Americans lose it over Aussie’s money plan
An Aussie environmental scientist has shared her weekly budget breakdown - but one expense has left US readers baffled.
Speaking to US publication Refinery 29 for its regular Money Diaries segment recently, the anonymous Sydney woman revealed she makes just over $A90,000 per year and pockets $A4532 a month after taxes, super and student loans had been deducted.
The 28-year-old, who lives with her boyfriend, shared all her regular monthly expenses including $A1335 for her share of rent for the couple's two-bedroom flat, $A322 for student loans and $A1079 for superannuation including "an extra voluntary deduction on top of the government-mandated 9.5 per cent".
She pays $A120 a month for health insurance, which includes private hospital and extras cover, $A61 for gym membership, $A62 for her mobile phone and $A199 for her Opal card.
Meanwhile, the woman spends $A1026 each year for her half of car insurance and registration, $A61 each month on investments through the Raiz investment app and a monthly payment of $A49 to charity.
She splits her bills and Spotify and Netflix subscriptions, which total $A114 per month, and stashes away $A821 each month into a high-interest savings account, which contains around $A44,651.
But it was her medical expenses which attracted the most attention among readers - including the fact that her appointments were "bulk billed" and able to be scheduled immediately, and that she splits the cost of birth control evenly with her partner, meaning she pays just $A41 for a three-month supply.
During the weekly diary, the woman explained she had been "feeling unwell for a little while" and had "some complications with allergies" so decided to book an appointment online for the following day.
"The doctor tells me he wants to do some tests, so gives me a pathology prescription which I can do on the weekend," she writes.
"There's no cost for the visit since GP visits are what we call 'bulk billed' under our universal healthcare scheme - in other words, my taxes pay for it.
"I find this a good system because there's no limit to the number of doctor's visits you can use and it encourages me to go to the doctor often and catch things early."
She again emphasised her free treatment later in the week after she and her partner both had blood tests which again came at "no cost because universal healthcare has already been paid for in our taxes" and explained her boyfriend was having a blood test as "he was very sick a couple of months ago, and spent a lot of time at the doctor's and in the hospital".
"He's much better now, and I'm so grateful we didn't pay a cent for any of his treatment," she said.
But the cost of the woman's medical treatment floored many readers of the US publication, who face far higher bills and longer wait times in their home country.
"This. This is why socialised healthcare is a good idea," one reader posted in the comment section.
"I am a healthcare administration major and one of my courses explained this very well. Going to the (doctor) to get ahead of problems is preventive medicine - which would be the goal. In the US curative medicine is much more common, where we see doctors because now we have a problem. Like … if you had mildly high cholesterol, found out on your labs, made some changes, and got it under control versus finding out you have wildly out of control cholesterol and you're immediately put on meds," another posted.
And another joked she had to research the meaning of the Aussie term "bickies" after the women mentioned them in her diary, but also praised our medical system.
"Had to Google bickies - please send them to here to America along with universal healthcare plz and thank you," they wrote.
"So I book an appointment online to see a doctor tomorrow. What a dream! In (California), specifically the Bay Area, I have to make my appointments 2-3 months in advance," another added, while another US reader who fell seriously ill while studying in Australia said: "My US health insurance didn't cover in Australia and I had some super basic student health insurance while in AU that was built into the general study abroad costs.
"I think all in all I only paid $A300 when the student health insurance didn't cover the two hospital visits. If this illness had taken place in the US I probably would have ended up with thousands owed in medical bills even with my American heath insurance."
And others also praised the decision of the couple to evenly share the cost of contraception.
"I clapped at the split. Wish every man would contribute to birth control costs!!" one posted, while another added: "It was awesome to see your boyfriend splits birth control with you!"
"Haven't even read this yet but came here to say that I LOVE that you split your birth control cost with your boyfriend."