Do you scrimp and save, or allow yourself to splash out on certain things – like going to restaurants or buying make-up? How have your attitudes to money been shaped by your parents? In our Money Diaries series, we chat to Amanda about savings goals; what she’s happy spending money on each week and how much she likes having in her emergency fund at all times.
Age: Early 30s
Location: By the beach, Adelaide
HECS / HELP debt? Yes
Any other debt? Credit card and mortgage.
Do you have any savings? Yes
Are you actively saving? Yes
RUBY: Hi Amanda. Thanks for taking us inside your financial journey. Let’s start with savings – do you plan, or wing it from month to month or week to week?
Amanda: There are times when I’m living from month to month. When I am able to save, I plan it out and allocate a portion of my pay into a ‘forced saving’ account. I generally work on what I’m able to save, rather than saving a percentage of my pay. This account also serves as an emergency fund and a fund for big ticket items. I get nervous when it dips below $5000.
RUBY: What does a day in the life of your spending look like?
Amanda: I’m working from home at the moment and don’t tend to spend much money on those days. I’ll have coffee at home 90 percent of the time and cook myself lunch. If I’m in the office, I’ll buy coffee and lunch ($15-20) about half the time I'm in. I’ll also generally go out for dinner on these days, which is $30 on average. I eat out 3-4 times on average over the weekend and I really enjoy spending money on food. I might spend anywhere from $30-100 on a meal and another $100 on groceries at a farmers’ market. I don’t carry a wallet. I have my credit and debit cards on my watch, so my money is always on my wrist for easy access. I do open my banking app every other day to check my spending and see how I’m tracking, and I use share payment apps with friends. I might shop online every 2-3 weeks (via apps like Iconic), spending $60-100, but my rule is only to buy things on sale.
RUBY: How do you feel about your finances today?
Amanda: Stressed. I’m always going over my spending budget per month, which impacts my savings. There’s always a bill, birthday or something else that seems to blow it out, even if it’s by $50-100.
RUBY: Where did you learn about money? What is one piece of advice that you have always stuck to?
Amanda: There wasn’t a lot of money when I was growing up and my mother was always very tight while my father was very generous. I got to experience both sides and the issues this can cause when people have different spending expectations. The best advice I ever got is that you can either live to work or work to live. I choose to work to live. I’m extremely lucky to have the ability to save while ensuring I’m treating myself every now and then and enjoying life.
RUBY: How do you prioritise your finances and has this shifted over time?
Amanda: I don’t spend much on personal care. I wear minimal makeup, don’t dye my hair and don’t get any expensive treatments regularly. I also do a lot of my clothes shopping at a monthly market and believe I've saved myself thousands of dollars by doing that over the years (and have far better brands and quality items then I would be able to afford).
RUBY: Do you budget or consciously save for large purchases, or are you an impulse buyer?
Amanda: My main goal is to buy a home just out of city and Airbnb it permanently. I’m actively saving for this now.
“The best advice I ever got is that you can either live to work or work to live. I choose to work to live”
Loved this? Check out more in the Ruby Money Diaries series – we’re putting up a new interview each month!
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.