Take a look at every dollar in my household budget for fiscal year 22-23


HOUSING: $31,188 – That’s my minimum annual mortgage payment (if you’re renting, you’d estimate it here). Luckily for me, the interest rate on my home loan is fixed at 1.84% until mid-2023. After that… ouch!

If you have a variable rate mortgage, play around with the government’s MoneySmart online mortgage calculator to see how upcoming interest rate increases may affect your repayments. Most economists predict a cash rate of at least 2% by Christmas (from 0.85% currently). Bah smoker!

CLEANING: $10,939.52 – Here’s how much I expect to spend on general household upkeep, including: condo fees ($7954.52), council rates ($1180), home maintenance and repairs ($500 – an estimate), home insurance ($255 – I have contents and interior fit-out coverage only), appliances ($250 – I assume something will break), furniture ($250 – still once, I guess something will need to be replaced), hygiene ($200 – for basic supplies like toothpaste and toilet paper), cleaning supplies ($150) and decoration ($150).

UTILITIES: $2523.36 – Keeping the lights on is expected to get more expensive this year, but it’s hard to predict by exactly how much. Don’t get too attached to it. I just assumed my historical energy consumption rates and my current prices. I know my bill may be much higher, but I need a starting point, at least. This category includes: electricity ($1200), internet ($719.40), water and sewer ($603.96).

FREIGHT: $6818.48 – Owning a car is expensive. My transportation budget covers: public transportation ($1,518 – assuming three trips to the office each work week), fuel ($1,440, assuming one fill-up per month at $2 per liter), automobile insurance ($1,007.48 – including comprehensive and mandatory civil liability insurance). policies), parts and accessories ($1,000 – something always breaks or needs to be replaced!), regular maintenance ($500), parking ($480 – I sometimes park near work), rego ($381), tolls ($240), roadside assistance ($132), and Ubers ($120).

FOOD: $5,400 – I’ve been watching my food spending for about two years now, and it averages out to $450 a month to feed myself and my son, who lives with me half the week. This is the cost of store-bought edibles for cooking at home.

I budget for takeout and takeout meals later under the “lifestyle” category. I suspect I could cut my food bills further, but I want some leeway to continue buying lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as they become more expensive.

HEALTH: $7,660.26 – My health budget is largely devoted to preventive measures. It includes: gym membership ($4631.88 – tried to quit to save money but love CrossFit too much and prefer to give up other things – see budget “appearance” below.) It also includes health insurance ($1020 – I’m paying for basic hospital coverage only, with the highest possible deductible, as pure tax evasion), doctors and specialists ($902.38 – assumes annual skin exam, four trips to GP and six sessions with psychologist, after Medicare reimbursements), dental ($736 for two checkups and cleans for both of us), optical ($200 – contact lenses and solution), medications ($120) and medical equipment ($50 – for masks and RAT tests).

EDUCATION: $12,850 – My high cost in this category reflects a choice to pay private tuition, plus an allowance for associated costs such as uniforms and field trips. I also have a budget for a book at $30 a month ($360) and stationery ($200 – my beloved highlighters and printer ink don’t buy themselves!)

APPEARANCE: $570 – I stopped dyeing my hair about two years ago, and I’ve never really liked clothes and beauty treatments. So this category is only $400 for clothes and shoes, $120 for kids’ haircuts (I got my friend to cut mine!), and a reluctant $50 for makeup.


LIFESTYLE: $11,090 – I set my annual vacation fund at $6100, including a trip to Bali and several domestic trips. The rest of my lifestyle budget goes to: dining out ($1,800 – or $150 per month), gifts ($1,500 including Christmas and birthdays), live entertainment ($300), toys ($250), alcohol ($240), parties and receptions ($200), games and consoles ($200), attractions ($200), hobbies ($200) and seasonal celebrations ($100, including the decoration for Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc.). These are all discretionary and can be reduced as needed.

PROFESSIONAL FEES: $1891.48 – Union dues are tax deductible, but must be paid upfront, so it’s $696.48, followed by pocket money for kiddo ($600 – or $50 per month), my fees annual mortgages ($395) and charitable donations ($200).


You don’t have to agree with all my spending decisions. I would be surprised if you did! Personal finance is personal, after all, and I am well aware that my spending would not be possible for low-income people.

Still, I hope that by sharing my numbers, it will inspire you to take a good look at yours. Knowledge is power. Do you know where your money is going?

Jessica Irvine is the author of the new bestselling book Money with Jess: Your Ultimate Guide to Household Budgeting. You can follow Jess’s other money adventures on Instagram @moneywithjess and sign up to receive her weekly email newsletter.


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