free, and have about $20,000 in savings. I had none before starting this job (2.5yrs ago) but I’ve had just the one overseas holiday in that time and I get paid stupidly well, so that figure wasn’t really hard earned (I haven’t planned or made sacrifices).

I’m not consciously saving for anything in particular either, it’s just there, in an account. A little part of me thinks it’s good to have a kitty in case something goes wrong or more likely, if I want another crack at living overseas. I have no other assets, no car or shares or anything.

I’m really at a turning point. I’ve always been YOLO. Earning more has just meant spending more. I like being able to confidently buy rounds or go out to dinner without worrying about whether I can afford it but I also don’t have a great desire to travel or buy a house, and I don’t really have vices that take away large swathes of cash on the regular.

I don’t budget but as I said, I’m at a turning point — I have had a referral to a financial planner and am about to get more serious about setting myself up for later in life. It’s not something that bothers me particularly, I don’t feel *behind* but I’m conscious I should be starting to think about how to make my money “work a bit harder” or plan for retirement, even if that feels an age away.

And honestly, I’ve always thought I can play around with money until I settle down with a partner — cooking more regularly at home makes sense in a couple; financing a mortgage is a lot easier with two incomes, etc. — but I’m now at the point where I think I probably shouldn’t wait for that…

I guess long-story-short I feel immensely privileged that I don’t *have* to budget because my job pays well enough to just live the life I like without thinking about it; but I’ve approached a time in my life where I’m now starting to think I shouldn’t just spend willy-nilly without thinking further ahead.

This week’s expenses don’t show the $400 I spend on rent each week, as that’s paid fortnightly. I also have other ongoing expenses that did not fall in this week: $12per month for Photoshop; $10 per month for Spotify; $10 per month for Stan; $30 per month for Sydney Swans; $59 per month for Internet. Work pays my phone bill.

Wednesday

  • $3 – Coffee
  • $9 – 6 inch sub and Grain Waves
  • $2.50 – Coffee. Cheaper in happy hour!
  • $3.38 – Train. Was running late.
  • $34.50 – Espresso martini. Celebrating a friend’s success.
  • $19 – Six pack of beer.
  • $16 – Roti combo.
  • $12 – Wine. Night cap.

= $93.38

Thursday

  • $2.10 – Bus. Would normally walk; was hung over.
  • $14.99 – Netflix. This is a monthly charge.
  • $6.50 – Coffee and raisin toast. Raisin toast because hung over.
  • $12 – Sandwich
  • $2.36 –Train
  • $56 – Gym membership

= $93.95

Friday

  • $3.38 – Train. Running late.
  • $3.30 – Coffee.
  • $3.50 – Trying to cut back on second coffee but had a meeting in a café.
  • $9 – Sandwich
  • $52 – Margarita round for friends who are getting married.
  • $36 – Beer and wine. Paid for booze, not for dinner.
  • $29.50 – Round. Went to a birthday thing.
  • $29 – Round
  • $26 – Round

=$191.68

Saturday

  • $9 – Coffee and bacon and egg roll
  • $50 – Black shirt. I had a date and it was on special.
  • $48.50 – Ticket to a play.
  • $15 – Two beers
  • $8 – Beer
  • $14.50 – Two beers
  • $28 – Cocktails. I paid for these and somebody else bought our dumplings for dinner.
  • $26 – Bottle of bubbly for a friend’s housewarming.

= $199

Sunday

  • $17.40 – Brunch
  • $19.95 – Fog free mirror for shaving in the shower; impulse buy.
  • $6 – Beer. Watching footy at the pub.
  • $30.30 – Round.
  • $12 – Burger and chips.

= $85.65

Monday

  • $3.20 – Coffee
  • $4.76 – Soup and roll. Mondays I’m better behaved…
  • $23.32 – Simple stir fry; enough for a few meals.

= $31.28

Tuesday

  • $4 – Coffee
  • $15.50 – Sandwich
  • $159.95 – Coat. I lost a grey blazer last winter, this is a replacement.

= $179.45

Total weekly spend = $880.39

The one really novel thing was that I take public transport more than I expected. When I moved into a flat by myself I spent a bit more than I thought I should but somewhat justified it saying, “You’d be so central here; spend more per week on rent and you’ll come out ahead because you won’t be spending on transport.” But I get lazy often and catch the bus/train.

The other takeaways I think I had a good idea of — particularly the discrepancy between weekday and weekend spending (adding multiple rounds of booze really adds up) and how much of my income is spent eating out.