Bank Balance Confessions: The 28-Year-Old With A Budget – And A House

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’m a government employee with a mortgage on my one-bedroom apartment. I spent seven years saving for the deposit while renting, and now I’m really trying to pay off as much as I can (not just the minimum) so that I have a buffer if/when interest rates go up. I am also saving to renovate the bathroom so right now every spare dollar is being put straight into my saving account (which is also a mortgage offset account to reduce monthly interest.)

I cook at home as often as possible (mostly vegetarian food simply to save money) and don’t often snack. I got rid of my gym membership to save money and instead walk to and from work, play social sport and go running.


Payday for the fortnight. I take home $2300 (after tax) from my job and freelance writing combined. That’s $1150 a week.
-I straight away put $70 for the fortnight’s groceries and bills – this covers my electricity and gas bills, as well as basic house supplies like cleaning products, toilet paper etc.
– $300 straight into my savings for the fortnight.
-$180 to go towards quarterly strata bills and council/water rates.
-The minimum repayment on my mortgage is $750 for the fortnight but I pay $900 ($450 a week)
-All up that’s $1450 of my fortnightly cash gone to other accounts. Weekly those expenses equal $725 leaving me with $425 spending cash for the week.
-I pretty much always grab a coffee for the walk to work. I walk for the free exercise and to save on public transport. I eat breakfast at home (muesli and milk) and pack a sandwich for lunch. ($3.50)
-Dinner with some mates at a local Thai place. My share is $25
Total: $753.50


-Breakfast and lunch again brought from home. Takeaway coffee on the walk to work $3.50
-Vending machine can of coke for a post-lunch caffeine and sugar hit after a long week. $1.40.
-Opal card recharge $20
-Anniversary dinner with boyfriend at an excellent Sydney restaurant. This puts a huge dent in the fortnightly budget but is absolutely worth it – will just have to be a slightly quieter weekend to make up for it. $225
Total: $249.90


-Bacon and egg roll at the markets and coffee $10
-Movie ticket (discounted because of my health insurance) $11
-Beer after the movie $7.50 (boyfriend bought me dinner)
Total: $28.50


-Breakfast at home, takeaway coffee $3.50
-Groceries for the week’s lunch and breakfasts (muesli, milk, bread, eggs and sandwich stuff) $32
-Takeaway pizza for dinner $17
Total: $52.50


-Takeaway coffee $3.50
-Breakfast and lunch from home.
-Bottle of wine to take to mate’s place for dinner $17
Total: $20.50


-Ingredients to make a cake for a colleague’s birthday $14
-Monthly Netflix – $9
-Fortnightly health insurance payment $37
-Raid the fridge for leftovers for a cheap omelette dinner.
Total: $60


-Takeaway coffee – $3.50
-Ingredients for a vegie pasta dinner $12
Total: $15.50

Weekly total
I’m about $30 over budget for the week, but it did include an expensive dinner on the Friday night which isn’t exactly normal. I’ll make up the $30 next week as I’m really careful not to touch my savings.
Most weeks do involve a little bit more socialising and drinking but I laid low this weekend to counter that pricy dinner. I could probably save more money by not having takeaway coffee but I give myself that one daily ‘luxury’ because of how strict I am the rest of the time.

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