60k a year or less, What Do You Go without?

As a high income earner, I consider my lifestyle average but I'd like to get the point of view of people that might think what I have isn't average but actually a little lavish. what do you go without?

To start, maybe a list of my standard costs of living

  • mortgage
  • refresh wardrobe once a year average spend $3k
  • average $20 a day on lunch, work days
  • cleaner once every 3-4 weeks
  • new iPhone every year
  • new laptop every couple years
  • one major technology buy a year (Apple Watch this year)
  • a couple domestic trips per year
  • ultimate fuel for my car, I don't know why, just feels better
  • 2 meals out both Saturday Sunday, every weekend
  • $4 coffee a day sometimes 2

Feel free to ask questions.. I want to find - are lower income earners actually very good with the money they earn? Do they go into debt? what can we learn from each other

Poll Options

  • 133
    I have everything I want
  • 28
    I want a fancy car and a big house
  • 69
    I can afford my mortgage and I'm fine
  • 223
    I can't save enough for a house
  • 24
    I still haven't got a car
  • 18
    What's a smart phone?
  • 22


  • +41

    New iPhone every year? wow that's pretty insane…

    • +3

      Well I sell my old one so the new one ends up costing like $300-400

      • Oh, well that makes more sense

        Do you buy outright/grey or have a 12 month plan?

        • +5

          I have a really old Telstra prepaid offer that gives me $1000 worth of calls, free mobile Foxtel and 10gb of data on 4g. That's why I buy outright.

          I run out of data now so I'm too scared to go post paid for fear of bill shock and I haven't found a better pre paid offer. As I especially love visual voicemail

        • +2


          I have a really old Telstra prepaid offer that gives me $1000 worth of calls, free mobile Foxtel and 10gb of data on 4g

          Wow.. old plan with 4G!

        • +2

          @CandyMan: when my offer came out, people still didn't have 3G phones, I think a company called 3 had most of the 3G network. It's with Telstra so it's 4g. I specified because you can get Telstra through resellers and its limited to 3g

        • @clickship:

          3 got bought over by vodafail, not telstra.

        • +4

          @zeomega: I know, I was sharing the approximate age of when I got the prepaid offer.
          Do people not believe I have this plan? I can screenshot on my next top up

        • @clickship: on your previous post https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/177087 you claim to only have 3gb + 3gb of data on your plan?

        • @Junk Collection: I buy a higher recharge now than I used to. I used to buy the $60 recharge, now I do the $80

      • $300-400 for a new phone per year?

        Still insane…

        • +8

          I know I'm not the only one because that damn line is longer every year! this is making me feel like I should stick with my phone for another year…

        • +13



          Personally I just replace mine when mine dies, or becomes unbearable to live with. So I"ve had like 3 phones in 10 years

        • +10


          I get something new every year, either a brand new flagship android phone or an iPhone. $500 a year to keep up to date is nothing for a device you spend hours on every day.

        • +1

          @clickship: you are not the only one who change iphone every year. Their battery life sucks… So $300-$400 is ok to save you from the stress of having stoopid battery

        • +2

          @fomal: battery has never been a problem for me

        • +9

          @bgktmxg: this is all the validation I needed, I can now ignore everything to the contrary as this fits well with my personal bias. Thank you

      • +3

        YOU ARE A FAT CAT!!!!!

        • +4

          COOL THANKS

        • +3

          Well, I have got a bit soft round the middle this year.
          Oh, you meant clickship.

        • @mskeggs: the up vote was from me

        • +1

          Worst mob ever!

        • +2

          @mskeggs: just unorganised. They like to attack like in the movies, one at a time

        • @clickship:

          That reminds me of the action scene in Yip Man where Donnie Yen takes on 10 guys, it's a very quick 'one at a time', but it's still one at a time :)

      • +1

        Doubt many would do this considering upgrading every year is obsurd.

        You should be asking who buys a brand new TV every year?

        • +1

          Or who buys a tv…

    • Some people get these upgrades as part of their plan, not by choice.

      • I get yearly upgrades with Vodafone. I pay considerably more per month. But I love being able to upgrade every 12 months. also love knowing if Vodafone piss me off it's 12 months at most before I can swap providers or have to pay them out. I nearly went to Optus with my last phone but didn't want a 24 month commitment.

  • +10

    Are you living alone? If it's $60k for a household, then it will be very tight with very few luxuries.

    I think $60k*2, you can afford most, if not all, of your 'cheaper' luxuries.

    It sounds like you've got plenty of disposable income. I do without and put more away for mortgage.

    This winter, I'm usually wearing my Slazenger suit ($1 t-shirt/shorts)

    • I guess $60k single, 120k< couple, 150k< couple with kids

    • +3

      60k is very tight?

      You do not understand how most people actually live.

      • +1

        Mick123 worked out the maths below. Using clickships list above, to get similar will be very tight, thus the 'few' luxuries mentioned.

        I was referencing clickships original post stating they believe that there spending is average, and that I'd disagree if it was 60k household, not whether people living on $60k is affordable. Do you now understand what I meant/wrote?

        • +2

          I see!

          Yes, you're absolutely right. The fact OP thinks his lifestyle is merely average astounded me, I read your comment as kind of backing him up.

          60k for a household can be quite comfortable really.

  • +64

    $20 a day on lunch? Make you own or make big dinner and take leftovers.
    For me, i just got out of long relationship and have had to start over again in super bachelor mode so I'm back to basics. Sharing a house with two others, saved up and bought a 150cc scooter, make my lunches for work (12hour night shifts as security guard), mid range android phone (moto g), wardrobe only gets updated as per ozbargain sales (this week, Van heusen polos).

    Despite this, whilst the house mates do the 2 minute noodle/ravioli out the saucepan living, i still have plenty of money for proper food from adelaide markets, loads of video games, go out when I like and still have savings. I guess no kids/no mortgage helps alot.

    • +2

      I have never made a meal I've enjoyed at work ever. Once I unlock that Adelaide sushi train recipe, that's all I'll be having.

      Drop into the gouger st sushi train and get an ebi roll (chilli Mayo, fried prawn) and the salmon onion. God damn I miss Adelaide food

      • Not even just basic stuff like random rice dish for dinner then take the rest to work? That's my go to if I know I cant be bothered to make an individual meal for just lunch. Or pasta, make tonnes of lasagne and take that.
        Or temp at Sushi Train for a bit to learn all their secrets. Personally my favourite generic sushi place was Hi Sushi in Waurn Ponds VIC

        • im just not a fan of reheating food but maybe that's a change I need to try. No sushi train in Victoria - and i haven't found anything that compares.

          There is good sushi that is different and good but not sushi train good.

        • +10

          @clickship: There are foods that taste better reheated. Try curry (esp Japanese style curry), stews, ect.

        • +1


          For random rice dishes try getting a small rice cooker (1 cup) and cooking fresh rice at work. Makes all the difference! (not that I do it very often as I like to catch up with friends over lunch)

        • +7

          @sama: Yep - also a good spaghetti sauce (e.g. bolognese) tastes better reheated the next day.

        • +2

          @johnno07: good ideas worth a try at least once I guess

        • @clickship: Is sushi train a chain or just sushi train concept in general. There's a few in Melbourne CBD, with Sushi Hotaru the best value.

        • @tanoshiiki: it's a particular chain. They have them in Sydney aswell but the Adelaide gouger street one is amazing

        • +1

          @clickship: have you given the sushi train at sushi hotaru a go? it's very reasonable and quite tasty.

        • @turkz1: I'll look it up

        • +1

          Try sushi hotaru
          Shop 118, 200 Bourke st melb
          $3 a plate

        • +1

          @Ceceilia: two in a row, I'll hit it up next time I'm in town

        • @clickship: Every cuisine has a meal thats better the next day, as stated, curries and spag bog were used as a way of preserving meals.

          I'll always reheat if I cook a curry or spag, love it. However I'm fussy about lunch also and on most days buy it

        • @clickship:
          sushi hon in the emporium food court is pretty good

        • @kimmylala: I do like that one

    • +5

      This one is the biggie for me.

      $20 x 5 days for 48 weeks a year = $4,800 just for lunches, Add in $4 for a coffee 1.25 per day = $1200 so $6,000 a year to eat when at work, not including any other snacks… This is a big chunk of your income that could be used wisely by making sandwiches, large batches of easy to make food, eating fruit or salads for lunch or even those high-carb oat rolls that cost only $2.

      Also eating out on Sat/Sunday would also cost you.

      3K for a new wardrove could be $1500 for o/seas trip and new wardrobe from there.

      Ultimate fuel (98) won't give you that much in return for the extra spend (17c/litre over regular) unless you're running a high compression engine (turbo/performance/tuned) or the manufacturer recommends it.

      Everything else seems not over the top, and down to personal choice. Sounds like you enjoy your tech so $300 for a new phone and a laptop every couple of years is cool. You may be able to tie that into education or business expenses.

      Honestly, I think you might be missing some opportunities or other spends etc. I'd recommend you doing a proper budget on what you spend each year to visualise the full cost. Imagine if you could pop an extra $10,000 into your mortgage each year - by only making a few lifestyle changes.

      • +9

        lol I don' think to OP has any interest in budgeting. He doesn't seem to have any interest in value for money. I have no idea why he's here.

        • +2

          Whole reason for thread seems like trolling to me.

  • +113

    I earn substantially more than $60k but look at that spending list as willfully profligate. I actually scrolled up to make sure it wasn't financialwar launching another troll thread.
    Yearly iphone, $3k on clothes, $4000+ on lunch each year, 100+ restaurant meals every year, premium fuel - these are astonishing wastes of money to me.

    • +15

      I don't think he's saying he's earning 60k. I think he just wants opinion from people on 60k or less? correct me if im wrong.

      I used to spend like then in my late teens / early twenties.
      then as I got a bit older my priorities and perspectives changed.(still without kids etc, but spend my money on other things now)

      I still spend money on food though, out of convenience and laziness.

      but at the end of the day, I rkn money is earnt to be spent.

      • +2

        Correct, looking to hear from standard income single / couple / families

      • earnt to be saved… to buy a house in this overpriced market.

    • +7

      To be fair on the iPhone, I do sell the old one so it ends up costing like $300, clothes- I go to the US with work once a year and it's hard not to buy, the outlet malls are like ozbargain on overdrive and impossible not to get Rhodes and Beckett work shirts when they are 70% off

      No excuse for the others, laziness but more I can never decide what to have in advance.

      I keep thinking I should change to cheaper fuel but I've paid the premium since I got my car 7 years ago so it's almost harder to stop!

      • +19

        What car do you have?

        Regarding premium fuel…Generally engines that have a high compression ratio (eg. turbocharged cars) will require 95 or 98 RON fuel because highly compressed air/fuel mixture is prone to pre detonation, and the higher octane fuel prevents this pre detonation occurring. People mistakenly think the higher octane fuel packs more energy.

        On other cars that dont have this requirement there isn't much benefit, although most modern cars will adjust the ignition timing when it detects higher octane fuel and run more efficiently (but the price difference is greater than what you gain in fuel economy). If you switch back to 91 RON, it may take a while for the ECU to adjust back and relearn the optimal timing for the lower octane fuel, so may appear to run rough initially for a few drives.

        If your car's manual says it can run on 91 RON, I would just go with that unless your engine was pinging/knocking. However, there are some other benefits to BP ultimate apart from the higher RON - it also has cleaning additives that clean your injectors and fuel lines. I know a few people fill up with regular unleaded say 4 times, then on the 5th refill they go with BP ultimate. If you plan to keep your car for the long run there may be a benfit in this.

        • +1

          It just feels like a smoother drive with the 98. Can't explain it better than that.

          It's just a standard 2.4lt 4 cyclinder 4 door sedan auto :)

          If fuel price hike again- I'll probably make the switch

        • +4

          very well Explained Neos

        • +2

          @clickship: Accord Euro CU2 requires 98 plus octane fuel anyway to eliminate knocking…

        • @pitiek: Im hoping more American cars start heading to Australia

        • @clickship: The smoothness is likely explained by the better combustion from the better fuel. It should burn cleaner with less deposits left behind so better for the engine.

          Me personally, my car says 91 so I put 91 in it. In my younger days when I had a modified twin turbo it was 98 only.

          If it's a vtec or something tightly strung, it might be worth higher octane, but for the average 4 banger, 91 is fine.

        • +2

          @wasabinator: the cars been good to me, it's the least I can do. I don't have a pet so I see it as feeding my pet premium puppy food

        • +2

          @clickship: 2.4L? Sounds like a Camry. Unless the car specifically says it needs greater than 91 octane, there is little benefit, and it definitely isn't worth the price difference.
          I get my 98 octane from Costco fuel in Canberra, because I have an old BMW that needs it, and it's cheaper than buying 95 octane elsewhere. If I could get by with 91, I would definitely go for it.

        • This is all well and good if you drive an econobox like OP, but if you're running anything like a GTR or a 911, you're better off sticking with premium.

        • +1


          That analogy doesn't actually work if the car is not designed for higher octane fuels, however. If it's designed for 91, then putting in 95 or 98 is a complete waste of money. There's no benefit whatsoever, it's just a placebo.

        • @pitiek:
          I have a CU2 and use 98, though the manual and fuel cap says it requires 95 octane or higher.

    • +8

      Same here. (Except not substantially more $)

      I don't think I 'go without' but I wouldn't spend anywhere near that amount on clothes for a family of 5. Old model phones, only very rarely spend around $8 on lunch, mostly home made. What's a restaurant meal? Takeaways about 3-4 per month, as a convenience not a treat. Premium fuel is for suckers, I can't tell the difference in my 12yo car. Last generation technology only replace if it stops. Don't drink coffee, and probably wouldn't buy it if I did.

      Ride to work when I can, DIY repairs, renos.

    • +2

      sounds like he's an English premier league striker. I think if he wants to splurge on an iPhone he deserves to.

    • +2

      3K on cloths!! i wouldnt pay higher than 200-300$ in a year !

      • +4

        Right now I need a couple new suits, new work shoes. New belts just for work. I doubt I could do that for under $1000

        • Shoes and belts is silly. Do some research and buy for life. You will probably get better looking products and won't need to buy again for decades with good care.

        • +3

          @cymon: I've never heard of shoes that last for life- mine last a year regardless of brand. Give me an example?

        • @clickship: With the right care a pair of dress shoes from Aldens, Allen Edmonds, Salvatores or A. Testonis (to name a few) will be able to be given to your kids. Not even going to start on boots. If you have the money you should be spending between $500-$1000 on a pair of shoes. Then you won't need to buy another pair again, just maintain them.

          Honestly mate, if you have the coin either hit up malefashionadvice on reddit or styleforum and start educating yourself on how to dress well and invest in fashion. If your shoes are dying after a year I can only imagine they are square capped lace-less monstrosities. If you cbf doing your own research, hire a male fashion consultant.

          Actually, scrap all that. Find a reputable bespoke shoe maker and get a pair made from scratch.

        • @clickship: Bespoke: Robert&hassett and wootten. Off the shelf: Vass is another top brand.

        • @cymon: ill have a look but i don't see how the sole isn't going to wear or the interior.
          best case i can see spending $500-$1000 on a shoe and the maintenance of repairing or replacing the sole or insert is going to be more than the $150-$250 ill spend on a pair every 1-2 years.

        • I have a very nice pair of black leather soled shoes, spent about $350 on them about 8 or 9 years ago, about once every 2 years i spend $45 on a resole of the leather. I rarely walk on cement or rough surfaces so may be greater wear rate for others. It ends up being way cheaper to buy a cheap pair every year(read tax return here :) ), but its the psychological effect that i like, when walking I make a point not to drag my feet or tap my shoes together and it makes me feel more professional.

    • +2

      Is $3k on clothes a lot? I mean a decent suit will wipe a big chunk of that away, and it is kind of a must if you work a decent paying office job. I suppose I probably don't need 6 suits, or the two I just ordered, but that's another matter all together. And then there is shoes, another ~$150-250. Shirts ~$200 assuming 2 new a year.

      And if you don't like reusing underpants that will set you back about $1400 a year… ;)

      $20/day on lunch seems a bit excessive though. I would be eating like a king on that each day given the number of $15-20 two course lunch (plus drink) deals there are in Perth.

      • +1

        $1400 a year on underpants hahaha
        thats like a 6 month wash cycle.
        You only need 16-17 tops

        • You actually only need 10 pairs max, wash them every week.

        • Oh I met someone who didn't like reusing the same underpants. As in threw them out each time.

          This was a while ago, and I seem to remember it cost apparently $14 a week to restock. Given todays prices, I was guessing at double that, so about $1400.

        • 4 days wear per undy - wear them forwards , backwards , inside out forward , inside out backward..

        • @sa-ozzie: haha so gross

      • -2

        It's not a lot at all. I'm guessing the people that do think it's alot probably wear old dad clothes. Must be a generation thing.

      • +1

        I gotta say I used to spend thousands on single suits when I was younger, getting them tailored etc. Then as I started moving up the ranks I noticed what my peers around me wore, which were cheaper knockoff suits. Only the big bosses wear the expensive suits day in and out. So now I spend a tenth on suit and often ones from Myer/DJs on sale (and with reward points) and they still pass as good suits if looked after and accessoried well (shoes are absolute key). You might burn through a cheap suit in a year, but if you wear an expensive suit often you'll burn through that in two years so its probably better off going a cheap suit and if it is your main suit for good sakes buy three pairs of pants when you buy it! Then you might get 2 years burn out of it if you are careful.

        • I like suits more for the convenience. All I need to change each day is my shirt.

          Oh, and the disposable underpants I guess.

    • +1

      Yeah, for me it would be pay the mortgage off, there is nothing like walking into the bank and asking for the title to your property back, everyone seems dumbfounded :)

      • +3

        its safer at the bank, leave $1 owing and you always have money available if you want it

  • +7

    I earn $53k currently and things I definitely don't do that you do are as below

    • refresh wardrobe once a year average spend $3k
    • new iPhone every year
    • 2 meals out both Saturday Sunday, every weekend
    • $4 coffee a day sometimes 2
    • cleaner once every 3-4 weeks

    How much do you spend if you go out for dinner ?

    • +1

      Usually take the family out on the weekend, they are usually house crazy come weekend.
      I guess average would be around $150 bill Per meal out
      But half of the time we might get something like grilld which will be half that. Hard to say

  • +3

    A new phone every year of a bit of a waste of money. mobile upgrades are stuff all now days.

    • +6

      I definitely accept this as a personal flaw, I am definitely an Apple fanboy (the biggest like every other one)

      Little things excite me, like if they flatten the back so the camera doesn't stick out- that'll be enough for me.

      • +4

        lol same here unfortunately i don't feel a single urge to upgrade from my Galaxy note 3 to the Note 5.
        At least you do what i do and sell old phone to offset some of the cost of the newer one instead of spending 1k each year.

        • +1

          Where is a good place to sell old phones?

        • +1

          @andymatter: Gumtree or if you have Facebook there are normally local groups to buy sell and trade anything.

Login or Join to leave a comment