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Money Memoirs

Work Hard, Budget Hard – Meet Sydney Vet Nurse, Tara

Money has long been avoided in public conversation because "it's just not the done thing." But we're throwing that concept in the bin. To encourage more open chats about personal finance, we’re pulling back the curtain for a glimpse into the financial lives of our community.

Introducing Money Memoirs, where Wisr App users track their spending over the course of a week to give us a peek into their daily routines, spending habits, savings hacks and money mindset.

It feels a bit like snooping, but these entries provide a fascinating insight into the cost of living in different areas, expenses associated with various professions and how financial priorities can change as you get older.

Meet Tara, 26-year-old vet nurse from Sydney

No spoilers… but Tara is a pretty money savvy individual. You need to be when you live in a beachside apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Waking up to the sun rising over the ocean is totally worth it, but it means she has to be meticulous with her money to make it work.

Tara is a vet nurse at a busy clinic on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She works long hours, but the job is incredibly rewarding and she’s learned to maximise her time off.

Tara sticks to a pretty strict budget, but she makes sure to allocate money for the occasional splurge and social outing. She also uses Wisr App to round up her transactions and add the extra cash to her savings account. Pay attention – there are some excellent money-saving tips in here.

SUNDAY – NO SPEND DAY TO START THE WEEK

Morning: 

I normally don’t work on Sundays, but we're pretty short-staffed thanks to COVID, so I’ve been called in. I get to work and make a shake for breakfast and jump straight to it!

Midday:

To minimise expenses, I bring my own lunch to work. I am a big believer in reducing food waste, so I find that a weekly grocery shop and meal-prep is a great way to stay environmentally and financially conscious. Lunch today was leftover pizza and salad that we made at my parent’s place last night.

Evening:

I got home from work around 10 pm. It was a very big day! We were at the clinic well past closing hours so we ordered takeaway to eat as we worked – my boss’ shout.

MONDAY – ALWAYS SAY 'YES' TO PENALTY RATES

Morning: I’ve been called in to help out at work again today. Originally, I wasn’t rostered due the public holiday, but the penalty rates definitely make up for the late notice! One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to start investing regularly, and these additional shifts will help subsidise that goal. 

Midday: In line with my usual weekday work routine, I bring lunch from home to eat on my break. Due to the demanding nature of my job, I often have to eat quickly and get straight back to work, so it’s always something super easy. 

Evening: Another unexpectedly busy night at the clinic and late finish meant I chose to crash at my parents’; it’s so nice to be able to spend some time with them as well.

TUESDAY – TREAT YO SELF

Morning: I have the day off today! The past two days have been pretty gruelling, so my coworker and I decided to use the morning to do something nice for ourselves! We met for a coffee $5.20 and got a manicure and pedicure. $90

"The veterinary industry is high-intensity, high-emotion, which can feel both mentally and physically draining. So, I have made space in my budget for getting my nails done every 3-4 weeks. My discretionary spending is pretty limited due to high living expenses but I’m not really into clothes or beauty products, so this is my only regular, non-essential splurge."

Tara, 26-year-old Vet Nurse

Midday: After our nail appointment, we had a late brunch – I got a vegetarian breakfast with poached eggs and juice $24.36. It’s great to work with such awesome people, and even nicer to spend proper time together outside of work. 


Evening: This evening I do my usual grocery shop, keeping in mind my work and social plans for the week ahead.  For evenings I’m at home, I cook enough food to take leftovers to work the next day. My grocery shop $70.16 included dinner for the next couple of nights, as well as a few toiletries and household essentials. I also bought a new kettle while I was out. $12

WEDNESDAY – THE QUEEN OF LEFTOVERS

Morning: This morning, I bought a coffee from my favourite cafe near work $5.50. I’m nothing if not reliable and made my daily shake for breakfast once I arrived at work. This consistent routine works really well for me both to keep costs down, but also for convenience as my mornings are pretty on-the-go. 

Midday: For lunch, I ate leftover dinner from last night. We made Vietnamese Pork Bao which was incredible. Now that we have the majority of the ingredients sauces and leftover meat, frozen, it will be a super affordable mid-week dinner down the track. The day was extremely busy so another coffee was a must! $5.50

Evening: I stopped for petrol on the way home from work $50. I usually only fill the tank halfway each week – this helps with cash flow and managing petrol prices. I also stopped to buy a few more ingredients to accompany tonight’s dinner – mixed salad with mango and prawns. $28.89

THURSDAY – DINNER FOR TWO

Morning: This morning got away from me! I grabbed a coffee on the way to work $5.50 and hit the ground running as soon as I got in.

Midday: As per usual, lunch was leftovers from last night. 

Evening: A friend of mine who has been living on the South Coast was driving through Sydney, so we organised to catch up for dinner on her way through. We went to a local restaurant for a tasty meal and a few beers $45. We stayed for a few hours, catching up and de-briefing on the last few months. We were craving dessert, so we popped into the gelateria down the street to indulge in something sweet. $6.50

"An added bonus today – I received a $100 refund for an event I was unable to attend on New Year’s Eve. Whilst the process of the refund was pretty arduous, it was worth it in the end. I transferred the money straight back to my savings account."

Tara, 26-year-old Vet Nurse

FRIDAY – TIME FOR A MARGARITA OR SIX

Morning: Another mad-dash today! I stopped at my local spot to grab a coffee and a muffin, as I figured I might not have time to stop for breakfast at work. Given how chaotic yesterday was, I didn’t want to chance it. $11.10

Midday: As I went out for dinner last night, I was slightly unprepared for lunch today. I bought a Roast Vegetable Sandwich from the cafe down the road. $16

Evening: I’m heading to a friend’s house tonight. She is kindly making dinner for me, so there are no take-out expenses tonight, besides a handful of limes so we can make margaritas $6.59. I also brought a bottle of wine from home as a thank you gift.

SATURDAY – MUM'S SHOUT

Morning: I met my Mum for a walk this morning. We had a late breakfast at a cafe we’ve both never been to before. As well as the meal, we each had a coffee and a juice. I offered to contribute but my lovely Mum took it upon herself to treat me this morning which was an unexpected and well-appreciated gesture!

Midday: I spend the early afternoon catching up on the week's washing and housework. The weather is beckoning me for a swim so I decided to go for a swim and catch some rays while reading my book for a few hours. 

Evening: Tonight, my housemates and I rode our bikes down to the waterfront to meet some friends for drinks. After a few hours, a sudden downpour cut our picnic short and we made a dash for home. I stopped at the bottle shop to grab some more drinks for the rest of the evening $22, then we all threw in some money for pizzas to be delivered for dinner $15. Despite the dismal weather, I had a great night catching up with my mates!

I managed to sell an item of clothing on the re-sale app Depop today which after the fees and postage came to a $40 profit which offset the day’s spending.

WEEKLY TOTALS

Over the week, I managed to keep my spending below $420. This was a pretty typical week for me. I also managed to round up $8.50 with Wisr App which will go straight towards my savings goal. If I keep it up, I'll have an extra $450-ish by the end of the year.

We've got more tea to spill.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

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