Bank Balance Confessions: The 23-Year-Old Who Lives At Home

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.

I live with my parents in the house I grew up in. At 23 years old, a couple of my friends are starting to move out, but most still live at home too. I don’t pay for rent, bills or most groceries at home (thanks Mum and Dad) but pay for everything else myself, including personal bills such as private health insurance, mobile phone and car expenses (insurance, rego, petrol, servicing etc).

I feel privileged that I’m able to still live at home, as I know it’s not a viable or desirable option for a lot of young people. I’m happy to potentially stay a couple more years at home, as my parents and I give each other space but also enjoy each other’s company, and it’s the best way for me to save a heap of money.

Making the most of living at home

While living at home helps my financial situation greatly, living frugally plays a huge part too. I’m able to save at least 75% of my income by being disciplined with my money. I’m motivated to save as much as I can, as I know I won’t be living at home forever, so it’s important to me to make the most of it while I can now. I try to minimise unnecessary spending as much as possible, by setting limits and sticking to the bare essentials on things like clothes, beauty products, eating out and drinking out.

I wasn’t always this frugal, and used to buy an unnecessary amount of clothes and makeup, and eat out for lunch at work everyday, but have since realised my financial goals are more important to me than these things.

I work in marketing and have been working full time since I finished uni a couple of years ago. During uni, I worked in hospitality and as a nanny, only doing around 15 to 20 hours each week during the semester and more on summer holidays, and was able to save up $30,000 by the time I finished my degree. Since then, working full-time, I have been able to step it up a notch and aim to have $100,000 saved by the end of this year.

My long term financial goals revolve around investing so my future is secure, to buy an apartment or house in an area that I like (starting to seem impossible in Melbourne at this rate…) and hopefully retire early (who wants to work til they’re 70?!). I know that most people my age aren’t focused on their future financial security or retirement, but it’s something I’m really motivated by. I also love travelling and prioritise saving for travel as well. I didn’t grow up rich by any means, but my middle-class parents have instilled in me to work really hard to achieve my goals and the living standard I desire.

I make myself a budget and stick to it. I update my budget a few times a year, as things in my life change and my priorities change. I’m hyper aware of everything going in and coming out of my account.

I have a HECS debt of around $40,000 and this is my only debt. I earn $3770 monthly.


Today is my monthly payday (yippee!). First thing I do is “pay myself” – I transfer $3000 into my savings account. I recently had a pay rise, and before this I was saving a little lower at $2500 monthly. My monthly savings figure does vary; depending on if I have any large expenses coming up such as car rego, a weekend away or Christmas, so it is sometimes lower than this.


– $48: new work skirt purchased online. I had found this skirt a month ago, as I was in dire need of a new one, but was waiting for it to go on sale – finally the site had was 20% off storewide.

– $88.30: monthly private health insurance bill


– $16.50: Groceries. My parents buy most staples at home, however I usually pick up some groceries here and there, in particular things that are only for myself (like soy milk and kale).


– No purchases


– $9: Trip to trusty Priceline at my local shopping centre for my usual mascara, on sale (Never-Pay-Full-Retail-Price is my middle name).

– $7: Cheap dumplings dinner with a friend at the shopping centre food court.


– $3: Tonic water. Drank this for gin and tonic pre-drinks (already had leftover gin) at a friend’s house with some mates before heading out to a bar – saved my cash by drinking one too many at pre-drinks so I didn’t buy any drinks at the bar.

– $6: Shared an Uber home with friends.

– $4: Sausage roll from a convenience store on the way home (oops).


– $30: Flowers and a card for my lovely mother for her birthday.

Weekly spend = $211.80

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