I followed every dollar I spent in 2020-21 and this is where it happened

Let me break this down for you …


By far my biggest expense category was housing. I paid the bank $ 15,623 in interest charges on a mortgage of about $ 700,000. That’s an average of $ 1,300 per month. My minimum repayments, of course, were closer to $ 2,800 per month. But I see the difference between the two – the roughly $ 1,500 per month in repayment of my principal – as a form of saving, and I exclude it from this expense analysis.

As you can see, I managed to reduce my monthly interest bill by around $ 350 in November by fixing part of my loan at a lower interest rate. I just reduced another $ 200 by refinancing with a new lender. It really pays to shop!


My “household” category includes a set of other costs associated with running a house. As a unit owner, my biggest expense is the strata fees, which cost the whopping $ 6,818 per year. This covers building insurance, gardening, maintenance, water use and some capital work. But still: ouch.

I also paid $ 1156 in municipal rates, $ 584 for sanitation and water supply costs and $ 260 for home insurance. I bought myself a new mattress from the $ 1,000 I allocate each year in my Household Futures Fund for unscheduled repairs and replacements.

I also spent $ 170 on new decor, $ 224 on cleaning supplies, and $ 192 on basic hygiene items like shampoo, soap, etc. In total, I spent $ 10,063 on household expenses.


I budget my utility bills separately so I can remember to keep shopping for them. I changed my electricity supplier once a year and my broadband supplier twice. In total, I paid $ 1,184 for electricity, $ 761 for internet, and $ 54 for cloud storage, for a total utility bill of $ 1,999.

I reduced my monthly internet bill from $ 75 to $ 39 by switching providers using whistle.com.au and reduce my internet speed (this is still fine for Netflix and browsing).

There doesn’t seem to be much I can do to pay $ 4.49 per month for cloud storage.


Overall, my transportation costs were low due to COVID-19 and working from home.

However, my car is getting expensive to use. Two services cost $ 2,438. I also paid $ 476 for full insurance, $ 432 for compulsory insurance, $ 377 for rego, $ 580 for new tires, $ 128 for roadside assistance, $ 1210 for gasoline, 140 $ for tolls and $ 301 for parking, which is $ 6,083 for the year just to use my car.

I also paid $ 255 for public transportation, $ 28 for the only Uber trip I took, and $ 272 for a parking fine when I accidentally parked too close to a bus area.


I spent $ 5,318 on food during the year – excluding take out and restaurant meals. That’s an average monthly expense of $ 443, or $ 102 per week.

December was a blast because of Christmas and I tested a meat delivery service in April and May which pushed my monthly costs closer to $ 700.


I feel so lucky to be able to afford just over $ 3,900 per year for my CrossFit gym membership. It not only keeps me fit and strong, but it gives me a great sense of community. I also believe it helps keep my other health costs low. In total, I spent $ 6,748 to keep myself healthy in 2020-21 – about the same as running my car.

I spent $ 1,070 on general practitioners and psychologists, $ 809 on health insurance, $ 312 out of my pocket at the dentist, $ 268 on drugs and $ 152 on vaccinations (even though it wasn’t the one who counts !).


I made the choice to send my son to a private school, which is reflected in my high “education” expenses. I spent $ 9,724 during the year on tuition, $ 1,692 on child care, and $ 308 on uniforms.

For my part, I paid $ 457 for books, magazines and newspapers. My stationery addiction cost me $ 417.


I spent $ 303 on new clothes for me and my son, $ 85.50 on his hairstyles (I asked my friend to cut mine) and $ 17.99 on makeup.


I managed to spend $ 4,579 on vacation – despite the coronavirus pandemic – including a trip to Tasmania and a few girls’ weekends.

Spent $ 1,394 on out and take out meals. I quit alcohol last December, so I only spent $ 157 during the exercise.

I spent $ 859 on birthday and Christmas gifts for myself and my loved ones and almost $ 1,000 on miscellaneous entertainment costs for myself and my son.


My professional fee category is another purse. I paid $ 689 in union dues, $ 493 in bank charges to offload my parents from their collateral on my loan, and $ 154 for domain name hosting online. Oh, and one night I paid my son $ 10 to go to sleep. I regret nothing.

Happy financial year everyone!

  • The advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about financial products. They should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.

You can follow Jess’ budget and financial adventures on Instagram at @moneywithjess and subscribe to his free weekly email here.

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