Take a peek at every single dollar in my household budget

HOUSING: $31,188 – That’s my minimum annual mortgage payments (if you rent, you’d estimate that here). Fortunately for me, the interest rate on my home loan is fixed at 1.84 per cent until mid-2023. After that…ouch!

If you have a variable-rate home loan, have a play with the government’s online MoneySmart mortgage calculator to see how coming interest-rate increases may affect your repayments. Most economists are tipping a cash rate of at least 2 per cent by Christmas (up from 0.85 per cent now). Bah humbug!

HOUSEHOLD: $10,939.52 – This is how much I expect to spend on general household upkeep, comprising: strata fees ($7954.52), council rates ($1180), home maintenance and repairs ($500 – a guess), home insurance ($255 – I have contents and interior fitout cover only), appliances ($250 – I assume something will break), furniture ($250 – again, I assume something will need replacing), hygiene ($200 – for basic supplies such as toothpaste and toilet paper), cleaning supplies ($150) and décor ($150).

UTILITIES: $2523.36 – Keeping the lights on is set to become more expensive this year, but it’s hard to predict by exactly how much. Don’t get too hung up on this. I have simply assumed my historical energy usage rates and current pricing. 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 sewerage ($603.96).

TRANSPORT: $6818.48 – Owning a car is expensive. My transport budget covers: public transport ($1518 – assuming three return trips to the office each working week), fuel ($1440, assuming one tank per month at $2 a litre), car insurance ($1007.48 – including both comprehensive and compulsory third-party policies), parts and accessories ($1000 – something always breaks or needs replacing!), regular servicing ($500), parking ($480 – I park near work sometimes), rego ($381), tolls ($240), roadside assist ($132) and Ubers ($120).

FOOD: $5400 – I’ve been tracking my food spending for about two years now, and it roughly averages $450 a month to feed both myself and my son, who lives with me half the week. This is the cost of edible items purchased in store to cook at home.

I budget for takeaway food and meals out later under the “lifestyle” category. I suspect I could trim my food bills further, but I want wiggle room to keep buying plenty of fresh fruit and veg as they become more expensive.

HEALTH: $7660.26 – My health budget is largely spending on preventative measures. It includes: gym membership ($4631.88 – I tried to quit to save money, but I love CrossFit too much and would rather give up other things – see “appearance” budget below.) It also includes health insurance ($1020 – I pay for basic hospital-only cover, with the highest possible excess, as a pure tax dodge), doctors and specialists ($902.38 – assumes one annual skin check, four GP trips and six psychologist sessions, after Medicare rebates), dental ($736 for two checkups and cleans for us both), optical ($200 – contact lenses and solution), medicines ($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 school fees, plus an allowance for associated costs such as uniforms and excursions. I also budget for one $30 book per month ($360) and stationery ($200 – my beloved highlighters and printer ink don’t buy themselves!)

APPEARANCE: $570 – I stopped getting my hair dyed about two years ago, and I’ve never been much into clothes and beauty treatments. So, this category is just $400 for clothes and shoes, $120 for kids haircuts (I get my friend to cut mine!) and $50, begrudgingly, for makeup.


LIFESTYLE: $11,090 – I’ve set my annual holiday fund at $6100, including a trip to Bali and several domestic trips. The rest of my lifestyle budget goes to: eating out ($1800 – or $150 per month), gifts ($1500, including Christmas and birthdays), live entertainment ($300), toys ($250), alcohol ($240), parties and functions ($200), gaming and consoles ($200), attractions ($200), hobbies ($200) and seasonal celebrations ($100, including décor for Halloween, Christmas, Easter etc). These are all discretionary, and can be cut back as needed.

PROFESSIONAL FEES: $1891.48 – Union fees are tax-deductible, but need to be paid for upfront, so that’s $696.48, followed by pocket money for kiddo ($600 – or $50 per month), my mortgage annual fee ($395) and charity donations ($200).


You don’t have to agree with all my spending decisions. I’d be surprised if you did! Personal finance is personal, after all, and I’m well aware my spending would not be possible for those on lower incomes.

Still, I hope that by sharing my numbers it inspires you to have a good look at your own. Knowledge is power. Do you know where your money is going?

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